Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Why plants travel
 Those that fly with plumes...
 Seeds that fly with wings
 Seeds that fly without wings or...
 Other seeds that are moved by the...
 Wanderers that cling
 Wanderers that float
 Seeds that animals like to eat
 Seeds that are shot away
 Back Cover

Title: Little wanderers
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00087557/00001
 Material Information
Title: Little wanderers
Physical Description: iv, 107 p. : ill. ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Morley, Margaret Warner, 1858-1923 ( Author, Primary )
Ginn and Company ( Publisher )
Athenaeum Press (Boston, Mass.)
Publisher: Ginn and Company
Place of Publication: Boston
New York
Manufacturer: Athenaeum Press
Publication Date: c1899
Subject: Seeds -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Plants -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Natural history -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1899
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston
United States -- New York -- New York
United States -- Illinois -- Chicago
England -- London
United States -- Georgia -- Atlanta
United States -- Texas -- Dallas
United States -- Ohio -- Columbus
United States -- California -- San Fancisco
Statement of Responsibility: by Margaret Warner Morley.
General Note: Bound in brown cloth ; stamped in green and yellow.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00087557
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002234569
notis - ALH5001
oclc - 04921484

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Table of Contents
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Why plants travel
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Those that fly with plumes or down
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        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
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
    Seeds that fly with wings
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
    Seeds that fly without wings or plumes
        Page 59
        Page 60
    Other seeds that are moved by the wind
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
    Wanderers that cling
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
    Wanderers that float
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
    Seeds that animals like to eat
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
    Seeds that are shot away
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text








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FLAX ..78





PLANTS are great travelers; they often wander fax
and wide. Sometimes they even cross the ocean and
take up their abode in a new land.
The oxeye daisy, our common meadow buttercup,
and the little Canada thistle, now so abundant' every-
where, are not native Americans, but came here from
Very likely they sailed in the ships with the early
settlers and took possession of the New World with
Them. They are so much at home now
S that most people think they always
Grew here. But they ( did not,


and when the Pilgrim Fathers looked over their new
home the fields were not white with daisies nor yellow
with buttercups.
No doubt the Pilgrim Fathers were glad of this, for
daisies and buttercups often cover the fields and spoil
the hay, and while daisies in the meadow seem very
lovely to the city people who go to the country for the
summer, daisies in the hay are another matter, and the
farmers do not think them lovely at all.
It is not the grown-up plants that travel, as a rule,
though some of them do. For you must know the
plant world is a topsy-turvy kind of place where the
parents stand still at home and the children wander
Of course the children are the seeds, and they are
free, but when they once settle down and begin to
grow their wandering days are .over.
Plants with roots are great home-bodies; nothing
short of actual violence can make them move from the
spot they have chosen. Frequently it happens that
they die if moved.
Not so with the seeds, however.
They wander about, and their parents often take
great pains to send them out into the world.
For the children of the plants are very apt to die if
they remain at home too long. They need to find a
place in which to settle down and grow, and t is often


better for them to do this at a distance from their
Plants eat what is in the soil, and each kind of plant
needs some particular earth food. When plants of one
kind are crowded too closely in a place the earth is
often impoverished, and the plant might die out if it
were not able to find a fresh growing place. Then,
again, if the seeds always fell close to the parent plant,
the earth would soon become too crowded to support
more than a very few new plants.
So for these and other reasons it is best for the seeds
to go while they are able and find a place for themselves.
Nearly all seeds are provided with some way of mov-
ing about, and while some of them go very short dis-
tances others go very long ones.
They travel for their profit, and why may we not say
for their pleasure? For if a plant is able to feel and
enjoy at all, -and I for one believe it is, -then the
dandelion seeds must feel very joyous sailing before the
wind in the early summer, and later the thistle-down
and the milkweed seeds, scudding before the breeze.

Some happy wanderers


EVERYBODY is well acquainted with the dandelion,
but not everybody knows that it was brought
to this / country from Europe. It is not proba-
ble that \ a dandelion seed could come on the
wings of the wind three thousand miles across
the ocean, nor is it probable that people would
bring it on purpose.
Very likely .-, dandelion seeds were acciden-
tally mixed I in with the grass and clover seeds
the settlers brought from their homes in the
Old World.
Before the coming of the white man the Indian
did not see the roadsides yellow with dandelions,
nor did he see dandelions at all, excepting a kind
that grows sparingly way up north and another that
grows in the Rocky Mountains.
The European dandelions liked the
New { World and when they had the
S chance spread very fast, so that
now they are every-
where at least in
the East.


The reason they were able to spread so is that the
dandelion seeds were able to fly.
If they had not flown away but had dropped down
close to the parent plant and grown there, they would
not have been allowed to spread much; for people do
not like dandelions in their fields and lawns, and try
hard to root them out.
This would be easy if the dandelions kept together
in patches. But they seem to say "catch me if you
can as they fly on the wings of the wind, dropping
down here, there, and everywhere, striking root and
merrily growing.
The parent dandelion takes very good care of its
seed.children, and plans for their future success by


giving each one a little plume by which it can be
blown about by the wind.
Everybody knows the pretty, fluffy, white-headed
dandelions that come after the yellow flowers.
Children often blow on them "to see what time it
is." If all the seeds fly away but one, they say it is
one o'clock; if two remain, they say it is two o'clock,
and so on.
1 '/., They also blow on them to see if mother
wants me," as every child knows.
Each little silky part that flies away is a
seed case and its plume.
If you look carefully at the part of the
dandelion that flies about, you will see .the
little brown seed case at one end, shaped
Seed ease and
plume mag- something like a tiny cucumber, and with
nified. little teeth near its top.
Out of its top grows a silky white stalk, and at the
end of this is a tuft of soft little hairs by means of
which the seed case can float in the air.
Each dandelion seed case contains one little seed, but
the case fits the seed so closely that most people speak
of the whole thing seed case and seed together as
the seed. The proper name for such a seed case and
its seed is akene.* Not all akenes have plumes.
The top of the dandelion stem is a flat cushion, and
the little akenes, when the seeds are ripe, stand on it,


pointing out in different directions so there may be room
for every one with its spread-out
The plumes do not open out -
until the seed is ready to be
blown away, and the akenes do
not stand pointing out in all di-
rections until the time to fly has
come. Before that they are all
packed closely together. The flat cushion with a few.
Because the little akene seeds attached.
is so light and feathery the breeze bears it
along, sometimes for quite a distance, but at
last it drops down to the earth or else is
blown among the grasses or weeds or stones
and lodges there, and when the right time
S comes the seed that is in the little brown seed
Before the case sprouts.
plume Sometimes the air seems to be full of
opens out.
ope outdandelion akenes floating about.
Although the dandelion is so bright and
pretty, people do not like it in their lawns.
Excepting when in bloom or when it is
"white-headed," it is not as pretty as grass. An close
It does not make a beautiful velvety carpet packed
to the earth, but its leaves look ragged andt
uneven and spoil the appearance of the lawn.


It is from its leaves that the dandelion gets its name,
for dandelion means tooth of a lion "; and if you
look at a well-grown dandelion leaf you will understand
why it came to have such a fierce name.

A well-grown dandelion leaf.

Dandelions are very fond of growing in lawns.
They like to be taken care of, and they seem to like
to have their heads cut off.
Anyway the lawn mower does not trouble them in
the least.
Their leaves grow close to the ground, in the shape
of a rosette, and when the lawn mower passes over,
only the large outer leaves are harmed; the young bnes
towards the center of the rosette remain unhurt and
have more light and air and space to grow in; so our
dandelion flourishes in spite of its pruning.
When-a dandelion once gets its roots started it does
not make so very much difference if it has its flowers
cut off, for it does not die when winter comes. Only
its leaves die. Its root continues alive in the earth,
and in the spring wakes up and puts out new leaves.


So cutting off the flowers does not destroy the dande-
lion, it merely prevents seeds from forming, and more
dandelions from starting.
Dandelion roots kill the
grass by pushing it aside and
taking the earth-food for them- i M
So if dandelions get started '' '
in a lawn they will soon kill
out the grass, and then there will be a dandelion
lawn instead of a grass lawn!
A dandelion lawn is very beautiful for a little while
in the early summer. Sometimes it looks like a carpet
of gold, the yellow flowers are so thick and fine. But
when they are done blossoming the lawn is a sorry
looking sight.
Dandelions do not trouble the hay fields, for where
the grass is allowed to grow tall it soon smothers
Boys are often hired to dig dandelion roots out of
lawns, and near large cities poor women may often be
seen digging them out for the sake of the young leaves
which, when they first come up in the spring, make
very good greens." These people sell them or eat
them instead of spinach. Tender young dandelion
leaves are very good indeed, and some people like
them better than spinach.


Dandelion plants have a wise way of protecting their
seed children until the time for flight.
The flower buds come out of the center of the leaf
rosette, close to the ground. They have very short
stems and seem to sit right on the
There are a great many flowers in one
Sdandelion head. Each little yellow part
S of the dandelion flower head is a separate
S blossom, and each separate blossom has
one seed case with a seed inside growing
1. A cluster of
flowers. to the bottom of it.
2. One flower All of these blossoms are shut up at
(magnified). first in a case of green, leaf-like parts,
and form the bud.
As the bud grows older its stem lengthens a little,
as you can see in the picture on page 9 -unless it
is on a lawn. Then it does not lengthen; it seems to
know the lawn mower
will come along and take
off its head if it grows
taller, so it stays close to
the ground. After a while The bud.
the green bud opens, the many little yellow flowers
push their way out, and the dandelion is in bloom.
Towards night the dandelion shuts up again; the
tiny yellow flowers press close together, and the. outer


covering of green bracts, as they are called, closes up,
too, and shuts them in all snug and safe.
SWhen the dandelion has once closed
it does not open again. But its
stem, which was very short, begins to
It is a hollow stem, as you know,
and has a bitter, milky juice.
Longer and longer grows the stem
with the closed-up flower cluster at its
top. But this wise stem does not
stand up. Oh, no, indeed! it lies
down or leans over, concealed by the

grass and weeds, unless it grows on a lawn. Then the
wise stemn does not lengthen much; it is afraid of that
lawn -mower.
If the dandelion is growing among tall grass, the


stem will grow very long indeed; if among short grass
it will not grow so long.
By this time you can guess why.
When the seeds are. ripe and the silky plumes all
nicely formed that stem stands up!
It stands straight up
and looks over the tops
of the grasses. Then the
/ green bracts on the out-
side turn back, and the
silky tufts spread out and
Spull themselves free from
the remains of the tiny
Flowers which have with-
ered and are no longer
Opening out and push- yellow. They do not fall
ing off the cap. Off when the flower first
closes, but make a little
cap to protect the growing akenes, and when these get
ready to open out the cap is pushed off by them.
The hollow stem stands up, and its lovely silky head
of plumed akenes shines in the sunlight.
There is nothing much prettier in the plant world than
this head of fairy dandelion akenes all ready to fly away.
They stand and shine until a breeze comes along
that is strong enough to dislodge them, then all in a
moment tley are off sailing through the air.


The parent plant is not sorry to have them go, for
this is what it has worked so hard to accomplish; and
as they float away, if it thinks at all, it no doubt
hopes that each little shining wanderer will alight at
last in a beautiful home of its own with plenty of space
and sunlight and food for its growth.
If there is not breeze enough to carry away the
dandelion akenes, when night approaches or a storm
gathers the careful parent plant does not allow these
silky treasures to become soaked and spoiled by
Each little plume shuts up again! The silky tufts
no longer spread out, and the green bracts, too, turn up
and cover them safely as before. They go to sleep,
hoping, no doubt, for better luck next day.
There is no better fun than to watch the dandelions
do these things.
When children blow the heads of dandelions away,
that is just what the dandelions want, for it sets all
the akenes flying about in the air above the earth.
The main thing for a dandelion seed is to get started.
If it can get up in the air free from the weeds and
grasses, it will be sure to take quite a journey and will
doubtless settle in a new home.
The bitter milky juice of the dandelion very likely
protects it from being eaten by various plant-eating


This juice is familiar to country children who pick
the long stems of the dandelions, split them, and
"curl" the parts in their mouths.
These pretty stems make very long and fine curls, as
every little country girl knows.


NOBODY can help liking thistles that
is, to look at. We do not care to handle
them, nor do they care to have us, which
perhaps is why they are covered all over
with such sharp prickles.
The prickles are an intimation to
us to let them alone.
They do not want to be handled,
and they do not want to be eaten.
When a plant arms itself
with thorns or prickles, ,4
that is its way of saying
"hands off." Few crea-
tures besides
donkeys eat
It is said
that don-
keys are
fond of
them, and
some horses
will nibble ,


at them, but on the whole the thistles are let- alone,
excepting by the farmer, who digs them up.
Thistles are much more troublesome than dandelions,
for they get into the hay and grain, and if let alone
some kinds will kill
out all other plants
and occupy the land
SThere are many
kinds of thistles.
Our large native ones
that bear beautiful
showy purple, or
pink, or white heads
are not, as a rule,
very troublesome to
Canada the farmer.
thistle. The little Canada
thistle is the pest he
\ ,. dreads. That, like
the dandelion, came
from Europe. No doubt its seeds were first brought
over a very few of them with other seeds from
the Old World. But all the little emigrant asked was
to get started.
Once across the sea, it was able to conquer the plants
of America and get a place for itself, for its seeds fly,


like those of the dandelion, and in very much the
same way.
The Canada thistle spreads by running roots that
live through the winter, as well as by seeds, so no
wonder it quickly found its way far and wide.
It is for this reason sometimes called the creeping
thistle, and because' it is so troublesome it is also
named the Cursed thistle.
There is a thistle in Europe which bears a light yel-
low flower head and is called the Blessed thistle or the
Holy thistle. It has its name because people used to
believe it had power to counteract poison. This thistle
has been brought over from Europe, and is sometimes
to be found in the southern part of the United States,
where it has iun wild.
Thistle heads are often very large and handsome.
Like the dandelion flower clusters, they are made up of
a large number of small blossoms.
Bees and butterflies are very fond of thistle honey,
and they can almost always be found on the blossoms,
sucking out the drop of honey which is to be found in
each little flower of the cluster.
At the bottom of each little flower, as in the dande-
lion, is an akene. An akene, we remember, is a tight-
fitting seed case containing one seed. The thistle akene
also has a plume to fly with.
The thistle plume has no stalk, but grows right from


the top of the akene. The plumed akenes are packed
tightly away be-
/ neath the scaly
bracts that sur-
round them.
These bracts
in the thistle are
generally cov-
S//ered with sharp
prickles. So, al-
though one likes to look at a thistle and inhale its
fragrance, it is not a pleasant flower to handle.
When the thistle seeds are
ripe, the prickly covering
loosens, and the akenes come
trooping out in a soft, fluffy
mass. Away they fly, one by
one, as the breeze dislodges
them and carries them off.
They are much more showy
than the dandelion akenes, for
the plumes are much larger.
Away they go, this way and
that, and after a while the
wind blows them against a tree
branch, or a fence rail, or a
stone. Then the akene thus stopped drops off from



the plume to the ground. The akene, in this case, is
done sailing about. It has come to rest and very
likely will lie until the next spring before it sprouts.
The plume is not harmed at all when the akene
lets go, but at the next gust of wind flies on, lighter
than ever.
One often sees these seedless plumes sailing about in
the summer and fall.
People sometimes gather the heads of large thistles
before the seeds are ripe, pull out the pink part of the
flowers, carefully pull off the prickly bracts, and hang
the rest up to dry. The akenes do not then fall off,
but the plumy part fluffs out and makes a pretty pom-
pon with which the children's hats can be trimmed.


MOST of us like milkweeds. They are not so trouble-
some as the dandelions and thistles. They
generally |J grow in waste places, along stone
walls, or outside fences, where they
do no harm to the crops
but make the roadsides
charming. Most kinds of
milkweedss have a milky
juice, as their name tells.
It is thicker and stickier
than the dandelion juice,
and is very disagreeable
r if one gets it on his
S This, no doubt, is why
the plant makes it that
way. It does not wish
us to get its juice on our
fingers ; it wishes us to let
it alone. It also wishes
animals to let it alone and
not eat it; and most ani-
mals a. e not fond of it. This is not true, however, of
certain caterpillars.


Towards fall you will generally see the milkweed
leaves covered with bright yellow and black caterpillars
that certainly are lovely whether you think so or not.
If you take the largest of these caterpillars and put
them in a box of earth with plenty of fresh milkweed
leaves to eat as long as they
want to eat (which.will not be
long), you will see what happens.
Something happens, and you
will do well to find out about it. I
Milkweeds have pretty, fra-
grant flowers that grow together, .
many in a bunch, but not close
together into a solid head, like
the little dandelion flowers. Each
milkweed flower has its own
little stem.
Not all of the flowers in a
bunch of milkweed go to seed.
Generally only one or two from
each bunch do. The rest are
crowded out and wither and fall off, for the milkweed
flower develops a very large seed pod that holds a
great many seeds, and there is not room on the stem
for many of these big pods.
The flowers of our common milkweed are pink-
purple in color, and the pods are fuzzy and irregular


on the outside, and are shaped as you see in the
Inside they are lovely. The pod itself is as smooth
and shiny as satin, and there is a bridge running length-
wise; to this grow the seeds -a great
many in each pod. Each seed has a
plume and looks very much like the
thistle akene with its plume. But
these seeds have no seed case, except-
Sing the large pod in which they all lie
together. They grow inside this case,
which opens to let them escape. The
milkweed seed looks so much like the
thistle akene that you would have to
examine it very carefully to discover the difference.
The milkweed seeds are brown and round and flat,
and each has a silky plume, with no stalk to the
plume. The seeds lie packed closely together in the
pod with their plumes unopened, but when they are
ripe the pod splits open down one side and the plumes
fluff out.
Then you will see a pretty sight. From the gap in the
pod the pretty, silky seeds come spilling out. Their
plumes touch each other and hold the seeds together in
a soft feathery mass until along comes the breeze.
Then one after another the pretty seeds float away
and the empty pods are left behind.


Sometimes children catch bees in empty milkweed
pods. The bees make a great buzzing in the pod, and it
is not fair to keep them long, for it interferes with their
honey-gathering or pollen-collecting. If there is any-
thing a bee hates, it is to waste time, with so many
hungry mouths at home waiting to be fed.
Like the thistles, when the milkweed seeds become
quite dry they often drop away from their plumes, par-

ticularly if they strike against something when sailing
There are a number of species of milkweeds. One
common species has bright, orange flowers, and is called
butterfly weed. Its flowers look a little like bright
butterflies, and the butterflies are fond of its honey.
There is a lovely milkweed in Florida that:has large
pea-green leaves with broad pink veins running all
through them.


Some species of milkweeds have long, slender, smooth
pods, and very likely you have noticed them along the


S: TI-OSE who have seen lettuce
Sj- .I' l only on the table, or growing in
-the early spring garden or in the
)green-house, will feel like laughing
at the idea of lettuces flying!
Yet they do fly. At least their
S seeds do.
Sometimes lettuces look like rosettes
growing out of the ground, and some-
times they look like little cab-

CV f leaves.
If lettuces are let alone and
not picked, in time they will
<' "go to seed"; a stalk will grow
S up from the middle, with small
leaves on it and a great many
S little flower heads that look
somewhat like tiny dandelions.
,;, n,, These flower heads are made
like those of the dandelion or
Garden lettuce gone to seed. The lettuce has no prickles,


but its juice is milky and bitter, and gets more bitter
as the plant grows older. The lettuce flowers have
akenes like the dandelion, and each akene has a plume
Like that of the dandelion.
Away fly the pretty plumed akenes,
and lettuce is thus sown by the way-
Sside. But one seldom sees garden let-
tuce growing, except in gardens; for
it is so tender the strong, rough weeds
Schoke and kill it.
There is a wild lettuce, however,
that has 'a large number of flower
heads, and of course a great many
pretty, silky, tufted akenes.. These let-
tuces sometimes shine as if they had
been snowed upon when their silky,
l white plumed akenes first open out.
Wild lettuce.
I advise you to see if you can find
some of them next summer. The best place to look
is alongside fences and hedges and in the corners of
There is a lettuce so troublesome to the farmer that
large sums of money have been appropriated to exter-
minate it. It is called the Prickly Lettuce, because its
leaves and stalks are prickly. It came to this country
from Europe. It is quite as destructive to the farmer's
crops as is the Canada thistle.


OF course the clematis akenes fly. N-
Nothing so fluffy as they, in the seed world, could
do otherwise.
The wild clematis that grows over the bushes in some
swamps is a beautiful vine with glossy leaves and clus-
ters of pretty white flowers. After the snowy flowers
have gone it is still beautiful, for then each little akene
waves a long, shining, curly plume. The whole vine is
covered with these shining, twining plumes.
But a day comes when they no longer shine. Each
curling plume looks like a mass of down, for its parts
have separated and stand out, and we now see that it
is shaped like a feather; a downy fluffy feather. The
whole vine is a soft fluffy mass.
This does not last long, for the akenes leave the parent
vine and are borne aloft on their airy plumes by the
ind that scatters them far and wide.
Some fall upon the right kind of soil, where they are


covered by the leaves of autumn, and lie safely until
spring comes. Then they wake up and grow each into
a beautiful clematis vine with shin-.
ing leaves.
There is a beautiful clematis with
large blue-purple flowers that grows
in the mountains of Virginia
5), and in some other places.

Olematis gone to seed.


ASTERS and golden-rod blossom in the fall. Then the
country roads are lovely to walk over, and the fields
are as bright as can be with blue
or purple or white asters and yellow
Some kinds of golden-rod and
asters blossom in the summer, but
most of them wait until late in the
season. They are almost the last
flowers to come and almost the last
to go.
When their bright flowers fade
they are still pretty. Each "flower"
of the asters is like the dandelion,
a cluster of very small flowers, and
the golden-rod flower head is made
up of very many tiny flowers.
Each little flower has its own
akene and plume quite like the Asters.
dandelion, but a great deal smaller, and in time the
clusters that were flowers become clusters of soft
downy plumes.
This state does not last long, for the akenes are blown


away by the wind and sown far and near over field and
If you brush against the downy aster and golden-rod
heads when the seeds are ripe, the akenes will cling to
your clothes like cobwebs and you will carry them
about with you until finally they fall off.
Perhaps that is one way by which the golden-rod and
aster seeds travel about; they cling to animals that pass
and so are carried far away. But they do not cling as
well as some other seeds we are soon to know about.



THE willow that children know and love the best is
the pussy willow. It grows in damp or swampy places
and before the leaves come out
in the spring the pussiess" are
Seen on the branches. They
are little, soft, silvery pussies,
and it is not everybody who
Knows what they really are.
Each "pussy" or catkin, as
S we must call it, is a group of small
flowers, or rather flower-buds, for after
S the flowers are fully out the pussies
lose their soft, silky appearance and
no longer deserve to be called pussies.
The older catkins are covered with sta-
mens full of yellow pollen or
else with seed pods. For wil-
lows bear two kinds of flowers,
the stamen-bearing, or stam-
inate flowers, and the seed- taminateoat-
Pussy winow. bearing, or pistillate flowers. kin fully out.
The staminate flowers grow on one willow tree, and
the pistillate ones on another.


The pollen in the staminate flowers is very abundant
and is carried by the wind or by insects to the pistillate
A-- flowers. If you shake a twig of ripe
staminate catkins, your hands and
clothes will be covered with pollen
Pistillate dust.
catkin. Bees are fond of willow pollen and
eagerly gather it in the early spring. The willow
catkin has a tiny drop of nectar at the base of each
little flower, and bees and flies are fond of this and
visit the willows to get it. Of course, as the insects
fly from one catkin to another, they carry pollen from
one to another.
After a time the staminate flowers wither and fall,
but the pistillate ones are followed by seed pods, and
the stem that bears them lengthens to make room for the
growing pods, and at last when the seeds are ripe the
pods split open and out come the tiniest of little seeds,
each with a tiny plume of down, and away they fly.
There are a great many species of willow, and hot all
of them are as pretty as the pussy willow. One reason
why the pussy willow is so pretty is that the catkins
appear before the leaves. In some willows the catkins
come with the leaves, and in some they come after the
leaves are fully grown. Many willows have bright red
or yellow or green stems that give color to the land-
scape even in midwinter.


In all willows the pistillate catkins bear pods that
open and let out fluffy seeds.
The cottonwood trees are relatives of the willows.
Their seeds are so very downy that ,.A ,
when they are ripe the ground be- i .
neath the trees will often be white,
as though a light snow had fallen.
It is because the seeds are so
abundantly supplied with soft cot-
tony plumes that the tree is called
cotton-wood. Ripe willow catkin.
Poplars are also closely related to the willows and,
like them, have fluffy seeds.
In the early summer, if you look in the right place,.
you will see plenty of them.
Willow and poplar twigs are very strong and limber,
and some kinds are used to make baskets and chairs
and cradles and a great many other useful things.
The slender young twigs are woven together and make
very strong and durable articles.
Since only the long twigs can be used, people get
them in large quantities by cutting off the heads of the
trees, when long sprouts shoot up all around the ends
of the cut limbs. Cutting off the tops of the trees in
this way is called pollarding, and a pollarded willow or
poplar is rather a funny sight, particularly after it has
had its head cut off a number of times,


Willow branches about as large around as one's fin-
ger make very good whistles in the spring of the year.
The sap flowing under the bark loosens it, so that by

Pollarded willows.

pounding the twig the bark can be slipped off unbroken,
the wood beneath cut as desired, and the bark slipped
on again.
..-..1 The dotted lines show how
the wood should be cut away under the bark.
Willow twigs also make very good switches, and
long, ah, very long ago, when children used to be
naughty, willow switches were in great demand.
In these later days children are never naughty I
suppose or is it only that switching has gone out of
fashion ?
These switches did not come from weeping willows,


though that certainly would have been a very appro-
priate name for them.
Weeping willows are large and beautiful trees that
came from the eastern part of Asia. The twigs are
very long and slender and hang down like a veil all
about the tree.
Weeping willows are favorites in parks and pleasure
grounds, and it used to be the fashion to plant them in
cemeteries, at the heads of gravestones.

Everybody who has tried to preserve bird skins, or
the skins of small animals, doubtless knows what sali-
cylic acid is, but not everybody knows that this is
obtaiited from the bark of willows and poplars. Some
species of willow contain a great deal of-the substance
from which salicylic acid is made.
Salicylic acid prevents animal tissue from decaying,


and it is also used as a medicine. It is not poisonous,
but is rather unpleasant to handle, as it is apt to make
one sneeze.
The bark of willows is also used in Europe for tan-
ning, instead of oak or hemlock bark, which is com-
monly used in this country.
Tan bark" is bark that has been ground up and
had the "tannin," or substance that hardens leather,
extracted from it. The tan bark is then put on roads
or walks, or sometimes on city streets, to deaden the
noise. It is often used in the country for
banking up houses in the winter.
Willows grow quickly, and some of
those that like wet places are often
planted on sandy shores of lakes or
streams, or on banks, that their roots may
bind the sand or loose earth together and
so keep the shore from shifting.
Very often a willow twig .
can be made to grow by 1
merely sticking the cut end
in damp earth, and many
a large willow has thus been
planted as a twig by the hand
of a little child.


Coattails in bloom.

CATTAIL seeds fly,
too It is surprising
to know that cattails
blossom. But they do.
In the early spring,
cattails look green in-
stead of brown, and
the thickened green
part near the top is
made of very, very
/small flowers packed
tightly together.
The brown velvety
part of 'the cattail
succeeds the green
flowers, and is but a
collection of tiny seed
pods that fluff out
with tiny plumes in
the autumn.
There are two kinds
of flowers in cattails, as there are in
willows, only in the cattails the two


kinds are on the same plant. If you look at a cattail
in its green stage, you will easily find the staminate
flowers growing at the very top of the stalk, at
A in the picture. Out of these staminate flowers
you can shake clouds of yellow pollen. Below the
staminate flowers at B are the pistillate flowers,
very small and packed very closely together.
Each one has a seed pod at its base, and each
seed pod when ripe has a tiny plume.
Of course the seed pods fly away on the wings
of the wind. Being so small and light, they are
sometimes carried a long distance.
A good many, no doubt, are so unfortunate as to fall
on dry ground, and that
is the end of them.
But others fall in
swamps and ditches,
where they grow vigor-
/J ously and often fill up
Sthe swamp or the ditch
so that it becomes a bed
of cattails.
The downy cattail seeds
are gathered in some
places and made into
mattresses for people to
Cattails with ripe seed. sleep on.


THE bright flowers raised in
hothouses or in windows, and
that we call geraniums, do not
often bear seed in the house.
In that part of the world
where they grow wild, and out
of doors in the summer time,
they do. And their seeds are
very curious indeed; for they
can not only fly about but can
bury themselves in the ground.
The geranium flower bears five
curious seed pods that grow close
together around a
common center.
Each seed pod has
one seed, and when
the seed is ripe the
pod splits away from
the center-piece.
The pod runs up to a
point, as you can see in the picture.
There is a long feather-like plume packed in the long


stem-like part of the pod, and this comes out when the
pod splits away. Then the whole thing is
floated off by the wind. This curi- -,
ous plume curls up like a corkscrew
when dry, and so pushes the seed
down into the grass or the earth
where it has fallen. When the plume is
made damp by rain or dew it straightens out.
At the bottom of the seed case are a
few hairs or bristles that point backward
and hold the seed so that it cannot be pulled out of
the ground when the plume curls and straightens, but
must always be pushed farther in.
It is a good plan for every one who has not seen the
geranium seed case try to plant itself, to gather some
ripe seeds and lay them on the earth in a flower pot.
Let them get dry, then moisten them, then let them
become dry again, and so on, until one has seen just how
they work.


"DowN SOUTH" are a great many cotton fields.
Cotton was brought to the United States from China
and other far-away places. It did not find its way here
accidentally with other -'
seeds, like the dandelions
and Canada thistles, but i '..
was brought on purpose
and carefully cultivated. F
A cotton field in early
summer is rather a pretty .
sight. It is covered with
light green little plants
in straight rows; they .f
have pretty leaves and '
yellowish flowers that '
soon turn red. These
flowers are about the size
of a morning-glory. Ripe cotton bolls.
In the fall a cotton field is much more interesting.
Then the cotton plants are three or four feet high and
have branched out into quite large bushes. The leaves
have withered, but the bushes are covered with cotton
bolls, or pods, out of which are bursting quantities of


snowy white cotton. The field looks as if a skyful of
soft little snowballs had fallen upon it.
The cotton flowers are succeeded by pods, or bolls as
they are called, and these contain black seeds about the
size of a white bean. Each seed when
ripe wears a coat of long, ,' .- "
soft, white cotton fibers,
and when the bolls '
split open to let out
Anunopenedboll. the seeds, out gush 0 ,
( nat. size.) streams of snowy cotton.
A cotton field is most picturesque A boll just opened.
during the picking season,, when the (! nat. size.)
negroes, the women with bright kerchiefs over their
heads, go into the fields, pick the cotton, and carry it
away in large baskets.
a 2 Each cotton seed is covered
with cotton fiber that clings very
2,^'; close and has to be removed by
machinery. The machine that
Does this is called a cotton .gin,
S, -' and is a very interesting and
,"" wonderful machine.
"'L Cotton seeds are cleaned more
A seed and its coat of cotton, than once; the first time the
(Nat. size.) long fibers are pulled off, and this
is the best of the cotton. Then the seeds are cleaned


again of less valuable, because shorter, fibers, and finally
of the short fuzzy coat that clings to them after the
second cleaning. The result of the last cleaning is a
very inferior cotton, used only for a few kinds of cheap
Not all cotton has white fiber. The Nankin cotton,
which is grown near the mouth of the Mississippi River
in this country, is naturally of a light tan color.
Cotton is one of the most useful plants in the world,
and a great deal of attention is given to raising and
manufacturing it.
The cotton has to go through a good many processes
before it is finally ready to be spun into thread and
then woven into cloth.
Some very useful cotton is not spun into thread, but
comes to us in clean, soft rolls, which we call cotton
batting. This is useful for many household purposes,
and when very thoroughly cleaned is used by doctors
in dressing wounds.
A large part of our clothing is made from the cotton
that grows on the seeds of the cotton plant. The plant
did not make the cotton for us, but probably to enable
its seeds to be carried away by the wind and firmly
fastened to the ground, when they lodged there. For
a cotton seed clings very tightly to the earth, particu-
larly after it has been wet.
Cotton seeds are very useful aside from the cotton


they are clothed with. They contain a good deal of oil
and are ground in mills, that the oil may be pressed
out. This oil is put to a number of uses, and when
purified is even used instead of olive oil as food. The
meal that is left after the oil has been pressed out
makes a valuable fertilizer, and is also used as -food for
cattle. Horses will not eat it, but cows are so fond of
it that' they will come long distances to the mills in
order to lick up what meal they can find. This is the
way its value as a food for cattle was discovered.
Cotton-seed meal is bright greenish yellow in, color,
and as it colors everything it touches, the cotton-seed
mills are rather picturesque to look at, though not very
pleasant to walk about in.
The bark of
the root of the
,, cotton plant
~ is used as a
'U 'n -' medicine. But
K'- ^ though so many
.. y parts of this
Wonderful plant
are useful, the
>cotton that
(covers the seeds
S is the most valu-
able of all.


A GREAT many other plants have
plumed seeds, and some have seeds
with cottony coats, but of all the
cotton-covered seeds those of the
cotton plant are the only ones with
fibers long and strong enough to be
spun and woven.
It would be useless to try to tell
about all the fly-away seeds. There
are so many of them one would
never get through. But it is great
fun to discover them for ourselves.
If we watch through the summer,
we shall find many and many of
Quite a number of the grasses
have plumes to their seeds, and
some of these plumed grasses are
very pretty indeed. We often see
them used to decorate houses, and
in Florida one can see very beauti-
ful grass plumes growing in swamps.
Everywhere the fields and woods are



full of seed wanderers that fly about to find a home,
and all that any one need do who wants to see these
pretty things is to look about and find them.


MAPLE seeds also fly, but they have no
silky or feathery or cottony plumes. They
have wings instead. The fruit of
the maple tree is called a samara
and consists of a seed pod with a
wing. Usually two pods grow to-
gether, though when thoroughly
dry they fall apart.
The wings are thin and light, and the
wind sometimes carries them a long dis-
tance. The maple blooms in the spring or
early summer, and though its
flowers have only stamens or
pistils and no bright petals, yet
they are very pretty.
Maples, like willows and cattails,
Soften have two kinds of flowers.
Oane maple tree will often have
all staminate flowers, and will
look as if trimmed with fringe,
as the staminate flowers have slender stems
like threads.


The red maple, which blooms early in the spring
before its leaves come out, has bright red fringes.
Sometimes these red-flowered trees
bloom in January, in Florida, when
the trees and bushes around them
are bare, and you can imagine they make
S the swamps where they grow look very
The pistillate flowers are not quite as
airy as the staminate ones, but still they
make pretty fringes upon the trees.
The wind blows the pollen from the
staminate flowers to the pistillate ones
growing on neighboring trees, and that is
why the flowers hang out on long stems.
Some maples have green fringes and some have yel-
low ones, but all are beautiful.
After the flowering season is over, the staminate
flowers disappear. But the pistillate flowers are fol-
lowed by clusters of samaras, which are sometimes
almost as bright in color and as pretty as the flower
When the samaras are ripe, they fall from the tree
and are blown about by the wind. They cannot fly as
far as the plumed seeds, but they sometimes get carried
quite a distance.
The seed within the samara often sprouts soon after


it falls. You can see little maple trees starting to grow
by the roadside, or even along city sidewalks or in lawns.
The samaras of the early flowering maple trees fall
quite early in the summer,
but there are other maples
S whose samaras remain on
the trees until autumn.
Maples make beautiful
shade trees, and some species
grow to a large size. One
1of the largest, and most
beautiful of them is the
sugar maple, which is not
only valuable as a shade
tree, but yields delicious maple syrup
from its sap.
The bark of this tree is "tapped,"
that is, a hole is bored through it into
Sthe wood beneath, early in the spring,


and a little wooden tube or trough is driven into the
hole. A pail is hung or set beneath to catch the sap
as it runs out. Sap runs best when the days are warm
and the nights cold; then there are merry times in the
sugar camps.
The sap is collected in large kettles and boiled to
syrup, or until it hardens into sugar. Just before it
is .ready to turn to sugar, it makes delicious "wax."
You pour the hot, thick syrup upon snow, and when it
thickens into a sticky paste you eat it. It is better
than any kind of candy -at least I think so.
A great deal of sugar is made in the New England
States, where the maple grows abundantly, and in the
early days the only sugar some of the people had was
maple sugar.
Sometimes the sap of other trees, as birches or elms,
is made into syrup, but none is as abundant or as good
as the maple syrup.
The wood of the sugar maple is hard and is valuable
for furniture and other uses. Indeed the wood of most
of the maples is prized for furniture making.
The bird's eye maple is a very pretty satiny wood
dotted over with round spots that look a little like eyes.
It comes from certain sugar maples whose wood is full
of little knotty places.
The curled maple is also a pretty wood with wavy,
shining lines made by irregular streaks in the wood.


It is sometimes found in sugar maples and sometimes
in other maples. Maple wood is light in color, and the
bark of the tree is rather smooth. It is gray in most
species, and often has white spots on it.


THE American elm is one of the most beautiful trees
in the world, it is so majestic in size and so graceful in
If you do not know the elm tree, get some one to
point it out to you at once, and you
will feel that you have made a new
friend. It is a very _f
good thing to make
friends with the / ,
trees and to learn -
to know them when
you see them.
Elm trees have winged
seed pods or samaras. The trees
are covered with pretty, short .
fringes in the springtime very
pretty, but not as airy and pretty
as the maple fringes. The pistillate flowers are fol-
lowed by samaras that do not grow two
together, and that have the wing growing
around them instead of from one end.
The bark of the elm is very handsome;
it is marked quite regularly and is easy to


recognize. It is a good thing to learn to know a tree
by its bark. The bark of trees is an interesting and
beautiful subject for study.
The wood
of the elm
is tough and
hard, and is
ing ships
and making
'wheels, and
for other
purposeswhere a tough, hard wood is required.
There are a number of species of elm trees,
but the best-known one is the beautiful
American elm that is everywhere used in
parks and for shade trees. Next to this is
the red elm, or slippery elm, whose inner bark
is fragrant and nuci- laginous and good to
chew. This bark is good for colds and is
sometimes ground up and made into lozenges.
Every country boy lays up a supply of
slippery elm bark to dry in the attic along
with his nqts.


ASH trees are tall, straight, and handsome, with a
very dark-colored bark, so regularly marked that one
soon learns to know it at a glance. I once knew three
of them that stood in an open pasture on the shore of
Lake Ontario.
It was worth going to the pasture in a high wind to
see the tall, beautiful trunks sway as the wind struck
them. I used to wish I could climb up into the tops of
them, though it would have been a very unsafe perch
You have guessed by now that ash trees have winged
seed pods, and so they have.
When the little clusters of ash flowers first show
in the springtime they are black, and the tree seems
to have black-tipped branches. Soon the black tips


develop into dark green fringes, though these are not
airy and light, like the maple and elm fringes.
The best way for you to find out just how ash blos-
soms look is--but you know perfectly well what is
the very best way to find out, and I hope you will
take care to do it.
Ash seeds are winged like those of the maples and
are called samaras, but they do not grow two together.
Ash trees often bear great numbers of samaras, more
than any other tree. Where ash trees grow near houses,
the samaras often fall on the roofs and fill up the
gutters, so that they have to be cleaned out, sometimes
more than once in a season.
The wood of the ash is so
very tough and elastic that
from all time it has been used
to make bows and spear shafts.
Of course it is also valuable Ash samaras.
for less warlike uses.
When you read the One Hoss Shay," you will find
one use to which ash wood is sometimes put.
The ash tree used to be held sacred-by the ancient
Norsemen, and some day you will read beautiful stories
about the wonderful ash Ygdrasil.
The small tree we call "mountain asli" is not an
ash at all, and it has, as you know, red berries instead
of samaras.


PINE trees bear cones, and cones do not fly. But if
you examine the scales of the cones, you will find a
winged seed under each. When the cones are ripe the
S scales open and the seeds
Sdrop out and are caught by
the wind and floated away.
There are a great
many species of
pine trees. The
seeds of some are large and
sweet and are sold as pine
nuts. These trees do not grow
in this country, however, and we
should have to go. to South America, or to Asia, or
western Europe to find pine trees from
which we could gather nuts.
Squirrels gather nuts from all the
pine trees, however, for they are not as
particular as we, and think them all I
good. They.are very clever at gather-
ing cones, gnawing off the scales and
getting out the seeds.
Pine trees, like.the maples and elms, have two kinds


of not exactly flowers, but something answering to
them. The ovules, or young seeds, are borne under the
scales of the cones, and the stamens are in catkins.
Sometimes these catkins are very large, and they bear a
great deal of pollen which the wind carries to the cones.
A pine forest is always a sweet and delightful place.
When the sun shines on the trees they fill the air with
Pine trees used to grow all over the northern part of
the United States, but they make very valuable timber,
and so have been carelessly cut down and the forests
destroyed, until now in many places there are almost
no pine trees left.
This was a great mistake, as the people now know.
The white pine of the North gave a soft white wood that
could be easily carved or turned," and it was used more
extensively than any other wood as long as the forests
A large part of the South is still covered by forests
of yellow pine, whose wood is dark, hard, and valuable
for building purposes.
.The pine forests of the South also yield large quanti-
ties of tar, resin, and turpentine, and it is sad to see the
forests being carelessly destroyed each year. The trees
are cut for their sap, from which turpentine and other
products are made, but if the same trees are cut three
years in succession they die.


The turpentine makers, however; cut them as long as
they will yield sap, because it is easier to stay in one
place three years than to move their camps to a region
of fresh trees. This is wrong, and will result in destroy-
ing the valuable Southern pine forests in a short time.
We should take care of the trees, for they are our
good friends. Besides providing wood for all sorts of
uses, they protect the earth, keep it moist, and prevent
the streams from drying up. In many places the farm-
ing land has been destroyed, because the forests were
cut down when the land all about dried up, so that noth-
ing of value to man could grow on it.
With proper management trees can be cut for use
without destroying the forests.


POPPY seeds have no wings and no plumes, and yet
they are carried far and wide by the wind. oppy pod.
That is because they are so very small and so
very light. They look more like dust than /,
The poppy pod is like a cup
with a cover on, but around the
edge, just below the cover, is a
row of small holes, each covered
by a lid. These lids do not open
until the poppy seeds are ripe;
then they do, and the fine seeds
can get out of the holes. But
hwzo do they get out ? They
cannot move of themselves,
but the wind sways the
poppy pod this way and
that on its long stalk,
and the little seeds are .'. / B
shaken out only to be "
caught by the wind and blown away.
Perhaps you think that is not a very sure way for


the seeds to escape, but if you examine a poppy head
that has been ripe for some time you will find scarcely a
seed in it, so it proves to be a betterway than it looks.
Nature's way is generally the best way to accomplish
an object.
Poppies are often seen growing by the roadside or
in the garden, far from the flower beds; that is because
the wind has blown the seeds to these places.
In England the wheat fields are often gay with scar-
let poppies, which have, no doubt, been sown with the
wheat. They are beautiful to look at, though the
farmer does not enjoy seeing them in his wheat.
Opium is obtained from the juice of the partly
ripened seed pods of some kinds of poppies. Opium is
very valuable as a medicine, but it has to be used with
great care, as it is also a powerful poison.
A valuable oil is expressed from the seeds of the
opium poppy. This oil is used for illuminating pur-
poses in some parts of the world, and
also for soap-
making. The
finer quality is
used as food, in-
stead of olive oil, in coun-
tries where oil is eaten
instead of butter, and it is also
used in grinding artists' colors.


MANY, many other plants
Shave seeds or seed pods that.
can be carried away by the
wind. The fields and hedges
are full of plumes and
winged seeds, and of seeds so light as to be readily
carried away without special plumes or wings.
At the top of this page is the picture of a trumpet
vine. When you have the chance, examine the seeds in
the pod of the trumpet vine and see how they are
enabled to fly away.
Hops are pretty plants, and useful ones as well, and
if you examine hop seeds you will see-what you
will see !
Some clovers have seeds that fly. See if you can
find them.
Linden trees are covered with clusters of white
sweet-scented flowers in the early summer. Each clus-


ter of flowers is attached in a curious way to a wing,
and often the whole cluster, with its wing, falls together
and is blown to some distance by the wind. When
the lindens are in bloom you will know it by the hum-
ming of the bees, for they are very fond of linden honey,
and the trees often sound like an enormous beehive,
there are so many bees about them.
It would take altogether too long to tell about all the
seeds that are carried by the wind, but you can find a
great many of them without being told; and that, after
Small, is the
best way.
At the bot-
tom of this
Spage are
Sthe seed
pods of the
cow pars-
nip, a very large,
coarse, but rather
handsome weed, often
found in the corners
of pastures. You can
see that its seed pods


TUMBLEWEEDS are funny! They do not fly in the
air, but. they go scurrying over the surface of the earth.
They grow on the Western plains
and in other places, and some-
times get to be as large as a
bushel basket.
They are not very interesting
until they begin to tumble. This
happens in the fall of the year.
The plants grow like ordinary little bushes in the
summer and bear a great many clusters of small flowers.
Late in the season the leaves fall off, and the stems of
the plant curl over and make a ball of it. The seeds
do not fall yet; they can be seen in pretty brown clus-
ters inside the ball.
Along comes a gust of wind; the tumbleweed, all
rolled up and quite dry now, breaks loose from the earth
and away it goes, head over heels, rolling like a wild
thing across the prairies.
It is very funny to see a prairie full of tumbleweeds
racing along. They look as if they were playing tag.
When a train passes, those .near the track are caught
in the draught and off they start, head over heels, as


fast as they can. They look exactly as if they were
chasing the train.
The tumbleweed does not send its seed children out
alone into the world; it goes along and spills them over
the prairies, as it tumbles about; for, after a while, the
seeds get thoroughly ripe and fall off. If you were to
see the tumbleweeds rolling about over the prairies in
the fall, you would not wonder there are so many of
them growing everywhere in the summer.
There are several kinds of tumbleweeds in the West.
One of them is called the Russian thistle, though it is
not a thistle. It came from Europe and has proved to
be the very worst weed the farmer has to deal with.
It tumbles about in the fall, rolling far and wide over
the prairies before the high winds. In a few years it
has become such a nuisance that large sums of money
are spent by the government to exterminate it. In
some places the school children have been taught to
recognize it and to pull it up wherever they see it



SEEDS have other ways of going about besides being
blown by the wind. One way is to fasten on to any-
thing or anybody that passes and get carried to some
other place.
Burdocks do this. Burdocks grow in dooryards if
they get a chance, and in fence corners and pastures
and along roadsides, and in fact almost anywhere.
They are sturdy weeds and often
grow quite large. In "The Ugly
Duckling," Hans Andersen
tells us about
"In a sunny
L.dhi *spot stood a


pleasant old farmhouse, circled all about with deep
canals; and from the walls down to the water's edge
grew great burdocks, so high that under the tallest of
them a little child might stand upright."
Like the dandelions and Canada thistles, the burdocks
came from Europe, and a great many people wish they
had stayed at home. That is because of their burrs,
which are a nuisance in the fall of the year.
Everybody knows what burrs are. They stick fast
to the clothes of people and get on the tails and manes
of horses, where they must .cause a great deal of dis-
comfort, and where it is a great deal of work to pick
them out. They get upon the tails of cows, too, and
the fleeces of sheep, and dogs. get them on their ears.
The reason is this: the burrs are full of seed pods.
The burdock flower head is, like the dandelion, made
up of a great many tiny flowers, and each flower has a
close-fitting pod containing one seed, or an akene, as we
have learned to call it.
The head of flowers is covered by stiff green bracts,
and at the end of each bract is a hook. These
Shook are soft when the flowers are in blossom,
Sand they do not catch fast to things. But when
the seeds ripen, the bracts grow hard and stiff,
and so do the hooks at the end.
Now, when an animal or a person comes along and
brushes against these ripe burrs, the strong hooks catch;


the burr, full of ripe akenes, is pulled from the plant
and is carried away. It is easy to guess why this
When one tries to pull a ripe burr from the clothes,
it falls all to pieces and the akenes spill out. Then
each hook has. to be pulled out separately, and very
likely each one will prick the fingers.
Children sometimes pick the burrs before they are
ripe; and stick them together to make baskets and other
things. Then the burrs do not fall to pieces nor prick
the fingers much. The burdock has a rank, disagree-
able odor that clings to the fingers a long time after
the burrs have been handled. It is not easy even to
wash it off.
Children often pick ripe burrs and throw them at
each other. Some think this is funny, and some think
it is naughty.
Burdocks yield a valuable medicine ; so they are
useful as well as troublesome.


COCKLEBURS are covered with hooks, too, lut they
are much uglier than burdocks, for their seed pods are
very hard and are covered on the
outside with stiff, strong hooks
that prick like needles.
When one walks among
cockleburs, he soon stops
to pick them off, for they
hurt so, he cannot /
bear it.
Sand spurs are /
even worse than
They are
the seed Cookleburs.
to a kind '
of grass. /
In Florida
this grass grows in tufts and spreads out close to the
ground. Some of its stalks are covered with sand
spurs that, like the cockleburs, are hard and are
covered, not with hooks, but with very hard spines.


These spines stick out in all directions and readily
fasten upon whomever or whatever comes along, when
they leave the parent grass and are carried away.
After a time they are picked off and thrown on the
ground, or they fall off, and that is their way of travel-
ing to find a place to grow.
Dogs often get them in their feet, and then they have
a hard time picking them out, for of course the poor
things cannot walk with sand spurs between their toes.
There was once a dog that hated sand spurs and loved
people so much that when any one came near him with
sand spurs on his clothes, he would" at once begin to
pick them off, and the expression with which he jerked
them out of his mouth showed very plainly what he
thought of sand spurs.


WHEN walking in the woods in the late summer we
sometimes find queer jointed little pods, like unfinished
pea pods, clinging to our clothes.
These come from plants that
belong to the Pea family and are
)called Tick Trefoil. There are
nearly two dozen kinds of them,
and sometimes they seem to be
everywhere in the woods and
The pods are like pea pods,
Only that they are jointed, and
the joints break apart, so
S that each may be carried
away separately. Each
joint contains a little pea-
like seed.
The outside of the pod
seems fuzzy, and it clings very closely to whatever it
touches. If we look at the fuzz with a magnifying glass,
we shall find it made up of innumerable little hooks.
The hairs that cover the pod are turned up at
the end to form little hooks, very delicate, but able,


when there are so many of them, to hold on very
They seem to snuggle down into the cloth they touch,
so that it is difficult to pick them off, and the joints all
separate when we try to remove them, so that each one
has to be taken off separately.
Another plant whose seed pods are covered with
hooked hairs is the sweet-scented bedstraw. This is
a pretty little plant that spreads about on the ground.


Its flowers are small and greenish, but the whole plant
when in bloom has a pretty lace-like effect as we find
it in the woods very often growing about fallen logs.
Its seed pods are small and, like the tick trefoil, are
covered with hairs that, under the magnifying glass, are
seen to be hooked.
The enchanter's nightshade is another little plant
whose seed pods are covered with hooked hair. It is as
pretty as its name and is to be found in damp woods.


There is a tall leafy kind that grows sometimes two
feet high and is topped with numerous branches of small
white flowers. As the flower stem lengthens, the flowers
continue to unfold at the tip, while lower down are the
many little seed pods, shaped like little tennis racquets.
The prettiest enchanter's nightshade, however, is a
little fairy that sometimes grows on decaying logs. It
is often not more than three or four inches high and
ends in a branch of pretty little white flowers with
bright red calyx lobes. After these dainty blossoms
come the little hook-haired, racquet-shaped seed pods.
Look for enchanter's nightshade the next time you
go to the woods in the summer time. Below is a pic-
ture of the large one.


STICK-TIGHTS are troublesome to us, and we call them
very disagreeable names, such as beggar ticks and beg-
gar lice. But they are really not bad at all and are
quite pretty. If they stick to us, that is our fault quite
as much as theirs, for we should keep away from them
if we are unwilling to carry them about.
They cling to whatever comes along, because that is
their way of traveling about. They cannot walk or
creep or crawl or jump; neither can they fly very far
nor move in any other way, excepting as they are
You know how they look-so V Of course this little
brown, flat object with horns is an akene. Inside it is
a seed. The
two horns at
the top are
able to fasten
it quite tight-
ly to a woolen dress
or a sheep's fleece.
If you look carefully,
you will see little
hard teeth on the Stick-tight plant.


edge of the stick-tight that help it to cling. On one
species of stick-tight these teeth point backward, like
the barbs of a fishhook, and that kind sticks very
Stick-tight plants blossom in the summer time. The
greenish-yellow flowers are clustered in heads like the
dandelion flowers, and like those each stick-tight flower
has an akene at the bottom. These akenes grow much
larger than those of the dandelion, and they have the
two horns on their heads.
The akenes stand on.a flat cushion, just as the dande-
lion akenes do, but these do not wait for the wind to
blow them away, though, if nothing comes along to pull
them loose, they in time become very dry and fall out,
and then the wind often carries the light little things
some distance.
But their favorite method of traveling is by stage-
coach, and if you happen along at the right time they
will take you for their stagecoach, and let you carry
them to a new place. Sometimes the plants grow so
closely together that in passing through them one
becomes quite covered with the little brown things, and
it is a long and tiresome task to pick them out.
They, too, get on the tails and manes of horses, and
the tails of cows, the coats of dogs, and the fleeces of
sheep; but they are not nearly as troublesome to these
creatures as are the burdocks.


There are several species of stick-tights, or beggar
ticks, as they are more generally called.
Some have rather large flower heads, with the outer
flowers each provided with a long, broad yellow petal.
These are often called wild sunflowers, because they look
something like a little sunflower.
There is a plant called Spanish needles, very closely
related to the stick-tights, and that has four horns to
its seed pod.
The burr marigold, which grows in wet places, and
whose greenish flower heads are round like a marble, is
also related to the stick-tights, and, like, the Spanish
needles, has four horns.
A great many plants have these little horned seed
cases, and when you go about the country in the fall of
the year you will be certain to make the acquaintance
of some of them. The plants with horned seed pods
wish their seeds to get out of the dense thickets in
which they usually grow, and they do what they can to
help them.


IN the -fall of the year and towards the end
of summer we find a great many weeds in the
woods and along the roads, sending their seeds out
into the world by means of stout hooks, or else
hooked hairs or sharp spines.
The agrimony is one of these. It i is a common,
rather pretty plant with yellow flowers, and
it has a burr or seed pod, armed \with hooked
prickles around the waist, so to, speak.
After a walk in the country i, through
woods and fields, in the autumn, one will
be likely to find a number of little
things clinging to one's clothes.
Instead of merely shaking or pick-
ing them off and throwing them
away, carefully collect them, and
wlen there is time look at them.
You will very likely
find yourself decorated
with a number of differ-
ent kinds of seeds or seed
pods, thai vainly hoped in you to find a means of
traveling to new and better places of growth.


All these little brown things are disappointed, or
would be if they could feel disappointed. But you can
profit by their misfortune, and, by carefully examining
the little wanderers, can learn a great many interesting
and wonderful truths about the plant world in its effort
to scatter its seeds.


THE flax is a very useful plant, for the fibers of its
stems are long and strong, and are spun into thread and
then woven into linen.
f o Besides this, the seeds are useful.
They contain an oil which is pressed
S out and is known as linseed oil. It is
used a great deal by painters in mix-
S) ing their paints.
When flaxseeds are wet they become
r v I very sticky on the outside. A jelly-like
substance covers them, and this it is
S which we drink in "flaxseed tea" to
cure our colds.
You can easily see this jelly-like
covering by putting a few flaxseeds in
a few drops of water and leaving them
there a little while.
Flax. You can readily see that when the
flaxseeds are shed in the field and are met by the rain,
they would stick to the feathers, feet, and beaks of
birds that came to eat the seeds. If the birds flew
to another' place, as they often would, to clean their
plumage, they would rub off the flaxseeds, that mean-

FLAX. 79

time had become dry again, and often the seeds would
drop off, as the bird moved about. In this way they
would get planted in new places. No doubt the sticky
covering to the wet seed also helps to anchor it to the
ground and keep it from blowing away when once it
has settled down on the earth.
The flax plant that we find so useful is not wild. It
is carefully cultivated in many parts of the world and
has been cultivated for so long a time, and in so many
places, that nobody knows where it first came from.
It is a pretty plant, that bears bright blue flowers.
Why do you not buy a penny's worth of flaxseeds
at the drug store and plant them in your garden and
become acquainted with this very interesting and beau-
tiful little plant ?


THE mistletoe grows on trees. It has no roots of its
own, but attaches itself to the bark of the tree and
sucks out the sap.
Since it lives up in trees, its seeds must be able to find
lodgment in these high places; and this the birds help
them to do. The mistletoe has light green leaves; it
grows in bunches and bears white berries.
The seeds in the berries are covered by a viscid sub-
stance, and when the birds eat the berries, some of these
seeds will be apt to cling to them and be left on the
branches of some other tree.
If the seeds happen to get swallowed, that does not
hurt them, for they are not digested, but are passed
out just as they were swallowed, and they then often
fall upon the tree branches, where they can grow.
The English mistletoe very often grows upon the
oak tree, and from very early times the plant was rev-


erenced by the people, and particularly by the Druids,
who used it in their religious observances. A survival
of this old superstition about the mistletoe is found in
its use to-day at Christmas time.


QUITE a number of plants prepare sticky coverings to
their seeds or seed pods, in order to help the seeds
get away.
The squirting cucumber is one
of the most curious of these. It
grows wild in southern Europe,
but is sometimes seen in gardens
in this country, not because of
its beauty, but because it is so
curious. It is a hairy plant and
not at all pretty, but when its hairy cu-
cumber-shaped seed pods are ripe some-
thing funny happens. The pod falls from
the vine, and through the round hole left
when it fell away from its stein, that which is inside the
pod is shot out with violence. Out fly seeds and a quan-
tity of sticky liquid. If a bird happens to be about when
this happens, he will make haste to get far from such a
queer-acting plant; and if he was shot by it, he will
carry some of the sticky seeds with him; or he may get
the seeds attached to him after they have been shot out.
You see the squirting cucumber has two ways of
sending its seeds on their journey into the world. It


shoots them some distance at the start and also provides
them with a sticky covering, so that they may have a
chance to get carried still farther.
Some plants have sticky hairs growing to their seed
pods. We know that a good many plants have their
pods covered with hairs which are hooked at the ends.
Well, some are covered with hairs that have a drop of
viscid substance at the tip, instead of a hook; these
hairs fasten on quite as firmly as if they were hooked.
The pretty little twin flower, or ground vine, as it is
sometimes called, has a pair of scales growing about its
seed pod, and these scales are covered with sticky hairs.
The soft little mouse-ear chickweed, that grows every-
where in waste places, has several species which are
covered all over with fine hairs which have a sticky tip.
When the plant withers, it is easily pulled from the
ground, and as it remains sticky, even after withering,
the whole plant is often carried away by passing ani-
mals or people, and its seeds
shed in some distant place.
See if you can find some
plants that have their seeds
carried because some part of
the plant is sticky. There
are not a great many of
them; still, if you look long The twin flower.
enough, you will be sure to find some.


SOME kinds of plants live in the water or on the edge
of it. These often have seeds or seed pods light enough
to float. You can gener-
\ ally see little seeds float-
ing about on ponds, if you
take the trouble to look.
Into these ponds come
ducks or herons or other
waterfowl. The birds
come to find something
to eat, and as they swim
or wade about they come
in contact with the wet
seeds that cling to them.
After a time the birds,
bearing the seeds on
plumage, beak, or feet,
SJ fly to another pond or
Cocoanut palms, marsh, and as they alight
the seeds are floated off.
The wind then blows them to the shore, or else in
time, if they live in the water, they sink to the bottom
and sprout.


The cocoanut is a seed that is surrounded by a strong
shell and a thick coat of fiber that protects it from the
water and also makes it light.
The nut inside this thick overcoat is hollow when
ripe, excepting for a watery liquid that we call the milk
of the cocoanut. As we see cocoanuts in stores, the
outer coat has been taken off.
Cocoanuts grow near the tops of tall cocoanut palms,
and these palms are fond of standing on the seashore.
When the nuts get ripe they often fall in the sea and
are carried long distances by the ocean currents. In
this way, no doubt, many a coral island has received its
lovely fringe of cocoanut palms.
The nuts are floated to these little islands and washed
into crevices on them, where they lodge and in time
grow into stately trees.
The cocoanut palm is a very important tree in tropi-
cal countries. The nuts are used as food, and a valuable
oil is obtained from them. Cocoa oil is used for illumi-
nating and also for making salves.
The thick fiber that surrounds the nut is strong and
tough and is made into cloth, matting, brushes, baskets,
coarse rope, and a number of things. Matting is used
in some hot countries to make the sides of houses, and
the cocoanut fiber is useful to thatch roofs.
The wood of the tree is hard and durable and is made
into many household articles. The hard shell of the


nut makes good cups and dishes. So you see the cocoa-
nut tree affords almost everything the people in the hot
countries need.
They make their houses, and furnish them from it,
they get food and drink from it, for the milk of the
cocoanut is a very pleasant beverage, and they use
the oil to light their abodes at night. No wonder the
people value this noble tree very highly.



TIHE meat of the hickory nut is
a seed. The hickory tree bears
two kinds of blossoms. Like the
willow, it has staminate catkins
and also bears pistillate flowers,
from which grow nuts. Some
hickory catkins are very long and
slender and make pretty green
thIsols tassels on the trees in the spring. Hickory
nuts are good to eat, and you may wonder how
these delicious nuts, that many creatures are
fond of, ever get a chance to grow.
Squirrels are fond of nuts, and
they are generally on hand when
the nuts are ripe.
The, green nuts have Yon
an outer covering that hickory nuts.


splits open when the nut is ripe and lets it fall to
the ground. Of course when a squirrel has eaten
a nut, that is the end of it. But squirrels are good
housekeepers and store away nuts in holes in the
trees or in the ground. Chipmunks do the same,
and some birds, as nutcrackers and blue jays, hide
nuts in the same way. Often these nuts are forgotten,
or else the little creature that hid them may die or
be killed. Then the nuts that have been put in the
ground have nothing to do but grow when spring
warms the earth.
You see they have been planted by the little nut
lovers, that certainly had no intention of planting
them. No doubt a great many nut trees get started
in this way.
Hickory nuts are often called "walnuts" in New
England. The hickory tree belongs to North America,
and before this continent was discovered only the
Indians enjoyed hickory nuts. Now they are sent to
England, and indeed all over the world.
The wood of the hickory is hard, tough, and flexible
and is very valuable.
Andrew Jackson was called Old Hickory" because
of his unyielding nature, and when you study the his-
tory of the United States, or read the life of Jackson,
you will not wonder that he was so named.
Hickory switches were used long ago when children


were naughty ; they were preferred to willow, because
they did not break so easily.
A better use to put hickory to is to burn it. Hickory
logs make a very hot and beautiful fire, and hickory is
one of the best of woods to burn in fireplaces.


BLACK walnuts grow on large, handsome trees of very
hard, fragrant, dark-colored'wood. Walnut wood used
S / to be prized more highly than it
/ is to-day for furniture and the in-
side finish to houses. It takes a
fine polish but grows rather dark
and somber-looking with age.
The black walnut is a native
of the eastern part of North
America. It belongs to the same
family as the hickory and, like
t( that, bears two kinds of flowers.
The nuts have hard, thick,
black shells, and also a softer
outer covering, or rind, that is
Ripe walnuts. very bitter and disagreeable to
the taste, and that stains the fingers a dark brown.
The meat," or kernel, of the walnut is very oily, and
some people do not like it because of its rather strong
flavor. Squirrels are fond of walnuts, however, and
often plant them in the way we have seen.
The English walnut is an Asiatic tree belonging to
the same family, which has been cultivated in Europe


and, to a small extent, in this country. Its nut is
larger than the black walnut, has a thin shell and a
large, sweet kernel. The nut is delicious and a great
favorite at Christmas time. It is sometimes picked
green and pickled, and some people are very fond of
pickled walnuts.
The nut yields an abundance of valuable oil, and the
wood of the tree is very beautiful and useful for many
purposes, one of which is to finish houses on the inside,
and another to make gunstocks.
There is another tree belonging to the same family
that grows in America and looks very much like the
black walnut tree. It is the butternut. Butternut
wood is valuable, and butternuts have sweet, oily ker-
nels that most people like. The flowers, of course, are
like those of the walnut.
A brown dye is made from the inner bark of the
butternut tree, and also a medicine is obtained from it.
During the War of the Rebellion the Southern soldiers
were often dressed in homespun clothes dyed by the
bark of the .. ,
butternut, \
and on this, "

they were
called "
butternutss." Buttem uts.


THE chestnut is a very large and beautiful tree that
grows abundantly in some parts of New England and
over the Alleghany Moun-
S tains. Children always know
the chestnut trees, if they
live near them.
Like the hickory and wal-
nut, the chestnut has its
staminate flowers in catkins,
t but these are white instead
/ / of green, and give the chest-
S / nut a very handsome appear-
S"iA >/ ance when they cover it with
airy plumes in the early
The nuts grow in prickly
burrs, two or three in a burr.
Chestnut flowers.
When the nuts are ripe in
the fall, the burrs open to let them out. As everybody
knows, they have a thin shell and a sweet kernel.
They are sometimes boiled and sometimes eaten raw.
Squirrels, chipmunks, and some birds are fond of
them and are often the means of planting them.


Chestnut wood is soft and has rather a coarse, loose
grain. It is used largely for fence rails, cheap shingles,
and railroad ties.
Chestnuts grow in some parts of Europe and Asia,
and there is one kind that bears a nut as large as a
black walnut. This nut is not as sweet as our chest-
nuts, but it is extensively used as food in some parts of
Europe. The people go in families to gather the nuts,
and prize them as we prize wheat and corn.

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