Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Purple loosestrife
 Back Cover

Group Title: Talks about wild-flowers
Title: A stroll on a marsh
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00083158/00001
 Material Information
Title: A stroll on a marsh in search of wild flowers
Series Title: Talks about wild-flowers
Physical Description: 94, 16 p., 2 leaves of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 18 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Cooke, M. C ( Mordecai Cubitt ), b. 1825
Thomas Nelson & Sons ( Publisher )
Publisher: T. Nelson and Sons
Place of Publication: London ;
Edinburgh ;
New York
Publication Date: 1895
Subject: Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Wild flowers -- Juvenile fiction -- Great Britain   ( lcsh )
Natural history -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Storytelling -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Uncles -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1895   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1895
Genre: Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh
United States -- New York -- New York
Statement of Responsibility: by Uncle Matt.
General Note: Publisher's catalogue follows text.
General Note: Includes index.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00083158
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002224689
notis - ALG4957
oclc - 01934334

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Front Matter
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Title Page
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Table of Contents
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
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        Page 36
        Page 37
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        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 48a
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
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        Page 53
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        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
    Purple loosestrife
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
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        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
    Back Cover
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
Full Text








Sncle Iatt
r ..r.. */.;

London, Edinbzinih, and ezw York


DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS, you have had two or three
rambles with me already, either Down the Lane and
Back or Through the Copse," and then we found
some pretty wild flowers which you and I thought
were very nice, and we did our best to learn all we
could about them. I have now planned some walks
into the marshes and damp meadows, to find some
of the flowers which do not grow in lanes or in
woods, but are always to be found on the banks of
ditches, or in damp places, such as neither you nor I
would be likely to choose for a ramble unless we had
some object in going there. I fear we shall have to
go more than once, for the plants we find in blossom
in the autumn are not to be seen in the spring. If
you will allow this little book to be your guide, I do
not think you will be sorry for the means of learning
something about the wild flowers you may gather in
':A Stroll on a Marsh." M. COOKE.










....... 11

.... ...... 19

.... 40

..... .... 67

.... .... .... .... 7 8


A NUMBER of people who are related to
each other form together what we call
a family: there are brothers and sisters, and
aunts and uncles, and cousins, and nieces, who
have a family likeness to each other, and also
a family name. Sometimes the family is a
small and sometimes a large one; but the mem-
bers have many things in common besides the
family name, for they are relations-of one
kindred. So it is with plants. There are
groups of plants, which we call families, that
are related to each other, called by a family
name, bearing many features in common, and
sometimes so nearly alike that it is not easy
Cardamine pratensis.


for a stranger to tell the one from the other.
Let us, for example, take one family of plants,
which may be named the Crossworts, or more
usually Crucifers, which means the same thing.

._Z-s 7~ .-

-i-" .,

I ,,
'ii I
A* ^'- ^


~, U

Vem. l.--CnuclIERS.
A, Flower; a, Section of same ; c, Stamens and Pistil; D, Clawed Petal;
E, Section of Ovary; F, Siliqua or Pod.

These have all of them a strong family like-
ness : the flowers have four petals, instead of
five, and these are placed crosswise, or in the




form of a cross. Then, again, they have six
stamens, of which two are shorter than the
rest, which is a family feature. The fruit,
again, is either a long pod or a short pouch con-
taining the seeds. Many of the members of
this family are known to every child by name.
There are the turnip, cabbage, mustard and cress,
radish, watercress, wallflower, candytuft, and
all kinds of garden stocks ; so that it is a large
family, and many of its members are very use-
ful plants. With a little care and practice it
will soon be easy for any one to learn the
family features, and to say at once whether a
plant belongs to the family of the Crossworts
or Crucifers.
Now, Cissy, you are quite ready to gather
a handful of those pretty white flowers which
you see growing amongst the grass all over the
meadow. One of the old names was 'ladies'
smocks;' and it has been said that this name
was given because they make large white
patches on the meadows, which in the distance
look as if they were linen bleaching on the


grass. This scarcely seems to be a good reason
for the name, by which the plant was known in
Shakespeare's time-

When daisies pied and violets blue,
And lady-smocks all silver white,
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue,
Do paint the meadows with delight;
When shepherds pipe on oaten straws,
And maidens bleach their summer smocks.'

It is also called 'cuckoo-flower,' because it
begins to flower in April and May, when the
cuckoo sings. In some parts of Scotland it is
called the Mayflower;' but in the northern
parts of England, and perhaps also in Scotland,
it is called spinks,' or bog-spinks.' And now
we must look carefully at all parts of the plant
to find the family likeness to all the crossworts,
and the lesser features that belong only to the
I have taken the root-leaves of some of
them, because they are larger than the rest."
You are right, Cissy; and the roots, as


you see, are of the common fibrous kind, and
not creeping."
The root-leaves seem to spread out at first
and lie back on the ground, like a rosette, but
I am puzzled to say what they are like, only
something like little watercress leaves."
Very good for a comparison, but we must
try something better. Suppose you call them
compound leaves-that is to say, a leaf com-
posed of several smaller leaflets, and not all of
one piece. If you will look at that dock leaf,
you will see that it is a simple leaf, as if it were
cut out of one piece."
"Then the cuckoo-flower has root-leaves,
which are composed of about nine leaflets, or
little leaves, placed on a foot-stalk, one at the
top, and then four pairs, opposite to each other,
and all nearly of the same size and shape."
That is better, but it is not quite right yet;
for there is a name given to leaves of this kind,
which are said to be pinnzate, or like a feather.
This, then, is a pinnate leaf; but you will find
that the top leaflet, which stands alone, is the


largest; and of the others, the pairs become a
little smaller towards the bottom. Now, you
must find a shape for the leaflets."
Not very easy, for they are roundish, rather
pointed at the top, but not round or regular at
the edge."
That will do; but now for the stem and
Oh, the stem is upright, about nine inches
long, and thin, but stiff; the leaves are not oppo-
site to each other in pairs, but single and apart."
That is to say, they are alternate."
"Yes; I had forgotten the word. These
leaves are pinnate, like the others, but smaller,
and there are more leaflets-sometimes five and
sometimes six pairs-narrower, and shaped
like a fish, or like a spear-head-what do you
call it ?"
Ah, that is it; shaped like a lance. The
flowers are in a bunch at the top of the stem,
nearly white, with just a little pink, and very
pretty; but I do not smell any scent."


"You know what you will expect to find
in the flowers, as I have told you it is a cross-
Four petals, crosswise, and heart-shaped,
with four little green sepals outside. Here
they are-four long stamens, and two short ones,
with the pistil in the middle. I think I shall
know all the crossworts now, it will be so easy."
"If we came later on we should find the
fruit-little pods, something like pea-pods, but
not quite, and the seeds in them lying in a row.
You can watch the wallflowers in your garden
when they run to seed, and then you will see
what the pod of the crossworts is like."
And that is all '?"
Not quite, Cissy, for you may taste the
leaves, as they will not hurt you, and you can
tell me what you think they are like."
Rather warm, but like watercress, I think."
Right. They are all rather peppery to the
taste, but pleasant, and the leaves of so many
of them are eaten. If we go through the lane
home, we shall find a plant growing in the
(409) 2


hedges, with very little white flowers; and it
is called the 'poor man's pepper,' because the
leaves may be put in salads and eaten, just like
' mustard and cress,' for they are crossworts
also. It is useful to know that the whole of
this large family are quite harmless to eat, and
that many of them are grown as vegetables;
but when growing wild most of them have a
peppery taste."


EE those bright yellow flowers, almost
like large buttercups ; I should like to
get them, but the ground is so wet it is almost
a swamp. Can you reach them ?"
"I think I can, Cissy. But they are not
buttercups; they are the marsh-marigold, and
they always grow where it is very wet. In
some places they are called 'king-cups,' and
in the north 'yellow gowans.' At any rate,
they are nothing like marigolds, except that
they are yellow. We have a great many wild
flowers which are yellow, but more white ones;
and it is said that bees seldom visit yellow
I don't think that yellow flowers have a
nice scent, if they have any at all."
Caltha palustris.


Some of them are not pleasant; but you
must not forget that the primrose is a pale yel-
low, and primroses are sweet."
You have not brought me the roots of the
marsh-marigold; I suppose they were too big."
"They are large and swollen and very

( 're c.)
muddy, and as there is only one kind of them,
or species as we call it, the roots are not im-
"The large glossy leaves are mostly about
the roots; and they are nearly kidney-shaped,
with the edge scalloped all round. These


notches are not sharp-toothed like a saw, but
rounded, and so they are called cren nte. Large
kidney-shaped leaves, with a crenate margin
and long foot-stalks. If you were to taste
them you would find that, like the leaves of
some of the buttercups, they would give a
stinging sensation to the tongue. In North
America they are sometimes boiled when young
as a vegetable."
The leaves are thick and tough, and not
easily torn."
"And the stem is thick below, and upright,
with a few branches. Those small leaves with-
out foot-stalks, nearest to the flowers, are bracts,
and not the true leaves of the plant. The last
leaves, just beneath the flowers in most plants,
are of a different size and shape from the usual
leaves, and are called bracts. Sometimes the
bracts are very small."
They look just like little leaves, only so
much smaller than the other leaves, and have
no long stalks. And now we must look at the
yellow flowers."


"Yes, Cissy; and I think you will be puzzled
a little again. You will see that there is no
green calyx, or cup, on the outside of the
flower; only five large yellow leaves, which
look like petals."
They must be the petals, aren't they ? for
there are no petals inside them."
No, nor outside them either; there is only
one circle of five leaves, which are yellow and
glossy. The outside leaves of a flower are al-
ways the sepals, so that these five must be
the sepals; and as there are no inner ones,
then the marsh-marigold is a flower without
"Are there any other flowers which have
sepals outside and no petals within ? "
"Yes, there are; and sometimes, instead of
the petals, there are very small scales, which
stand in the place of real petals. In a tulip
there are six coloured leaves to the flowers, but
three of these are outside, and three are inside;
so that there are three sepals and three petals.
But the marsh-marigold has only five flower-


leaves, and these are the outside circle, and
must therefore be called sepals."
That is curious, for they look so much like
the petals of a buttercup. Have there never
been any sepals outside which have fallen off?"
Look at the flower-buds which have not
yet opened, and you will see that there is noth-
ing like a calyx, or leaves, outside these coloured
leaves, which I have said are the sepcas."
How many stamens are there ?"
There are a great many stamens, and the
outer five may possibly stand in the place of
petals; but they are only stamens after all."
"The cluster of ovaries in the centre are
flattened and crowded in a rounded head."
Yes: there may be five or there may be ten
in a cluster; and there is a cluster in the middle
of the flowers of the buttercups and the wood
anemone, with the stamens standing around
them. So that we have in this a family like-
ness, for they all belong to the Buttercup
In the flowers of some plants there is but


one ovary, and in others there are several, as
in the buttercups."
I want you to listen to me a minute, and I
will explain these stamens and ovaries. Some-
times, as you say, a flower has but one ovary,
or pistil, and it stands up in the middle, like a

Fla. 3.-PISTILS.
column. The bottom of the pistil is usually
the largest, and swollen : this part is the young
ovary, and contains the young seeds, or ovules.
The upper part is often long, and stands up like
a column, and is called the style. The top of
the column, or style, is sometimes thickened,


like a knob, or it may be split; and this part
is the stigma, or sticky surface, which catches
the pollen. When there is no long column,
the stigma is close upon the top of the ovary.
When there are several ovaries, there is a
stigma on the top of each. You know all
about the stamens-that the anther is that
yellow piece on the top of the filament, and
that the anther is full of yellow dust, or pollen.
When the pollen is ripe, the anther opens, and
the pollen, or yellow dust, falls upon the stigma,
and sticks there, on the top of the ovary, or
the style when there is one. Now, this is what
takes place afterwards."
"When the pollen is sticking upon the
stigma ?"
Yes; it is sticky, so that the pollen dust
sticks to it. Each grain of pollen dust begins
to grow out of its side a very thin tube, like a
hair, and the end of it is thrust into the stigma;
and it keeps on growing, and passing down the
column, or style, into the ovary, until the end
of it touches one of the ovules, or young seeds,


and enters it. At this time there is the pollen
grain on the stigma, at one end of a thin tube,
and the ovule at the other. When this is all
ready, the juice or liquid that is in the pollen
grain passes down the little tube, into the ovule
at the lower end, and mixes with the liquid

a, Pollen Grain with its Tube; b, Ovule with the ends of the Pollen Tubes; c,
Pollen Grains with their Tubes passing down between (d) the Cells of the
Style; e, Pollen Grain sending out two Tubes, at f, into the tissue of the style, g.
inside the ovule. This is called fertilization;
and then the ovule grows and becomes a seed.

There is no more use for the old pollen grain,

so it shrivels up, and the tube dies away."
cs, Pollen Grain with its Tube; b, Ovule with the ends of the Pollen Tubes; c,
Pollen Grains with their Tubes passing down between (4I) the Cells of the
Style ; e, Pollen Grain sending out two Tubes, at], into the tissue of the style, g.
inside the ovule. This is called fertilization;
and then the ovule grows and becomes a seed.
There is no more use for the old pollen grain,
so it shrivels up, and the tube dies away."


So that is the use of the pollen dust ? "
Yes; and the ovule never grows into a seed
until the tube from a pollen grain grows down
into its side, and carries the juice or contents
of that pollen into the body of the little ovule."
Then the ovule must be very soft, as well
as the pollen ?"
They are both very soft, and both of them
are filled with a kind of juice or liquor, which
has to be mixed before the ovule begins to grow
into a seed and become hard."
Suppose that there should be ovules in the
ovary, and no pollen grain sends its little tube
down to them, what would happen ?"
They would remain barren, as we say, and
be of no use; they would not grow, but shrivel
and dry up."
And ovules would never grow into seeds
but for the pollen, so that the pollen is a great
deal of use after all."
Of course it is; and you will notice always
that there seems to be a great deal more pollen
about a flower than is wanted. Some is blown


away, and some carried off by insects, and some
falls to the ground, and only a little reaches
the stigma. But there will be often five sta-
mens to supply one stigma with pollen--a good
supply in case of accident."
I never thought so much of the pollen dust
before; I did not think it was of any use."
Shocking, Cissy to think that there is a
spot, or a hair, or any part of a plant, however
small, that is without its use."


N human families, and in families of animals,
it is not uncommon to find one individual
which appears to differ so much from all the
rest that relationship can scarcely be seen. It
is so with plants, that in a family where nearly
all the members have a strong family likeness,
one or two may be found which seem to be
quite out of place, and it is hard to trace the
link that binds them. This is the case with
the marsh-pennywort, which belongs to the
same family as the wild angelica, the parsnip,
the carrot, and many another plant which bears
the flowers on umbels.
Careful stepping and good boots are wanted
by any one who would walk over the soft
boggy parts of a marsh to hunt for the little
plant which runs along close to the surface,
Hyldrocotyle vulgaris.


and is known to farmers in some counties as
" sheep-rot," because, as they say, if sheep eat
the leaves it will give them the disease which
they call "rot;" and in other places it is known
as white rot."
Here is the plant, almost hidden by the
coarse grass and rushes amongst which it grows.
Cord-like creeping roots run along the top of
the ground, and at short distances small tufts of
pale green leaves grow upwards, and a little
bundle of thread-like rootlets pass down into
the soft soil.
"Don't follow me, Cissy; the ground is so
wet and boggy that you will wet your feet. I
can pass you some of the plants, for they are
small. There you can see the pale runners:
here and there a bundle of leaves, with long
foot-stalks, and little tufts of flowers on shorter
"Well, uncle, that little thing does not look
as if it belonged to the Carrot family ; the
leaves are not compound, and there is no tall
hollow stem, and no umbrella top."


I told you how unlike it was, and that is
one reason why we came to look for it. But you
must not always trust to appearances. We
have met with no such leaves before, and so I
suppose you do not know their name."
Oh, they are round leaves, or nearly so-
round and flat as a penny, but not so large, not
bigger than a sixpence or a shilling, and the
edge is notched with rounded notches, not ser-
rate, but I forget-"
"Crenate, which means 'notched' or 'jagged;'
but it is always supposed that the notches are
rounded. And there is another thing you have
not noticed, and that is the way in which the
leaf is fixed to the stalk."
Yes, I did see it, and was wondering what
other leaves I had seen like them; .
and now I recollect that it is the "
garden plant we call nasturtium, --
with the foot-stalk joined to the leaf FIG. 5.-LEAr
in the middle, on the under side, and NASTURTIUM.
the blade quite flat, like the head of a flat-
headed nail."


And the name for a leaf which is balanced
in that way, on the top of the foot-stalk, is pel-
tate, or like a target. We have but few wild
flowers with peltate leaves."
All the veins run off from the centre."
Now, you must seek the flowers, for you do
not appear to have seen them, they are so small."
"Dear me, and those little knobs on the
short stalks are the flowers I did not look at
them, growing down nearly upon the ground; I
should never have found them."
They are not easy to find even when you
know them; they are always covered by the
Only about five or six pinkish little flowers
in a close head, growing on short stalks or
peduncles. Well, I suppose it must be an
umbel, but it does not look much like one."
The calyx is grown to the ovary, at the
back of the five rounded petals, with a little
spot or disc in the middle of the petals, and five
stamens standing round. It is just the sort of
flower that we saw in the wild angelica."


"Is it always in flower about midsummer,
and no fruit until some weeks afterwards ?"
Yes ; but in very wet weather it is some
trouble to get the flowers, for the ground is soft
at any time in the places where the plant grows.
If you saw the fruit you would be surprised to
see how much it is like the fruits of other umbel
"And is there any truth about its being bad
for sheep to eat ?"
I should scarcely think that sheep would be
likely to feed in such places as the pennywort
grows in, and I am not so sure they would eat
it if they found it. In some countries where a
similar, or it may be the same, plant is found,
it is used as a medicine, as a remedy in skin
diseases, but I am not so sure that it is of
much use."
We have not had a very long chat about this
curious plant, but having been seen once it is
not likely to be forgotten. Whilst we are walk-
ing along, seeking some other flowers, there is
need that I should remind you of paying atten-
(499) 3


tion to the margins, or edges, of all leaves,
after you are satisfied of their shape. Of course
the size of the leaves will be different in differ-
ent parts of the same plant; and even the shape
will not always be the same, for the root-leaves
will differ from the stem-leaves, and the upper
leaves on the stem will not always be exactly of

the same shape as the lower. Yet there will be
more regularity with the margins, which always
seem to be very much the same in the same
plant. Thick and leathery-leaved plants, like
the ivy and the box, have the margins quite
smooth or entire; and so also have some other
plants with thinner leaves, and in these the


margin is called entire, for there are no notches
or teeth. Other leaves, which are really entire,

have the margin fringed with hairs, or very fine

teeth, so that they are said to be ciliate, or
fringed like an eyelash; for that is the meaning


of the word. A very large number of leaves
are cut in some manner at the edge, and are
called dentate, or toothed; but they may be
toothed in several different ways. If the teeth
are all regular, and nearly of the same size,
pointed at the top like the teeth of a saw, they

are serrate; but if the teeth are still regular,
but blunt and rounded at the top, then the
margin is called create. When the raising
and falling of the edge is broad and blunt, or
rounded, and not always equal, the margin is


said to be sinuate, or wavy. If you look more
closely at the edges of leaves, you will soon find
that even these names are not enough for the
purpose; because in some serrate leaves the
edges of the teeth themselves are again serrate,
and then they are said to be bi-serrate, or twice

serrate. In a few cases the simple teeth of a
serrate leaf have the teeth pointed backwards
or forwards, with one edge concave and the
other edge convex, as it is in a pit saw: this
kind of margin is runcinate. When I said that
all toothed leaves are sometimes called dentate,


I should have said that one particular kind of
toothing, in which the teeth are regular and
pointed, but the cuts or serrations are rounded,
is specially said to be dentate; but when the
regular teeth are right angled, each side being
of the same length, and both teeth and serra-

tion equal angled, the margin is said to be
acutely create.
I have now told you the names which are
given to the different kinds of notching of the
edge of leaves. There may be one or two


others which are rarely used, but these will be
all that you are wanted to learn. It would be
good practice for you, when you are alone, to
look at the edges of all the different leaves
which you can find, and try to give the right
name to the notching; and take care of those
you cannot name, so as to ask some one who
knows. You will have to be careful that you
use the right name, because if you are telling
any one about a leaf, you should be able to tell
them not only the shape of the leaf as nearly
as you can, but also what kind of margin it has.
This is what we call describing a leaf, so you
must learn to describe a leaf properly.

" AS we walk along, I may remind you of
"A -what we talked about when we had a
gossip over the dandelion, and especially of the
family to which it belongs, which have all of
them composite flowers-that is to say, a great
number of flowers growing together in a head
which looks to be only a single flower. You
will remember that the daisy, and corn blue-
bottle, and thistles, and the garden marigold,
are all of them composite flowers. I told you,
I think, that the daisy, with its yellow centre,
called the disc, of tube-shaped flowers, has all
around it the rcy of strap-shaped flowers, so
that the head contains some tube-shaped and
some strap-shaped flowers. The thistles have
no strap-shaped flowers, but all are tube-shaped.
And the dandelion, as well as the goat's-beard,
T Tragopogon pratensis.


has no tube-shaped but all strap-shaped flowers.
You will remember these three kinds whenever
you look at composite flowers. And now you
may gather some of those tall, lanky yellow

S2 4

1, 3, 7, Flower-heads; 2, 4, Tubular Florets ; 5, 8, Strap-shaped Florets;
6, Anthers surrounding the Style.
flowers, which are known to most people by the
name of goat's-beard. Those flower-heads open
about four o'clock in the morning and close
again about noonday, so that they are sometimes


called 'John-go-to-bed-at-noon.' It is rather
a long and uncouth name, so we will still call it
the yellow goat's-beard.
It is a rather tall, upright plant, about half
a yard high, with tapering or tap roots, which
run a long way into the soil; and it looks lanky
because of the very long and naked flower-
stalks. It is very common in meadows, and
sometimes on railway banks, flowering in the
early summer."
The flower-heads look something like dande-
lion, only not quite so clumsy."
And it grows very differently, and the leaves
are nothing alike."
What very long, narrow leaves! some of
them at the bottom of the stem are nearly a
quarter of a yard long, and tapering nearly all
the way, like grass leaves, but they are not
"You will see how the broad base of the
leaves clasps round the stem like a sheath.
They are not only sessile but sheathing, and the
edges of the leaves are not scalloped or toothed.


The upper leaves on the stem are not so long as
the lower ones."
The leaves are so long that they cannot
keep straight, but bend and twist in all
"You have a flower-head there which has
not opened, so that you can see the outer green
leaves, and I suppose you are willing to call
them all together the involucre. It is a very
different kind of involucre from those we saw
in the wood-spurge, but it is an involucre and
not a calyx, as it encloses a number of flowers."
"If it were a single flower, of course the
outer circle of leaves would have been the
The leaves of the involucre, or rather the
bracts, are narrow and long and pointed, but at
the bottom, where they join the flower-stalk,
this latter is thickened, so as to form a broad
base for the receptacle."
By receptacle you mean that top of the
flower-stalk on which all the flowers stand."
"Yes ; but in these composite flowers we call


the single flowers florets, which implies that they
are little flowers."
"Well, then, I cannot count all the florets
there are in this flower of goat's-beard. I must
call the whole flower the flower. I don't know
what else to call it, and I don't want any more
hard names."
You may call the compound a flower, if you
please, but the single little ones must be florets.
I do not wish you to count them, as there are
a great many, those towards the middle being
the shortest."
And they are all strap-shaped. I shall pull
one of them in pieces."
"Yes: the florets are one-sided, the corolla
lengthened on one side like a strap, and notched
at the end. The lower part of the floret is
tube-shaped, fixed on the top of the ovary.
Outside are a few delicate hairs, which are in
place of a proper calyx. These are all packed
close together in the composite head."
"It is not easy to get at the pistil and sta-
mens, they are so small; but there is a pistil in


the middle, and five stamens around. Oh, and
all the anthers are joined together at the sides!"
Indeed they are, so as to form a sheath
round the column."
"And is that all ?"
"Not quite; we must get some knowledge
of the fruit."
I cannot find any ripe fruit."
That will be found later on. When the corol-
las fade and fall away, the ovaries are left stand-
ing on the receptacle. As they grow and ripen,
a long horn rises straight up, with a bunch of
bristles at the top; and by-and-by they spread
out like a web, as large as a sixpence, something
like an open parasol with a long handle, and the
seed at the bottom. When they open they are
easily carried away by the wind, and float in the
air, until at last they fall to the ground, with
the seed, which is the heaviest part, downwards.
They then find their way into the ground; for
the bottom is rather pointed, and the outside of
the seed is rough. And in this way the seeds
are scattered, and grow into young plants."


Almost in the same way as dandelion seeds."
Exactly, only that the shape is different.
The threads at the top, which open out, are
called the 2p)Cppus; and in the
.".""-.' goat's-beard the threads of the
pappus are feathered and interlaced,
so that they open out flat, and have
a long horn hanging down in the
middle which carries the seed, like a
FIG. 15.-PAP-balloon with the car at the bottom.
DANDELION. In the dandelion the hairs of the
pappus are simple, and not feathered."
"So that the seeds are scattered by the
"The seeds of different plants are scattered
in different ways, but many of the seeds of com-
posite flowers, like the dandelion and the thistles,
are driven by the wind. It is very curious to
notice the various seeds which have a 2pcppus, or
bunch of hairs at the top, such as those of the
composite plants. They have some of them a
horn, or kind of stalk, with the seed at one end
and the bunch of hairs at the other; and some



-- -

of them have no stalk at all, for the bundle of
hairs grow out at the top of the seed. Then,
again, as I have told you, some of the seeds
have a bunch of hairs that are quite smooth,
and others have hairs which are branched or
plumed all the way up, with a row of short hairs
standing off on each side like the plumes of a
feather. You will also notice another difference,
-that in some cases the hairs are very long and
delicate, but in others they are short and stiff,
almost like bristles. When they are long and
thin, they will often spread in all directions, like


a ball of down, with the seed hanging in the
middle, as in thistle-down, and they are so light
that they will float in the air and be carried a
long way by the wind. The groundsel and rag-
wort have smaller seeds and also shorter hairs,
so that when quite open, and floating in the air,
they are like tufts of cobweb, and are not so
easily seen; but if you will watch them, or the
thistles, which you can see better, you will be
surprised to see how they will sail out of one
field and over another, or along across the com-
mon, as fast as you can run, and for such a long
way that you would get tired of running after
them. When you see a field overgrown with
thistles, you will understand how easy it is,
when the land is ploughed and broken up, for
the seeds of the thistle plants to be blown over
from other fields and drifted along the rough
ground; and how the clods of earth will stop
the seeds, and then they will send down little
roots into the cracks, which will soon grow into
young thistle plants, and the field will be covered
with them in a year or two."




OU will have read, Cissy, that in olden
times, before the use of carpets, it was
the custom to strew the floors of rooms with
rushes and sweet herbs at feasts and on holidays.
One of the plants which were used was the med-
wort or meadow-sweet, sometimes called queen of
the meadows, and we have come to gather it. It
grows on the banks of ditches and beside ponds,
and is in flower in the summer, when it 'looks
so neat, and smells so sweet' that it is rightly
called meadow-sweet. You would scarcely think
that it belongs to the Rose family, for it is not
at all like a rose to look at, as you will soon see.
It grows upright, nearly a yard high, and you
can see its bunches of little white flowers in
that ditch across the meadow, where they look
SSpinea ulmaria.


something like clusters of elder flowers. The
roots are perennial, but the stems are annual,
and die down to the ground every year."
"The stems are almost square, and stiff, al-
though they are not very thick; and they like
to grow near the water, where it is not easy to
reach them."
"You will notice that the stems are only
branched in the upper part, for the purpose of
carrying the flowers, and that there are plenty
of leaves near the ground."
The leaves are compound, and what is called
"Yes; they are large, handsome pinnate leaves
with a terminal leaflet, or one at the end, which
is the largest, and two or three pairs of opposite
leaflets below; then there is a pair of small
leaflets between each pair of large ones, so that
the pairs of leaflets are alternately small and
"And all of them toothed at the edge; but
the teeth are not all alike or all of the same


No; you would call them irregularly toothed.
\ But the large leaflet at the end is more than
toothed; it is deeply divided into three lobes,
which are like three leaflets, only that they are
joined at the bottom and for some way up, so
that really it is but one leaflet, with a centre
piece and two wings. Nearly all the simple
leaflets are broadly lance-shaped, broadest in
the middle, tapering to each end."
The two sides are of a different colour."
The upper side of a beautiful bright green,
and the under side dirty white, or grayish white,
and velvety. You will notice how much the
veins stand up on the under side. We should
call them prominent."
"The leaves of the 'silver weed' are green
on one side and white on the other."
Nearly all leaves are paler on the under side
than they are on the upper, but those of the
meadow-sweet and the silver weed are unusually
pale and silvery white, because they are downy
with such a number of delicate white hairs."
"The inflorescence of the meadow-sweet is


not like an umbel, because the flower-stalks do
not all rise from the same level, and yet the
flowers in each cluster are nearly on the same
level. What is it called ? "
S"Well, it is a kind of corymb,
and that is an inflorescence I
have not yet explained to you.
You have already seen that the branches
which bear the flowers start at different
levels, and yet all the flowers are nearly
on the same level; so that, of course,
some of the branches are much longer
G. 17- than the others. In some respects it
CORYM. is like a cyme, but in a cyme the central
flower opens first."
"There seems to be at first one large corymb,
and afterwards a side branch grows up from the
stem, and it carries a smaller corymb, which is
later in flowering."
"When you see the elder tree in flower, you
must compare the inflorescence with this one;
for the elder flowers are in cymes, but not a one-
sided cyme like the 'forget-me-not.'"


I think we can look at the flowers now, for
I am afraid that I cannot quite understand a
corymb and a cyme unless I can see them to-
gether, especially as all cymes are not alike."
Although the flowers are small, you will find
a green calyx with five sepals, joined together
at the bottom, but not grown to the ovary. In
most of the Rose family the calyx is grown to
the ovary, as you will see in the 'hips,' or fruit
of the wild rose."
"And there are five petals, nearly white, or
rather cream-coloured, and such a number of
stamens, more than five, and more than ten. I
suppose that all the Rose family have a great
number of stamens, like the dog-rose."
Yes; an indefinite number of stamens, in-
serted on the calyx, is the chief family feature.
There is a central ovary, which becomes the
fruit; but we are too early for the capsules.
There is a very great difference in the fruit in
the different members of the Rose family, so
that you would hardly think that the fruits of
the wild rose and the blackberry, of the pear


and the cherry, all belonged to the same large
"I think, Cissy, that I can set you a very
pleasant task, now that you know how to pull a
flower in pieces, and what to look at when you
have done so. And this task will be to compare
together all the flowers of the Rose family which
you can find, especially those which you find
growing wild. I should ask you to begin in
the spring-time, because there are a great many
to be found then which you cannot see later in
the year. Some of these I will tell you, and I
think when you have looked carefully at these
you will never have much trouble with them
again. The hawthorn is one of these, which
should be in blossom on the first of May; and
another is the blackthorn, or wild sloe, which
flowers earlier; then, in gardens and orchards,
you will find the cherry blossom, apple and pear
blossom, and all kinds of plums. Later on you
may look for the strawberry and silver weed;
and after that the raspberry and the blackberry
flowers, or, as you may call them, the bramble

I', a d"

'a ;I

~ r '
-.t !', ,

S\- "' .

l l l l i I i I '. I il l l
,'. a, -- -4 _

I ,,' I l lT -^ .' ,- ".* : .

? ---..., ... '-I', A.
A ,- *: j ,._ .
,-.'-)^ ^ ,,, ;

'-3 2:

2, Section of Flower; 3, Pistil; 4, Fruit; 5, Ovule.




flowers, and, of course, the dog-rose if you
please. In all these flowers you will find a
proper calyx, and a corolla of five separate
petals, and a great number of stamens. This
may also be the case with the flowers of the
Buttercup family, which have mostly a corolla
of five petals, not so decided a calyx, but also a
great number of stamens, so that in some things
they will resemble each other. But the stamens
are not inserted in the same way: for in the
Rose family they are inserted on the calyx-
that is to say, they seem to grow from the
calyx; and when the petals fall off the calyx
remains, with the stamens still standing upon
it, low down from the edge, so that all the
teeth of the calyx remain free. The fruits may
trouble you, for they do not resemble each other
so much as the flowers; but when you have
learned more than I can tell you now of this
family of plants, it will not seem so strange that
the apple and pear, that the plum and cherry,
as well as the raspberry and the blackberry, are
all fruits belonging to the large kindred of the


Rose. You know that the whole study of plants
is called 'botany.' But plants may be studied in
more than one way; and if they are studied so
as to learn all we can of their structure, and of
their different parts or organs, and the uses of
these parts, this is called 'structural botany,'
and we must know something about that before
we attempt anything else. Another portion of
botany is the study of plants in their relations
to each other-how to join them together in
families and orders, and to call them by their
names. This is 'systematic botany,' and is very
useful in its way; but it cannot take the place
of the first, and must always follow it. For
this reason I tell you so little about the family
relations of the plants we gather, except a few
words by the way, which may help you by-


E VERY boy and girl knows the pretty blue
forget-me-not, but not every one has
heard the story of its name. It has been told
that once on a time a young man and woman,
who were soon to be married, were walking one
evening on the banks of the river Danube, and
saw some flowers floating on the stream. The
young woman admired the pretty blue flowers,
thinking they were lovely, and what a pity that
they should be floated away and lost. The
young man leaped into the river to get them
for her, and seized hold of the flowers; but the
current was so strong that it carried him away.
He cast the flowers on shore, and they fell at
her feet; but as he did this the water swallowed
him up, while he cried, "Forget me not."
Myosotis palustris.


"Then the blossoms blue on the bank he threw,
Ere he sank in the eddying tide;
And, 'Lady, I'm gone, thine own knight true.
Forget me not,' he cried."

Such is the story, which has been told many
times and in different ways, but the flower re-
mains the same. It is in blossom from June to
October, so that it was a bright summer's day
when Cissy and her uncle went in search of it
along some ditches running through the marsh;
for the true forget-me-not is a water-plant, and
grows on the banks of streams and ditches.

"The forget-me-not on the water's edge
Reveals her lovely hue,
Where the broken bank, between the sedge,
Is embroidered with her blue."

This is not the only little blue flower which
has been called forget-me-not; but the others
have been so called in mistake, because they are
somewhat like it. The true forget-me-not has
also been called "scorpion-grass," because the
top of the flower-stalk curls over on one side,


and also "mouse-ear," but the real mouse-ear
has woolly leaves and yellow flowers, like a small
I can reach the flowers for you, Cissy; but
you must not try, for the bank is very soft and
slippery, and you may fall into the ditch. Yon-
der is the brook-lime, with its pretty blue
flowers, growing amongst the watercress. It
is sometimes called forget-me-not, but it is a
You have gathered some of the root, which
is a bit creeping; but the stems are nearly
upright, only they are not very long, and a
little woolly."
It is fortunate that you can see it together
with the brook-lime; for that has thick, juicy
stems, and smooth, shining, darker green leaves."
"The forget-me-not has pale green leaves,
but not shining, almost narrow lance-shaped,
and only the lower ones with a little foot-stalk.
The stem-leaves are smaller, and sessile. Don't
you see there is a ridge running down the stem
from the mid-rib of the leaves ?"


"There are a few slender branches on the
upper part of the stem, with flowers at the end.
But the .' j ..... ... .. wants a name."
I know it does, and I cannot tell what name
to give it, for it is not a spike-the flowers are
all stalked. It looks something like a raceme."
"You must notice that the flowers are on

one side of the stem, and the top turns over in
a coil, like the tail of a scorpion; so it is called
"I see how it coils over; and the lowest
flowers are open and blue, the upper are only
buds, and pink.'


"Yes; they open one after the other, from
the bottom to the top. We may call it a
scorpioid raceme. And you see the gradual
change of colour from pink to bright blue.
Some botanists call it a scorpioid cyme; but we
need not trouble about that."
"And now for the flowers. The outer cup
or calyx is green, with the sepals joined to each
other half-way up, and then with five teeth at
the top. The outside of the calyx is hairy."
"The corolla also has the petals joined to-
gether into a very short tube at the bottom.
As you look at the flower from above, looking
down upon it, it looks like a five-petalled blue
corolla with a yellow eye. Take the pocket-
glass, and you see the throat of the tube in the
middle, nearly closed by five very little scales.
You do not see the stamens."
When you pull open the corolla, the stamens
are in the tube. There are five of them, with
a little flat ovary in the middle."
Sometimes people will show you a little
blue flower which grows on banks, and call it


forget-me-not; but it is a veronica, like the brook-
lime. And you will know the difference in a
minute; for you will see the stamens outside,
and there are only two. The common veronica
and the brook-lime have two exposed stamens,
whilst the forget-me-not has five hidden ones."
"Do we ever see the fruit of the forget-me-
not ? "
"I am afraid we think more of looking after
the pretty blue flowers than the fruit, which is
only to be seen after the flowers are all gone.
Then it is small, and is made up of four small
nuts, which are like seeds, smooth and three-
angled. The four triangles meet in the centre,
so that a compound fruit is made up in a flat-
tened rounded form, with the mark of the
divisions like a cross."
That is rather a curious fruit, is it not ?"
"It is the fruit of the family, and I may
show you some day larger fruits from other
plants of the family, and then you will under-
stand it better. There are the comfrey, and the
borage, lungwort, gromwell, and others, which


are found in gardens, and they have very much
larger fruits."
Are all of them blue flowers ? "
"No; they are white or purple, and some
of them blue, but not of quite so pure a blue."
"What sort of blue do you call forget-me-
not ?"
I should call it turquoise blue, because it is
nearly of the colour of turquoise, a blue stone
used for jewellery, in rings, pins, brooches, etc.
You may have seen it, and it is a paler blue
than that of the corn-flower."
"I think that I have seen rough hairy plants
in gardens or in old gravel pits, with the inflo-
rescence like a spike, but coiled round, scorpioid,
and the blue flowers open at the bottom, but
purple or red in the buds towards the end. Yes,
and all the flowers on the outer side; but such
a rough, clumsy plant Do you know what it
is called ?"
Oh, the 'viper's bugloss That belongs
to the same family, and a very strange-looking
plant it is. It grows sometimes by roadsides,
(49)) 5


and is in flower for a long time, almost through
the summer; for the flowers follow each other
along the coiled racemes, and the fruits are at
the bottom before the last flowers have opened
on the coils."


" HAT are those tall spikes of purple
flowers growing beside the ditch?"
inquired Cissy, as we were about to go home,
along a wet meadow, after our trip in search of
the meadow-sweet.
"Those are the purple loosestrife; and if we
take a few spikes, it will give us something to
do for another half-hour. The medwort may be
queen of the meadows for its scent and grace,
but the loosestrife has a beauty of its own,
which is equally royal. It is one of the wild
flowers which are worthy of a place in our gar-
dens. I think I like it as well as the foxglove."
Does it always grow in such wet places, like
the meadow-sweet "
I have never seen it growing elsewhere than
beside the banks of ditches or on the edges of'
SLZythrum salicaria.


rivers and streams. This also has a perennial
root-stock, although the stems die down every
I should think that some of them are nearly
a yard high, and all the upper part glowing with
the flowers."
Besides which the flowers are very curious;
for we shall find that, although they all look the
same as they are growing, there are at least
three different kinds, which we can only find out
by pulling them in pieces."
We found two different kinds of flowers in
primroses, and here there are three kinds."
Let us look at the other parts first, and then
we need carry only the spikes of flowers. You
will notice how straight and upright the stems
are, and with hardly any branches."
"And the leaves are opposite each other in
pairs; but in one or two places there are three
leaves instead of two, and all of them without
leaf-stalks. Let me see: they are sessile, and
clasping the stem."
"You have forgotten to say that in shape


they are lanceolate, or like the head of a lance,
with smooth edges. The upper leaves, which
are amongst the flowers, are smaller, and should
be called bracts. I should say that the larger
leaves are about three inches long. Now, I
think we may look to the flowers."
Don't you think that the inflorescence-the
whole mass of flowers-should be called a spike "
"Yes, I think so."
"There is one thing I cannot explain, and
that is the flowers making a circle round the
stem, and then another, and another, all the
way to the top. You see that they all grow in
Leaves are sometimes placed in that way,
at the same level round the stem, and so are
flowers. Such a circle of leaves or flowers is
called a whorl, and these flowers are said to be
in whorls."
Is there any meaning in the word? "
Well, I should suppose it meant 'whirl,'
with a hint that the parts are placed like the
spokes in a wheel."


I shall remember it better now. They are
wheels or whorls of flowers. All of them have
a green cup or calyx, which is cup-shaped, or
rather longer, and toothed at the edge."
Let me show you that the petals and stamens
are fixed to the calyx, so that when the petals
fall the stamens are left behind in the calyx.
You may count the petals, and then the stamens."
There are mostly six petals, sometimes four,
and twice as many stamens-six long ones and
six short ones-with a column in the middle.
See, there are not five short and five long
stamens, but six of each kind, so that there are
twelve. We have never found a flower with
twelve stamens before."
That is one of the curious things about the
stamens in these flowers; but I have now to
show you something else which is curious. I
told you at the first that there are three kinds
of flowers, and the differences are in the style,
or column, and the stamens."
Shall we find all three kinds on these spikes ?"
"I have no doubt that we shall, for one kind


is nearly as common as another. Here is one
of then: it is the long-styled form. You see
that the style is much longer than any of the
stamens, and rises above them. Then there are
six long stamens, not quite so long as in the
other two kinds, and six very short ones. We
must compare them all together when we can
find the other two kinds."
Had we not better put that flower between
the leaves of my book to keep it safe ?"
"Here's another kind, for I can see that the
style does not rise above the stamens. This is
all right: it is the mid-styled form. You can
see, now I have opened it, that there are the six
very short stamens, just the same length as the
short stamens in the first form; and six long
stamens which are longer, and quite as long as
the style in the long-styled form: but the style
reaches only about half-way between the long
and short stamens, and is just the same length
as the long stamens in the first form. Perhaps
we may not find the third kind quite so easily,
so you must put this flower in your book."


"I hope we shall find the other, for I suppose
it will be the short-styled form."
"I expect it will be more trouble to find,
because we must open the flowers. No! I
have tried three or four from this spike, and
now I shall try another spike. Patience will
reward us. Here it is at last. And this is
the short-styled form. There is the style, quite
as short as the shortest stamens we have seen
in the other flowers; and then there are six
stamens as long as the longest in the mid-styled
form, and six stamens which rise about half-way
between the very short style and the long
stamens. Now, we can place them side by side
and see how they match."
Of course we shall know one from the other
by the length of the style."
Here is the long style, which is about the
same length as the long stamens in the mid
style and the short style. This is the mid style,
and the style is of the same length as the long
stamens in the long style and the short stamens
in the short style. Lastly, we have the short style,


which is of the same length as the very short
stamens in the long style and the mid style.
Can you see how they match ?"


A, Short Style; n, Mlid Style; c, Long Style.
"Oh yes. I can see now all the different
lengths ; but perhaps that is not all you can see."
Then I will show you how each style is


matched in length by two sets of stamens. The
long style by the long stamens in mid style and
short style; the mid style by the long stamens
in the long style and the short stamens in the
short style; and the short style by the very
short stamens in the long style and mid style.
Thus each style has two sets of stamens of the
same length, or twelve stamens of its own length,
in the three kinds of flowers."
"Yes; but they are in different flowers."
"I know that, and the pollen would have to
be carried from one to the other by insects;
but that can be done, and must be done in this
case, for you saw what numbers of insects were
flying about the spikes."
Is it known that insects do help the flowers
in that way ? "
Indeed it is, and even with this very plant,
so that even the difference in the flowers, in the
length of the styles and the stamens, has its use
in the fertilization of the ovules of the purple
"Just as you told me of the primroses-some


of them with long styles and some with short
"Helping each other. The flowers give
honey to the bees, and the bees carry the pollen
from one flower to another on their bodies.
You remember the old maxim, One good turn
deserves another.' I cannot explain to you now
how it is done, but when you are older and have
learned more about flowers, you will be better
able to understand. No plant can ever have
seeds unless the pollen from the stamens can
get upon the little sticky place on the top -of
the style or column, which is called the stigma.
I have told you that some plants have male
flowers and female flowers, growing separately,
either on different parts of the same plant or on
different plants. Now, the pollen from the male
flowers must go to the female flowers, or there
will be no seeds. The question is, How can it
be done ? And the answer is, that it may be
done partly by the wind blowing the pollen
grains from one flower to another, or by the
light pollen dust floating in the air. This is too


uncertain a plan to be relied upon, as it leaves
too much to chance, so that the agency of in-
sects comes in to help the plants by carrying
the pollen from the male to the female flowers,
and this must be the most usual way in which
the pollen is carried from the male to the female
flowers. There are also some flowers which have

pollen grains within the same flower as the pistil,
but the stamens are placed in such a manner
that the pollen cannot reach the stigma of the
pistil without help, and in this case the help is
given by insects. If you watch the bees and
other insects as they flutter around the flowers
on a sunny day, you will see that they are


sprinkled and powdered with pollen dust. Most
of these insects have hairy bodies, and the little
hairs help to brush the pollen from the stamens
upon their bodies, and keep it there until it is
brushed off by rubbing against something else.
This 'something' is often the stigma in another
flower. You may suppose that a very great
deal of pollen is wasted, and never reaches a
stigma at all; but even this is provided for, for
nearly every flower has much more pollen than
is wanted. Around nearly every pistil stand
perhaps five, perhaps ten, perhaps many more
stamens, and each stamen has its anther or head-
piece filled with pollen grains. Not only

'Doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey day by day
From every opening flower,'

but it scatters the pollen also from flower to
flower, and helps the plant at the same time that
it helps itself."


" T HOSE flowers in the meadow are very
I much like the purple crocus of gardens ;
but it is not the same thing, although it is
called meadow-saffron. In some counties the
meadows are gay with it in autumn, and some
people call it the autumn crocus. The plants
root rather deeply, and we must dig up the
roots of two or three of them, for they are
curious, and at the time of flowering there are
no leaves. It is during September that the
flowers are in perfection, but the leaves appear
in winter and early spring.
"Whilst you are ci.j-;, for the roots, I
must tell you something of the leaves. They
rise from the ground in small tufts, and are of
a long lance shape, narrowed towards each end,
and nearly an inch broad in the middle, but
Colchicum autumnale.


sometimes nearly a foot in length, and of a
bright, glossy green, with a sort of keeled mid-
rib. The veins run side by side down the leaf,
but do not form a network. I have already
told you that there are some plants, such as all
the large trees and shrubs except the firs, which
have net-veined leaves. The veins branch off
from the mid-rib, and are again so much branched

that they form a network. Then there are the
grasses and tulips and crocuses, which have
mostly long leaves, with the veins running side
by side, and not branching so as to form a net-
work of veins. These are parallel-veined leaves,
and they are not so numerous. Now, I see that
you have some roots ready."


"Almost like little onions, with a brown
Some persons would call them bulbs, but a
better name for them is corm. If you cut
through the bulb of an onion, you will see that
it is made up of thick layers, one over the other,
something like leaves in a bud, and you can peel
off these layers, one after the other; but now,

as I cut through this corm, you will see that it
is quite solid, and there are no layers. The
little thready roots at the bottom are the true
roots; but the bulb or corm is not a root, but
a sort of underground bud, nearly as large as
a chestnut. Each corm, as you have it, has
another one beside it, which is the corm that


flowered last year, and is now on its way to
decay. The corm which bears the flower has
grown out from the old corm, and was only a
little bud in June. It was the old corm which
bore the leaves in spring, and these new corms
which have flowers now will have a tuft of
leaves next spring, and then they too will shrivel
and die."
But we can't eat these, like onions ? "
Certainly not. They are useful in medicine,
but not as a salad, for they are almost a poison.
The corms are cut in slices and dried; then they
are sold by chemists, under the name of colchi-
cuZm, and are bitter and disagreeable. They
were probably known and used by the Arabs
two thousand years ago."
The flowers grow singly, or three or four
together, from one corm; but I suppose that
this white part which runs downwards is the
That is the long tube of the corolla, and the
ovary is at the bottom, just within the sheath
that rises from the corm. The corolla has six
(499) 6


leaves, three of them outside and three inside,
and these are separate from each other, down to
the top of the long tube. You may call them

S \ Itl




three sepals and three petals if you please, but
the whole is usually called a perianth. Inside
this you will find the stamens,"


"There they are, six of them, and three
threads in the middle: that must be the column
or style parted into three."
"You are right, Cissy: that is the three-
parted style, which must be very long to reach
the whole length of the tube down to the ovary.
The next time you see a crocus you must count
the stamens, and you will find that it has only
And the meadow-saffron has six."
This plant produces also a great number of
seeds. After the flowers fade, about October,
there is little to be seen of the plant until early
spring, when the leaves are growing in little
tufts from the corns which bore the flowers,
and amongst the leaves the capsules will be
found. These capsules passed the winter under-
ground after the death of the flowers, and were
carried up with the leaves in spring into the
Then the fruit is a dry capsule ?"
"Yes; three capsules joined together, or
rather a dry capsule, with three valves, and a


great number of small, roundish, brown seeds-
with a wrinkled coat. The seeds are ripe about
This is a curious plant. The flowers are to
be seen in autumn, then the green leaves in the
early spring, and the ripe seeds at midsummer,
just about the time when the old corm has
budded a little corm beside it, which is to flower
in the autumn, and go through the same round."
If they are let alone, the plants seem as if
they would go on growing, year after year, on,
on for ever,' without wanting seeds. In pas-
tures and meadows, where they grow at all, they
are usually seen by hundreds, and the pale lilac
flowers are very pretty."
Do you think that the sheep and cattle eat
them "
I don't know, but I should think not, be-
cause they would not taste pleasant; and I
fancy animals are wise enough not to eat or
drink anything which would harm them."
"And would the meadow-saffron flowers
make them ill ? "


I think they would, because the corms and
the seeds are both alike, and both rather poison-
ous in the same way; and it is very probable
that the same poison which is in the corms and
the seeds would be found also in the leaves and
the flowers."
Don't cows and horses sometimes eat plants
that do them harm ? "
Sometimes, I think, because they will eat
the young twigs of the yew tree, and die of it,
whilst a plant called water drop-wort is said to
have been eaten by cows, and to have killed
them ; but these are exceptions. There are many
coarse grasses they will not eat, and they seldom
touch some of the buttercups which would do
them harm. Depend upon it, cows and horses
are as able to choose their food as you or I, and
do not often make a mistake."
Thus ends our "chat" on the wild flowers
found on a marsh; but as it closes I must have
one more "last word," and say something which
I have long thought of, but had no chance of
telling. It does not concern marsh flowers any


more than others, but it has something to do
with all flowers, and the time has come when
I should tell you just a little about it, so that
it may be a help to you hereafter. We have
already pulled a great many pretty flowers in
pieces so as to get at their secrets, and you
must not be surprised at my taking advantage
of what you know to tell you a little which I
fancy you do not know. In studying a great
many living things, such as plants, we are
obliged to lump them together in groups, with
some likeness which is common to them. If we
were to turn all our money out of our pockets
upon the table, we should find it convenient,
first of all, to put all the coins of one kind to-
gether, so that there would be a pile of gold
coins, then a pile of silver coins, and lastly a pile
of bronze coins. Yet in all the piles we should
have coins of different sizes and values; but
they would agree in one thing-that they are
either gold, or silver, or bronze. Now, if we
were able to sort out all plants in the same
manner, we would have three piles. The first


pile would be the most perfect, and these would
be called by some long name, such as Exogens,
or Dicotyledons. I am sorry for the name, but
I must tell you of the thing presently. The
second pile would be called the Endogens, or
Monocotyledons. And the third would be the
Thallogens, or Acotyledons. As far as we are
concerned, we can cut off the last pile altogether,
for they are not flowering plants at all; and
sometimes they are called Cryptogams, because
they have hidden flowers, such as ferns, mosses,
lichens, fungi, and sea-weeds. This will leave
us two groups or lots, which are called some-
times Exogens and Endogens, and sometimes
Dicotyledons and Monocotyledons. I wish that
I could give you two words which would be
easier to remember and yet represent the mean-
ing as well. We can cut them short, if you
please, and call them "Dicots" and Mono-
cots ;" but I must tell you why they are called
by these names, and the differences between
If we were to sow some mustard seeds upon


a piece of damp flannel, and keep them moist,
they would very soon begin to grow; the outer
coat or husk of the seed would crack, and a
little bud would be pushed out, and that would
be the growing point. Very soon after, as this
point kept on growing, the bud at the end
would open, and then gradually turn green, just
like two little green leaves rather rounded, and

k _

.. -
opposite to each other. These are the first
pair of leaves, the cotyledonary leaves, thickish
and rounded, quite different from all the leaves
that will grow afterwards. Another name for
them is "seed-leaves," because they come out
from the seed; and there are two of them, called
Di-cotyledon, because di means two; and all
the plants which have two seed-leaves together


when the seeds begin to grow are called Dicoty-
ledons, or plants with two seed-leaves." This
is the larger of the two piles or groups of
plants, and includes forest and fruit trees, and
a great many flowers and herbs. There are
other differences between these Dicots and the
Monocots, some of which I will tell you now.
The Dicots have leaves with branched veins
which form a network in the leaves; but the
Monocots have leaves with parallel veins, such
as a grass leaf or a tulip leaf. The flowers of
the Dicots have usually five parts, sometimes
four, as five sepals, five petals, five or ten sta-
mens; but the Monocots have flowers with
three parts, such as three sepals, and three
petals, often very much alike, three or six
stamens, and a three-cornered ovary. The
second or smaller group of plants, therefore,
are the Monocots, and the growing seed has
but one seed-leaf, with the other differences
just now mentioned; so that it is never difficult
to tell at once whether a plant belongs to
the Dicots or the Monocots, even without


the trouble of watching to see how the seeds
If we will turn back and think of all the
plants we have gathered and talked about in our
rambles, we shall discover that we have only
had four Monocots-lords and ladies, wild hya-
cinth, lily of the valley, and meadow-saffron;
all the rest have been Dicotyledons. Rmeem-
ber that the grasses, of which there are many,
are Monocots; and the bulbous-rooted plants
which are grown in gardens, such as tulips, cro-
cuses, lilies, snowdrops, and onions, with some
others; but, in this country, none of the shrubs
and trees, for they are all Dicotyledonary. Per-
haps you will understand now why two such
long words as Dicotyledons and Monocotyledons
have been used, instead of having to say every
time, plants with two seed-leaves," and plants
with one seed-leaf; because the one long word,
in each case, takes the place of five short ones.
This seems to me to be a fitting ending for
our third chat on wild flowers, as it will put
into practice some of the things we have been


learning, and in future will help us the better
to understand the reasons for looking at the
veins of the leaves to see whether they are net-
veined or parallel-veined; and also for counting
the parts of the flowers, to see whether they are
four or five, or only three or double that num-
ber. Now we may part again for a while, with
the two words Dicotyledons and Monocotyledons
ringing in our ears.


Acotyledons, 87.
Acutely crenate, 38.
Alternate leaves, 16.

Bi-serrate margin, 37.
Botany, what is it ? 58.
Bracts, 21.
Bulb, 80.

Calyx, 63.
Ciliate margin, 34.
Colchicum, 81.
Composite flowers, 40.
Compound leaves, 15.
Corm, 80.
Corolla, 63.
Corymb, 52.
Cotyledonary leaves, 88.
Crenate leaves, 21.
Crenate margin, 36.
Crucifers, or crossworts, 12.
Cuckoo-flower, 11.

Dentate margin, 36.

Dicotyledons, 87.
Disc-flowers, 40.

Endogens, 87.
Entire margin, 34.
Exogens, 87.

Families, 11.
Fertilization, 26, 76.
Florets, 44.
Flowers, trimorphic, 71.
Forget-me-not, 59.

Goat's-beard, 40.

Inflorescence, 69.
Insect-help, 74.
Involucre, 43.

King-cups, 19.

Ladies' smocks, 13.
Lanceolate leaves, 16.
Leaf-margins, 34.


Long-styled flowers, 71.

Margin, bi-serrate, 37.
Margin, ciliate, 34.
Margin, crenate, 36.
Margin, dentate, 36.
Margin, entire, 34.
Margin, runcinate, 37.
Margin, serrate, 36.
Margin, sinuate, 37.
Marsh-marigold, 19.
Marsh-pennywort, 29.
Meadow-saffron, 78.
Meadow-sweet, 49.
Mid-styled flowers, 71.
Monocotyledons, 87.

Net-veined leaves, 79.

Ovary, 24.
Ovules, 24.

Pappus, 46.
Parallel-veined leaves, 79.
Peltate leaves, 32.
Perianth, 82.
Petals, 22.
Pinnate leaves, 15, 50.
Pistils, 24.
Pollen, 25.
Purple loosestrife, 67.

Raceme, 62.
Ray-flowers, 40.
Receptacle, 43.
Rose family, 49.
Runcinate margin, 37.

Scorpion-grass, 60.
Scorpioid raceme, 62.
Seeds scattered, 46.
Sepals, 22.
Serrate margin, 36.
Sheep-rot, 30.
Short-styled flowers, 72.
Simple leaves, 15.
Sinuate margin, 37.
Spike, 69.
Spinks, 14.
Stigma, 25.
Strap-shaped florets, 44.
Style, 24.

Thistle-down, 48.
Three-formed flowers, 68.

Viper's bugloss, 65.

Wallflowers, 17.
Whorl, 69.
Wild rose, 55.

Yellow gowans, 19.


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