The Baldwin Library
J. .. aIZtWU S.
It :^ ;
PLANT BABYAND ITS FRIENDS
KATE LOUISE BROWN
A Nature Reader for Primary Grades
NEw YORK .... BOSTON CHICAGO
BY SILVER, BURDETT AND COMPANY.
C. J. PETERS & SON, TYPOGRAPHERS.
H. M. PLIMPTON & CO., PRINTERS & BINDERS,
NORWOOD, MASS., U.S.A.
!Barab louize Ernolb.
0 Nature loving Nature!
The mother-side of God,
We see thy faithful tending
Where'er our feet have trod.
There's mystery in every seed,
And glory in the flower;
The meanest grassblade speaks of thee,
Thy tenderness and power.
So we go on, not knowing,
Thy glory veils our sight.
The child-heart and the child's deep faith
Will guide the soul aright.
THE PLANT BABY AND ITS FRIENDS is the outcome of some
years of happy experience in the schoolroom with a flock of
country children. The need was felt of attractive reading-
matter to supplement the natural-science work being performed
by the classes. It is easier to interest children in simple stories
about Nature than in the technical treatment of the regular
schoolbook; and the author believes that the science story-
book, conscientiously prepared with accuracy and skill, should
precede the more formal text-book on the same subject, up
to which it will naturally lead.
The subjects of the various chapters in THE PLANT BABY
will indicate to the teacher a simple yet orderly method of pro-
cedure, from the plant in germ to the full flower. There is
little in the whole book that a young child may not find out
for himself, with some guiding. It is earnestly urged that,
so far as possible, the work of observation be carried out with
the specimens in hand, before the reading is attempted, so that
the book may become the confirmation of the child's original
research. Where this is not altogether practicable, let the
teacher furnish as many illustrations as she can of the subjects
taken up in each reading lesson.
As a rule, technical terms have been avoided. Experience
has shown, however, that little people of six and seven can
learn to use such terms as cotyledons and corolla as readily
and understandingly as many other words which they appro-
priate without instruction. Cotyledon, meaning the half of the
plant baby's cradle, is no more difficult for them to master than
Angelina, their little mate's name. To learn to see, and to give
loving attention to, Nature in her various moods, that is the
ideal to be stimulated.
The aim has been to furnish a good literary style, even
while adopting the child's vocabulary to a considerable extent.
It is better to tell the child a word now and then than, by too
great simplicity, to lower the quality of what he reads.
It is earnestly hoped by the author that a lively interest
in the study of Nature's marvels may be first awakened in
the minds of many young children by the reading of this little
book, and that from this elementary training may grow so
strong a love of Nature-study, in a few at least, as to make
them our future best interpreters of plant life.
Especial credit is due to Mrs. Constance van Diest Col-
lins for the rare skill, taste, and fidelity to nature evinced
in the many beautiful pictures which illustrate this work.
J-. ii( '
,, ,, l ,
^ 1. 4. ,
'4, Q r h1
I. THE LITTLE PLANT; ITS FOOD
AND HOME. . .. .13
II. THE LITTLE PLANT 14
III. THE PLANT BABY'S FEET AND
HANDS .... . 15
IV. THE KING'S SEEDS 17
V. SEED SOWING IN EGYPT I8
VI. PLANT ROOTS . .19
VII. THE ROOT SERVANTS 20
VIII. THE STEM. . 21
IX. THE LEAF NURSES . 22
X. THE HAPPY LEAVES .. 23
XI. THE LEAFLETS .. 24
XII. JACK FROST'S FROLIC 25
XIII. THE PARTS OF A LEAF 27
XIV. SHAPES OF LEAVES 28
XV. LEAF MARGINS .... 30
XVI. MOTHER NATURE AND THE
LEAVES . .
THE GOOD LITTLE LEAVES
LEAF VEINING .. ..
THE THREE LITTLE LEAVES
THE FLOWER. THE LIT-
TLE CUP . .
MOTHER NATURE'S PLAY
THE LITTLE CROWN
THE MERRY LITTLE MEN.
THE PISTIL AND ITS
PARTS . .
ABOUT POLLEN ...
THE BEE'S ERRAND .
BEES AND BUTTERFLIES
How POLLEN BEHAVES
THE CATKIN ...
XXX. OUR PLANT BABY GROWN
UP. ... . 49
XXXI. THE CORN LEAF 51
XXXII. A SLEEPY SONG 53
XXXIII. IN THE PINE GROVE. 54
XXXIV. THE OAK LEAF. 56
XXXV. THE OAK LEAVES. 57
XXXVI. THE GRAPE LEAF. 58
XXXVII. LEAVES TO HAVE FUN
WITH . . 59
XXXVIII. WAKE-ROBIN . 60
XXXIX. WHAT A PLANT IS 63
XL. A VERY STRANGE PLANT 65
XLI. WHAT HAPPENED TO
MARION'S SHOES 67
XLII. MARION FINDS A PATIENT
PLANT . 70
XLIII. MARION'S DREAM 72
XLIV. FERNS . .... 75
XLV. THE FERN'S STORY .77
XLVI. THE LITTLE FERN 78
XLVII. A SPINNING WHEEL
STORY . .. .81
XLVIII. THE COTTON PLANT 85
XLIX. A LITTLE ABOUT STEMS 87
L. WHAT THE FOREST TOLD
MARION . .89
LI. PINE MUSIC .. .93
LII. PLANTS THAT LIVE ON
OTHERS . .. .94
LIII. How PLANTS PROTECT
THEMSELVES FROM AN-
IMALS . ... 96
LIV. WHAT PLANTS DO FOR
THE LIFE OF OUR
WORLD . .. .98
LV. DANCE OF THE DAISIES I00
LVI. WONDERFUL.. .100
LVII. THE EVENING PRIMROSE IO2
LVIII. AN EVENING VISITOR. 103
LIX. THE PRIMROSE . 104
LX. WILD FLOWERS OF MOUNT
WASHINGTON .. 106
LXI. UNCLE WILL'S LETTER 109
LXII. WHAT IS AN ANIMAL? III
LXHI. WHAT IS A MINERAL? 113
LXIV. SEED FOOD. .... 115
LXV. TIME FLOWERS .. 116
LXVI. THE HUMMING BIRD'S
WORK . 118
LXVII. WHAT THE VIOLETS TOLD
ELSIE . 120
LXVIII. MAPLE SEEDS ... .122
LXIX. BOBBY BURR AND HIS
TRAVELS . 123
LXX. BOBBY BURR'S STORY 125
LXXI. LITTLE TRAVELERS IN
THE AIR . .
LXXII. THE MILKWEED NEST
LXXIII. SEEDS WITH WINGS .
LXXIV. SEEDS WITH WINGS-
Continued . .
LXXV. WITCH-HAZEL .
LXXVI. WITCH-H AZEL Con-
tinued . .
LXXVII. MOTHER POPPY'S CHIL-
DREN . .
LXXVIII. MOTHER POPPY'S CHIL-
DAISIES . .
SNOWDROP . .
INVITATION . .
THE CROCUS .
GENTIAN . .
FLOWER MOTHERS .
Nature, the old nurse, took
f f TJ, o ^!.r;T "i-h.: a*"r !":a
". "-f"----- ....--
" Com ., -i ,:, : :' :...:. I ..'." .. .. ; ..
"I ..:. .:- '.. ,. ': r .
A n d ;' .' i .' .' .. .. .''..'
ILONGFELLW, .'. oe.o Agass.z,
LONGFELLOW, Bir/dtday Poem to Agassiz.
THE PLANT BABY
AND ITS FRIENDS.
I. THE LITTLE PLANT; ITS FOOD AND HOME.
," O you know what is in every seed ? Let
} us see. It is a little plant. It is like
a baby. The seed is its cradle.
Our baby could not live long without food.
The plant baby can, but it must have food in
order to grow.
The real baby does not sleep many hours
at a time. The plant baby can sleep for years in its
What does the real baby live on? Why, milk of
course. We have to give the milk to it.
The plant baby is not so helpless. It can get its
own food from the earth and the air; but not until
after it has left its seed cradle. Before it leaves its
cradle, its food covers it.
14 THE PLANT BABY.
Now I will tell you something very wonderful.
Look at this bean, and tell me what you see.
I see a little hole in it. It looks as if some one
had pricked it with a pin. Did you prick it?
No, it was there before. God put it there.
It is the door of the plant baby's little house. The
plant baby comes through that little door to see the
Good-morning, little plant! Come out of your
house. The door is all ready and open.
NOTL.- Soak some large beans in warm water over night. Slip
off the outer skin, and move the halves apart carefully to find the plant.
II. THE LITTLE PLANT.
IN the heart of a seed,
Buried deep, so deep,
.. ,,.. A dear little plant
Lay fast asleep.
Wake!" said the sunshine,
S"And creep to the light."
Wake !" said the voice
Of the raindrops bright.
THE PLANT BAB Y 15
The little plant heard,
And it rose to see
What the wonderful
Outside world might be.
III. THE PLANT BABY'S FEET AND HANDS.
THE baby presses his feet down and
lifts his hands up when he awakes.
So does the plantlet.
We call its foot the radicle. The word
" radicle means a little root.
The roots grow from the radicle.
The radicle goes down into the earth.
We call its hand the plumule. This
reaches up into the air. The leaves and
flowers come from it.
The word plumule" means little plume,
The real baby screams and kicks. The
plant baby is very good and patient.
You cannot keep its radicle from growing down,
nor its plumule from going upward.
THE PLANT BAB Y.
Teacher. Grace, dear, do you remember what we
did with our bean seeds this spring?
Grace. Oh, yes! Miss Gray. We put our beans
in warm water, and let them soak.
Teacher. What happened to them?
Willie. The shiny, outside skin became loose, so
that we could take it right off.
Helen. We split the bean into two thick leaves.
Josephine. I know what we called them. It was
a hard name, but I remember it. The thick leaves
Teacher. What did you find in between the coty-
Howard. We found a tiny radicle.
Hattie. Yes, Miss Gray, and a wee, wee plumule.
Teacher. The heat of the sun and the moisture
of the rain woke the baby plant from its sleep. It
stretched and grew big,-till its cradle burst.
NOTE.- Examine the parts of the bean, and develop terms RADICLE,
PLUMULE, and COTYLEDON.
Draw the parts on the board, and write names opposite them. Let
the .children try to draw the parts.
THE PLANT BABY 17
IV. THE KING'S SEEDS.
F AR away across the sea is a country
called Egypt. The best part of Egypt
is just a strip of land on each side of a
broad river. This river is the Nile.
In this country there are great heaps of stones,
called pyramids. They are higher than our church
What do you think they are for? They are the
tombs of great kings who lived long, long ago. It
was many years before any one could find the way
inside these pyramids.
At last, when an entrance was made, many strange
things were found. The bodies of the kings were
decked with gold and gems. Seeds were found in
these tombs which had been there for thousands of
years. What a long time for the plant baby to sleep!
The story says that when these seeds were planted
they sprang up and bore leaves and blossoms.
The little plant heard, and it rose to see
What the wonderful outside world might be.
18 THE PLANT BABY.
V. SEED SOWING IN EGYPT.
J CAN tell you another story about Egypt.
Every year the river Nile overflows its banks.
The low lands on either side are covered with water.
It is a time of great joy.
All the boats are trimmed with flags, flowers, and
colored lanterns. They look very lovely at night.
As the water covers the low lands, it brings with
it much soft, rich mud.
The men go out in boats, and throw the seed into
the water. The seed sinks into the mud, and sprouts
very quickly. When the water goes away, it soon
springs up and bears its fruit.
Do you see why the people of Egypt love the Nile
so much ? Do you see why they are so glad when it
rises and overflows its banks ?
Were it not for the Nile, their country would be
only a part of the hot, sandy desert beyond.
When I was a little girl I learned this Bible verse,
"Cast thy bread upon the waters; for thou shalt find
it after many days."
Do you know now what that means ?
THE PLANT BABY. 19
VI. PLANT ROOTS.
" W HAT have you, Howard, in A I
those dirty little hands of '
Howard laughed. It was vacation
time, and he was running wild, like
a little colt.
"It is just a beet, Auntie. I got
it out of the cellar. It is the very The Beet
last one. I thought you would tell
me something about it."
"Go, bring me a daisy plant, roots and all."
Howard soon came back with his daisy.
"Tell me the parts of your daisy plant."
Howard began,- Roots, stem, leaves, buds,
"Now the beet"-
"Why, Auntie, -is the beet-part the root? It
grows in the ground. What a funny root!"
"We call it a fleshy root, because it is so stout.
There are other fleshy roots. Can you -name
them ? "
THE PLANT BABY
"Why, the carrot must be one,-and the radish
- yes, and the parsnip." .ir/-
"These are all fleshy roots. What kind W:S',
of root has the daisy?"
Not a bit like the beet. There
are many little roots. They spread
out like threads."
"Yes, Howard, we can call them
Now see how many fleshy roots
and how many thread-like roots you
NOTE. -Let the children bring in a collection
of fleshy and thread-like roots.
VII. THE ROOT SERVANTS.
ITTLE roots, what are you doing?
We are getting food from the
Is it not dark down there?
Yes, dear child, we cannot see one ray of light.
Are you not afraid?
Oh, no! we are not afraid. What could harm us?
THE PLANT BABY 21
Is it not very dull ?
We are too busy to feel dull. Though it is dark
down here, the earth is full of sweet sounds.
We hear the music of the water as it seeks an
outlet. It says, "To the light! To the light!" The
song of the sap, as it rises in the plant, is sweet too.
Would you not like to find the light, little root?
Yes, my child; but I am content. I can hold my
plant firmly, and my leaves and flowers can see the
light if I cannot.
Good-by, little roots! You are brave and true. I
VIII. THE STEM.
STEM, what are you good for?
I hold the leaves and flowers. I grow from the
roots. They send up sap through me.
I bend when the wind sweeps against me. If I
could not bend, I should break. Then the plant
I grow straight up toward the sun. I would like to
be a tree. As I cannot, I will be the best stem I can.
I am like the trunk of your body, little child.
22 THE PLANT BAB Y.
-i: IX. THE LEAF NURSES.
HE big leaves are very kind to the
."iI When they have grown as large
as they can, they become nurses to
the baby leaves just above.
They get all the food they can from the air and
the sunshine, because they are so big. Then they
pass it to the wee new leaves.
"Eat this and grow, dear little leaves," they say.
They never forget the tiny new leaves.
Let us ask the leaves to tell their own story.
Pretty, pretty leaves, you are so happy, fluttering
in the sunshine.
Tell us your story, dear leaves.
The little leaves laugh and dance in the breeze.
They are so happy they cannot keep still.
At last they begin to answer us in the tiniest
If we are very quiet we shall hear the story of
what they are doing all the day.
THE PLANT BABY. 23
X. THE HAPPY LEAVES.
W E leaves are very busy.
We take in food from the air and the sun-
We pass it along to the baby leaves just unfolding.
Are we not good nurses?
Look at us, little child; what do you see?
Why, you are just covered with tiny dots on the
These dots are the mouths of little tubes.
They keep drawing in food from the air.
We are not greedy. It is not for ourselves alone.
It is for our baby leaves. I'
We spread out very broadly.
We get all we can.
Oh! we are happy, happy leaves.
We care for the baby leaves.
We help man.,,
Who would not be a leaf?
NOTE. -Examine leaves with the children,
and call attention to the dots and hairs.
24 THE PLANT BAB Y
iXI. THE LEAFLETS.
ANCE, little leaflets, dance
'Neath the tender sky of spring!
Dance in the golden sun
To the tune that the robins sing!
Now you are light and young,
Just fit for a baby play;
So, dance, little leaflets, dance,
And welcome the merry May!
Sway, little leaflets, sway
In the ardent sunlight's glow!
Oh! what a sleepy world, -
For August has come, you know.
Many a drowsy bird
Is drooping its golden crest;
So, sway, little leaves, and rock
The orioles in their nest!
Swing, little leaflets, swing!
The quail pipes in the corn;
Under the harvest sun
The cardinal flower is born.
THE PLANT BABY. 25
Russet and gold and red,
Little leaves, you are gayly dressed;
Is it holiday time with you,
That you have put on your best?
Fall, little leaflets, fall!
Your mission is not sped;
Shrill pipes the winter wind,
And the happy summer's dead.
Make now a blanket warm
For the flowers, till spring winds call;
You must carpet the waiting earth,
So, fall, little leaflets, fall!
XII. JACK FROST'S FROLIC.
O NE still night in autumn Jack Frost stole out
to have some fun.
First he blew among the flowers; but gently, for
Jack was not the worst of fellows. How the little
ladies shivered, and drooped their pretty heads!
"It's so cold!" said gentle Aster.
"Tuck up your toes, and go to bed," cried Jack,
as he hurried by.
THE PLANT BABY.
a dress of icy
---.- When he
.-- ..-. came to the
--maple leaves, he
i,. gave them such
a nip that they
red \\ith anger.
The cht-tniut,, next day, were
sUIrprised to find themselves in
y l-low satin go\\ ns.
'" Nio \\'e can go to October's
partY," they cried in high glee.
Jack danced around the walnut
tr-ee, and cracked the thick husks
so that the nuts fell to the ground.
But the best fun of all, Jack
had with an old gray fence.
"Go away," said the fence, "you
make me cold!"
Never mind !" said Jack,
painting it up and down with his
The next morning the old fence wore
spangles, soft and fine as down.
THE PLANT BABY. 27
XIII. THE PARTS OF A LEAF.
UR friend, the leaf, has more to tell about
The thin green part is the blade.
Sometimes it is very broad, as is the maple leaf.
/ Again it is very narrow, like the grass blade.
The blade is joined to the main stem
by another stem; this is the petiole.
Some leaves have no petioles.
They sit on the stems as little birds "
sit on the telegraph wires.
I think such leaves look very
pretty. But they cannot flutter when <
the wind comes.
The tip end of the leaf is its apex. i
Apex means a point. Some leaves
are very sharp at the point. Other / .
leaves are very blunt.
The lower part of the blade is the
base. The edge of the blade is the margin.
Can you tell all the parts of this leaf? Draw a
leaf, and mark the parts.
28 THE PLANT BAB Y.
XIV. SHAPES OF LEAVES.
Teacher. I see that you all have leaves to show
me to-day. Yes, and no two are alike. I shall be
glad to know about them.
Nora. This little grass blade is long and
narrow, almost like a line. Some call it blade-
shaped, others linear. That means like a line.
The needles of the pine and hem-
lock are of this shape.
Roy. This maple leaf is very
A Bade broad. It has five points like
Gr. the five fingers of a hand. We
may call it a hand-shaped leaf. Some A Maple Leaf.
maple leaves have only three points.
SMabel. This elm leaf is shaped like an
\ egg. We call its shape oval.
Elsie. This lilac leaf is heart-
Burton. The nasturtium leaf
AnimLef is like a shield, and the geranium
is nearly round, or circular. A LHiac Leaf.
Lilian. The calla leaf is shaped like an arrowhead.
THE PLANT BABY.
Pansy. This funny little sorrel leaf looks at the
base like an ear.
A Sorrel Leaf A /%sturtium Le.f A Clla LeaJ.
Teacher. Many leaves have even different shapes
from these. You can find them if you keep your eyes
open. You may make a list of the shapes we have
already found, and learn to spell the words.
Linear, or Blade- Hand-shaped; Shield-shaped;
shaped; Arrowhead-shaped; Oval;
Heart-shaped; Ear-shaped; Circular.
Green leaves, what are you doing
Up there on the tree so high?
We are shaking hands with the breezes,
As they go singing by.
What, green leaves! Have you fingers?
Then the Maple laughed with glee -
Yes, just as many as you have;
Count them, and you will see!
30 THE PLANT BAB Y
XV. LEAF MARGINS.
Teacher. What did we call the edge of the leaf?
We called it a margin. Let us look at the margins
of some of our leaves. Tell me about the margin of
your lilac leaf, Alice.
Alice. It is straight all the way round.
S Vernon. It isn't scalloped like some of
the other leaves.
STeacher. We call such an edge an
S/ entire margin.
Bertha. All the lily leaves have entire
ALily Lef. margins.
Dean. So have the grass blades.
Teacher. What kind of a margin has
this oak leaf?
Maud. It is scalloped. I have an apron
Mabel. The elm leaf has a margin like An OakLe&f.
the teeth of a saw.
Teacher. There are other kinds of margins, but
these are the most common.
NOTE. Let the children collect leaves, and sort them by margins.
THE PLANT BABY. 31
XVI. MOTHER NATURE AND THE LEAVES.
M OTHER NATURE loves her leaf children very
She likes to make them as beautiful as she can.
She does not dress them all alike; and perhaps the
leaves, like real children, sometimes fuss over their
One day a little lily leaf- was crying to herself,
when Mother Nature passed by.
"Dear me! what's the trouble now?" said the good
I want to be pretty like the rose leaves," sobbed
the lily. "Their margins are cut in little points. I
do think that is just lovely. Now, my margin is only
"But you are so big," cried the rose leaves. "We
are very small, and we would give anything to be as
big as you are.
The maple leaf stood out very straight and proud.
My edge is very curious," it said. Mother Na-
ture took her scissors and cut it out in great style.
She must love me very much."
32 THE PLANT BAB Y.
"Look here," said a horse-chestnut leaf, "don't feel
too fine! I am cut very carefully in
"Dear me!" said Mother Nature,
quite vexed. "Stop such foolish talk.
'Fine feathers do not make fine birds.'
A rorse-chestnut Leaf I made you all as I wanted you
to be. The best-behaved leaf is the most beautiful
one. Go to work now, and stop fussing."
Do you not think the leaves were ashamed?
XVII. THE GOOD LITTLE LEAVES.
O CTOBER came; each leaf was dressed
In red and amber quite its best.
The hills were wrapped in faint blue haze,
And asters smiled in forest ways.
Jack Frost stole out in quiet hours,
He breathed upon the shivering flowers;
They rubbed their eyes, and bowed full low;
They nodded fast 'twas time to go.
The leaves grew sleepy ; the great tree said,
Good-night, my children, 'tis time for bed."
So the little leaves did as they were told,
And soon were dreaming in nightgowns gold.
THE PLANT BAB Y 33
SXVIII. LEAF VEINING.
OOK at the back of this leaf. What do
S you see running from the petiole to the
I see something that looks like a stem.
It is a rib. Do you see other ribs in
Yes, there are five ribs, one running to each point.
And I see tiny little ribs running from the larger ribs
into every corner of the leaf.
Those are veins. We have veins in our bodies.
They carry blood.
The ribs and veins of a leaf carry sap.
But we find leaves veined in different ways.
Look at this elm leaf. It has one large rib run-
ning from base to apex. There are veins from this
midrib running parallel with one another out to the
Why, it looks like a feather! See, it is a feather-
veined leaf! The rose has a feather-veined leaf.
The maple is net-veined. Net-veining is sometimes
THE PLANT BABY.
The lily leaf is parallel-veined. All leaves are veined
in one of these three ways.
Tell me what kinds of veining these leaves have:-
walnut, chestnut, morn-
ing-glory, corn, catnip,
A CIf'nip Lea
A fdalnut Leaf (j C i
A \Willow A Morning-qlory Leaf.
A1 (i^r^nium LefA hsnu e
A (%Zraniurn Leaf
A Chestnut Lea
THE PLANT BAB Y. 35
1 XIX. THE THREE LITTLE LEAVES.
.1 "T"HREE little leaf stalks were in a vase on
SrKl Marion's table. They began to talk to-
"Why, isn't it queer?" said the money-plant. "My
leaves are in pairs, and they are oppo-
site on the stem."
"We like that," said the pairs
of leaves; "we can talk together so
"We have our se-
crets. If one of us does
not know how much
food to give to the
baby-pair just above us,
we ask our sister what
The leaves on the next
stalk looked very sad.
"We are not in pairs," said one leaf.
My sister next above me is on the
other side of the stem.
36 THE PLANT BABY.
"I try to talk to her, and she tries to listen. I
think it would be nice to have some one
next to me. But my sister peeps around
the ,stem, and looks down at me."
The third stalk was silent. But the
first one said, "Oh, look at the honey-
suckle stalk! How funny her leaves
Share They grow .right around the
noneysuckle Yes," said the funny leaves. "We
love the stem so much, we hug it as tightly as we can."
NOTE. -Develop terms OPPOSITE and ALTERNATE with the chil-
dren; and let each child make a collection of each kind of leaves.
Come, little leaves," said the wind, one day,
rI j Come over the meadows with me and play / "
THE PLANT BABY
XX. THE FLOWER. THE LITTLE CUP.
Y pretty buttercup, have you
anything to show me to-
.' day? "
"Yes, dear child; what
m do you see at the end of
my stem? "
"Why, I see a circle of
tiny green leaves. It is like
a little cup. You rest in the cup."
My little cup is a calyx. How
many parts do you see in my calyx?"
"I see five parts. They are long and pointed.
The tips turn back toward the stem. They are pale
yellow-green, and they are covered with little hairs."
Each part of my calyx is a sepal."
"I like your calyx. Does every flower have a calyx ?"
The lemon lily has none."
Poor lemon lily! I am sorry for you. A calyx
is very pretty."
Miss Gray," said Ethel, I think the calyx looks
as much like a little collar as a cup."
38 THE PLANT BABY.
"So do I, Ethel. Miss Buttercup looks very
pretty, does she not ?"
Do you remember the story of the Bethlehem
flower, that grows in such clumps in the fields?"
"Yes, Ethel; we have often had this pretty star
flower in the schoolroom."
"That had no calyx, but there was a green stripe
in the middle of each petal on the under side."
I'm glad you remember that. It is as if Mother
Nature took her brush, and painted picture sepals on
each petal. Perhaps it was to comfort the little flower
because it had no calyx."
How funny, Miss Gray! but I like to have you
think such nice things."
XXI. MOTHER NATURE'S PLAY.
ONCE, Mother Nature, on her way
Across the land one sunny day,
Took out her paint box bright.
She laughed a little to herself,-
The dear, old, happy, roguish elf, -
To see the pretty sight.
THE PLANT BABY 39
Her children crowded round her feet,
With faces bright and perfume sweet,
And called her by her name;
And, quicker even than you'd think,
She put a little touch of pink,
Like point of rosy flame,
On apple blossom's cheek of snow.
Then Mother Nature, bending low
Among the grasses wild,
Low-creeping, close upon the ground,-
With many a happy laugh, soon found
Another pretty child.
You know the rest, and how to-day,
As token of that merry play,
Dear Bethlehem's Star doth wear
A painted calyx softly green, -
A token in its dainty sheen
Of Nature's loving care.
THE PLANT BABY.
XXII. THE LITTLE CROWN.
ITTLE buttercup, your calyx is very pretty. But
I see another circle of leaves inside it. They
are bright yellow. Oh, how they shine!"
The buttercup bent her pretty head low.
I will tell you something," she said; only do not
think me proud. I am a queen. My circle of yel-
low leaves is my crown. Its real name is corolla.
I like my corolla. It makes me look beautiful.
It calls the bees and butterflies to visit me. They
find honey in my cup. I like to have them come.
They bring fine yellow dust to help ripen my seeds.
"My petals are the leaves of my corolla. When
my petals fall, they are like gold dollars. The chil-
dren play with them, they are so pretty."
Buttercup lets fall her gold.
Little hands, what riches hold
Fairy dollars, free to all,
By the roadside thickly fall.
Buttercup, buttercup, green and gold,
Give me your shining money to hold!
THE PLANT BABY.
XXIII. THE MERRY LITTLE MEN.
Teacher. What do you see about the center of
this flower, children?
Burton. I see some little threads with knobs on
top. Daisy. They look like pins. See!
the knob is like the head of the pin.
Teacher. We call them stamens.
The word stamen means a little thread.
The knob on top is an anther. It is
a tiny box full of dusty pollen. When
the pollen is ripe the box cracks open.
oTB Then the pollen flies out.
wood Lily. Flossy. I think the stamens are like
little men with caps on.
Teacher. Yes, you are right. We will call them
the merry little men. They are standing in a ring.
When the wind blows, they are dancing. Dance! ye
merry little men!"
Daisy. Doesn't the pollen fly out when they
Teacher. Not until the flower is ripe. The boxes
do not break before that, -remember!
42 THE PLANT BABY.
XXIV. THE PISTIL AND ITS PARTS.
THE merry little men stand up about something
in the very center of the flower. We call this
center the pistil. It is the best part of the plant,
because it holds the seeds.
It is put in the center to be kept safe.
The pistil is in three parts. It means a little pestle.
The lowest part of the pistil holds the seeds, and
is called the ovary.
Running up from the ovary is a tube. This tube
is named the style.
The style ends in a little bunch called the stigma.
The style is like a pillar or post. It is hollow.
The styles of some plants are long. Often they are
longer than the stamens.
The stigma is like a tiny door. Its edges are
sticky; when the pollen falls there, it cannot get away.
Ovary means a place for eggs.
"What! Are there eggs in a plant?"
Yes; the seeds are the eggs.
The ovary is the egg, or seed, case. It has several
tiny rooms. Each room holds a seed or a row of seeds.
THE PLANT BABY.
The seeds are very safe and happy in their rooms.
They are warm, and their food is all about them.
What a kind, careful mother Nature is! She does
not forget one thing that will make her children
beautiful and useful.
NOTE. Let the children collect flowers, and cut them apart to
find the pistil, its ovary, style, and stigma.
XXV. ABOUT POLLEN.
POLLEN is the colored dust we find in some
flowers. Usually it is yellow. In the tiger
lily it is a red-brown.
Do you ask me what it is good for? The seeds
will not ripen without it.
Some plants have no stamens, so they are without
pollen. Poor little plants! They must get pollen in
some way, or there will be no new plants next year.
How do they get it?
I think you will laugh when I tell you. It is one
of Mother Nature's prettiest stories.
44 THE PLANT BABY.
XXVI. THE BEE'S ERRAND.
WHAT is that buzzing in the morning-glory cup?
Good-morning, Mr. Bee. What
is your work to-day? "
Sf, "I am gathering honey, as
S-.' i usual, and I am after pollen too.
( PI make beebread out of the
I have baskets in my hind
legs. When I come home to
the hive they are packed full.
Then I run a few errands for
my little friends, the flowers.
cc "You see, they want pollen very
much. My breast and legs get well
covered with it; so that, when I go to a flower for
honey, I pay in pollen."
Bee, bee, hasten to me!
I have an errand ready for thee;
Pollen I want, though I have no money,
Yet I will pay thee well in honey.
Hasten quickly to me!
THE PLANT BABY. 45
XXVII. BEES AND BUTTERFLIES.
H OW the flowers must love the bees!
Yes, the bees are the flowers' best friends. The
flowers try to get the bees to come to them.
They make their petals as
bright as they can. They
send out sweet odors, and seem to
say, "Honey is here! honey is here!
Come, give me pollen, and I'll give you
Their petals are like little flags
hung out to tell the bees that honey is
There's an auction to-day, just over the way,
And all the bees are coming.
Bum! bum! bum! See, now they come!
With their humming and drumming.
The flags are out, 'tis a merry rout,
And more and more are coming.
" Clover, have you sweets to sell?
Give to me, I'll pay you well,"
The merry bees are. humming.
THE PLANT BABY.
have little marks on them to show
the bees where to find
Flowers like to have
butterflies bring them pollen.
Butterflies like flowers having
the same color as their wings.
What do you think I saw to-
Fast asleep just over the way?
Three butterflies; I counted them,
Fast asleep on a bluebell stem!
Blue were they as the summer sky,
On the bluebell stem as I passed by.
THE PLANT BABY. 47
XXVIII. HOW POLLEN BEHAVES.
E VEN if a flower has pollen of its own, it likes
best to have some from another plant of the
same kind. The seeds ripen better.
When the pollen falls, it sticks to the stigma;
-. it swells and becomes too large to
reach the ovary through the style.
-' But Mother Nature provides, for
this in a beautiful way. The pollen
grain sends out a little thread,,which grows
down into the ovary. This thread is itself a hollow
tube, and is called the pollen tube.
Every dot of pollen is a sac of oil. The oil falls
down through the thread-like tube to the
seeds in the ovary. So the seeds have
a chance to ripen.
Dear Mother Nature! you are so kind
and loving to your children. You never forget them.
48 THE PLANT BABY.
XXIX. THE CATKIN.
PRETTY little catkin,
Swinging in the sun;
Pretty little catkin,
Has your work begun ?
You are stretching downward;
Do you want to see
Just how long a catkin,
Growing well, may be?
Pretty little catkin,
Now your blossoms part,
And the yellow pollen
Scatters from your heart,
Other seeds to ripen:
This is what you do.
Growing time is pleasant
Both for us and you.
Pretty little catkin,
Swinging in the sun;
Pretty little catkin,
Then your work is done.
THE PLANT BABY.
SXXX. OUR PLANT BABY GROWN UP.
E" EAR little plant, it is a long time
since we first saw you. Then you
were in your cotyledon cradle.
You were as white as snow. Now
i you are a dark green. Then you were
less than a quarter of an inch long.
Now you are almost a little tree. You have broad,
green leaves and pretty blossoms.
By and by you will be hung with long pods full
And all this has come from one little seed!
How wonderful to think that so much was once
packed away in a tiny seed!
Your roots have been reaching out underground,
holding you firmly and seeking food for you.
Your stem has been a channel for sap. Your
leaves have been your lungs. Your blossoms have
held the seeds.
Everything in you has worked to care for and
to ripen those seeds. You will soon die, dear plant;
but every seed will hold a new germ of life.
50 THE PLANT BABY.
Next year each plant baby will awaken and grow
as you did.
You have many friends; the earth, the air, the sun-
shine, and the silver rain work for
S you. You make us glad, because
you are so lovely.
Children are God's plants.
He gives them air and sunshine
and food for their bodies. He
9 gives them food for their minds
and hearts too.
Let us grow as the flowers do.
Let us make our heart-gardens
beautiful with kind deeds and
A little plant is very lovely.
More beautiful still is a happy, growing, loving
THE PLANT BABY. 51
XXXI. THE CORN LEAF.
W AS it a dream Marion had?
She was playing in
her papa's garden, and grew '
very hot and tired. \'//
She sat down to rest
among the corn, which rose .
like a green rustling forest
high above her head. The
wind sang a sleepy song.
The corn leaves waved gently to
At last they began to whisper
in soft, wee voices,-
"Marion has come to see us, -Marion of the dark
blue eyes that see everything; Marion of the golden
locks that glimmer in the sunshine. She learns about
the birds and flowers, this Marion. She is always
looking and learning. Now she has come to learn
Oh! we will tell her, our Marion. She steps
carefully, she handles things gently. Look, Marion!"
52 THE PLANT BABY.
"My stalk is a simple one," said a tall corn plant.
"Lilies and sugar cane have stalks very like mine."
"But Marion likes leaves. I must not chatter
about other things. I would like to tell her about my
silk or my blossoms, but that must wait.
"My leaves are very long. They clasp about the
stalk without any petiole. They are something like
lily leaves. My lowest leaf is alone. There is no leaf
opposite it. Above my lowest leaf, there seems to be
a cluster. My stalk pushes its way up through these.
As my stalk grows longer, there will be many lovely
leaves on it.
"My leaf is something like a grass blade, only
longer. Then it has a stout, green rib running
'rough the middle. On either side I am parallel-
veined. I am blade-shaped. I have a very pointed
apex. My margin is entire. I have little white
hairs on my upper face. I flutter in the breeze. I
grow and I grow, in the warm sunshine and gentle
"But Marion is here. She is very tired. Come,
corn leaves! sing a sleepy song, and put the darling
in the land of dreams."
THE PLANT BABY. 53
XXXII. A SLEEPY SONG.
SWING low, sway so, and so, and so!
Maid Marion is sleepy, sleepy Oh!
From her golden crown
To the tips of her dear little toes, Oh Oh!
In golden lights that gleam and gleam,
And weave a dainty dream,-a dream!
The soft winds blow,
And tasseled corn waves to and fro.
Swing low, sway so, and so, and so!
'Neath golden lights that come and go
From her shining crown!
She lieth asleep- sway soft and low.
THE PLANT BABY.
XXXIII. IN THE PINE GROVE.
S LL one afternoon, Marion and Uncle
Will were in the pine grove, gathering
\ cones for the open fires next winter.
Marion saw that he gathered a great many
twigs from the pine trees as they went through. At
last they sat down to rest, and Uncle Will said,-
"Do you know these .twigs, Marion?"
Yes; they are pines, of course."
"Look at them. Are they alike?"
Why no, they are very different. I did not know
there was such a difference in pines."
"Tell me about this one."
"Oh, I know that. It is a scrub
pine. It is a homely, little tree. There
are many in our field near the hill. They 5srub Pine
give very little shade. The needles are Levs.
short and thick, and blunt at the ends. There are two
of them in the little sheath that fastens them to the
"Very well, Marion. Now here is the white pine.
How does it differ from the scrub pine?"
THE PLANT BABY. 55
"It is more beautiful, Uncle Will. The needles
are longer, and pale green. I like the cones too.
They are long and narrow."
"Here is a pitch pine. Look at
"They are in threes, and are very
dark and stiff."
S"What do you think of the leaves
white Pine Leaves of a pine tree?"
Tx "They are like needles. I can
see ridges in them. They grow in clusters
on the twigs. Miss Gray let us each put a
bunch on our desks. We stood them up,
and blew them just a little. They slid over
the desk, and we called it dancing." Pine
"Listen, Marion hear the wind sing .
through the pine boughs!"
Marion listened, and a sweet, sad murmur came
stealing to them.
"Do you remember that line in Jack in the
'Green fingers playing
Unseen on wind lyres ?'
56 THE PLANT BAB Y.
"A lyre is a harp, and the wind playing against the
slender harp strings of the pines makes sweet music."
NOTE. Let the children draw pine sprigs from models, and notice
differences in the three kinds.
XXXIV. THE OAK LEAF.
N EAR Miss Gray's schoolhouse were many oak
trees. One of them the children loved dearly.
\ fI It was very large, and in the fall
i' -/ > -" every leaf turned a beautiful terra
t ott.i. or red-browni. color.
In the winter it still held its i]r.
4f 1\., i:\. while the och., r trees were bare-
S"/ / / The oak would h..i.[.id on to
.- ; those L."." .r old leaves until
they were pushed off by the
new ones in the pnioiji.
One day they had a lesson on
SePrlet oA the oak leaf.
THE PLANT BAB Y 57
XXXV. THE OAK LEAVES.
Burton. Oak leaves grow on a tree.
Max. They grow in clusters.
Elsie. Sometimes the leaves grow alone.
Alice. Their shape would be oval if the margin
were not cut in long scallops.
Nora. One of these leaves is seven inches long.
Roy. The leaf stalk swells out in a bunch where
it joins the stem.
Maud. It has one strong mid-rib and a smaller
rib running out into each scallop.
Francis. It is net-veined between the ribs.
Alice. The under part is much lighter than the
upper. I like the oak because it gives us acorns in
their little cups.
Two fairies were quarreling over their tea.
It was served in a pretty acorn cup;
One naughty fairy drank it up;
The other was vexed and ran away,
Crying,, that she would no more play.
The fun was gone as well as the tea.
58 THE PLANT BABY.
XXXVI. THE GRAPE LEAF.
THE grape leaf grows on a vine. This vine throws
out shoots on either side.
Look, and you will see that the
shoots are first on one side of the
stem, and then on the other.
This is what we mean by al-
ternate." The leaves grow
I -if on these shoots. Each leaf
Opposite each leaf-stalk
Siis a long, curly tendril. The
7 leaves are very large and
soft. They would be heart-shaped
if they were not cut in three lobes.
The ribs join at the base, and
spread out into the lobes.
Each main rib is feather-veined. The margin is
cut in points,-some large, some small. A vein runs
to each point.
There is much difference between a grape leaf and
a pine needle; but both are beautiful.
THE PLANT BABY. 59
XXXVII. LEAVES TO HAVE FUN WITH.
C ATNIP and mint leaves are good to eat. So
thinks little pussy; so thinks Marion.
"You are only a kitty, after all," says Uncle Will.
"Catnip is good to eat. Pussy and I think so,"
Marion replies, shaking her bright curls.
The lilac leaf makes pretty three-cornered bags.
Fold the apex down one third of the way to the stem,
and fold the sides toward the mid-rib. There is your
bag, with the leaf-stalk for a handle. Tuck a lilac
blossom in each of the lower corners, and see if it
Do you know the plant called bag-weed? It has
thick, oval leaves about two inches long. There is a
silvery skin on the under side. If you hold the leaf
in your mouth a while, the skin will separate from the
leaf. Then you can blow into it, and you will have
a puffy bag.
Oak, and maple, and lilac leaves make nice
Sorrel is good to eat, and is very curious on
account of its funny little ears.
60 THE PLANT BAB Y.
ISS GRAY'S chil-
dren studied about
many plants this
spring. The wake-
robin gave them so
m uc h pleasure that I would
Slike to tell you about it.
1/iss Gray. What is the
i namte ot this flower?
Donald. It is wake-robin.
Miss Gray. Its true family name is Trillium.
What does the blossom do?
Marie. It cuddles under the leaves.
Burton. The stem curves.
Miss Gray. Yes, so we call this kind the nodding
trillium. Where does the wake-robin grow ?
Nora. In wet places. It grows wild.
Miss Gray. Can you tell me anything about its
The children had not brought any roots; so they
were told to find some, and to examine them closely.
THE PLANT BABY. I
Miss Gray. Alice, describe the stem.
Alice. It is long; some of the stems are over
seven inches in length. It is pale green, and almost
like a cylinder.
Miss Gray. How are the leaves arranged?
Vernon. They are in a cluster of three at the
top of the stalk. The flower stalk comes up in the
center, and then curls down.
Miss Gray. Tell me about the leaves, Elsie.
Elsie. The wake-robin leaves are a very broad
oval in shape. They end in a sharp point. The
edge is entire, and the veins spread out from the
base. The leaves droop.
Claude. I think this plant is very cunning. It
has three green sepals and three white petals.
Ethel. Yes, first a sepal, then a petal, and so on.
Willie. I see some purple streaks on the petals.
Alice. There are six stamens. They are white,
and there is a stripe of purple around the edge of
Miss Gray. Look at the pistil. What is it like?
Hattie. The pistils look like three crook-necked
squashes put together.
62 THE PLANT BABY.
Alice. Oh! they are like three swans with their
breasts together. Isn't this a pretty flower?
Henry. It's all in threes -three leaves, three
sepals, three petals; and the pistil is in three parts.
Elsie. Yes, and two threes of stamens.
Nora. I call it a boat flower- no, a water flower;
for it grows in wet places. It has stamens which
look like oars.
MAiss Gray. It is indeed a dear little flower, and
your eyes have been very bright. I am glad you
have seen so much.
0 Robin dear!
Come from the marshy thicket,
For spring-tide days are here.
O Robin dear!
Welcome the happy children,
For spring-tide days are here.
NOTE. -Let the children make a collection of field flowers, and
see if they can find any that are three-parted.
THE PLANT BABY. 63
XXXIX. WHAT A PLANT IS.
,~ ~ study about plants in our school, Uncle
S._ "What is a plant?"
':' Now, Marion was a little girl but eight
Si'" -. years old; yet she was learning to think.
"u." Instead of saying, "Oh! I don't know,"
'; or I know, but I can't tell," as some chil-
Sdren would, she stopped a moment.
"A plant grows," at last she said.
"But a chicken grows; so does a little girl."
Marion kept on thinking.
It has roots and leaves, and blossoms and fruit."
"Very true, dear; but let us think still more.
What is the difference between a stone and a plant? "
"Why, the plant is alive, yes, and it grows
larger and larger."
"We speak of a plant as a 'living body,' Marion."
But I'm not a plant, Uncle Will; yet I am a
living body, and I grow."
We must think still more, little girl. Please hand
me that book on the window seat."
64 THE PLANT BABY
Marion skipped across the room, and returned with.
the book. Uncle Will thanked her, and asked,-
What did you do just now that the plant does
Why, I moved away from where I was. But the
plant moves. My sweet peas climb to the top of the
"Think a little deeper, Marion. Do the sweet
peas move as you did ?"
No, they don't," said she, looking rather ashamed.
"Their roots stay just where they were. I left one
place, and went to another. Oh! I see now,- and
we have read about it too. The plant cannot move
from place to place."
"A growing plant has motion, but not like that
of an animal. Some day you may learn about it.
Can you tell me now what a plant is?"
"A plant is a living body that grows -and
that cannot move from place to place.
I like to talk with you, Uncle Will. You know
almost as much as Miss Gray."
"Oh, thank you!" laughed Uncle Will. "You
make me very proud and happy."
THE PLANT BABY. 65
XL. A VERY STRANGE PLANT.
WISH I could find Uncle Will," said Mar-
ion one hot July morning.
A "Here I am in the study," called a voice
v over the stairs. "Come up, child; I have
!i something to show you."
Marion ran eagerly up stairs. Uncle Will
was sitting at the table, his microscope before him.
"Oh! has the new microscope come?" cried Mar-
ion; "and may I look through it?"
I have something on the slide for you this
"Oh, oh! how queer! What is it, Uncle Will?"
"What does it look like, Marion?"
"A lot of little bubbles strung together. What
are they? Of course they are not plants!"
"They are plants. They are yeast plants."
"Why, is yeast a plant?"
Yes, dear, one of the simplest of all plants. And
it grows in such a curious manner. When one
bubble is full grown, it sends out another bubble,
and so on."
66 THE PLANT BABY.
"That is what makes them all strung together,
"Of course. Now can you tell me what yeast
is good for?"
"We put it in bread to make it rise."
"As the tiny plants grow, they push the dough
apart. A kind of gas rises in little bubbles all through
the mass, and that is what makes the bread light.
Where does mamma put her bread before it goes into
Why, in a warm place."
"The yeast plants cannot grow without plenty
of heat and water."
Marion came to her uncle later, in great trouble.
I told Debby about yeast, and she doesn't believe
it. She says, 'The idea of its being a plant!'"
"Never mind," laughed Uncle Will; "don't be
And Harry's mother says it's all nonsense. You
buy yeast at the store in little silver papers,-it is
"You are both right, dear; but do not lose one
wink of sleep over it."
THE PLANT BABY.
And she says," Marion's voice grew very
low,--" that if I were her little girl I shouldn't be
running wild, and getting my head full of ideas. I
should have to make a patchwork quilt. Oh, dear
Uncle Will! I'm so glad I'm not her girl."
XLI. WHAT HAPPENED TO MARION'S SHOES.
'.- FTER Marion had come in from play one
),~; day, her mamma said, "You remember
Sthe shoes you outgrew this spring; I
think they will just fit Polly, Smith."
"I would like to give them to her; she is a cun-
ning little girl," said Marion brightly.
"They are in the little closet under the kitchen
stairs. You may get them for me."
Marion came back with a very sober face.
"Something is the matter with them. I think
they are all spoiled."
"Why, they are covered with mold!" said her
mamma. "That closet must be very damp. It must
be looked after at once. No, the shoes must not be
68 THE PLANT BAB Y
"But I want Polly to have some shoes;" and a tear
stood in Marion's dark blue eyes.
"Don't feel badly, Marion. Would you like to
take some of your rag money, and buy her a pair?"
"I will, mamma. I don't care so much about a
"May I have those shoes?" asked Uncle Will.
Oh! you are going to show me something lovely,
I know you are!" and Marion was all smiles again.
When I call for you, come up," said
Uncle Will going off with the shoes in
Later, Marion was again looking
Mold as seen through through the microscope.
a Microscope. How pretty they look like little
burrs. Oh! is this really mold from my old shoes?"
"Yes, indeed, Marion. Don't you think it even
prettier than the yeast plants?"
"Ever so much prettier! The yeast plants I didn't
call pretty, but queer; and nice to look at because
they were so queer. You know what I mean."
"Yes, Marion, you mean curious,- wonderful,-
THE PLANT BAB Y.
Mold does not grow as the yeast does, but in a
very different way. All the mold plants have little
sacs on them. Some of these sacs look like anthers."
"Do they have pollen in them?"
"Not just that; but they do carry a dust. Every
speck of this dust is' like a seed. When the sacs burst
open, these specks fall out in the air. They can grow
wherever it is damp."
We found another kind of mold on some old
bread one day," said Marion.
Yes; and your mamma sometimes finds it on her
Mold isn't nice to have in the house, is it ?"
"No, though it is very interesting under the micro-
scope. Sunshine is what we need to drive the damp,
and thus the mold, away."
THE PLANT BABY
XLII. MARION FINDS A PATIENT PLANT.
M ARION and Uncle Will had climbed Crotchet
Mountain, and were resting on the very tiptop.
About them rose the gray rocks, full
c of cracks and seams.
"Isn't this queer moss, Uncle Will?"
.i said Marion, fingering a greenish gray
^-^- patch on the rock where she sat.
Lihe. That is not moss; that is a lichen."
I suppose that is another kind of plant, isn't it?"
Yes, Marion, and a very interesting little plant too.
I call it the 'patient plant,' because it grows quietly
on the rocks in winter as well as summer. The hot
,sun beats down, the rain and hail pelt it, the snows
cover it. Still it grows on and on, a
little larger each year."
"You are a good plant, and I shall !K,, -
like you after this;" and Marion .'
patted the dull gray lichen.
As they came down the moun-
tain, Uncle Will showed her some LcKei
orange-colored lichens on the trunks of the trees.
THE PLANT BABY.
After that, her bright eyes were always on the
lookout for new kinds. She found them
S on old walls, on tree trunks and branches,
/ N and on the roofs and the sides of some
of the farm buildings.
One day they found a humming
Lichen bird's nest, covered with gray lichens.
"'What is the law of thy beauty?'
I asked of the lichen pale,
That grew like a dream of the spring-tide,
Through winter's rain and hail.
And its tiny shields replied to me,
Do thy duty, and thou shalt see.'"
NOTE.- Let children collect and mount lichens for school use.
72 THE PLANT BABY.
XLIII. MARION'S DREAM.
T was a rainy day, and Marion had been look-
ing over some large books of pictures.
-Uncle Will was busy, writing. He was a
teacher in a college, and had a good many
Lectures to get ready for next year.
Marion curled up on the easy sofa like a
little, tired kitten.
Before she knew it, the blue eyes closed, and the
young lady was in Dreamland.
"What a strange, wild country!" she exclaimed.
It was a land of snow snow everywhere, on the
mountain tops and on the forest branches.
She could see no sun; but all the light came from
some red streamers in the northern sky.
"Where am I? I should call this Lapland if I
could only see a reindeer," said the little girl.
Look around and you'll see one," said a strange,
Marion turned, and, sure enough, there stood a
reindeer. He looked for all the world as if he had
stepped out of a picture.
THE PLANT BABY. 73
"Well, how do you like me?" asked the reindeer
"You look -very natural," replied Marion. "Is
this your home? "
"I belong to Sutelma, a little girl of Lapland.
I am her pet reindeer, and when I draw her pulk my
harness is very gay. The herd is out to pasture to-
day. You will see my friends feeding among the
"What can you feed on in all this snow?"
"We scrape away the snow with our hoofs, and
find a lichen that grows below it."
"Why, I know about lichens a little. Tell me of
this one; it is new to me."
"Sometimes it is called reindeer moss, because we
reindeer eat it so much. I remember one year we
had nothing else to eat. It was a sad time Even
the people had little food.. The snows were so deep
that many of us could not get at the lichens.
I do not like to think of those days, when so
many lay down to die."
The reindeer's voice was very sad, and .large tears
stood in his eyes.
74 THE PLANT BABY.
"There is my mistress, Sutelma," said the reindeer.
Marion turned, and saw a little girl of her own
age. She had a round face, rosy cheeks, and dark
eyes. She was dressed in a dark-red cloth gown
trimmed with fur.
Sutelma smiled, and stretched out her arms.
Marion ran toward her, but just then found herself
falling. Then she awoke on the floor, and saw Uncle
Will bending over her.
"Where is Sutelma? Where is the reindeer?"
she cried, rubbing her eyes.
"In Dreamland, where you found them," said
Uncle Will, laughing.
Sir Edwin Landseer.
THE PLANT BABY.
. .. -T last Marion and Harry came in from
0 '7, play, loaded down with pretty stones.
"A4, "How did the little ferns get onto
These stones ?" asked Marion, showing
several pink bits of rock with dainty, fern-like
marking on them.
These are not ferns, though they look like them,"
said Uncle Will.
"What are they? Please tell us," said Harry.
"These fern marks were made by liquid iron, work-
ing its way through the rock."
They are very pretty," said Marion. It does
seem as if God takes so much pains to make little
"You are right, Marion. Now bring me a real
fern, and we will see if it has a story to tell."
The children ran away, but soon came back with
their hands full. Uncle Will looked carefully over
the ferns, and then gave each child one.
"What do you see on the under side of the frond ?"
"What is a frond, sir?" asked Harry.
THE PLANT BABY.
It is the fern leaf."
"Why, uncle, there are tiny brown dots all along
the scallops. What are they?"
"They are the fruit of the fern. Now shake the
"There is brown dust on my hands," cried Harry.
" I noticed it when we were picking them."
"That dust is the ripe fern fruit. It goes out into
the air, and falls to the earth. It is the fern seed.
"You looked sorry when I told you that your
pretty markings on the rocks were not ferns. I can
show you something that was made by a real fern
long years ago."
Uncle Will unlocked his cab-
inet, and took out a flat stone.
Marion and Harry pressed eagerly
forward to see. .
There on the stone was what
looked like a drawing of a fern. ,, ;
"How did it come there?"
"I told you that perhaps the
fern might tell us a story. Listen to what it says.
THE PLANT BABY.
XLV. THE FERN'S STORY.
I LIVED thousands of years ago, before man was
on the earth.
It was a strange, wonderful world. Great trees
tossed their branches; such trees, with their trunks
carved in curious patterns! Strange animals roamed
through the forests, or stopped to drink by the water-
side. There were ferns taller than trees; but I was
only a common, little baby fern. Mother Nature was
very busy in those days.
She was working over her ledges of rock, now
lifting them up high, now letting them down low -
even under the ocean.
Well, in one of these changing times of hers, I
was uprooted. I fell on a bed of mud, and mud and
rocks were piled over me. No more sunshine for the
baby fern, no more free air, no more waving by the
Long, long years passed. New animals and plants
covered the earth. Man had come, and was busy
everywhere learning Mother Nature's secrets. The
mud about me had hardened into rock.
THE PLANT BABY.
One day I was found. My green fronds had
passed away. But where I had pressed into the
soft mud, a print had been left of me.
I am old, thousands of years old older than
man. But even in the far-away days God cared for
the little fern. I come to you now to tell you that
He has been working through all time.
/ XLVI. THE LITTLE FERN.
ISTEN to a story
Told in simple rhyme;
Listen to a story
Of an olden time!
Once a little fern leaf,
Growing wild and low
By the laughing water,
Waved so long ago.
Earth was full of wonders;
Giant trees on high
Tossed their plumy branches
'Neath a clouded sky.
THE PLANT BABY.
Stranger beasts were feeding;
All the earth and main
Swarmed with curious creatures
Ne'er to come again.
So the baby fern-leaf
Grew its wild, sweet way;
Tossed upon the breezes
In a merry play,
Till a sudden earthquake
Rent it from its bed, -
Piling many a bowlder
O'er its graceful head.
On the ages hastened,
Till, one summer day,
Careful hands were searching
Where it, buried, lay.
'Neath the gray rocks' frowning,
Went their search; and lo!
Spoke that wild, sweet beauty
Of the long ago.
80 THE PLANT BABY
On the gray rock tablet,
Every curve and turn
Faithfully was pictured, -
Just a fairy fern:
Whispers low its beauty,
Young and wild and free:
Down through all the ages,
God remembers me."
THE PLANT BABY.
XLVII. A SPINNING WHEEL STORY.
HE Lyman family were having a picnic at
Black Bass Pond.
In the afternoon a thunder shower
came up, and they had to run to a farm-
house near by.
It was a curious old home, with low rooms, win-
dows of tiny panes of glass, and big fireplaces.
Marion found a spinning wheel in one corner,
and took Uncle Will over to see it.
"Why, this must be a flax wheel," he said. "I
have seen many just like it in Ireland and other
parts of Great Britain."
"It is my mother's wheel," said Mrs. Lyon. "She
brought it from the old country. I have seen her spin
many a hank of linen thread upon it.
"Would you not like to see mother? She's very
proud of that wheel."
They found the old lady knitting-in her own room.
She sat up very straight in her big armchair, and her
eyes were almost as bright as Marion's own.
This little girl likes your wheel very much," said
82 THE PLANT BABY.
Uncle Will, "and I know she would be glad to hear
about the flax fields of the old country."
The old lady held Marion's hand, and looked into
The bonnie flax flower isn't bluer than your eyes,
my little one," she said.
Did the flax grow where you lived?" asked the
"Fields upon fields of it, dearie-the sweetest
sight in the world, all those blue eyes looking up
at the blue sky."
"What shape is the flower?"
"Something like a buttercup, only the petals are
not so broad.
"It hangs on a slender stalk; and, when the wind
blows, the pretty flowers nod. Oh, but it's a bonnie
"I wish I could see a flax field too," said Marion.
"You can plant some seeds in your garden," said
Uncle Will, "and see a few flowers, if not a field
"Please tell me how they make linen, if you are
not too tired," said Marion.
THE PLANT BABY
"I am never too tired to talk about the dear old
home," said Grandmother, putting down her knitting.
"It's the flax stalk that gives us the linen threads,"
she began. "The plants are pulled up, and laid in
bunches on the ground. Then we strip off the seeds,
and soak the stalks in water un-
til they are partly decayed. The j
linen part does not decay, it only
grows soft and limber. It has to
be beaten to make it still
softer, and cleansed to get
out all the decayed matter. ll
Then we comb it with metal
combs, and it comes out in
smooth fibers. At last we
spin it into threads on our
"That linen cover on my bed Fix.
was made from flax raised by
my own hands. I helped get
it ready for use, and spun and
wove it myself."
"You must be very smart," said Marion gravely.
84 THE PLANT BAB Y
"I could work as smart as any one once, dearie.
But now I am old,-just fit to make stockings and
"You are fit to love," said the child. She did not
understand why the old lady kissed her when she
"I will give you some
.r\ flax seeds to plant," said
Uncle Will on the way
home. "It is late; still,
I think some of them will
"That was such a dear
S little wheel," said Marion,
"I would like to have it."
A year after that, Mr.
Lyon brought the wheel
-to Marion's house.
Grandmother had died,
and before she passed away she
"Give my flax wheel to the lassie with the flax-
THE PLANT BA-BY.
XLVIII. THE COTTON PLANT.
O NE day Marion had
a present of several .-
cotton bolls and a box of
She was very much
pleased. Of course she
took them to Uncle Will, A coh- Pod
and wanted to know all
about her gift.
Uncle Will was busy. Then, too,
he liked to have Marion find out things for herself.
So he gave her a book to look over, and said,
"You will find in this book a very good chapter
on cotton. Now, suppose you read it, and by and by
tell me about it."
A few days later Marion said to Uncle Will,-
"I think I can tell you about cotton now. I wrote
down the things I found out. Let me see. It
grows down South and in India. When the Seed.
frost is out of the ground, the field is plowed to
get out the old stalks. Then the ground is marked
86 THE PLANT BABY.
in long furrows four or five feet apart. In the last
of March the seeds are dropped, and covered
with an inch of soil. When the plants
Share over six inches high, the weak ones are
Seed. taken out and the strong ones left. Then
the top buds are nipped off. That makes the plant
grow out more branches at the side. After the blos-
som drops off, it leaves a little boll as big as a bean."
"That is very well, Marion. What do you find
inside the boll?"
Oh! it is full of seeds with a sticky pulp around
them. The book says so."
Yes, Marion, and as the boll ripens, the pulp goes
away. Around the seeds there are packed long, silky
hairs. These burst the boll, and hang down several
"Does it have to be worked as much as the flax?"
"Even more, Marion. It has to be spread out to
dry; then the seeds must be taken out. They used to
pick them out by hand. Now they have a machine
that does the work. After the seeds are out, the fiber
is passed between heavy iron rollers. That spreads it
in sheets. Then it is pressed into bales of about four
THE PLANT BABY. 87
hundred pounds each. The baled cotton has to be
cleaned, carded, and then drawn into a coarse, loose
thread. From this loose thread other threads, fine
or coarse, can be spun."
It takes a good deal of work before I can have a
dress," said Marion, looking at her pretty blue gown.
XLIX. A LITTLE ABOUT STEMS.
RING me a piece of corn stalk, Harry.
Marion, you may have half of it. Look
Sat the corn stalk, and tell me what you
can about it."
"There is a soft part inside, with
some threads scattered through it. It is
softer in the middle than anywhere else."
"Do you know what the soft part is? You have
often dug it out of the elder twigs."
"Oh, it is the pith."
"Now pull out some of the threads. How do they
differ from the pith?"
They are hard, and look as if they might be wood."
THE PLANT BABY
"We will now look at some of these pieces of
wood. How do they differ from the corn stalk?"
"There is pith in the center, with rings of wood
"There are two great classes of stems. We call a
stem like the corn stalk an in-growing stem. Its
wood is formed inside by these scattered threads.
You see it has no real bark. Here are some other
in-growing stems. What are they?"
S"This is the end of a rattan stick, and
S this the handle of a palm-leaf fan."
"If we call these pieces in-growers, what
shall we call this maple; this cherry, and
inrowin, this walnut?"
I think we might call them
Yes, that is a good name. Every year
the tree adds a ring of wood to itself. By ov rowing
counting the rings, one can tell how many
years old a tree is. All our best woods are out-
"Before we close the lesson tell me,-What is an
in-growing stem? What is an out-growing stem?"
THE PLANT BABY.
L. WHAT THE FOREST TOLD MARION.
SHAMMOCK swung between two
great pines in the grove. Two blue
Sees looked up into the green world
of branches above.
It was a hot day, and Marion felt
lazy. Besides, she had been ill, and was just getting
better. Her papa had put her in the hammock after
"You are to lie here and rest until I come to you,"
he said. "The breath of the pines will be good for a
little sick girl who is trying to get well. If you are
very still, the birds and squirrels may come near, and
you can watch them."
Marion was glad to be in the pine grove. She
liked to watch the golden lights that stole down
through the branches. She loved the breath of the
pines, and the soft winds that kissed her brow.
Now and then a bird voice would call from some
leafy bower. Then, far away, another would answer.
It seemed to Marion as if they said, "Sweet!
Sweet! Sweetest! Sweet! Sweet!"
90 THE PLANT BABY.
The squirrels came out on the boughs, and looked
at her. They would make a funny, little, barking
noise, and then scamper away, flirting their tails.
The pines sang to her--such a soft, sleepy song.
She felt her eyes closing- closing- closing. Can
trees talk? What are the pines saying?
"Marion! Marion! Marion!"
"Did you speak?" she asked of the tree nearest.
"Yes, I spoke, and my sisters about me spoke,
also. We have often spoken to you before; only
you were too busy with play to listen."
"If I had known," said Marion, "you may be sure
I would have listened. Are you going to tell me a
story? I am never tired of hearing stories."
"We can whisper many a tale," said the pines.
" What will you choose?"
"Tell me about yourselves."
"What do you suppose we are good for?"
"You give shade. You sing. Your breath is very
sweet. The birds and squirrels find homes in you.
You are beautiful."
"All this is true, Marion, and even more. In the
first place, we make the soil better. Our roots strike
THE PLANT BABY. 91
down among the rocks. Into every little crack and
crevice go our tiny threads. They can even break
up the rocks, because a juice comes from our roots
that can crumble the rocks.
In this way we make some new earth, which helps
feed the plants. When the plants fall to the ground,
in the fall, they decay and so make the soil richer."
"I never knew that before," said Marion; "and
yet, when I want rich earth for my garden, I get it
under the trees in the grove."
"We also help save the soil from being harmed.
You know when it rains, the water takes the earth
away into the brooks and rivers. It might all be
washed away if it were not for one thing.
"You know we break up stone into smaller bits.
This covering of stone protects the earth under it,
so that it is not easily moved.
"When we grow along river banks, our roots form
a strong network. This keeps the river in its own
channel. If it should overflow its banks, it would
wash away much good soil."
"Why, this is very wonderful," said Marion. "I
never dreamed of such things."
THE PLANT BABY.
"We prevent floods too. The rains fall on the
thick, spongy soil which we have made by our dead
leaves and branches that have fallen.
this soil into the
S brooks and riv-
S. .. ers. If all this
water rushed to
the rivers at once, you can see what harm it would do.
"Then our strong roots strike deep into the earth.
They bring up rich matter, and build it into our leaves
and branches. When the leaves fall and die, this rich
matter goes back into the soil again.
So you see we make soil, save it, and enrich it as
well. We are working all the time."
"It must be a beautiful thing to be a tree," said
"We give shelter to the cattle and the horses,"
added the trees. "When the earth is not covered
with trees, the wind can sweep across it with great
fury. That causes cyclones. The trees break the
force of the winds."
THE PLANT BABY.
"It seems wicked to cut down trees," said Marion.
"It is wicked to cut us down as they are doing in
many places. Wherever we have been cut away in
great numbers, the rivers have become smaller, and
the rainfalls have been less."
"Mr. Smith means to cut down his pine grove,
and sell the wood. I'll tell him all you said."
"Tell me, too, Marion," said Uncle Will, coming
to the hammock-side; "but come in to dinner first."
LI. PINE MUSIC.
LAST night, within my dreaming,
There somehow came to me
The faint and fairy music
Of the far-off, singing sea.
This morning, neathh the pine tree,
I heard that song once more;
And I seemed to see the billows,
As they broke against the shore.
Oh, wandering summer breezes!
The pine harps touch again,-
For the child who loves the ocean,
And longs for it in vain.
94 THE PLANT BABY
LII. PLANTS THAT LIVE ON OTHERS.
" W HY did papa scrape his apple trees this
spring?" asked Marion one day.
He wanted to clean away all the little
lichens and plants that were living on the
trees," said Uncle Will.
"Do plants live on each
other? "- and Marion's eyes
were very eager.
"Yes, indeed. You remember the
bitter-sweet on the cedar trees at the foot Bitter-sweet
of the garden ?"
You mean the vine that has the pretty, light-red
berries in the fall?"
Yes, the same. Have you seen what the vine is
doing to the trees?"
"No, I haven't; but I'll go and look now."
When Marion came back, she had quite a story to
"0 Uncle Will! the trees are dying. The old
vine is like a snake. It is hugging them just as
THE PLANT BABY.
It is not only hugging, but fairly strangling
them," replied Uncle Will.
What a mean plant! said Marion; I hope there
are not many like it."
But there are. We call the lichens parasites,
because they live on other plants. Some plants
prepare a part of their own food, and steal the
rest from others. I know one that joins its roots
with others underground. In some countries these
plants spoil the flax, clover, and hop fields. They
f-w wind about
.. the stalks of
all the life out of them."
"I liked the pretty
lichens so much," said
M\a rion, sorrowfully.
"They are pretty to
look at, but we have to
clear them away from the
."-* -' tree-trunks," replied Uncle
-[ ...- W ill.
96 THE PLANT BABY
LIII. HOW PLANTS PROTECT THEMSELVES FROM ANIMALS.
M ANY animals feed upon growing plants.
The poor little plants have a hard time
of it. If they lose all their green
leaves, they lose all their food
store. So they try to protect
Some poison plants
throw out an odor that
the animals do not like;
so they let such plants
alone. Others take in hard
matter from the soil. This
makes them very tough, and The Blackberry.
Sthe animals cannot eat them.
Some plants cover their leaves with
soft, furry hairs, which the animals do
t not like. The mullein that grows in
S"" the pasture has very furry leaves.
Some plants send out thorns and
-y prickles. The blackberry vines and
f the rose bushes do this.
THE PLANT BABY. 97
I am going to tell you a curious thing. Some
plants have these thorns only down low. Up above,
where the animals cannot reach, there are
no thorns. The holly is like this.
In some countries we find a very stiff
grass. The poor sheep often cut their
noses on it.
The thistle and the burdock
are covered with long sharp
S spines. The nettle is covered
with stinging hairs. Did you
ever try to pick a pur-
ple thistle blossom?
Do you remem-
S ber the clusters of
Thistle thorns on the bar-
The plant says," I will not give my
leaves away. I will fight for them, and
whoever tries to take them must look
NOTE. Let the children collect plants and Barberry.
branches which protect themselves.
THE PLANT BABY.
:-' LIV. WHAT PLANTS DO FOR THE LIFE
-OF OUR WORLD.
t4ITTLE plant, they tell me you are very
Helpful. You can do many things for the
S "I try to do my part, dear child."
"Please tell me about yourself."
"What do you think I eat?"
Oh, you must have air and sunshine and water
in order to live."
"I get something else from the ground. You
know my roots can break up stone."
"So my teacher told us. I suppose it must be
so, but it seems very wonderful to me."
"It is true. Now, a part of my food comes from
that broken stone. It runs through my veins, and is
changed into food for my leaves and fruit. These
become food for the animals. All things that keep
life in the animal, I prepare."
"That's a pretty large story, little plant."
"But it is true. There are just two things you
eat that I do not prepare for you."