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Copyright, t882, 

Boston Stikiotypb Foundry, 
4 pearl street. 

Pkns OP Stanley and Usher, 




I. Blood- Root ; . .11 

II. The Pasture Thistle 21 

III. The Partridge-Berry 33 

IV. The Arethusa 43 

V. The Pitcher-Plant 53 

VI. The Galax-Leaved Shortia 65 

VII. The Arrow-Head 75 

VIII. The Pale Laurel 85 

IX. The Meadow Beauty 95 

X. The Bur-Marigold 107 

XI. The Climbing Hemp-Weed 117 

XII. The White Bay 127 

XIII. The Cardinal-Flower 137 

XIV. The Blue-Stemmed Golden-Rod . . . . 149 



I HAVE seen 
A curious child, who dwelt upon a tract 
Of inland ground, applying to his ear 
The convolutions of a smooth-lipped shell. 
To which, in silence hushed, his very soul 
Listened intensely; and his countenance soon 
Brightened with joy; for from within were heard 
Murmurings, whereby the monitor expressed 
Mysterious union with its native sea. 

Even such a shell the universe itself 
Is to the ear of Faith; and there are times, 
I doubt not, when to you it doth impart 
Authentic tidings of invisible things; 
Of ebb and flow, and ever-during power; 
And central peace, subsisting at the heart 
Of endless agitation. Here you stand, 
Adore, and worship, when you know it not; 
Pious beyond the intention of your thought ; 
Devout above the meaning of your will. 





How fresh, O Lord, how sweet and clean 

Are thy returns! even as the flowers in Spring; 
To which, besides their own demean, 

The late-past frosts tributes of pleasure bring. 
Grief melts away 
Like snow in May, 
As if there were no such cold thing. 

Who would have thought my shrivelled heart 

Could have recovered greenness? It was gone 
Quite under ground; as flowers depart 

To see their mother-root, when they have blown; 
Where they together, 
All the hard weather. 
Dead to the world, keep house unknown. 

And now in age, I bud again, 

After so many deaths I live and write; 
I once more smell the dew and rain, 
And relish versing: O my only light, 
It cannot be 
That I am he 
On whom thy tempests fell all night. 




Nature also is an artist and an author. She paints the 
flowers before we copy them, and writes their simple story for 
us to tell again. We have put upon the first page of our book 
a charming flower, which she also displays upon the opening 
leaves of the great floral book of the year. The story of its 
modest life is not a long or a startling one, but perhaps it has 
a cheery word of hope, which weary, wintry hearts, longing for 
spring, may be glad to hear. 

In the very early April days, which in our New England clime 
are not over likely to be sunny days, before the leaves come out 
at all upon the trees, when the downy catkins are first showing 
the revival of life in the willows by the brook-side, before any 
green thing yet gladdens the eye in field or forest, and the brown 
dead grass and the brown dead leaves cover all the ground, then 
it is that in the edges of the moist, rich woods the Sanguinaria 
puts up its slender stem, crowned with its circlet of petals daz- 
zling white. It is a most beautiful flower, and, to my thoughts, 
a beautiful emblem of nature's Easter, its pure whiteness having 
something more than the earthly in its unstained loveliness. It 
seems almost to have lived its earthly course, and passing through 
the disrobing room of Death, which — 

" has left on her 
Only the beautiful." 

comes now as the promise, radiant and heavenly, of that touch of 
the Infinite Life by which all the dead are quickened. 

It is not easy to say why we see in all these- beautiful forms 
of nature these hidden meanings, and delight to trace in them 
a likeness to our deeper thoughts and experiences. Are these 


similitudes mere fanciful semblances, or are they indications that 
our clearer consciousness is but the sign of a universal life, which, 
after its kind, is conscious in every thing ? Are the mental and 
material worlds after all but separate rooms in the one house of 
Life, divided by a thin, flexible partition, so that a moving breath 
in the one palpitates through the other in correlations of conscious 
thought? Who shall say? Still it remains true that we like 
to see our own thoughts and feelings mirrored in the larger 
doings and happenings of the Kosmos. We love that poet best 
who best humanizes nature, and finds a present counterpart of 
himself in the dumb life around him ; who, without seeming to 
exceed probability, or distort natural functions, discovers emotions 
in things which we have known in ourselves. We love his mes- 
sage most who puts his ear to the natural universe as to 

" The convolutions of a smooth-lipped shell," 

and then tells us of 

"Authentic tidings of invisible things, 
The central peace subsisting at the heart 
Of endless agitation." 

which it murmurs to his listening soul. 

So I am sure quaint George Herbert speaks to wide acceptance 
when he finds in the coming forth of the flowers in early spring 
from their abode "quite underground," where they have gone "to 
see their mother-root ; " and 

" Dead to the world, keep house unknown 
All the hard weather," 

a deep illuminating correspondence with that most precious 


spiritual experience, when the shrivelled heart, " on which tem- 
pests fell all night," has " recovered greenness," and 

"Smells the dew and rain, 
And buds again."' 

For nature teaches no sweeter lesson than when, with floral sym- 
bols, it repeats from year to year, to a sinful and mortal world, the 
pictured hope of man's moral and material rebuilding. And the 
Sanguinaria, with its blood-red root under ground, and its pearly 
purity up in the April air, may rightly speak a word of hope to 
those who in obscurity and darkness have all their lives distilled 
only bitter tears, like drops of blood, from the griefs and defile- 
ments of their lot. For with it what a beautiful white soul has 
blossomed from a root-life so ensanguined and bitter ! How 
greatly is it like those souls about the Throne " which have come 
out of. great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made 
them white in the blood of the Lamb." 

The poet's quaint fancy of flowers, " keeping house" all the win- 
ter long, underground, finds plenty of illustrations in the real life 
of many plants, notably in this one. The housekeeping, however, 
does not use up in the winter what has been garnered in the sum- 
mer. It only just preserves it for the early needs of the plant at 
the beginning of the next season, before it shall have time to draw 
anew from nature's great supplies. Through the long summer its 
broad, roundish leaves are opened and lifted up to the sun and rain, 
and with patient industry gather out of the air and dew stores 
of invisible food. These, mingling with the nutritious elements 
which its fine rootlets have sucked from the moistened soil, have 
been slowly elaborated and laid away in the red root-stalk, lying 


like a hidden storehouse underground. So when the warm spring 
sun melts the locks and chains of frosty winter, and sets free the 
whole imprisoned kingdom of plants, none are sooner ready to 
come forth and smile a welcome to the great Liberator than the 
red-footed, white-breasted Sanguinaria. 

The flower stays not long, and the plant, after producing the 
early harvest of seeds, surrenders, as just now indicated, most of 
the growing season to the prudent accumulation of sustenance for 
next year's flowering and fruit bearing. So it makes to-day render 
tribute to to-morrow, as to-day itself is in part the product of yes- 
terday. Thus its little life links its generations together with 
mutual helpfulness, and mingles the common and popular blessing 
of receiving with the greater blessedness of giving. 

Concerning the blood-red liquid which freely exudes when the 
stem or root-stalk is cut or broken, and which gives the popular 
as well as the scientific name to Sanguinaria, Prof. Goodale 
says : " In the case of nearly all plants from which a white 
or colored juice exudes, there is a special system of microscopic 
canals, consisting either of branched cells or confluent tubes, 
termed the Latex system. Thus in the Euphorbias, Lettuce and 
Poppy, the milky juice is contained in communicating Latex-tubes. 
But in some other cases, for example blood-root, the colored juice 
is held in receptacles of a diff'erent character. In blood-root these 
special receptacles are roundish or more elongated, and possess 
very thin walls. While some of these sacs or cells are separated 
from each other, others are arranged in rows. This grouping 
into linear series is well marked in the more superficial parts." 
The colored juice of the Sanguinaria was used by the Indians 
as a dye. 


Having referred to this plant as our sweetest floral emblem of 
nature's Easter, I cannot refrain from quoting a few stanzas from 
Phoebe Gary's well known lines, " Resurgam," in which she for- 
tifies her own heart, at the approach of death, by this hope which 
nature in the early spring so brightly illuminates: 

Nature's sepulchre is breaking. 
And the earth, her gloom forsaking, 
Into life and light is waking. 

Oh, the weakness and the madness 
Of a heart that holdcth sadness 
When all else is light and gladness ! 

Shall not He who life supplieth 
To the dead seed, where it lieth, 
Qiiicken also man, who dieth? 

Rise, my soul, then, from dejection, 
See in nature the reflection 
Of the dear Lord's resurrection. 

Let this promise leave thee never: 
" If the might of death I sever, 
Ye shall also live forever ! " 


The Pasture Thistle, 



My homely flower, that blooms along 

The dry and dusty ways, 
I have a mind to make a song, 

And make it in thy praise; 
For thou art favored of my heart, 
Humble and outcast as thou art. 

Though never with the plants of grace 

In garden borders set. 
Full often have I seen thy face 

With tender tear-drops wet. 
And seen thy gray and ragged sleeves 
All wringing with them morns and eves. 

Albeit thou livest in a bush 

Of such unsightly form, 
Thou hast not any need to blush — 

Thou hast thine own sweet charm; 
And for that charm I love thee so. 
And not for any outward show. 

Alice Cary. 

I NEED hardly make a point of formally introducing the Thistle 
to my readers. It has a faculty of pointedly introducing itself, and, 



notwithstanding the humane admiration of our poet for this brist- 
ling denizen of the pastures,* most people do not care for a very 
close or intimate acquaintance with it. I may say, however, that 
among botanists it is spoken of as belonging to the large tribe of 
composite flowers. The admirable picture by Mr. Sprague tells 
more of it at a single glance than could be conveyed by pages 
of description. It is in flower all summer, and may be found, in 
the latitude of New England and Pennsylvania, as far West as 
the Mississippi. Though so common, and so obnoxious as a 
weed, that few ever take any interest in it, it is not to be denied 
that, it possesses a certain kind of attractiveness. In the artist's 
eye, its rich, red blossom, and its curiously cut and jagged leaves, 
are not without their elements of beauty. It has been made to 
serve ornamental if not useful ends, for it was early seized upon 
by the architect and designer as the basis of much fine orna- 
mentation both in colors and in carvings. 

Prof. Hulme says: "The Thistle has been largely employed 
in ornamental art, in some cases clearly for its own inherent 
beauty; in others as clearly from its heraldic and historic asso- 
ciations. A very beautiful example of it may be seen in a square 
panel in the Cathedral of Bruges, and again in the moulding on 
a tomb of Don Juan II., in that building; in numerous wooden 
panels (Gothic carvings) in the South Kensington Museum; and 
on the monument of Mary Queen of Scots, in Westminster 

It is best known, perhaps, as the national emblem of Scot- 
land, but how it came to be such, or what particular species 
of it first furnished the sturdy Scotchmen with their symbol, 
is much in dispute among the antiquarians and naturalists. In 


any case it was not probably the one figured in our plate. Various 
legends undertake to account for its becoming the national sym- 
bol, and of course throw the ,origin of it far back into the past 
This is one story : " When the Danes invaded Scotland, it was 
deemed unwarlike to attack an enemy in the darkness of the night 
instead of a pitched battle by day ; but on one occasion the in- 
vaders resolved to avail themselves of stratagem, and, in order 
to prevent their tramp being heard, marched barefooted. They 
had thus neared the Scottish camp unobserved, when a Dane 
unluckily stepped upon a sharp thistle, and uttered a cry of pain, 
which immediately aroused the Scotch, who discovered the stealthy 
foe, and defeated them with great slaughter. The thistle was 
immediately adopted as the emblem of Scotland." For as good 
a reason Rome might have adopted the goose as its national 
bird, for did not a flock of cackling geese, on a like occasion, 
save Rome? There is, however, no authentic record of its ap- 
pearance in Scottish history in this relation earlier than 1458, 
when it is referred to in an inventory of the property of James 
III., of Scotland, as "a covering of variand purpir tarter browdin 
with thrissils and a unicorn," the unicorn being also an emblem 
of Scotland. 

The Scottish knighthood, the Order of the Thistle, is of com- 
paratively late origin. James I. of Great Britain, who was also 
James VI. of Scotland, on his accession to the throne of the 
United Kingdom, took as his badge a compound flower, half rose 
and half thistle, and the stalk supporting this floral monstrosity 
had on one side of it a rose leaf and on the other the leaf of a 

If national emblems are emblematic, as I suppose, strictly 


speaking they are not, I can scarcely see why the Thistle should 
stand for the " Cannie Scot." There are, to be sure, points of 
resemblance, but they are quite superficial. The national motto, 
apropos of the emblematic Thistle, ''Nemo 7ne impime lacessit, — 
No one provokes me with impunity," might indeed hint at the 
pugnacious quality of the Scotch, especially in the matter of 
metaphysical theology ; and the sharp points with which the 
Thistle always bristles may be no inapt symbol of the natural 
acuteness of the Scotchman's mind, and the native keenness of 
his wit. But underneath all, in him there is a rich store of 
hearty, genial humanity and kindliness, which find no adequate 
symbol in the burly thistle. 

Like everything else associated with his native land, it was 
dear to the heart of Burns, who meeting it in his farm work, 
says, — 

"The rough burr thistle spreading wide 

Among the bearded bear, 
I turned the weeder-clips aside 

And spared the symbol dear." 

The early bad reputation of the Thistle among English speak- 
ing people, is obvious from its being made to figure so prominently 
in the "primal curse," pronounced upon the ground when Adam 
sinned in Eden, as related in our English Bible. " Cursed is the 
ground for thy sake. Thorns also, and thistles shall it bring 
forth to thee." It is not known what plants are here referred 
to, but the use of this word shows the real opinion our translators 
had of this well known English weed. It hasn't many friends, 
that is certain, and for the best of all reasons. It is not friendly. 
It has a sort of touch-me-not attitude toward all the world. It 


has its virtues, no doubt, but they are not of the pleasing or 
conciliatory kind. If people want to admire it for what it has of 
worth or beauty, well and good, they may stand off and admire. 
If they don't, it is all the same to the thistle. It is bound to 
stand on its own feet, defend its own rights, and occupy its own 
place, let the world wag a^ it may. There seems to be a certain 
sturdiness of moral character about it which is not unlike what 
we find in similar independent, thistly, strongly individualized, 
and not very agreeable human mortals. They are here, and here 
to stay, and to take care of their own, not without pugnacity, 
giving and taking thrusts. The world may be pleased or dis- 
pleased, it matters little to them ; and the rest of us console 
ourselves by thinking about them, " Oh, well, it takes all sorts of 
people to make a world." 

While something may be said in a general way in behalf of 
this friendless weed, I should not expect to make it a favorite 
with the farmer. He is blinded by prejudice, a prejudice, how- 
ever, not altogether without some good grounds ; for this plant 
yields food neither to himself nor his beast, and it absorbs much 
of the vital strength of the soil which ought to go to nourish 
his grain or his grass. Besides, I have no doubt he carries the 
memory of many sharp and painful thrusts which it has given 
him when he has taken it up unawares with his sheaves of 
wheat or oats. 

But the most interesting thing about the Thistle is the in- 
genious way by which it contrives to scatter its seed, — just as 
though there wouldn't be thistles enough for all practical pur- 
poses if the seeds were left to take their chances of planting by 
wind and weather. Nature has contrived for every one of its 


myriad seeds an airy little balloon, of the finest and lightest 
down, and it goes sailing away upon the wings of the wind like 
another Montgolfier, whose famous aeronautics, indeed, this flying 
plant antedated many ages. Who ever saw a sunny summer 
day in the country when there were not multitudes of these fairy 
globes, each with an embryo plant in its breast, sailing lazily 
through the sultry air ! What images of lightness and grace are 
these airy nothings from the thistle's white crown ! They will 
sail on and on, till the rain beats the buoyancy out of their 
wings, and then they will come down with the raindrop, and be 
planted far away from their native fields. 

I suppose most seeds are left to the ordinary chances of the 
elements for dispersion and planting, but many of them are fur- 
nished with special appliances for it. Some of these are purely 
mechan.ical, the pod in which they grow being so contrived that 
as it ripens it brings its sides into a state of tension, which 
increases as the growth and ripening goes on, till at last it bursts 
open with a sudden and violent spring which scatters the seeds 
in every direction, sometimes many feet away. 

Then, again, other seeds are provided with barbed points, or 
with sharp hooks which readily seize upon any passing object, 
as the wool and hair of animals, perhaps the feathers of birds, 
certainly the clothing of men, and are thus carried long distances 
from their native home. Others, like the seeds of the maple 
and trumpet-flower, have their gossamer wings, by which they 
" fly away to be at rest " in some distant, hospitable soil. 

Many, like the thistle and dandelion, are furnished with buoy- 
ant envelopes of feathery fibre, which make them the sport of 
every breeze. This device, by which Nature disperses the seeds 


of some of the humblest of its creatures, is of the greatest im- 
portance to man in at least one case, for the downy fibre which 
in the open boll covers the black seed of the cotton plant, clothes 
also the whole civilized race of man, and is the foundation of 
one of the chief and most astonishing industries of modern 

The water-lily, which produces its seeds beneath the surface 
of the water, has a curious contrivance for dispersing them. It 
encloses them in a light, thin bag, which is filled with air, and 
is impervious to waten This acts as a float or life-preserver to 
the seed, which, directly it is released from the mother plant, 
rises to the surface and floats away, " driven by the winds and 
tossed," or carried by the currents of water. By and by the sack 
bursts or decays, and the seed immediately sinks and is embedded 
in the mud at bottom, and is ready to produce a new plant in 
a new place. The plant world is full of these ingenious contriv- 
ances. But it is time we permitted our poet to tell the reason 
why she takes the thistle to her kindly regard. 

Thou hast no lovers, and for that 

I love thee all the more; 
Only the wind and the rain to be 
Thy friends, and keep thee company. 

So, being left to take thine ease 

Behind thy thorny wall, 
Thy little head with vanities 

Has not been turned at all. 
And all field beauties give me grace 
To praise thee to thy very face. 


So thou shalt evermore belong 
To me from this sweet hour, 

And I will take thee for my song, 
And take thee for my flower, 

And by the great, and proud, and high, 

Unenvied, we will live and die. 

Alice Cary. 




Spring, with that nameless pathos in the air 
Which dwells with all things fair, 

Spring, with her golden sun and silver rain, 
Is with us once again. 

In the deep heart of every forest tree 

The blood is all aglee, 
And there's a look about the leafless bowers 

As if they dreamed of flowers. 

Yet still on every side we trace the hand 

Of winter in the land. 
Save where the maple reddens on the lawn 

Flushed by the season's dawn. 

Or where, like those strange semblances we find 

That age to childhood bind, 
The elm puts on, as if in Nature's scorn, 

The brown of autumn corn. 

As yet the turf is dark, although you know 

That, not a span below, 
A thousand germs are groping through the gloom 

And soon will burst their tomb. 

Henry Tim rod. 



This is by no means a spring flower, for it opens its delicate 
little twin blossoms of pink in the hot days of June and July, 
But I suppose the plant is associated in the minds of most 
lovers of nature with the memory of the very earliest sunny days 
of the year, for amidst the universal brown of early spring, its 
bright evergreen leaves, and its brilliant red berries, are almost 
the only things which gladden the weary eyes with bits of pleas- 
ing color. Here and there a little bank or tuft of moss, or a 
frond of rock-fern, adds its greenness, knd shares with the Par- 
tridge-Berry the gratitude of eyes hungering for the tints of sum- 
mer. Especially grateful to us is this humble plant, in the time 
when its shining leaves and sparkling berries peep up from their 
nest in the dull dead leaves, sometimes just from under the edge 
of the retreating snow. But in the luxuriant life and color of mid- 
summer it would scarcely be noticed at all, as it modestly puts up 
its delicate pink flowers, in some dark nook, hidden away and 
crowded out of sight by a mob of obstreperous weeds. As red as 
the plump cheeks of this little berry commonly are, it has been 
sometimes found as white as snowdrops. A young lady sent 
some white ones, two or three years ago, from York, Pennsylvania, 
to Dr. Gray, the first he had ever heard of, it seems. 

In some parts of the country the aromatic Wintergreen, or 
Checkerberry, is called the Partridge-Berry, Prof. Goodale states. 
I am sure that in some parts of New York and Pennsylvania I 
have heard our plant called the Checkerberry, and in those regions, 
the latter name is not applied to the Wintergreen, as it is in New 
England. The scientific name of the plant was given to it by the 
great Linnaeus, in honor of Dr. John Mitchell of Virginia, who, 
during the first half of the last century, was one of our best known 


botanists, and a valued correspondent of the founder of our science. 
He was a Fellow of the Royal Society, and is known in botanical 
science as the author of several short treatises on botany, which 
were issued in a collected form in London, in 1769. He certainly 
is among the most fortunate of men to have his name and memory 
embalmed in a plant at once so charming and so widely distributed 
as is the Mitchella repetis. There is but one other species be- 
longing to that genus, and that is found in Japan. Dr. Gray has 
shown, in a very interesting paper, that many of our North Amer- 
ican forms are represented in the flora of that country. The 
Mayflower, or trailing Arbutus, so widely and deservedly popular 
in New England, is a case quite similar to that of the Mitchella. 
There is but one other species of the Epigcea known, and that is 
a native of Japan. 

The most careless observer could scarcely fail to notice, that the 
bright red berry is furnished with a double "blow end," as though 
two flowers had assisted in its production. Such is the case. A 
single ovary bears twin flowers, which, indeed, sometimes come to 
be something more than " Siamese-twin " flowers, for they occa- 
sionally coalesce and form a single flower with an eight-lobed 
corolla. Commonly, however, they are quite separate, and fructify 
the corresponding segments of the compound ovary on which they 
grow. The flowers themselves have individual peculiarities. In 
some the pistil is long and stands out beyond the mouth of the little 
hairy tube of the corolla, while the stamens are short and are con- 
cealed somewhere down in its obscure depths. Other flowers will 
show an arrangement exactly the opposite of this, the pistil, with 
its four-parted stigma, will be short and hidden away in the tube 
while the stamens will protrude. It is evident that flowers, built 


on this plan, cannot conveniently fertilize themselves. The parts 
involved in the act seem to be thus purposely arranged, so that 
they cannot come in contact. It has been observed in other flowers 
thus constructed, that they are very nicely arranged to utilize the 
help of bees and other insects in cross-fertilization, for the pollen 
from flowers with long stamens will be placed on the insect which 
comes for their honey, in exactly the right position to be most 
easily communicated to the stigma of a flower with a long pistil. 
So with the flowers having short stamens, and those having short 

If one looks closely he will see beneath the rows of roundish, 
opposite, green leaves, just at the base of the leaf-stalk, a pair of 
minute scales, or stipules. They seem to be of no use to the 
plant, nor are they ornamental. But the trained botanist sees in 
them great significance. They are the unmistakable signs that our 
little creeping vine is the " long lost and far wandered scion of a 
noble house." This humble denizen of our woods has aristocratic 
connections, and is almost our only representative of a large and 
influential family in the kingdom of plants, whose native home is 
in a more genial clime than ours, — a family distinguished in some 
of its members, by the most considerable and most honorable ser- 
vices to mankind. 

I need mention but two or three of these to show that. The 
Coffee plant furnishes the material for a decoction which is the 
most universal and most delicious drink (when rightly made and 
rightly served) that art has yet educed from nature. In the bark 
of the Cinchona tree, Peruvian Bark, is found one of the most 
invaluable drugs employed in the art of healing, and one which, 
perhaps, as a defence against the subtle poisons of malaria, has 


saved more human lives than any other. In the pigment pro- 
duced from the Madder plant, we have the basis and substance 
of some of our most useful dyes. These, and several other useful 
plants that might be named, are all first cousins to our bright 
little friend of the early spring time. 

New are the leaves on the oaken spray, 

New the blades of the silky grass; 
Flowers, that were buds but yesterday, 

Peep from the ground where'er I pass. 

These gay idlers, the butterflies, 

Broke, to-day, from their winter shroud; 

These light airs, that winnow the skies, 

Blow, just born, from the soft white cloud. 

Gushing fresh in the little streams, 

What a prattle the waters make! 
Even the sun, with his tender beams, 

Seems as young as the flowers they wake. 

Children are wading, with cheerful cries, 

In the shoals of the sparkling brook; 
Laughing maidens, with soft young eyes, 

Walk or sit in the shady nook. 




The Arethusa. 


Is this a time to be cloudy and sad, 

When our Mother Nature laughs around; 
When even the deep blue heavens look glad, 

And gladness breathes from the blossoming ground? 

There are notes of joy from the hang-bird and wren, 
And the gossip of swallows through all the sky; 

The ground-squirrel gayly chirps by his den, 
And the wilding bee hums merrily by. 

The clouds are at play in the azure space. 

And their shadows at play on the bright-green vale. 

And here they stretch to the frolic chase, 
And there they roll on the easy gale. 

There's a dance of leaves in that aspen bower, 
There's a titter of winds in that beechen tree, 

There's a smile on the fruit, and a smile on the flower, 
And a laugh from the brook that runs to the sea. 


The last line of this song of gladness brings us to the side 
of the " laughing brook that runs to the sea " and brings us to its 
floral guardian, the beautiful Arethusa. This interesting and bril- 



Hant summer annual has a habitat limited to the region of our 
eastern border along the coast of New England and the middle 
States to Virginia, and the northern parts of Wisconsin and beyond. 
It is not a common plant anywhere, though I have found it by no 
means rare in some of the marshy districts about Taunton. It 
blossoms in May and June, and, as our artist makes clear to all, 
it is a very beautiful flower. The singular form and position of 
the petals, its brilliant color of pink and red, with the yellow fringe 
that ornaments its pendent " labellum," all contribute to the in- 
terest and charm of the flower. 

It is one of the few representatives which we have in our native 
flora of the very interesting Orchid family. They are all very 
highly organized and specialized plants. In most cases they have 
some ingenious mechanism for soliciting and securing the help of 
insects in cross-pollenization. In describing the Moccasin Flower 
and the Calopogon in Beautiful Wild Flowers, I had occasion to 
refer to this interesting matter at some length. The Arethusa 
secures this outside help in the distribution of its pollen in much 
the same way as the Calopogon, the principal difference being that 
the insect carries away the pollen masses upon his head in the case 
of the Arethusa, while in the Calopogon they adhere to the under- 
side of the thorax or abdomen. 

If the reader will carefully notice the flowers which Mr. 
Sprague has reproduced with such faithfulness, he will see that the 
petal which overarches the yellow-headed " labellum " has a slight 
knob or protuberance on its under side near the end. This is the 
anther. It consists of a casque-shaped cup with four little masses 
of powdery pollen packed loosely away in it. The cup lies down 
upon its side in a little hollow or groove in the petal with its 


bottom turned toward the end of the petal and fastened to it by a 
delicate hinge of vegetable tissue. This brings the open top of 
the cup toward the inner part of the flower. The mouth of the 
cup is closed up by a thin partition drawn across the little furrow 
in which it lies. The other or inside of this partition is the stigma 
of the flower. 

It is not difficult to see that the two parts are so adjusted 
to each other as to make it in the highest degree difficult, if not 
altogether impossible, for the pollen unaided to come in contact 
with the stigma. But with the aid of a bee in search of honey 
it is very easily accomplished. The bee lights upon the downy 
hanging platform of the "labellum," and proceeds to make his 
way down the throat of the flower to the nectar. In doing so 
he might run his head against the projecting anther cup, but of 
course could not move it, for it is so hinged that it will turn 
outward and not inward. 

But on his way out the bee again knocks his head against 
the little cup, and this time it responds to his lightest touch. 
It immediately swings out and opens downward, and spills its 
little bundles of pollen directly upon the top of the bee's head 
or back, and they stick fast. The very next Arethusa he visits 
and comes out of he will be sure to leave some of this pollen 
upon the stigmatic surface just where it is needed to fructify the 
flower. He will at the same time carry away more pollen from 
this flower wherewith to pollenize the next one, and so on. The 
service rendered by insects in cross-fertilizing plants, thus mak- 
ing them more prolific and more vigorous, is coming to be one 
of the most interesting and important fields for investigation in 
the natural history of the vegetable kingdom. One sees, also, 


how the insect tribes in doing this service to plants also benefit 
themselves, for the number and vigor of nectar-producing flowers 
will be the measure of their food supply for the next year. 
Thus Nature weaves these two humble lives together in a web 
of mutual dependence and service. 

The Arethusa was named in honor of a nymph of Diana or 
Artemis, as she is often called, and was represented in the Greek 
mythology to be the presiding genius of springs and fountains. 
She was the daughter of Ncreus and Doris, and was changed 
into a fountain by her mistress Diana to deliver her from the 
persistent but unwelcome pursuit of her lover Alpheios, a river- 
god, and a son of Okeanas. The fountain was at Syracuse, in 
Sicily, and was famous for the abundance of its waters and the 
number of its fishes, though now the water is brackish and sup- 
ports no finny inhabitants, Virgil invokes the inspiration of 
Arethusa to help him compose his tenth pastoral, addressed to 
his friend Gallus. 

The connection of our plant with wet "springy" places, 
where it makes its home, suggested its name. Certainly, no one 
who has seen and admired its rare charms in its native haunts, 
can feel that it does discredit to the name or memory of the 
fair goddess of fountains. 

Arethusa arose 

From her couch of snows 
In the Acroceraunian mountains, — 

From cloud and from crag, 

With many a jag, 
Shepherding her bright fountains, 

She leaped down the rocks 

With her rainbow locks 


Streaming among the streams; — 

Her steps paved with green 

The downward ravine 
Which slopes to the western gleams 

And gliding and springing, 

She went ever singing, 
In murmurs as soft as sleep: 

The earth seemed to love her, 

And heaven smiled above her. 
As she lingered toward the deep. 


Into the sunshine, 

Full of light, 
Leaping and flashing 

From morn till night! 

Into the moonlight. 

Whiter than snow, 
Waving so flower-like 

When the winds blow! 

Ever in motion. 

Blithesome and cheery. 
Still climbing heavenward 

Never aweary. 

Full of a nature 

Nothing can tame; 
Changed every moment. 

Ever the same. 

Glorious Fountain! 

Let my heart be 
Fresh, changeful, constant. 

Upward, like thee. 

James Russell Low ell. 






Deep in the shady sadness of a vale 

Far sunken from the healthy breath of morn, 

Far from the fiery noon, and eve's one star, 

Sat gray-haired Saturn, quiet as a stone, 

Still as the silence round about his lair; 

Forest on forest hung about his head 

Like cloud on cloud. No stir of air was there. 

Not so much life as on a summer's day 

Robs not one light seed from the feathered grass, 

But where the dead leaf fell, there did it rest. 

A stream went voiceless by, still deadened more 

By reason of his fallen divinity 

Spreading a shade. The Naiad 'mid her reeds 

Pressed her cold finger closer to her lips. 

Along the margin-sand large footmarks went, 

No further than to where his feet had strayed. 

And slept there since. Upon the sodden ground 

His old right hand lay nerveless, listless, dead, 

Unsceptred; and his realmless eyes were closed; 

While his bowed head seemed listening to the Earth, 

His ancient mother, for some comfort yet. 


This incomparable picture of a swampy vale deep in the 
woods, is so exactly like the native home of our purple Pitcher- 




Plant, that I could not resist the temptation to transfer it to our 
pages. Mr. Meehan thinks Longfellow must have had in his 
thought some image or memory of our southern Pitcher-Plant 
when, in the song of the " Slave in the Dismal Swamp," he 
made this life-like picture of southern vegetation, — 

Where will-o'-the-wisps and glow-worms shine, 

In bulrush and in brake; 
Where waving mosses shroud the pine, 
. And the cedar grows, and the poisonous vine 

Is spotted like the snake; 

Where hardly a human foot could pass, 

Or a human heart would dare, 
On the quaking turf of the green morass 
He crouched in the rank and tangled grass 

Like a wild beast in his lair. 

Be this as it may, our plant is common all along our eastern 
border from Newfoundland to Florida, growing in bogs and 
swampy places, and flowering in the early summer. This plant 
introduces us to one of the most interesting fields of biological 
inquiry that has been opened in many a day. I refer to that 
curious instance, which these and some other plants illustrate, in 
which the vegetable kingdom seems to reverse the ordinary course 
of nature and makes reprisal upon the animal kingdom for its 
habitual foraging. In this as in many other departments of re- 
search the interest has been greatly quickened, almost created, 
throughout the scientific world, by the magic touch of that one 
master spirit of the century, Charles Robert Darwin, — now alas, 
no more of earth! His monograph on Insectivorous Plants 
marks an era in this department of botanical science. 


Insectivorous plants are a group or physiological assemblage of 
plants which belong to a number of distinct natural orders. "They 
agree in the extraordinary habit of adding to the ordinary supplies 
of nitrogenous material afforded them in common with other plants 
by the soil and atmosphere, by the capture and consumption of 
insects and other small animals. The curious and varied mechan- 
ical arrangements by which these supplies of animal food are 
obtained, the way and degrees in which they are utilized, and the 
remarkable chemical, biological and electrical phenomena of pre- 
hension and utilization can only be fully understood by a separate 
and somewhat detailed account of the leading orders and genera." 

To give that would not come within the purpose of this paper, 
and yet I think I may be able to embody enough of this strange 
knowledge to give my readers some adequate idea of what happens 
when a plant devours "insects and other small animals." 

Take for example the common Sun-dew, Drosera rotundifolia, 
of our bogs and swamps. It has a circle of long-stemmed round 
leaves which spring out horizontally from the bottom of the 
flower stalk near the ground. These leaves, which are not usually 
over half an inch diameter, are covered pretty thickly above with 
flexible hairs, or tentacles, to the number of two hundred and fifty 
or more, not longer than two-thirds of the diameter of the leaf. 
Each of these tentacles bears at top a transparent drop of viscid 
glistening fluid which looks very like a drop of dew in the early 
sunshine. This gives the plant both its popular and its scientific 

Insects seem to be attracted to the leaves of this plant, perhaps 
by its glistening appearance, perhaps by its odor or color, or by all 
combined. But if they come too near, or dare to light upon its 




brilliant leaves, they will get anything but a friendly welcome. A 
fly coming in contact with the viscid end of the tentacles finds itself 
stuck fast. He cannot get away even if but two or three of these 
silvery dewdrops touch him. But his struggles to do so awaken the 
active interest of all the neighboring tentacles, which immediately 
bend over toward him and fix upon him their adhesive tops. In 
fact an impulse seems to be spreading over the whole surface of 
the leaf, which sets all the parts into sympathetic activity. The 
leaf itself soon hollows under the victim and rolls up its edges, 
and thrusts down upon him more and more of its animated bead- 
topped hairs. Slowly he is pressed down upon the surface of the 
leaf, drenched in the abundant fluid which the leaf and its tentacles 
secrete, and in a quarter of an hour or so he is dead. 

But the leaf does not stop there. It holds its dead prey in its 
close embrace till it has fully digested him, for its tentacles and 
its superficial cells and glands constitute a true stomach, which 
secretes digestive fluids and deals with animal substances in 
exactly the same way that the animal stomach does. The nutri- 
tious resultants of this digestive process are absorbed into the 
tissues of the plant and help to nourish it. A chemical analysis of 
the fluids produced in this vegetable stomach, and a careful obser- 
vation of their action upon all nitrogenous substances which ordi- 
narily constitute the food of animals, show that in almost all 
respects it runs in an exact parallel with the functions of that 
organ in the animal economy. It appears to be strictly car- 
nivorous, as it will not digest vegetable or purely carboniferous 
substances, such as gum-Arabic, sugar, starch, olive oil, etc. We 
have then here the leaf of a plant possessing a true animal 


The Venus Fly-trap, Dioncea muscipula, a native of southeastern 
North Carolina, is another carnivorous plant. At the extremity of 
its obcordate leaves, are two lobes standing at something less 
than a right angle to each other, hinged together at the back upon 
the prolonged midrib of the leaf. The edges of these lobes are 
armed with long spines which shut by and between each other 
when the lobes close. Each of the lobes has three slender, sharp, 
sensitive hairs placed triangularly some little distance apart upon 
its inner surface. The slightest touch upon either of these hairs, 
as the lighting upon it of the smallest insect, or brushing it with 
their wings, or touching it with their legs or bodies as they crawl 
over the surface, causes the lobes to shut together like a trap, 
instantly imprisoning the unwary victim. If he be not too large 
to pass between the closed teeth at the edge of the lobes he may 
escape. Otherwise he is doomed, for the leaf immediately pours 
out upon him from glands specially provided an abundance of 
digestive fluid which soon kills and dissolves him. 

As with the Sundew so with the Dionaa, a true digestive 
process takes place perfectly analogous to that in the animal econ- 
omy and the plant gets much nourishment from this source of 
food supply. It has been observed that plants provided with this 
special adaptation for securing food have smaller roots than other 
kinds of plants not so furnished. There are several other genera 
of plants that possess this extraordinary function, which we have 
heretofore considered an exclusive attribute of animal life. 

But in the Sarracenia we have the case of plants adapted to 
capture and devour insects, but with no ability truly to digest them. 
While they entrap and destroy great numbers of them and are 
obviously contrived especially to do that, they make use of them 



as nourishment in a way more analogous to the processes of plant 
life than do the Drosera and Dioncea. 

We are indebted to an admirable study of Sarracenia vario- 
laris, published in 1874, by Dr. Mellichamp of South Carolina, 
for the best report yet made of the insect-capturing habit of 
the Pitcher-Plant. The species above-named is larger than the 
one so accurately represented in our plate. It has yellow flowers, 
and the trumpet-shaped "pitcher" is from ten to twenty inches 
long, and is covered at top with an overarching hood which quite 
effectually excludes the rain. It grows common in the South and 
is often transplanted into the house to serve as a domestic fly-trap. 
It is furnished with the necessary appliances for capturing insects 
in this way. Along the leaf border or wing of the pitcher quite 
down to the ground are secreted at regular short intervals drops of 
a sweet liquid which is very palatable to flies, ants, bugs, and other 
insects. These make a baited path, or honey-trail straight up the 
leaf to the open mouth of the pitcher at top. Around the margin 
of the mouth and well down the interior the sugary drops exude. 
Of course the hungry insect led up the honeyed road of danger 
presses on regardless of peril, over the margin, down into the open 
mouth of the pitcher, mindful only of the abundant sweets. But he 
soon comes to a place on the inner surface of the pitcher where he 
cannot maintain his foothold. The surface for several inches is 
there covered with a velvety nap of downward-pointing smooth 

An ant, or any other wingless insect, directly he steps upon 
this treacherous surface falls into the depths, where he finds the 
narrowing space for several inches beset on all sides with long 
sharp spines pointing inward and downward. His frantic efforts 


to escape only serve therefore to push him further and further 
toward the bottom. But before he reaches that he will find himself 
plunged into a watery liquid which the leaf secretes, and which 
acts upon him first as a powerful narcotic or anaesthetic, and when 
he is once dead, as a dissolvent which will quickly change his 
tissue into a "liquid fertilizer" wherewith to nourish the hungry 

Winged insects in most cases fare but little better, for if 
they fly directly upward when they lose their foothold, they 
strike their heads against the overarching hood, and are perhaps 
beaten back too far to recover themselves before they are en- 
gulfed, or take a zigzag course downward to their destruction. 
At all events, the long tube of this plant is often found a quarter 
or half full of dead or decaying insects. That our common 
Pitcher-Plant carries on the same business less perfectly, though 
with no different purpose, may be seen by examining any well 
developed leaf with its tube lined with bristling downward-pointing 
spines, and half filled with a watery liquid and drowned insects. 

The flower of this plant is certainly a very singular one. 
The pistil consists of an enormous style, which resembles a par- 
asol or a toadstool more than anything else, with the stigma in 
small patches under the tips of its lobes. The petals, notched 
in like a fiddle, pass out between the re-entrant angles of the 
expanded style. 

The origin as well as the appropriateness of the English 
popular name of this plant, the " Side-saddle Flower," appears to 
be undiscoverable. The generic name was given in honor of Dr. 
Sarrazin, of Quebec, who, many years ago, first sent specimens 
of this plant, with some account of its habits, to European bot- 


anists. This genus, which contains some six or eight exclusively 
American species, is closely related to the Darlingionia, a curi- 
ously hooded Pitcher-Plant of the Sierra Nevada mountains, and 
the still more singular Nepenthes, from the islands of the Indian 
Ocean, which have tendril-like prolongations of the leaf, some- 
times two feet or more long, becoming at their ends, perfectly 
developed pitchers. 

Altogether, when we get among these plants with such strange 
forms and such wonderful habits and functions, we can begin to 
understand something of what our Longfellow meant when he 
wrote of that great naturalist, his well-beloved friend, Agassiz; 

And Nature, the old nurse, took 

The child upon her knee, 
Saying: "Here is a story-book 

Thy Father has written for thee." 

" Come wander with me," she said, 

'^Into regions yet untrod; 
And read what is still unread 

In the manuscripts of God." 

And he wandered away and away 

With Nature, the dear old nurse. 
Who sang to him, night and day, 

The rhymes of the universe. 

And whenever the way seemed long, 

Or his heart began to fail, 
She would sing a more wonderful song, 

Or tell a more marvellous tale. 




Galax-Leaved Shortia. 


Spake full well, in language quaint and olden 

One who dwelleth by the castled Rhine, 
When he called the flowers, so blue and golden, 

Stars, that in earth's firmament do shine. 

Stars they are, wherein we read our history 

As astrologers and seers of eld; 
Yet not wrapped about with awful mystery. 

Like the burning stars, which they beheld. 

Wondrous truth, and manifold as wondrous, 

God hath written in those stars above ; 
But not less in the bright flowerets under us 

Stands the revelation of his love. 

Bright and glorious is that revelation. 

Written all over this great world of ours: 
Making evident our own creation, 

In those stars of earth, these golden flowers. 


There is an interesting, almost romantic, story connected with 
the discovery and rediscovery of this beautiful plant. About a 
hundred years ago the French government sent a noted botanist 
of the time, Mons. Andr(5 Michaux, to this country to collect useful 



trees and shrubs for naturalization in France. Ho remained in 
this country from 1785 to 1797, making the most of his excellent 
opportunities for collecting and studying our flora. He estab- 
lished and conducted in the interest of his mission two extensive 
nurseries for arboriculture, one near New York and another near 
Charleston, South Carolina. Just before his death in 1802, was 
published one of the works for which he is principally known, a 
"Treatise on the Oaks of North America." Paris, 1801. 

The year following his death Mons. L. Richard, a celebrated 
French botanist, prepared a Flora Boreali Americana, from 
Michaux's extensive collections in this country. In this work is 
mentioned, though not described, the plant now under notice. It 
was collected somewhere in the mountains of North Carolina, and 
was out of flower, the corolla and stamens having fallen. 

" Early in the year 1839," writes ^^- Gray, "I found and ex- 
amined this specimen in Michaux's herbarium, and received from 
the hand of Mons. Decaisne a drawing and some fragments of it. 
In a paper treating of the botany of these mountains published in 
January, 1842, I ventured to found a genus upon this plant, under 
the above name, trusting that diligent search prosecuted by myself 
and by all botanists visiting the region would duly bring it to light. 
The protracted failure of these endeavors has thrown an air of 
doubt over the minds of my associates in the search, as to the 
actual existence of any such plant. In 1868 I had the pleasure 
of announcing the discovery of this genus, not indeed where we 
were looking for it, but where experience had led me to expect 
that any or every peculiarly Atlantic States type might recur, 
namely in Japan." 

But the Japanese plant also was found without corolla or sta- 


mens, and its exact floral form could only be conjectured from that 
of some near relatives and from some rude Japanese pictures of it. 
Yet from the confidence which Dr. Gray and other eminent bota- 
nists felt with regard to its probable form and family relationship, 
we are reminded of that proverbial reconstruction of a whole animal 
from the fragments of a tooth which is accredited to Cuvier, and 
the building up of the form of a fish from a single scale, attributed 
to the skill of Agassiz. 

Another ten years went by with no further light shed upon the 
vexed question. But at last some additional facts transpired, and 
in December, 1878, Dr. Gray could write, " Happily I can give the 
character of the plant from an actual blossom. For I have now 
received, at first indirectly from Mr. J. W. Congdon, and at length 
directly from Mr. M. E. Hyams of Statesville, North Carolina, a 
flowering specimen of the long sought Shortia glacifolia, collected 
on a hill-side in McDowell county. North Carolina, in the district 
I had indicated as the most probable locality, namely, east of the 
Black Mountains. It was collected in May, 1877, but as its re- 
markable interest was unknown it has only now been communi- 
cated to me." It had been rediscovered after almost a century, and 
after nearly forty years' search. 

In 1879 ^^^ locality was visited by Dr. Gray and other 
botanists, one of whom thus speaks of the excursion : " Being now 
in McDowell county, the Shortia locality was visited under the 
guidance of Mr. George M. Hyams, the actual discoverer. In 
the secluded and well protected station, well overshadowed by 
Rhododendrons and Magnolias, was seen the little colony of the 
plant so long sought and by many so long doubted. The space 
over which the plant extended was perhaps ten feet by thirty, and 


in all there may have been from fifty to one hundred plants. As 
the plant multiplies by stolons it is remarkable that its area should 
be thus restricted. And since in the struggle for life, of two allied 
plants the weakest must go, Dr. Gray has suggested the proba- 
bility that its stronger cousin the Galax had crowded out the 
SItortia. And here, indeed, in what may be the last foothold of 
the rarity, Galax appeared to be actually doing so. Yet the plants, 
though comparatively few, were vigorous and healthy. In June, 
the fruit of this vernal plant had mainly gone by, but Dr. Gray 
secured a capsule or two with some seeds." 

This rare and charming plant was named for Prof. Short, a noted 
Kentucky botanist who died in 1863. I did not see how I could 
do this floral rarity a greater honor than to frame its interesting 
story with the shining lines of our lamented poet, which now for 
near half a century have gone up and down the earth like a 
deathless strain of sweet music, awakening fine echoes in every 
heart that loves the flowers. 

Everywhere about us are they glowing, 
Some like stars to tell us spring is born ; 

Others, their blue eyes with tears o'erfiowing, 
Stand like Ruth amid the golden corn ; 

Not alone in meadows and green alleys, 

On the mountain top, and by the brink 
Of sequestered pools in woodland valleys, 

Where the slaves of nature stoop to drink ; 

In all places, then, and in all seasons, 

Flowers expand their light and soul-like wings, 

Teaching us, by most persuasive reasons, 
How akin they are to human things. 


And with childlike, credulous affection 

We behold their tender buds expand ; 
Emblems of our own great resurrection, 

Emblems of the bright and better land. 



The Arrow-Head. 


Homeward now went Hiawatha; 
Only once his pace he slackened, 
Only once he paused or halted, 
Paused to purchase heads of arrows 
Of the ancient Arrow-maker, 
In the land of the Dacotahs, 
Where the Falls of Minnehaha 
Flash and gleam among the oak-trees, 
Laugh and leap into the valley. 

There the ancient Arrow-maker 
Made his arrow-heads of sandstone, 
Arrow-heads of chalcedony, 
Arrow-heads of flint and jasper, 
Smoothed and sharpened at the edges, 
Hard and polished, keen and costly. 

With him dwelt his dark-eyed daughter, 
Wayward as the Minnehaha, 
Feet as rapid as the river. 
Tresses flowing like the water, 
And as musical a laughter; 
And he named her from the river, 
From the waterfall he named her 
Minnehaha — Laughing Water. 



Was it then for heads of arrows, 
Arrow-heads of chalcedony 
Arrow-heads of flint and jasper, 
That my Hiawatha halted 
In the land of the Dacotahs? 


What Hiawatha certainly was not looking after "in the land of 
the Dacotahs," arrow-heads, we shall most certainly see, in this 
excellent portrait of the Sagittaria. If we may judge by both 
the scientific and popular name of the plant, that is what the ob- 
server has most distinctly seen when he has met it in nature. 
The elegant outline and curious veining of the leaf will attract 
our attention and admiration more than the pure white flower. 
The pronounced significance of the leaf, both in the picture and in 
the plant, leads me on to say something about the leaves of plants. 

I suppose many readers are accustomed to think that the leaves 
of plants are of small account. They perhaps recall how in ancient 
times a certain fig-tree came under severe reproach because it bore 
" nothing but leaves." Then, too, " when the summer is past and 
the harvest is ended," how the dead leaves cumber the ground, are 
trodden underfoot of men, and become the sport of wild autumn 
winds ! their greenness is faded, their beauty is gone, and none so 
poor as to do them reverence. Thus are we in greater things quite 
too prone to forget past benefits when the benefactor can no longer 
add new gifts to his old ones. 

As much as we make the fallen and faded leaves the emblem of 
our frailty and nothingness, there are few, I imagine, who do not 
look with longing for the bare trees to put on their fresh new 
foliage in the spring-time. And it must be a dull soul indeed 


which can behold unmoved the gorgeous-colored drapery which 
Autumn throws so lavishly over our American forests. 

To the life of the plant the leaves are of the first importance, 
quite as necessary as its roots. The roots suck up great quantities 
of water from the soil which holds in solution various chemical ele- 
ments necessary for the life and upbuilding of the plant. Most of 
these must be brought in contact with the air and other chemical 
agents, before they can be assimilated into the woody and other 
tissues of the plant. The leaves are the principal organs for ac- 
complishing this. They serve indeed in the double function of 
organs of respiration and digestion. 

They are made up of layers of minute cells containing a green 
substance called chlorophyl, together with bundles of woody tissue 
which constitute the frame-work or skeleton. Upon the underside 
of most leaves the microscope reveals thousands of little pores or 
mouths opening through the cuticle into the interior of the leaf. 
These openings are for breathing. The air goes freely in through 
these, and circulates among the interstices of the cells. The car- 
bonic acid of the air is decomposed by contact with the green 
contents of the cells, the carbon being kept and wrought up into 
vegetable fibre and the oxygen partly breathed out again, and partly 
used up in making other chemical compounds with the fluids that 
have come up from the roots. These fluids then flow back into the 
body of the plant and enter into various vegetable substances and 
tissues. So we see that the leaf serves the plant in the double 
capacity of lungs and stomach. 

The different forms of leaves are almost endless, varying from 
the simple needle of the pine to the elaborate compound leaf of the 
horse-chestnut, locust, or fern. Almost every conceivable shape 


that can be bounded with curves and angles is seen in the foliage 
of plants. I often wonder why people who show such industry 
and perseverance in collecting and preserving business-cards, 
postage-stamps, and other artificial productions do not make col- 
lections of the leaves of plants. I am sure they would furnish a 
more pleasing variety and a vastly greater originality of design 
than do the favorite objects. What an excellent opportunity, 
too, would such a collection furnish for the study of similar but 
unlike forms, and of the variations, little and great, regular and 
irregular, which nature is so fond of playing upon her primary 

Then, too, the venation of the leaves would open a wide field 
for study and comparison. Indeed, in this we have a fundamental 
characteristic of the vegetable kingdom. All plants with what is 
called " parallel-veined " leaves, such as the present one, the lilies, 
the grasses, Indian corn, etc., are monocotyledonous, that is, they 
spring up from the seed with one primary leaf. But all leaves with 
netted veins like those of the maple, or oak, or bean, or pumpkin, 
belong to dicotyledonous plants, or plants with two primary or seed 
leaves. These are the two great divisions of the plant kingdom. 
This would be of no great moment if the one leaf or the two 
leaves of its initial life were all. But it is not. These are only the 
outward signs of great and important differences in the methods 
of growth, structure, habits, and life-history of the plants. The 
venation determines the form and size of the leaf. It is what the 
bones are to the animal, its skeleton. 

Naturalists undertake to account for many simple things in 
nature on the grounds of utility. They tell us that the tawny skin 
of the lion, the spots of the leopard, and the stripes of the tiger 


help to conceal them from their prey in the various situations 
where they live and hunt, and so in " the survival of the fittest " 
these advantages have been developed. I sometimes wonder if it 
ever occurred to any of them to inquire what, on this or any other 
grounds, is the reason for the infinite variety in the form, size, 
appearance and structure of the leaves of plants. Has it come 
about from some early advantage which attended a given form in 
a given situation. Or has it been developed as the necessary result 
of some corresponding peculiarity in the structure of the plant? 
Or is it a caprice, or blind force? Or shall we say that the Mind 
in nature is artistic and demands beauty as well as use? The 
aspen leaf trembles with the greatest agitation when touched with 
the gentlest zephyr's breath. But there is a physical, not a senti- 
mental or aesthetic, cause for that. The leaf-stalk is flattened 
thin in a direction perpendicular to the plane of the leaf, so that 
the slightest movement of the air will set it into these unsteady 
oscillations. Do all the facts of nature have thus only a phys- 
ical cause back of them? They probably have that. But that 
there is nothing beyond the physical reason I am not prepared to 

The better demonstration of the presence of Mind in nature 
which is found in a study of the position of the leaves upon 
the plants must be deferred to another occasion. 

The Sagittaria grows with its feet in the " still waters " by the 
edges of pools and sluggish streams, a near friend and neighbor of 
the water-lily. It blooms all summer, and is very common. Some- 
how this interesting plant is associated in my memory with such 
summer scenes and such a sunny atmosphere as the poet has 
painted in these exquisite lines. 


I hear the wind among the trees 
Playing celestial symphonies; 
I see the branches downward bent, 
Like keys of some great instrument. 

And over me unrolls on high 
The splendid scenery of the sky, 
Where through a sapphire sea the sun 
Sails like a golden galleon, 

Towards yonder cloudland in the West, 
Towards yonder Islands of the Blest, 
Whose steep sierra far uplifts 
Its craggy summits white with drifts. 





The Pale Laurel. 


Now swells the forest, calm and wide, 

In rippling waves of deepest green, 
And all the rugged mountain side 

Through billowy curves is seen; 
The roadsides meet in ample shade, 

With showers of light and golden glooms, 
And bubbling up the rocky ways 

The clustered Laurel blooms. 

Each chalice holds the infinite air, 

Each rounded cluster grows a sphere; 
A twilight pale she grants us there, 

A rosier sunrise here; 
She broods above the happy earth, 

She dwells upon the enchanted days, — 
A thousand voices hail her birth 

In chants of love and praise ! 

Elaine Goodale. 

There are three species of Laurel common in the United States, 
the most showy being the Mountain Laurel, a conspicuous upland 
shrub, growing from four to twenty feet high, and crowned in mid- 
summer with splendid corymbs of rose-colored blossoms. From 



this is easily distinguished the Dwarf Laurel of the lower hills and 
plains, by its smaller plant and flower, and by the fact that its blos- 
soms are produced below the ends of the branches. Our Pale 
Laurel grows in peat-bogs and other swampy places, and differs 
from both the others by flowering in the spring, and by having nar- 
row leaves which are folded back along the edges and covered 
on the under side with a white bloom or dust, whence the name. 
Pale Laurel. The flower of the Laurel is unique, the corolla 
not imperfectly resembling a saucer in shape. 

Kalmia is an American genus, though the Heath family, to 
which it belongs, is famous in the Old World, especially in the Brit- 
ish Isles, where the Heather, the favorite of the poets, often forms 
no inconsiderable clement in the beauty of otherwise barren moor- 
lands. Its nearest relatives here are the Azalia, Rhodora, Blue- 
berry, Cranberry, Huckleberry, etc., and some other like shrubs; 
though it by no means bears so good a reputation as these last- 
named useful plants. It has the name of being decidedly poison- 
ous, and the Dwarf Laurel has a popular title, the Lambkill or 
Sheep-Laurel, which indicates this. How well it deserves its bad 
fame I know not. 

From time out of mind the poets have spoken of the Laurel as 
the particular plant whose leaves make the victor's wreath. 

"The Laurel, meed of mighty conquerors, 
And poets sage." 

But the Laurel of our hillsides and plains was never used to 
crown poets or conquerors in ancient Greece and Rome. The plant 
whose leaves were plaited into coronal wreaths, is the Sweet Bay, 
or Noble Laurel, a tree-like shrub of Southern Europe. 

The name is from the Celtic laur, green, and refers to its 


evergreen foliage. The American Laurel gets its generic name 
Kalmia from Linnaeus in honor of a friend and pupil, a Swedish 
botanist by the name of Peter Kalm, who travelled extensively in 
this country, in the middle of the last century, and sent specimens 
of the plant to him. 

"Kalm," says Prof. Meehan, "was no common man. He was 
born in Finland in 1715, and was destined for the church; but after 
attending a course of lectures by Linnaeus, he determined to devote 
his whole life to the study of natural history. He was subse- 
quently elected Professor of Economy in the University of Abo, 
which, until its destruction by fire, and removal to Helsingfors in 
1827, was one of the leading centres of learning in the north of 
Europe. The Royal Swedish Academy desired to send some one 
to explore the northern parts of the American continent, believing 
from the similarity of the climate that much good would result to 
Swedish Agriculture, and the kindred arts and sciences ; and on the 
recommendation of Linnaeus, Prof. Kalm was selected and a practi- 
cal gardener detailed to accompany him. He reached Philadelphia 
in September, 1748. He went in 1749 through New Jersey, and 
along the Hudson to Albany, thence across Lakes George and 
Champlain to Canada. Returning again to winter in Philadel- 
phia, the next year he explored western Pennsylvania, the Blue 
Mountains, and the coast of New Jersey; and went again through 
New York to Niagara Falls, returning to Philadelphia in October." 
All this was no small undertaking in a country then almost entirely 
an unbroken and trackless wilderness; and Kalm had many peril- 
ous adventures. 

Though the genus is dedicated to Kalm it was known before 
his day, for we are assured by Prof. Meehan, Banister, an early 


Virginia botanist, had made Ray, the celebrated English natu- 
ralist, acquainted with it. The plant was sent in a living state by 
Bartram to Collinson in England, in 1730. So I suppose by right 
this beautiful genus of American plants should have commemorated 
the name of one or the other of these early and enthusiastic Amer- 
ican botanists rather than that of the foreign explorer from the far 
away shores of the Baltic. But no doubt the modest Quaker nat- 
uralist was quite satisfied that his friend and correspondent from 
over the seas should be associated with one of our most inter- 
esting flowers. 

If one examines a newly-opened flower he will find that around 
the edge of the bottom of the saucer-shaped part of the corolla 
there are ten little pockets, and that into each one of these is thrust 
an anther, the filament arching over from it and running down into 
the tube of the corolla, by the side of the pistil, which runs up 
rather high and stiff in the centre. Now it is found that the fila- 
ments of the stamens are elastic, and that if by a little quick blow 
upon the corolla, or by pushing the edge of it out, the anther in the 
pocket is liberated, it will fly up with a quick motion. It is also 
found that the pollen is held in two little sacs which open by 
small holes at the top, and therefore that the whole stamen is not 
unlike a piece of whale-bone with two quills tied to the end, filled 
with fine shot. If the whale-bone is bent and then the end sud- 
denly released, it will spring forward and the shot will be pro- 
jected some distance. So Dr. Gray says, the stamen is a contriv- 
ance for discharging pollen at some object. " If the stigma around 
which the stamens are marshalled, be that object, the target is a 
small one; yet some one or more of the ten shot might hit the 
mark. But the discharges can hardly ever take place at all with- 


out the aid of an insect. Bees are the insects thus far observed to 
frequent these flowers ; and it is interesting to watch the operations 
of a humble-bee upon them. The bee, remaining on the wing, 
circles for a moment over each flower, thrusting its proboscis all 
round the ovary at the bottom ; in doing this it jostles and lets off 
the springs, and receives upon the under side of its body and its 
legs successive charges of pollen. Flying to another blossom, it 
brings its yellow-dusted body against the stigma, and commonly 
revolving on it as on a pivot, while it sucks the nectar in the 
bottom of the flower-cups, liberates the ten bowed stamens, and 
receives fresh charges of pollen from that flower when fertilizing it 
with the pollen of the preceding one. This account is founded on 
the observations of Prof. Beal of Michigan, who also states that 
when a cluster of blossoms is covered with fine gauze, no stamen 
gets liberated of itself, while fit for action, and no seed sets." So 
the Laurel feeds the bee, and the bee in turn pollenizes the 
Laurel and makes it fruitful. The plentiful flowers of the Pale 
Laurel will help to make and adorn such a scene in nature as 
this which the poet paints, every word a pigment. 

The sun of May was bright in middle heaven, 
And steeped the sprouting forests, the green hills, 
And emerald wheat-fields, in his yellow light. 
Upon the apple-tree, where rosy buds 
Stood clustered, ready to burst forth in bloom, 
The robin warbled forth his full clear note 
For hours, and wearied not. Within the woods. 
Whose young and half transparent leaves scarce cast 
A shade, gay circles of anemones 

Danced on their stalks; the shad-bush, white with flowers, 
Brightened the glens; the new-leaved butternut 


And quivering poplar to the roving breeze 

Gave a balsamic fragrance. In the fields 

I saw the pulses of the gentle wind 

On the young grass. My heart was touched with joy 

At so much beauty, flushing every hour 

Into a fuller beauty. 




The Meadow Beauty. 


A THING of beauty is a joy forever : 

Its loveliness increases; it will never 

Pass into nothingness; but will keep 

A bower quiet for us, and a sleep 

Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing. 

Therefore, on every morrow are we wreathing 

A flowery band to bind us to the earth, 

Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth 

Of noble natures, of the gloomy days. 

Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkened ways 

Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all. 

Some shape of beauty moves above the pall 

From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon, 

Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon 

For simple sheep; and such are daffodils 

With the green world they live in; the clear rills 

That for themselves a cooling covert make 

'Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake. 

Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms: 

And such, too, is the grandeur of the dooms 

We have imagined for the mighty dead; 

All lovely tales that we have heard or read: 

An endless fountain of immortal drink. 

Pouring into us from the heavens' brink. 



Nobody seems to know why so beautiful a flower has so 
barbarous a name. Though some, curious in these things, have 
traced the name all the way back to Pliny, who knew a plant of 
that name, they are still driven to the conclusion so sententiously 
expressed by Dr. Gray, that " Rhexia has been applied to this 
genus without obvious reason." It is thought to have some 
value as a " vulnerary," or, in other words, to be useful in the 
cure of wounds. Whatever may be said about its scientific, 
nobody will call in question the peculiar fitness of its popular 
name. It surely is " a thing of beauty," and so, by the poet's 
logic, " a joy forever." 

It affects swamps and damp meadows as its favorite haunts, 
and has a pretty wide distribution throughout the eastern United 
States. A singular fact about it is that it is the only represen- 
tative in our northern regions of an enormously large order of 
plants native in tropical America. The order contains a thousand 
species or more ; and out of them all, only this solitary one has 
had the courage to emigrate north or undertake to live beyond 
the thirtieth parallel. 

A striking peculiarity of the order is the strongly ribbed 
leaves, the ribs varying from three, in the Rhexia, to as many 
as nine in other genera. Another noticeable peculiarity of this 
order is the long curved anther which is attached to the filament 
at the middle. It usually has also an additional process like a 
spur appearing near the point of attachment, as may be seen in 
this species. Prof. Goodale says, "the pollen consists of ex- 
tremely minute grains which escape through a pore at the apex 
of the tapering anther." I have recently seen the statement 
made by some observer, that the larger end of the anther is a 



kind of inflated air sac, with thin walls, which when pressed upon 
or struck, as when an insect lights upon it or touches it with his 
rapidly moving wings, it acts like a bellows and blows little 
puffs or jets of pollen dust out of the small pore at the end. 
Thus the stigma of the flower or the insect himself gets abun- 
dantly besprinkled with the fertilizing powder, which we can easily 
see he might convey to other Rhexia blooms. 

We can scarcely look upon so beautiful a wild-flower as this 
without asking ourselves how came these colors and these strange 
forms of beauty? Are they for themselves alone? Or are they 
to please the aesthetic taste of the beholder, for 

" Since eyes were made for seeing 
Beauty is its own excuse for being." 

Still, it must be remembered if we think we will make that 
answer, that, — 

" Full many a flower is born to blush unseen 
And waste its sweetness on the desert air." 

And, ages and ages after the flowers began to bloom, there was 
upon the earth no beauty-drinking eye to quaff ethereal sweetness 
from their tinted petals. Did they serve no good end in all those 
vast periods ? 

The naturalist, who thinks he must find a reason for everything 
he sees in nature, has undertaken to show how plants came to 
have flowers at all ; that is, of course, petals, or colored sepals, the 
showy parts of the flower, for all kinds of plants except the very 
lowest have the essential parts of a flower, the staminate and pis- 
tilate elements and mechanism. To state the naturalist's conclu- 
sion broadly I should say, the floral envelope has been evolved. 


by means of insects, and for the purpose of further securing 
their help in the act of pollenization. That insects have some- 
thing important to do with the showy dress of the flower may 
be inferred on general grounds from the fact that such plants 
as depend upon the wind to carry their pollen from anther to 
stigma, like the pines and other cone-bearing trees, the grasses, 
and notably our Indian corn, have no colored flower at all ; 
while the plants that manifestly seek, or at all events are ben- 
efited by, the help of insects in pollenization are furnished by 
nature with floral appendages more or less showy and attractive. 

I do not want to be understood to say that the insect comes 
to the flower because he admires the brilliant colors of its petals, 
but because he finds a toothsome drop of nectar in its cup or in 
its tender surface-cells. The color of the flower is but a sign to 
advertise him where a good dinner may be had for the taking. 
It may be assumed that even in apetalous flowers he has al- 
ready got a taste of nature's sweets. Then any change, however 
slight, of stamens into petaloid shapes, with ever so little addition 
of color, would be an advantage in the struggle for existence, to 
any flower possessing it, an advantage likely to be transmitted 
and to be improved upon as the generations went by. 

At first, the flowers would be yellow, the petals being only 
slightly modified stamens, which are usually of that color. A still 
further development would produce white, red or pink, and last of 
all, purple, blue, and violet flowers. We infer that this was the 
order of the evolution of color in flowers, for two reasons : The 
first is, because we find a correlation between the flowers of certain 
colors, and insects of certain degrees of development in respect to 
their honey-gathering function. Mr. Grant Allen, an English 


writer, says, "Thus, to take a few examples out of hundreds that 
might be cited, the flowers which lay themselves out for fertiliz- 
ation by miscellaneous small flies, are almost always white ; those 
which depend upon the beetles are generally yellow ; while those 
which bid for the favor of bees and butterflies are usually red, 
purple, lilac or blue. Down to the minutest distinctions between 
species, this correlation of flowers to the tastes of their particular 
guests seems to hold good. Herman Miiller notes that the com- 
mon galium of our heaths and hedges is white, and is visited by 
small flies, while its near relative, the lady's bedstraw, is yellow, 
and owes its fertilization to little beetles. Fritz Miiller noticed a 
lantana in South America, which changes color as its flowering 
advances; and he observed that each kind of butterfly which 
visited it, stuck rigidly to its own favorite color, waiting to pay its 
addresses until that color appeared." 

We thus see how the special tastes of insects may have become 
the selective agency for developing white, pink, red, purple and 
blue petals, from the original yellow ones. But, before they could 
exercise such a selective action, the petals must themselves have 
shown some tendency to vary in certain fixed directions. An 
investigator, who has given much study to the coloring matter of 
plants and its chemical nature and action, gives us a point here, 
which will, perhaps, solve this part of our problem. He assures 
us that the pigments for all of these colors are laid up in all plants, 
and only need to be slightly modified in chemical constitution, in 
order to make them into the blues, pinks, and purples, with which 
we are familiar. 

Another reason for supposing that the evolution of color in 
flowers has been along the line indicated above, is, that we see 


many flowers follow that track in their individual development. 
A common English forget-me-not is pale yellow when it first 
opens, then changes to pink, and ends by being blue. A wall-flower 
is first whitish, then yellow, and finally red or blue. An evening 
primrose has white flowers at first, but at a later period of develop- 
ment, red ones. Cobaa scandens, which has been flowering lux- 
uriantly and blossoming perfectly in my study all winter, has 
constantly shown this kind of evolution of color. It is first green, 
then lightens much into a very pale-green, or white, and then 
begins to develop toward purple, passing in some cases as I 
noticed, through a pronounced pink. Its final color is a strong 
purple. The garden convolvulus opens, a blushing white, and 
passes into a full purple. When changes in the color of 
flowers take place during the process of growth, they are, so 
far as has been observed, all in this, and never in the opposite 

There can scarcely be good reason to question, I suppose, that 
the evolution of flowers and of honey-eating insects has gone on 
side by side, each helping the other. In given cases, the color and 
form of the floral envelope, the nature of the honey sack, together 
with the position of the stamens and pistil, are all correlated with 
the specialized organs and particular habits of the insect tribe 
whose help is depended upon in the act of pollenization. Owing 
something, then, to the agency of insects for the possession of all 
the exquisite beauty and sweetness of flowers, I can make no 
more appropriate ending for this paper, than by quoting a few lines 
from Emerson's "Humble-bee." 

Hot mid-summer's petted crone, 
Sweet to me thy drowsy tone, 


Tells of countless sunny hours, 

Long days, and solid banks of flowers. 

Aught unsavory or unclean 

Hath my insect never seen; 

But violets and bilberry bells, 

Maple-sap and daffodels, 

Grass with green flag half-mast high, 

Succory to match the sky, 

Columbine with horn of honey. 

Scented fern and agrimony. 

Clover, catch-fly, adder's-tongue, 

And brier roses dwelt among; 

All beside was unknown waste, 

All was picture as he passed. 

Wiser far than human seer, 

Yellow-breeched philosopherl 

Seeing only what is fair, 

Sipping only what is sweet. 

Thou dost mock at fate and care 

Leave the chafl' and take the wheat. 



The Bur-Marigold, 


The quiet August noon has come; 

A slumbrous silence fills the sky, 
The fields are still, the woods are dumb. 

In glassy sleep the waters lie. 

And mark yon soft white clouds that rest 
Above our vale, a moveless throng; 

The cattle on the mountain's breast 
Enjoy the grateful shadow long. 

Oh, how unlike the merry hours, 

In early June, when earth laughs out, 

When the fresh winds make love to tiowers 
And woodlands sing, and waters shout. 

But now a joy too deep for sound, 
A peace no other season knows. 

Hushes the heavens and wraps the ground. 
The blessing of supreme repose. 

Beneath the open sky abroad. 

Among the plants and breathing things, 
The sinless, peaceful works of God, 

I'll share the calm the season brings. 




It is in the midst of a scene like this, in the full-orbed sum- 
mer, in the peaceful quiet of a season which has got through the 
hurry and bustle of life, has finished mainly the intense business 
of growth, the making of flowers and foliage, and just now pauses, 
a little drowsy with the heat, that the Bur-Marigold may be seen 
dotting the lowland meadows and swamps with its brilliant flowers. 
It is a plant of much beauty and interest, and will well repay a 
close acquaintance. It is a stout herb, from one to three feet 
high, with smooth, lanceolate, toothed, opposite leaves, bearing a 
few large, showy flowers, as seen in the plate. 

It belongs to a genus which has some fifty or more species 
scattered over the tropical and temperate zones, some even being 
found in the arctic regions. It is a member of that largest order 
of flowering plants known as the Compositae, plants which have 
a large number of flowers crowded together in a common recep- 
tacle or head, like the Dahlia, Dandelion, Marigold, etc. In the 
other plants each fertile flower produces a seed-vessel containing 
from a few to a very great number of seeds. In this order there 
is but one seed to each flower, and no proper seed-vessel at all. 

In the Compositae the individual flowers are necessarily very 
small, being packed together so closely in the head. But they 
usually contain all the parts of the true flower. The corolla is 
contracted into a narrow tube toothed at the top, the stamens 
adhering together by their anthers from another tube inside of 
this. The pistil, forked at top, pushes up through the inner 
tube of anthers, and, having its stigmatic surface covered with 
teeth-like processes, combs off much of the pollen and so is sure 
to be fertilized. 

The calyx does not usually develop till after the rest of the 


flower has withered and fallen away, when it takes its chance for 
development, and grows into bristles, hairs, scales, awns, teeth, etc., 
upon the top of the seed. The thistle-down is a good example of 
this ; likewise, the two barbed teeth which crown the top of the 
flat seeds in our present plant. The curious and interesting 
arrangement of these seeds in the head, I may have occasion to 
speak of in another place. 

The great family of the Composite flowers, which numbers about 
12,000 species, or one-tenth of all flowering plants, is divided into 
three groups, according as each separate flower in the head has a 
strap-shaped floral appendage, as in the dandelion, or these floral 
parts occur only around the margin of the head, like rays, as in the 
Marigold and Sunflower, or are absent altogether, as in the This- 
tle. These groups are still farther divided and subdivided on other 
points of difference. The plants of this great order are mostly 
characterized by an acrid or stringent juice, which makes many of 
them serviceable in medicine, while some are very poisonous. 

The scientific name of the genus Bidens, means two teeth, and 
is given in recognition of the two awns before referred to, with 
which the seeds are provided. These barbed teeth serve an 
excellent purpose, as minute grappling-hooks to attach the seeds to 
the fleece or hair of animals, the plumage of birds, and the clothing 
of men, thereby widely distributing them from the neighborhood 
of the mother plant. 

In the usage of sentiment Mr. Hulme says, "The Pansy and 
Marigold are associated together as emblems of sorrow, and cards 
having wreaths of these two flowers painted on them and such 
mottoes as, ' May you ever escape them,' ' May they be far re- 
moved from thee,' are presented to each other by friends as an 


offering and expression of kindly feeling. The French word for 
the Marigold and for care and anxiety is the same, souci, and the 
flower is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Mater dolorosa. It would, 
however, appear to have been originally but an undesigned corrup- 
tion, or else play upon words, its old name being soucicle, a word 
derived from the Latin solis cyclus, the circle of the sun, either 
on account of the brilliant yellow disk and rays of the flower, 
not unlike the heraldic representation of the sun, or the habit of 
the flowers turning with the sun toward the light — two theories 
for the origin of a name that would equally well suit the Sun- 
flower of our gardens, a flower that Gerarde, writing in 1596, calls 
the ' Flower of the Sunne, or Marigold of Peru.' The English 
name, when analyzed, means literally the ' golden flower of Mary,' 
and points to a time when the monks held sway both in religious 
thought and botanical nomenclature, and not unfrequently tried 
to combine the two." 

The garden Marigold is reckoned a good barometer, having the 
habit of closing up its petals at the approach of rain. Whether 
our present plant does this I cannot say. But many flowers cer- 
tainly do, or at least they shut up upon the obscuration of the sun. 
Whether they think the clouding in of that luminary is premon- 
itory of rain I know not. But I have seen a field brilliant with the 
blossoms of the Dandelion, almost literally a "cloth of gold" 
shining in the morning sun, and in an hour not a single trace of a 
flower could be seen anywhere. The sun had gone into retirement 
behind thick clouds, and the Dandelions had every one folded up 
their yellow rays and wrapped their green mantle around them, and 
gone to sleep, indistinguishable in the universal green of the 


Into the story of this sun-loving and sun-worshipping flower I 
must be permitted to frame Emerson's picture of the poet natu- 
ralist, Thoreau: 

And such I knew, a forest seer, 

A minstrel of the natural year, 

Foreteller of the vernal ides, 

A lover true who knew by heart 

Each joy the mountain dales impart; 

It seemed that Nature could not raise 

A plant in any secret place, 

In quaking bog, on snowy hill. 

Beneath the grass that shades the rill. 

Under the snow, between the rocks. 

In damp fields known to bird and fox. 

But he would come in the very hour 

It opened in its virgin bower. 

As if a sunbeam showed the place. 

And tell its long-descended race. 

It seemed as if the breezes brought him ; 

It seemed as if the sparrows taught him; 

As if by secret sight he knew 

Where in far fields the orchis grew. 

Many haps fall in the field 

Seldom seen by wishful eyes, 

But all her shows did Nature yield. 

To please and win this pilgrim wise. 

He trod the unplanted forest floor, whereon 

The alluring sun for ages hath not shone; 

He saw beneath dim aisles, in odorous beds. 

The slight Linnaea hang its twin-born heads. 

And blessed the monument of the man of flowers, 

Which breathes his sweet fame through the northern bowers. 


He found the tawny thrush's broods: 
And the shy hawk did wait for him; 
What others did at distance hear, 
And guessed within the thicket's gloom, 
Was showed to this philosopher, 
And at his bidding seemed to come. 





Climbing Hemp-Weed. 


I COME from haunts of coot and hern, 

I make a sudden sally, 
And sparkle out among the fern, 

To bicker down a valley, 

I chatter over stony ways, 

In little sharps and trebles, 

I bubble into eddying bays, 

And babble on the pebbles. 

I chatter, chatter, as I flow 

To join the brimming river. 

For men may come and men may go 
But I go on forever. 

I wind about, and in and out. 
With here a blossom sailing. 

And here and there a lusty trout. 
And here and there a grayling; 

And draw them all along, and flow 
To join the brimming river. 

For men may come and men may go. 
But I go on forever. 




In the sound of babbling brooks and singing birds, our 
graceful climber lives out the shining months of its summer 
life. It makes its home upon the shady banks and interlacing 
with the limbs of overarching trees, it curtains the bed of the 
sleepless streamlet with its festoons of leaves and clustering 
fiowers. In such situations it may be looked for anywhere in the 
United States east of the Mississippi. The genus, which was named 
for Professor Joseph Mikan, of Prague, includes some sixty species 
found mostly in the warmer parts of America, Asia, and Africa. 
It belongs to the order Compositae, described in the last paper, 
though the heads of white and pink blossoms are unusually small, 
containing but four flowerets each. Several of these small heads 
are gathered into the flower-clusters represented in the plate. The 
fact that this vine belongs to the same order with the Thistle 
and Dandelion indicates the remarkable variety in the form and 
habit of plants so closely related in their flowering as are the 
members of this order. For we find in it not only such plants 
as the Marigold and Aster, and this vine, but many woody shrubs 
and several forest trees. 

The blossoms of the Hemp-Weed open in midsummer and 
form a fine contrast with the bright-green, strongly-veined leaves. 
I doubt not the foliage with its graceful outline and rich color 
will form as attractive a part of the picture both in the book 
and in nature, as the flowers themselves. Indeed, I think we 
only need to have our attention called to the matter, to find more 
and more that is peculiarly attractive and charming in the foliage 
of plants. I can conceive of nothing in the plant world more 
admirable than some Horse-Chestnut trees which I have seen, 
the memory of which as a picture of great pleasantness will always 


remain with me. To be sure, they had the grace of a well- 
rounded form, bounded by lines of beauty on every side. But 
their foliage was their glory, a solid mass of it, every leaf and 
leaflet perfect, and perfectly arranged and displayed, the terminal 
ones overlying each other from the bottom to the top of the tree 
like the feathers upon the breast of a bird. They were indeed 
master-pieces of Nature's art ; pictures of the most exquisite beauty 
painted in one pigment. How simple are nature's methods, but 
how manifold the results. 

In a former paper in this book I have recommended making 
collections of leaves of plants for studies of artistic forms. Since 
writing that paper I have chanced upon the same suggestion by 
Starr King in his "White Hills." I am only too glad to be con- 
vinced by eloquence so fine that my hint had not even the 
merit of novelty. The idea is all the more valuable to me, now 
that I find it commended by a lover of nature, whose fine sense 
of her various and matchless beauties is only equalled by the 
incomparable skill with which he makes them live and shine in 
his glowing words. He says: 

"While we are shut in by the forest, we may turn our atten- 
tion to the symmetry and variety of the leaves, and try to learn 
something of Nature's wealth of resources as to graceful form, 
within narrow boundaries. An eye that is sensitive to the grace 
of curves and parabolas and oval swells will marvel at the feast 
which a day's walk in the woods will supply from the trees, the 
grasses, and the weeds, in the varying outlines, the notchings, 
veinings, and edgings of the leaves. They stand for the art of 
sculpture in Botany, representing the intellectual delight of Nature 
in form, as the flowers express the companion art of painting. 


Leaves are the Greek, flowers the Italian phase of the spirit of 
beauty that reveals itself through the Flora of the globe. 

"An exhaustive collection of leaves would form one of the 
most attractive museums that could be gathered. It would be 
a privilege that could not but unseal in some measure the dullest 
eye, to look in one day over the whole scale of Nature's foliage-art, 
from the feathery spray of the moss, to the tough texture of the 
Amazon lily's stem that will float a burden of a hundred weight; 
from the bristles of the pine-tree to the Ceylon palm-leaf that will 
shelter a family with its shade. 

"Would it not astonish us with something like reverent .ad- 
miration, if we could sweep the gradation of Nature's green as it is 
distilled from arctic and temperate and tropic light, and varied by 
some shade on every leaf that grows; if we could scan all the 
textures of the drapery woven out of salts and water in botanic 
looms, from the softest silk of the corn to the broad tissues of the 
banana's stock ; if we could see displayed in wide masses all the 
hues in which Autumn dyes the leaves of our own forests, as 
though every square mile had been drenched in the aerial juices of 
a gorgeous sunset ? And then when we should see how the general 
geometry of the verdure is broken into countless patterns, we 
should find our museum of leaves as engaging a school for the 
education of the intellect as a collection of all vertebrae, or a rep- 
resentative conservatory of the globe. 

" J^ careful and eloquent observer of Nature describes the leaf 
as the sudden expansion of the stem that bore it ; an uncontrollable 
expression of delight, on the part of the twig that Spring has 
come, shown in a fountain-like expatiation of its tender green heart 
into the air. And to hold this joy. Nature moulds the leaves as 


vases into the most diverse and fantastic shapes, — of eggs, and 
hearts, and circles, of lances, and wedges, and arrows, and shields. 
She cleaves and parts and notches them in the most cunning ways, 
combines their blades into the most subtle and complicated vari- 
eties, and scallops their edges and points into patterns that involve, 
seemingly, every possible angle and every line of grace." 

The grace of this airy vine and the delicious summer rest and 
the peaceful calm of the blue air which it calls to mind, brings 
with it the memory of Lowell's lines : 

This willow is as old to me as life; 

And under it full often have I stretched, 

Feeling the warm earth like a thing alive, 

And gathering virtue in at every pore. 

Till it possessed me wholly and thought ceased, 

Or was transfused in something to which thought 

Is coarse and dull of sense. Myself was lost. 

Gone from me like an ache, and what remained 

Became a part of the universal joy. 

My soul went forth, and, mingling with the tree. 

Danced in the leaves; or floating in the cloud. 

Saw its white double in the stream below; 

Or else sublimed to purer ecstas)'. 

Dilated in the broad blue over all. 

I was the wind that dappled the lush grass. 

The thin-winged swallow skating on the air; 

The life that gladdened everything was mine. 

Was I thus truly all that I beheld? 

Or is this stream of being but a glass 

Where the mind sees its visionary self, 

As, when the kingfisher flits o'er his bay. 

Across the river's hollow heaven below 

His picture flits; — another, yet the same? 



The Wh i t e Bay. 


Oh, ye who love to overhang the springs, 

And stand by living waters, ye whose boughs 

Make beautiful the rocks o'er which they play, 

Who pile with foliage the great hills, and rear 

A paradise upon the lonely plain, 

Trees of the forest and the open field! 

Have ye no sense of being? Does the air, 

The pure air, which I breathe with gladness, pass 

In gushes o'er your delicate lungs, your leaves. 

All unenjoyed? When on your winter's sleep 

The sun shines warm, have ye no dreams of spring? 

And when the glorious spring-time comes at last, 

Have ye no joy of all your bursting buds, 

And fragrant blooms, and melody of birds. 

To which your young leaves shiver? Do ye strive 

And wrestle with the winds, yet know it not? 

Feel ye no glory in your strength when he, 

The exhausted Blusterer, flies beyond the hills 

And leaves you stronger yet? 

Nay, doubt we not that under the rough rind. 
In the green veins of these fair growths of earth, 
There dwells a nature that receives delight 
From all the gentle processes of life. 
And shrinks from loss of being. Dim and faint 
May be the sense of pleasure and of pain. 
As in our dreams; but, haply, real still. 





The only representative of our peculiarly rich Southern flora 
which adorns our pages is the White Bay, represented so finely 
in our plate. It is a large shrub, blooming resplendent in the 
everglades of Florida and the rich semi-tropical forests of Georgia. 
Mr. Sprague has reproduced the beauty and elegance of the 
flower so faithfully that I need not attempt a further description 
of it in words. 

The genus was named for Dr. Gordon, an old-time botanist 
of Aberdeen, Scotland. It belongs to the order of the Camellias, 
and is first cousin to the tea plant whose fragrant decoction daily 
" cheers but does not inebriate " the whole civilized world. 

If my readers will look with a little care at the leaves on 
the plant, as the artist has pictured them, they will see that they 
are not arranged one directly above the other, nor one opposite 
the other, but, in what appears at first sight, a disorderly fashion 
about the stem. It will be worth while, I trust, to look a little 
into what is suggested by this fact, and see if there be a law 
or system in the arrangement of the leaves of plants. This 
matter has been the subject of no little study on the part of 
botanists and other scientific people, and here, as elsewhere in na- 
ture it has been found that the rule is not accident or chaos, but 
law and order. 

" All nature is but art unknown to thee, 

All chance, direction which thou canst not see, 

All discord, harmony not understood." 

But we are learning to know nature's art, and to understand 
the deeper harmonies hidden in her apparent discords. 

Dr. Gray says the leaves are symmetrically arranged upon the 
stem, and that their position determines that of the buds and 


branches. " A plant no less than an animal is symmetrical. Leaves 
are either single, or else there is a pair or more than a pair 
upon each joint. When a pair only, they stand always upon ex- 
actly opposite sides of the stem ; when three, four, or any other 
number, they divide the circumference of the stem equally, that 
is, they stand as far apart from each other as possible in the 
circle. A circle of three or more leaves is called a whorl. The 
pairs or whorls of leaves follow each other in a fixed order; 
each pair stands over the intervals of the pair next below, and 
the leaves of the whorl of three or other number correspond to 
the intervals of those next below and above. 

" In the alternate arrangement, that is when bud and leaf is 
produced upon each joint, the single leaves succeed each other 
in a definite order maintaining a complete symmetry. Each leaf 
projects from the stem at a fixed angle with that which precedes 
it, which is uniform for the species, but is different in the dif- 
ferent species. In the simplest case the second leaf is on exactly 
the opposite side of the stem from the first, of course higher 
up ; the third leaf on the opposite side from the second, and 
therefore vertically over the first. So the leaves are in two verti- 
cal ranks ; the angular divergence, that is, the angle which suc- 
cessive leaves make is one half the circumference of the stem. 

" Other plants have the angular divergence one-third, that is, the 
second leaf is placed one-third round the stem ; the third is one- 
third round from that, and the fourth of course comes directly 
over the first, the fifth over the second, and so on, the leaves 
being hence disposed in three vertical ranks." Alders and sedges 
form an example of this. "A line traced on the stem through 
the place of attachment of the successive leaves forms a spiral : 


each turn from one leaf round to the one directly over it is called 
a cycle. Alternate leaves are never in four ranks, but they are very 
commonly — most commonly — in five. In that case the angular 
divergence or portion of the circle between two successive leaves 
is two-fifths of the circumference, and the spiral line ascends 
through two whole turns round the stem before it touches a leaf 
exactly over the one at the point of starting, and that is the sixth 
leaf in the series. These several modes of arrangement may be 
designated by the fractions i, {, |, which measure the angle of 
divergence of the successive leaves in the spiral. The denomi- 
nators likewise express the number of vertical ranks, and the 
numerators the number of turns round the stem which the spiral 
makes in completing the cycle." But leaves are arranged in 8 
vertical ranks, and in 13, and 21, and 34, and even a greater 
number. In such cases the spiral makes respectively 3, 5, 8 and 
13 turns in completing the cycle. 

It will be found that these fractions form a series, i, |, |, |, t'i. 
tV. ih etc., each numerator from the third being formed by adding 
together the two preceding numerators, and the denominators are 
formed in the same way. The subject comes therefore within 
the field of mathematics, and has furnished matter for much in- 
teresting mathematical discussion. Among other points deduced 
from the mathematical treatment of the question is this, that 
however high the series runs, and it is quite complex in some de- 
velopments of it, as in the pine cone and the arrangement of 
seeds in the heads of composite flowers, no successive leaves are 
ever more than one-half the circumference apart or ever less than 

Prof. Benjamin Peirce pointed out that there was also a 


correspondence between this law of position of the leaves and 
other parts of plants on the stem, and the law of the motion of 
the planets about the sun, so that if the time of the revolution of 
any planet be divided by the time of the planet next outside it, 
the quotient would be one of the fractions which express the 
position of the leaves, nearly, as given above. 

If we inquire the reason for such an arrangement of the leaves 
as here set forth, we are told that we shall find at least one reason 
in the fact that by placing the leaves in these positions they are 
thus best arranged to receive light, the force by which they per- 
form their double function of lungs and stomach; that when so 
placed the leaves above cut off less of the light from those below 
than by any other arrangement. There is also another reason 
suggested in the fact that this arrangement gives symmetry and 
beauty to the plants not otherwise attainable. But I suppose we 
may look for other reasons and more profound, for building 
plants and planets on this one plan, in the mind of Him who 
is the Architect of both. 

This law of the position of the leaves of plants was first 
noticed about a century ago by Bonnet, a French botanist, who 
wound a thread about a twig of plum or peach, touching the 
points of attachment of the successive leaves. He observed the 
resulting spiral, and the fact that the successive leaves made a 
uniform angle with each other about the stem. Other botanists 
made the observation with respect to a large number of plants 
and noted the various applications of the law in the different 
species and the different parts of the plant, as in the leaf-buds, 
flower-buds, petals, sepals, seeds, etc. But it was left to our great 
mathematician Prof. Peirce, in 1849, ^° announce the mathemati- 


cal law by which all these observations are to be explained 
and classified, — the law of extreme and mean ratio, as it is 
called ; that is, the dividing a thing into two parts, in such a 
way that the smaller part shall be to the larger as the larger is 
to the whole. 

In dismissing our lovely flower and the lesson of celestial 
mechanics to which it has led us, we will pause a moment to 
catch the song of another poet who has heard the voice of the 

forest trees. *^ 

Pine in the distance, 
Patient through sun and rain, 
Meeting with graceful persistence, 
The north wind's wrench and strain. 
No memory of past existence 

Brings thee pain; 
Right for the zenith heading, 
Friendly with heat and cold, 
Thine arms to the infinite spreading 
Of the heavens, just from of old, 
Thou only aspirest the more, 
Unrcgretful the old leaves shedding 
That fringed thee with music before, 
And deeper thy roots embedding 
In the grace and the beauty of yore; 

Thou sighest not " Alas, I am older. 
The green of last summer is sear!" 
But loftier, hopefuller, bolder. 
Wins broader horizons each year. 




The Cardinal-Flower. 


Then think I of deep shadows on the grass, — 
Of meadows where in sun the cattle graze, 

Where, as the breezes pass, 
The gleaming rushes lean a thousand ways, — 
Of leaves that slumber in a cloudy mass, 

Or whiten in the wind, — of waters blue 

That from the distance sparkle through 
Some woodland gap, — and of a sky above, 
Where one white cloud like a stray lamb doth move. 

My childhood's earliest thoughts are linked with thee; 

The sight of thee calls back the robin's song, 
Who, from the dark old tree 

Beside the door sung clearly all day long, 

And I, secure in childish piety. 

Listened as if I heard an angel sing 

With news from heaven, which he could bring 

Fresh every day to my untainted ears. 

When birds, and flowers, and I were happy peers, 


We have before us one of our most brilliant wild-flowers. 
Nature may almost defy art to reproduce the color with which 
she dyes its flaming petals. Nothing comparable to it is seen 




in our native floral domain, and nature does not repeat it in 
even the brilliant colors of the autumn woods. As splendid and 
as characteristic as this color is in the Cardinal-flower, it is said to 
be not quite constant, but occasionally "sports" pink, white, and 
even yellow. 

It is very common in New England, and is indeed distrib- 
uted throughout the country east of the Rocky Mountains. It 
always grows on low ground in marshes and by the side of 
water-courses. It lines the banks of Taunton Great-River for 
long distances, standing up to its middle in water at high tide, 
and bending low and swaying heavily as the whelming waves 
go over its head from the pufiing, hurrying little steamers pass- 
ing by. 

The splendid display and contrast of colors which a mass of 
these flowers make by the side of a clear stream is very striking. 
The green leaves of the trees are massed behind and above, the 
grass below, and in the midst this blood-red flower, like tongues 
of flame, reaching up, the blue sky overhead, and all repeated in 
the glassy water beneath, make a picture not to be forgotten. 

The lines of Dr. Holmes give us a poetical interpretation of 
some such scene. 

The Cardinal, and the blood-red spots, 

Its double in the stream; 
As if some wounded eagle's breast, 

Slow throbbing o'er the plain, 
Had left its airy path impressed 

In drops of scarlet rain. 

The Cardinal-flower grows from two to five feet high, and 
remains in bloom from July to October, thus both by its size 


and season of flowering, contributing its full share to the beauty 
of our summer and autumn landscape. It comes in with the 
heat, and goes out with the frost. 

It is said to be easy of cultivation in gardens where moist places 
may be found into which to transplant it. It seems to be capa- 
ble of crossing in a wild state with a large blue-flowered species 
of the lobelia, common in our woods. Examples of hybrids pro- 
duced in nature which show marked characteristics of both species 
are not unknown. Whether the hybrids propagate any other way 
than by shoots I know not. 

The genus Lobelia comprises some two hundred species scat- 
tered over the world, about twenty of which are natives of this 
country, though strange to say none have ever yet been found on 
the Pacific coast. Botanically considered, the genus is related 
to such compositae as the Asters on the one side and to the 
Campanulas or Bell-flowers on the other. A comparison of the 
parts, as for example, of the pistil and stamens with those of the 
Aster, and the corolla with that of the Bell-flower, would make 
the relationship apparent to any observer. 

Botanists have noticed that many species of Lobelia are fertilized 
by help of insects, as I have had occasion to show is true of 
several other flowers, whose natural history has been given in this 
book and in " Beautiful Wild Flowers." But in the Cardinal- 
flower we have an example of a plant depending upon birds for 
help in the act of pollenization. As will easily be seen by an 
inspection of the flower or of the plate, the anthers and partly 
the filaments of the stamens are glued together at their sides 
forming a close tube. The pollen is produced on the inside of 
this and discharged from the open bearded mouth at the end. 


Now the pistil grows up through this narrow tube, and 
at last protrudes beyond it. At first glance it would seem im- 
possible that the flower should not be self-fertilized. But by 
looking closer it will be found that the pollen all ripens and 
falls out of the anther before the pistil grows up to the end of 
the tube where the pollen is produced. Moreover, the stigmatic 
surface is on the inside of the two lobes which are made by 
splitting the end of the pistil down. As the pistil pushes up 
through the tube, by the anthers, these surfaces are shut close 
together, face to face, so that the pollen could not possibly reach 
them. These lobes open and expose their stigmatic surface 
only when they have protruded quite beyond the end of the 
pollen-bearing anther tube. 

The plate shows not only the position of this organ, but 
also in the newer flowers at the top the anther tube with no 
pistil, and, lower down, flowers where the pistil has completed its 
growth and expanded its yellow-lobed stigma ready for polleniza- 
tion. Now it is evident that any particular flower must be 
fertilized by pollen from a flower younger than itself. Associated 
with this arrangement of parts of which I have spoken are 
adaptations for securing help in transferring the pollen from the 
younger to the older flowers, such as a supply of nectar secreted 
at the bottom of the tubular corolla, and advertised by the bril- 
liant color of the flower. As has been shown by Mr. Darwin, 
Prof. J. E. Todd and others, in the case of other species of 
Lobelia, bees visit the flowers in search of the nectar, and getting 
their backs dusted with pollen from the end of the anther-tube 
which arches out over them, carry it to older flowers where the 
pistil is ready to receive it. 


According to Prof. Goodale, however, " the Cardinal-flower has 
so long and narrow a corolla-tube that bees arc unable to reach 
its nectar, which is, moreover, so watery that they do not in this 
case resort to their frequent expedient of biting through the corolla 
to get at it. They are replaced by our beautiful ruby-throated 
humming-bird, which may be seen when the plants are plentiful, 
gracefully posing itself before one flower after another, while its 
tongue deftly explores them and removes their sugared stores ; 
but in doing this the bird is continually receiving pollen from 
the anthers of young flowers and leaving it on the expanded 
stigmas of those which are older. This is one of the very few 
cases in which our native flowers are adapted to fertilization by 
humming-birds ; but in tropical America, where these birds are 
abundant, many flowers are exclusively cross-fertilized by them. 
Such flowers are sometimes spoken of as ornithophilous, or bird- 

For most of the following facts concerning the origin of the 
popular and scientific names of the Cardinal-flower and its history, 
I am indebted to Prof. Meehan's " Native Flowers and Ferns of 
the United States." The generic name was given to it more than 
a century and a half ago by Plumier, who was an ingenious 
Frenchman, noted for his discoveries among American plants, in 
honor of Mathias de I'Obel, a famous Flemish botanist of the 
sixteenth century. Lobel, according to all accounts, was a remark- 
able man. He was born in Lisle, Flanders, in 1538, and died in 
London in 1616; was graduated in medicine in Montpelier, prac- 
tised at Antwerp, became physician to the Prince of Orange, settled 
in England about 1570, though it appears that he had lived there 
for a time during early life, and served as gardener to the Earl of 


Zouch, at Hackney, near London. He was subsequently appointed 
botanist and physician to King James the First. He was the 
author of several voluminous works on botany, all of which were 
profusely illustrated. He projected a vast botanical cyclopaedia 
and prepared a portion of it, which was edited and published half 
a century after his death by Parkinson. It is said that the idea 
of natural families among plants may be found in Lobel's works. 

"The illustrations of Lobel's works can scarcely be recognized 
now as belonging to the plants for which they were intended." 
And, in the light of this fact, " it is amusing," says Prof. Meehan, 
" to find Lobel complaining that the cuts illustrating the work of 
his predecessor, Mathiolus, are so unlike nature, that he thinks 
this early author must have drawn his pictures in many cases 
from his imagination." 

One may judge of the estimation in which he and his works 
were held by later botanists, by the fact that it was nearly a 
century after his death that Plumier named for him this im- 
portant and interesting genus of plants. We first hear of the 
Cardinal-flower in Parkinson's " Herbel," published in England 
about 1630. He says that he had the root of the plant from 
France, it having been sent over from the New World by the 
French who had settled in Canada. It is therefore probable 
thac our Cardinal-flower was among the earliest of our native 
plants to be sent to the Old World, and to receive the admiring 
attention of botanists there. It no doubt got its popular name 
in France, as Parkinson seems to say, a name which we can 
easily suppose was suggested by the resemblance of its brilliant 
color to the scarlet hat and cassock of a cardinal of the Roman 
Catholic Church. Parkinson calls it "a very brave" plant, referring. 


of course, to its gaudy or showy di:ess of scarlet blossoms. And 
Mrs. Sigourney shows her appreciation of its regal splendor and 
dignity by picturing the 

" Lobelia attired like a queen in her pride." 

There are frequent references to this " flower of the scarlet hat " 
in American poets, and always with recognition of its noble and 
striking qualities. The floral emblematists have not been un- 
mindful of its highborn name and nature and have dedicated 
it to " Distinction." In " Berkshire Wild-flowers " Miss Dora 
Read Goodale thus sweetly sings its praise : 

To the westward burns the smouldering day, 

Still and solemn in the sunset sky; 
In the purple hollows far away 

Shadowy veils of early evening lie, 
And the misty mountain tops are gray. 

In the stagnant pool, stirred by a breath. 

All the shifting light and color lies, 
In its shallows, dim with brooding death, 

All the sweeping splendors of the skies 
Glass themselves, and scatter light beneath. 

Whence is yonder flower, so strangely bright.'' 

Would the sunset's last reflected shine 
Flame so red from that dead flush of light? 

Dark with passion is its lifted line, 
Hot, alive, amid the falling night. 

Still it burns intenser as I gaze. 

Till its heart-fire quickens with my own, 
And when night shuts in the dusky ways 

Red and strange shine out the lights of home. 
Where my flower its parting sign delays. 



Blue-Stemmed Golden-Rod. 


When the wayside tangles blaze, 

In the low September sun, 
When the flowers of summer days 

Droop and wither, one by one. 
Reaching up through bush and briar, 
Sumptuous brow and heart of fire, 
Flaunting high its wind-rocked plume, 
Brave with wealth of native bloom, — 
Golden-Rod I 

In the pasture's rude embrace. 

All o'errun with tangled vines, 
Where the thistle claims its place, 

And the straggling hedge confines, 
Bearing still its sweet impress 
Of unfettered loveliness. 
In the field and by the wall. 
Binding, crowning, clasping all, — 
Golden- Rod! 

Elaine Goodale. 

"The eighty or more species of the genus Solidago" says 
Prof. Goodale, " are nearly all North American. Like their near 
of kin, the Asters, the Golden-Rod presents so many intermediate 
and puzzling forms that the species are difficult to identify. The 



points upon which chief reliance is placed for their discrimina- 
tion, are, for the most part, minute; such as the character of the 
scales of the involucre, the shape and veining of the leaves, and 
the relative length of the outer or ray flowers." 

This species is common, growing in rich moist thickets and 
woodlands, flowers from August to October, and is certainly one 
of the prettiest of the genus. It is easily distinguished from 
the two other common species, 5. bicolor and 5. latifolia, which 
like this, bear their flowers in the axils of the leaves, by the 
stem, which is round and smooth, while the stem of the first- 
named is covered with grayish hairs, and that of the other is 
distinctly angled. 

Though there are upwards of fifty species of Golden-Rod in 
this country alone, only one may be found native in all Europe, 
the S. Virga-aurea, or the Golden-Rod Solidago of the old herb- 
alists, a native also of our northern regions. All reference to the 
Golden-Rod in English literature must be applied to that species. 
This common name of the familiar home plant, which in the old 
times was found in every cottage door-yard, — 

" And golden-rods and tansy running high, 
That o'er the pale-tops smiled on passers-by; 
Flowers in my time which every one would praise, 
Though thrown like weeds from gardens nowadays," — 

would naturally be brought by the English emigrants and applied 
to the old favorites whose pleasant greetings in the forests of the 
New World would remind them of the old home across the seas. 
I learn from Prof. Meehan that the name of the genus Soli- 
dago is usually referred to Linnaeus, though he credits it to 


Vaillant, one of the great botanists of the generation which im- 
mediately preceded his. It is said to have been derived from 
solidiis, 2. Latin word meaning to make whole or solid, and ori- 
ginally given to the Virga-aurea, for its medicinal reputation. 
Salmon, an herbalist of the beginning of the seventeenth century, 
says ; " It is one of the most noble wound-herbs ; cures wounds 
and ulcers." It appears, also, to have been famous as a dye. 
Another old herbalist, Culpeper, says : "Venus rules this herb. 
It is a balsamic, vulnerary herb, long famous against inward 
hurts and bruises. No preparation is better than a tea of this 
herb for this service, and the young leaves, green or dry, have 
the most virtue." Though Linnaeus admits it into his " Materia 
Medica," and though it was named from its medicinal virtue, 
yet it is now wholly discarded from medicinal use. The name 
of our species, ccesia, means bluish gray, and refers to the color 
of the stalk. 

The Golden-Rod is a principal element in every picture of an 
American autumn. It is a chief floral ornament in our truly 
splendid autumnal landscapes. It matches well with the gor- 
geous hues which clothe our forests in that season of the year. 
It is among the last of Nature's bright things to fade out into 
the sad universal gray of the dead season. 

" But on the hills the golden-rod and the aster in the wood, 

And the yellow sunflower by the brook in autumn beauty stood, 

Till fell the frost from the clear cold heaven, as falls the plague on men, 

And the brightness of their smile was gone from upland, glade, and glen." 

With flowers as with men, "the time to die" comes at last 
to all. But the Golden-Rod and the Aster are the crown and 


the glory of the season's old age. They wait upon his slow, 
lingering footsteps in the lengthening shadows, and most glo- 
riously strew his pathway with the brightest floral gems of 
earth. The poet makes old Autumn sad that he must part with 
so much that is beautiful. 

"There comes, from yonder height, 
A soft repining sound, 
Where forest-leaves are bright, 
And fall like flakes of light. 
To the ground- 
It is the Autumn breeze. 

That, lightly floating on, 
Just skims the reedy leas, 
Just stirs the glowing trees, 
And is gone. 


He moans by sedgy brook. 

And visits with a sigh. 
The last pale flowers that look, 
From out their sunny nook 
At the sky." 

But it seems to me he ought rather to be glad that the flowers 
so fill the earth and stay so long, that they bravely face cold, 
and winds, and sleet, that they may stay to cheer the world 
with their presence, and that they blossom even by his new 
made grave, till the wintry winding-sheet of snow covers all. 
Do not these beautiful creatures of the sun teach us to look on 
the sunny side of things, on the sunny side even of autumn 
and of Death? But there are a thousand pleasant scenes of 
autumn time with which the Golden-Rod is most closely asso- 


ciated. The full maturing of Nature's yearly cycle of life, the 
shortening days, the yellow light, the blue haze in all the air, 
as though the sky had fallen down close upon the ground, the 
shorn meadows, the golden harvests of grain, the ripened fruit 
loading the bending trees, or heaped in dazzling pyramids of color 
upon the green turf beneath, the leaves of the forest falling one 
by one silently through the still sunny air till they cover the 
earth as with sunset clouds, — how are such scenes as these 
conjured up by the waving of this golden-tipped wand ! 

The Golden-Rod comes at the end of Nature's floral season. 
So should it fitly come at the end of our floral book, and I 
know of none who has more lovingly sung its praises than the 
author whose lines shall make my good-by to my readers and 
the Golden-Rod together. 

This flower is fuller of the sun 

Than any our pale North can show; 
It has the heart of August won, 

And scatters wide the warmth and glow 
Kindled at summer's mid-noon blaze, 

Where gentians of September bloom 
Along October's leaf-strewn ways, 

And through November's paths of gloom. 

Herald of Autumn's reign, it sets 

Gay bonfires blazing round the fields: 
Rich Autumn pays in gold his debts 

For tenancy that summer yields. 
Beauty's slow harvest now comes in; 

New promise with fulfilment won: 
The heart's vast hope does but begin, 

Filled with ripe seeds of sweetness gone. 


Because its myriad glimmering plumes 

Like a great army's stir and wave; 
Because its gold in billows blooms, 

The poor man's barren walks to lave; 
Because its sun-shaped blossoms show 

How souls receive the light of God, 
And unto earth give back that glow — 

I thank Him for the Golden-Rod. 

Lucy Larcotn. 






\ .^^fii^^^^Wf I