The Bald.in Library
--1 le II I
-a' :ik .
L WUOD ANEI ONE. 2. PRIMROSES. S. WILD HYACINTH.
4. WOOD SORREL. 5 LILY OF THE VALLEY.
ANOTHER RAMBLE AFTER FLOWERS
T, NELSON AND SONS
London, Edirburgk, and New York
DEAR CHILDREN, I have already written for you an
account of several Chats about some of the wild
flowers which are to be found in the spring and in
the autumn during rambles along a country lane. I
have now added, in the pages of this little volume,
some gossip about the wild flowers which are to be
seen in a copse or a wood. As most of these are
flowers which do not grow in hedges, this will help
you in a woodland ramble. I hope that you who
are to read this have already read the first book,
because I have explained in that the meaning of
many of the words which are used when writing
about plants, and have not repeated those explana-
tions here. If you are minded to learn a little about
flowers, you should first of all go with us "Down
the Lane and Back," and then you will be ready for
a ramble "Through the Copse," and in a short time
we shall be prepared for "A Stroll on a Marsh," to
gather other wild flowers which have each of them
their own story to tell. The plates will help you to
find them, and then you will wish to know what
these pages can tell you about them. Be brave, and
you will not fail. M. C. COOKE.
LILY OF THE VALLEY,
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.. ... .. .... 47
... .. ... ...*. 54
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THROUGH THE COPSE.
" --,-HAT a lot of pretty flowers under the
"Indeed, Cissy, it is a fine crop of anemones,
'Thickly strown in woodland bowers
Anemones their stars unfold.'"
"They look something like star-flowers,' with
their white flowers spreading like stars."
"Indeed they are pretty; but they do not
last long, and have no scent."
"They would be much nicer if they smelled
Do you think so ? They have been called
the flower of sickness.'"
"You have not told me why they are called
'wind-flower,' or why anemone. "
"As for 'wind-flower': it was believed in
the days of a very old writer, named Pliny,
that the flowers never opened until the wind
blew upon them, else I should have thought
it was 'wind-flower' because the wind soon
blows the flowers off. The seed also blows
away with the wind.
'And coy anemone, that ne'er uncloses
Her lips until they're blown on by the wind.'"
"Anemone is a strange name; I cannot guess."
"No, Cissy, you would never guess, because
it comes from an old story. You know the
kind of fables they had in those olden days.
Venus was said to be a beautiful goddess, and
a youth named Adonis was her favourite ; but
one day he was killed by a wild boar, and Venus
changed his body into a flower, now called
It is an early flower."
Like the primrose and the violet, it comes
in the spring. Sometimes all the flowers are
closed up, and then people who are weather-
wise say it is going to rain. If you look at the
under side of the leaves of the flowers, you will
see that they are often pink, and there is no
green cup just under them."
So that they can be blown off easily ?"
"Perhaps so; but you have not counted the
rays of your stars."
Oh, there are six That is a curious num-
ber; there should be five, shouldn't there? "
Five is a common number, but there may be
four, and, as you see, there may be six."
"Are all of them proper flower-leaves ?"
"It is more likely that the three outer ones
belong to the flower-cup, and the three inner
ones to the proper flower; for you see they do
not all stand in a ring, but three are outside and
three are inside."
"Yet all of them are of the same size and colour."
"Yes, that is true; and the same thing hap-
pens in some other flowers besides the wood-
Both sorts fall off together."
Indeed they do; and both open and shut
"There are plenty of threads-what are
they ? stamens-in the middle. I cannot count
Yes; and the young seed capsules at the
centre nearly as many, all in a bunch."
"Almost like a buttercup."
"You are right there, Cissy; it is, as we
should say, cousin to the buttercups."
But buttercups are yellow!"
"Not all of them; the water buttercups are
white. You will see them floating on the water
in ditches. But you must gather two or three
flowers of anemone, with the whole flower-stalk
down to the root."
With one flower at the top, and three leaves
all together in the middle of the stalk."
"The stalk-leaves are different, as you see,
from the leaves that come from the root."
"The root-leaves have long stalks, and the
stalk-leaves have only very short ones."
The three stalk-leaves are all together, at
the same height, on three sides of the stem, like
three rays; and they are not proper leaves, but
stalk-leaves, and not exactly the same shape as
"But I cannot tell you what the shape is."
Then I must help you. They are something
like the leaves of the creeping buttercup, but
smaller, each leaf divided into three smaller
leaflets, like three leaves in one. Each leaflet
has a deep notch or two nearly to the bottom,
and each piece or lobe is toothed at the edge;
and these leaves of the stalk are called bracts."
But the true leaves ? "
"They are the leaves with long stalks which
spring up from the roots. The blade of the
leaf is not so very different from the bracts, for
it has three leaflets. The two outside ones are
often divided nearly to the bottom in two lobes,
and all of them are notched or toothed nearly
at the top; so each lobe is shaped rather like
a wedge, with the broad end outwards, and
FIG. 1.-LEAF OF ANEMONE.
"Now, Cissy, you must turn up the roots
carefully, for they are curious."
"How they creep along like runners, just
under the ground."
"True; and they have a name too, but we
need not trouble with that. You will find a
number of little rootlets striking down into the
ground from the underground runners."
Something like the little celandine ?"
"Yes, something like, but not quite the same."
"And do they live all the winter ?"
"These underground runners rest in the
ground after the flowers and leaves are dead,
and grow again in the spring."
Don't some of them die ? "
Perhaps they do, and sometimes they become
altered in a very curious manner."
"Do tell me, uncle !"
I can hardly explain how it is done, but all
the inside part of some of the runners gets dis-
eased and harder, and unable to grow in the
usual way; and although they look all the same,
they are quite changed into something different."
And what changes them ? "
A sort of mould, or fungus it is called, turns
the whole inside of the runner into fungus."
And how is that done? "
By growing inside it, eating up or altering
the stuff it is made of, and growing itself in the
And it is a 'wind-flower' root no longer ?"
Exactly so ; it is no longer the root of anem-
one, but the 'root,' or something like a root,
of a fungus which grows out of it, just as the
anemone flower would have done if there had
been no change."
"And what is it like when it grows ?"
I "Shaped like a little cup
or a wine-glass about half an
inch broad, of a light brown
polour, with a long wavy
stem three inches long, nearly
as thick as a straw, and black."
Springing out of the
"Sometimes one, or two,
or three, or four from the
same root, with the cups just
above the top of the ground."
6 "And are they hard ?"
y Not very hard; about as
FIG. 2.-ANEMONE PEZIZA. hard as the flesh of an apple,
and juicy, so that you can break and crush them
up in your fingers."
And could you eat them ?"
I suppose you could eat them, if you liked,
and they would do you no harm. The slugs
eat them sometimes."
"How very strange! And yet they do not
belong to the anemone ? "
"Not rightly so, but are the growth of a
disease of the old root-stocks."
"Are any other plants served in the same
"Not exactly in the same way; but wheat
grains and rye grains are often changed into
fungus called ergot, and this ergot is very like
the diseased anemone roots."
And grows a fungus upon it."
"Yes; a fungus grows from the diseased
grain or ergot, but of a different kind from that
of the anemone."
What funny things there are in the world,
uncle I should so like to find these cups on
the anemone roots. Perhaps we may find them
"Very likely; they are common enough."
SELL me, Cissy, which is your favourite
wild flower-the one above all others
which you love the best."
I like so many of them, but there are some
I love more than the rest."
Is there no one flower which you think is
the best, and would be pleased to call your
own ? "
I am very fond of the daisy-it is a pretty
wee thing; but it has no scent. Violets are
lovely-the colour is so nice, and they smell so
sweet; but the shape is not so pretty. I think
I like the primrose best."
For what reason ? "
They come so early and last so long. We
seem to have them nearly always with us, like
a good friend. And they smell so nice-not
strong, but so sweet you could smell them for
always. And the colour is so soft and gentle;
it is like a baby with a clean face."
"You are not the only person to love prim-
roses, for I love them too. They are the flower
of hope, for they tell us that spring is coming."
I am glad you love primroses, because you
will tell me more about them than I know, and
I think I shall love them all the more."
"Most old writers thought them sad, so that
sadness was as much linked with the primrose
as hope. It is so with our keeping of Primrose
"Why do we have a Primrose Day, when
nearly everybody carries primroses ?"
Because on that day a great man and great
statesman died, and we are sad for the past.
The flower tells of sunny days to come, and then
we hope for the future.
Sweet-perfumed primrose lifts its face to heaven,
Like the full, artless gaze of infancy.'"
"Don't they look pretty all along that bank ?
It seems a pity to gather them, they look so nice
as they grow amongst the green leaves; much
better than when they are huddled in a bunch
in your hand."
"Indeed, Cissy, a bunch of naked primrose
flowers without green leaves is a mistake. One
clump as they grow is better than all the nose-
FIG. 3.-PRIMr OSES.
"Yes, uncle; but mamma says we should not
pull up the roots, or by-and-by we shall get no
"I am afraid there are not. so many wild
primroses as there were years ago, because the
roots have been dug up so much to be sold in
"What colour do you call the primrose
"It is very much the colour of sulphur.
There are some artists who call it a delicate
green; but I should call it rather a pale greenish
"I call it primrose colour.'"
"A very natural thing for a little girl to do.
Take the open part of one of the flowers in your
fingers and draw it out of the cup. It will come
"All in one piece !"
"Now you have left behind the green flower-
cup, which was outside, and the centre column,
or pistil, which was in the middle."
"And have only the coloured flower-leaves."
"A long tube, nearly an inch long, with five
lobes or flaps at the top, bent back, and lying as
flat as a button. Something like the campion,
but the claws are joined together and form a
tube, so that it comes off in one piece."
Oh yes Of course there's a hard name for
that sort of flower, but I don't want it."
There is a name, but it's a long one. The
largest number of flowers are like the buttercup
and the wild rose, with the coloured flower-leaves,
or petals, all separate, so that each falls off by
itself; but in a smaller number of plants, all the
true flower-leaves are joined together and come off
in one piece, like the primrose and the bindweed."
And the honeysuckle ?"
"Of course, the honeysuckle. If you look
once more at the primrose flower, you will see
that the five pieces are divided nearly down to
the top of the tube, so that at first sight it looks
as if there were five separate flower-leaves, and
each of them has a shallow notch in the middle
of the outside edge."
Shall I throw it away now ?"
"No; you must split open the tube and see
what is inside."
"I thought it was empty!"
"Better to look than to think, Cissy, when
you have the chance."
"Well, I never! There are five little things
sticking to the inside of the tube."
Do they belong to the flower ? "
"Yes; they are gi, wiig there. They look
like the dust-boxes, pollen cases, that we saw
in the red campion, at the end of the threads.
How very short the threads are !"
"Indeed they are, and grown to the side of
the tube. Some of them are split, and you see
the yellow dust."
"I thought all flowers would be so much
alike; but they aren't alike at all, when you pull
them in pieces."
"Yes, Cissy, alike, and yet so different. If
you now split open the green flower-cup, you
will see that in pulling off the flower you left
the column behind, with the knob at the bottom,
the young seed-vessel. The cup, or calyx, is
grown to the outside of the ovary, or young seed-
vessel, and the stamens come away in the tube
when the flower is pulled off."
And that has some meaning too, I suppose ?"
A meaning which I will try to explain. We
must gather flowers from many plants first, and
look at them afterwards."
"One from each plant ? "
"That will do, for we shall get a variety."
"And can we look at them here ? "
"Oh yes, that is simple enough. K There are
two sorts of primrose flowers, and nearly as many
of the one sort as of the other; but all the flowers
that grow from one root are of one sort."
"What is the difference ?"
One kind is called 'pin-eyed,' the other
is 'thumb-eyed.' The middle of the flower,
looking down the tube, is the 'eye,' and the
difference is in this 'eye.'"
Have we gathered both ?"
"Yes; here are the 'pin-eyed,' with the end
of the column in the middle of the eye, like a
pin-head. Here is a 'thumb-eye,' the five
stamens showing their tops in a ring at the
mouth of the tube or eye."
"Sometimes one is at the top, sometimes the
other. Is that it ?"
Exactly. If the column-head is looking out
at the eye, it is 'pin-eyed;' but if the five
stamens are looking out at the eye, it is 'thumb-
eyed.' Perhaps you will see the reason better
if we cut one of each kind of flower down in the
"Oh, I see! Either the stamens are half-
way up, or they are quite at the top."
"When the stamens, with their pollen powder,
FIG. 4.-PIN-EYED AND THUMB-EYED FLOWERS.
are only half-way up, the column passes them
and goes to the top. When the stamens are at
the top, then the column goes only half-way up.
One or other always half-way up, or at the top."
That I can see; but what difference does it
make to the flower ?"
When the column is half-way up, then the
dust from the stamens can fall down upon the
column easily when the cases burst. When the
stamens are only half-way up, and the column
at the top, the dust falls, but does not rise, so it
cannot reach the top of the column. The pollen
cannot fall upwards."
"Must it fall on the top of the column ?"
"It is only when the dust sticks to the top
of the column, which is sticky, that the pollen
grows a tube, and this tube passes down inside
the column into the hollow of the swelling at
the bottom, and empties itself there."
"And after that?"
"The seeds ripen, but only then."
"What a pity Then the pollen, when only
half-way up, is all wasted ?"
"No, it is not; for insects will thrust down
their long tongues to reach the honey or sweet
liquor at the bottom of the flower, and bring
some of the pollen dust up with it. Or smaller
insects will go down the tube and brush the
pollen all over them."
"So they are all dusty when they come out?"
"Yes; and then they fly to another flower to
do the same thing, and some of the dust will be
rubbed upon the top of the column and stick
"Oh, I see! and push out the long tube,
down the middle of the column. How clever !"
"Besides, the pollen dust from 'thumb-eyed'
flowers, where the stamens are at the top, is one-
third larger than it is in the 'pin-eyed,' where
the stamens are half-way down."
See, when I pull off the whole piece of flower
out of the cup, and leave the column behind, the
top of the tube in 'pin-eyed' flowers is empty,
whilst the stamens block up the top of the tube
in the 'thumb-eyed' flowers."
"Before we leave the flowers, I suppose, like
all little girls, you suck the sweet from the
bottom end of the primrose tube before you
throw it away."
"Yes, we always do that; and so we do with
the honeysuckle flowers."
"And rob the poor insects ?"
"Never mind, there is plenty more for them."
"Did you see how much broader the flower-
cup is than the flower-tube which grows inside
"Quite loose, and twice as thick, all in one
piece, like a little wine-glass, and five sharp teeth
at the top."
"And you should add, that it stands all alone
at the top of a velvety flower-stalk."
I suppose I left that for you to say. Now
we are going downwards, to the leaves and root."
"A tuft of pale-green leaves, all coming up
from the crown of the root. You must name
the shape of the leaves."
Longer than broad, and rounded at the top."
Well, that is not enough."
Getting narrower and narrower down to the
bottom, and wrinkled all over, as if it were
covered with little blisters."
"That is on the top, I suppose ?"
Of course; for it is whiter and velvety under-
neath, and all the veins standing up."
Not a very clever picture after all; but
everybody knows a primrose and a daisy. The
roots are still untold, but we will not spoil a
plant by digging it up. There is a thickish,
short root-stock, and a lot of thready rootlets
running from it into the ground."
I don't want to know if primroses are good
for the rickets, or sore throat, or mumps. I
should not like them any the better for that,"
Nor yet if I told you that if the leaves and
root are dried until very dry, and then powdered
fine, if sniffed at they will make you sneeze as
snuff would do ? "
"No, uncle; I like to sniff them best when
they are all alive and sweet, and not snuff their
"Don't you like the cowslip, for that is a
kind. of primrose ?"
"Oh yes; I like it well enough, but I don't
love it like the primrose. I wish there was
a fairy tale about primroses."
"I cannot tell you any fairy tale, but I can
tell you of something rather like it. I have read
that many hundreds of years ago a youth named
Paralisos was to have been married to a damsel
called Melicerta; but the damsel died, and the
youth was so grieved that the gods changed her
dead body into' a flower, and the flower was
afterwards called primrose."
That is something like a fairy tale, because
it never could have been true."
"And the damsel died unmarried, which it is
said primroses do.
That die unmarried, ere they can behold
Bright Phcebus in his strength.' "
" ISSY, dear, the bells are ringing !"
"What bells, uncle "
"The bluebells, child."
"Why, I can't hear them."
"No, Cissy, you are not a fairy, and only
fairies can hear the bluebells ring."
"Then why should you ask me, or tease me
about them, if I can't hear them ? "
"But you can see them, if you go with me.
'Come, my child, come out to play,
For the sun shines bright to-day.'"
".I shall run and tell mamma, and then I
Come with a good will, or come not at all.'"
Uncle and niece were soon on their way, this
bright spring day, to a near copse, where the
English bluebell was blooming in plenty.
"Here they are by hundreds, and oh, so
beautiful! But where are the fairies ?"
Have you not heard, Cissy, that the fairies
were said to hide themselves in all bell-shaped
"Are these 'bell-shaped flowers'?"
"Certainly. They are shaped like a little
"Oh yes; like the one mamma rings when
she wants Lotty. And are these the bluebells
of Scotland' ?"
"No, no! The bluebell of Scotland is the
harebell, and not the hyacinth, which is the
"And is this the hyacinth? It isn't like the
hyacinths that mamma grows in tall glasses."
"No, Cissy, not exactly like them, for this is
the wild hyacinth."
"What a funny name, uncle."
"Truly a funny name; but I suppose it has
some meaning, if we only knew what it is. I
once read a story in an old book which might
help us. In olden times, when many people
were pagans, and believed in gods and goddesses,
the sun was called Apollo, who was very fond
of a youth whose name was Hyacinthus, or,
as we should say, Hyacinth. One day, when
Apollo was playing at quoit with his pupil
Hyacinth, the jealous wind, which was also
supposed to be a god, blew the quoit on one
side, so that it struck Hyacinth upon the head,
and killed him."
"Wasn't that spiteful ? And had the wind a
name too ? "
"Yes; the wind was called Zephyrus, so we
call a gentle wind 'a zephyr'."
Is that all ?"
Oh dear no! The story goes on to say
that Apollo was so sorry for the death of his
pupil that he changed his blood into a flower,
which goes by the name of Hyacinth."
That is not a true story, is it, uncle ?"
As I have told it to you, Cissy, it is a
pagan romance; but it is true that the sun, or
Apollo, bids the hyacinth and other flowers
spring from the earth when he shines upon
"And is this the hyacinth of the romance ?"
Unfortunately not; for the wild hyacinth is
not, I suppose, a hyacinth at all, although it
looks very much like them.
'The melancholy hyacinth, that weeps
All night, and never lifts an eye all day.'
"Now, Cissy, take hold of one of the flower-
stalks; grasp it firmly, and pull it up."
"What a long stem "
"Yes; nearly the lower half was in the
ground, and half above it."
"And what at the bottom ?"
"We must dig down to find that out."
Oh, what a bunch-all come up together !"
"Let us separate them. These were at least
four inches beneath the surface, the lower end
of the plant almost like a young onion. This
we call the bulb."
"And is what we call an onion a bulb ? "
"Yes; the base of an onion plant is a bulb."
"And those little white threads in a bunch at
the bottom ?"
"Are the rootlets or roots."
"Then the bulb is not the root ?"
"No, Cissy; the bulb is an underground bud,
and not a root. The fibres are the root."
"Then what's the use of the bulb, uncle ?"
"Ah, now we must come back to the onion
to help us. You know the onions that your
mamma uses in the kitchen ? "
"Yes, uncle; the bulbs dried, and all the
green tops and all the little roots pulled off."
Precisely-the dried bulbs; and in that state
they rest all through the winter, so that they
seem to be dead."
But they are not dead. I have seen them
sprouting sometimes, with a green sprout longer
than my finger."
"That is true; and if you were to plant the
dry onion bulbs in the ground, in early spring,
they would sprout and grow up into onion
plants, with leaves, and flowers, and seeds. So
that, you see, the onion bulbs, and all such
bulbs, are really buds, which go to sleep, or rest,
through the winter, to awaken and grow into
plants in the spring."
And would they rest if they were left in the
ground all the winter ? "
Certainly they would; for no one digs up
the wild hyacinth bulbs : they remain in the
ground all the winter, and, as you see, all wake
up and grow in the spring."
"And crocuses, and snowdrops ?"
Yes, and daffodils, and tulips. But we must
look at the plants we have taken up, and find
out what there is besides bulbs and roots."
And leaves and flowers," added Cissy.
Leaves first, if you please."
"Long leaves, so long, all the way from the
"True; and without any stem, except the
flower-stem, which is quite distinct and separate
from the leaves."
And so, when I pulled up a flower-stem, it
came up clean from the bulb. How white and
brittle it is at the bottom."
Because it has been hidden from the light,
and blanched, or' made white.' The entire stem
is often more than twelve inches long."
"And the pretty flowers at the top, all blue-
not all blue, for I see one cluster nearly white,
and there is another such a pretty pink; but
they are really nearly all blue."
"'Pink bluebells' and 'white blackbirds'
sound rather funny, but both may be found."
"Are any other blue flowers ever white or
"Yes; larkspurs in gardens are often white
and pink, mixed with blue. Lilac may be white
as well as blue, and so also violets. The hare-
bell is sometimes white; and, indeed, most blue
flowers are apt to have a few white ones."
Are they blanched for want of light ? "
"No, dear; the change from blue to white in
the flowers is not caused by want of light, as
it is in the blanching of the green parts of
"Would flowers always have their proper
colour if grown in the dark ? "
I don't think they would have flowers at all
when grown in the dark ?"
"What makes all the flower-stalks bend over
at the top as if they were nodding ?"
Oh, that is the common habit of the plant
They all do it, so that it has been called the
"And without a reason, uncle ?"
"Not without a reason, or a cause, Cissy;
nothing is without a cause, whether we know it
or not. Do you not see that all the little bells
hang down on one side of the stalk ?"
And would you not think it enough to bend
over the stalk to the side which carries the
weight of all the flowers ? "
"How many are there ? I shall count how
many flowers there are on a stem."
"I should do so if I were you; but some
have more than others."
This one has ten, another has sixteen, and
the very long one has twenty-five. There are
Many of them with ten or twelve, so I suppose
that is the most usual number."
"Yes; and every one hangs and swings upon
a tiny thin stalk, so that it can wave about as
if it were ringing."
"With a clapper inside. How funny !"
"Not a wagging clapper, Cissy, but a fixed
one. We shall find a better name for it by-
"How sticky my fingers are and the stalks
are sticky !"
"The bulb and the stem are filled with a
sticky juice, but most in the bulb, and it rises
from the bulb into the lower part of the stem."
What's the use of it ? "
I do not know that I can explain its use
fully; but it is most plentiful at flowering time,
and very likely it helps the plant to flower.
All plants use a great deal of moisture at flower-
"Where does it come from? "
Do you know what starch is? "
Of course I do. It is the white stuff that
mamma mixes up like paste to stiffen papa's
"Right; and this starch is to be found in
almost all plants, even in the bulbs of the wild
Can we see it "
"No, we cannot see it now, or at any time,
in the bulbs, because the tiny grains are so very
small; and sometimes they are dissolved into
a gummy, sticky substance, very like melted
"And some of it is sticking to my fingers."
"Perhaps; because when plants are coming
into flower, the starch is changed into a sticky
stuff, and, after that, what is left behind is
changed back into starch again, and stored up
in the bulb."
Then can we see it ? "
Indeed we can, in one way, by grating the
bulbs into a basin of water, when the little
grains of starch are set free, and fall to the bot-
tom, whilst the other parts float, and can be
poured off. The little film of white grains which
lie on the bottom of the basin is the starch."
"And could mamma make the starch paste
of it ?"
Oh dear, yes; just the same as any other
starch. When the water is all drained off, and
the starch is dried, it is a soft white powder,
and can be used for starching linen."
Isn't it a pity that the flowers do not smell
so sweet as the real hyacinth, or the violet ?"
I don't know, my dear. We like the smell
of the sweet violet and the rose, but there may
be beauty without scent; and I think that these
things are more wisely ordered for us, and for
them, than they would have been if you or I
had done it. Did you never read that verse:-
'To comfort man-to whisper hope,
Whene'er his faith is dim;
For Who so careth for the flowers,
Will much more care for him!'
Perhaps, if we had done it, we should have
wanted all the flowers to blossom at once."
"And so made a mess of it. This little
flower, it is said, usually blooms, one year with
another, about Saint George's Day."
"And what day is that? "
"The twenty-third of April; and it is written
in an old play that blue coats were worn by
people of fashion on Saint George's Day."
"Now, dear, we must examine the flowers
themselves, or the 'corolla' as it is called; and
we have already seen that it is bell-shaped, of
six petals joined to each other for a long way, so
as to seem all in one piece, with the six ends
projecting like teeth around the edge."
"How shall we see the inside
By cutting it down through
the middle from the bottom to
the top. Then we see one little
'clapper' standing up in the cen-
FG. 5 TN OF tre, which is the pistil or female;
FlI. 5.-SECTION OF
WILD HYACINTH. and if we examine both the
halves we can count six stamens. Three of
them are long and three are short. Those oval
bodies on the top are called anthers, but the
threads which support them are grown to the
inner side of the corolla for a long way up."
"And they stand round the pistil in a circle."
Might we not say two circles, of three in
each?-a circle of short stamens, and a circle
of long stamens, and the pistil in the centre,
like a tiny column swollen at the base. Look
closely at this swelling at the bottom, where we
cut it through."
"What a cluster of little round things, just
like tiny pin-heads What are they ? "
"Those are the ovules now, but when they
are fully grown and ripe they will be called seeds."
Ovules when young, seeds when old."
Quite right; and the lower part of the
pistil, in which you see the ovules growing, is
the ovary. The column on the top is the style."
How long will they be in growing ? "
"Oh, a very little time after the corolla falls
off; for in a week or two they will become large
green knobs, as large as a pea; and in the
autumn, or late in the summer, dry capsules,
with the ripe seeds inside."
Until they reached home, the time was taken
up by comparing the "wild hyacinth" with
primroses, and observing how they differed from
each other. How the leaves of the primroses
had branched veins, and those of the hyacinth
veins which ran along the leaf side by side.
How the parts or petals of the corolla were five
in the primrose, and six (or twice three) in the
hyacinth. How the stamens were also five in
the former, and twice three in the latter. And
how the seeds of the primrose, when they grow,
produce at first two little seed leaves, whilst
those of the hyacinth have only one. From
this comparison it was learned that flowering
plants are of two kinds-those which have
two seed leaves (Dicotyledons), and those which
have but one (Mlonocotyledons) ; and that in the
former the leaves are net-veined, and in the
latter parallel-veined; whilst the parts of the
flower, such as the petals and stamens, are
usually five or twice five in the one, and three
or twice three in the other.
LILY OF THE VALLEY."
" EE there, Cissy, actually 'lily of the val-
ley' in flower. I never saw it here
before-perhaps escaped from some garden."
Isn't it a wild flower ?"
"Yes, it is a British wild flower, but only
found in woods, here and there. It is common
enough in gardens.
No flower amid the garden fairer grows
Than the sweet lily of the lowly vale,
The queen of flowers.'"
"Has it only one name ? Wild flowers often
have two or three names."
"And so has this one, for it is 'May flower'
and 'May lilies,' because it comes in May."
It is lovely, and smells so sweet. Isn't it
something like 'cherry blossom' ?"
LILY OF THE VALLEY.
"Possibly; two people seldom agree as to
what any scent is like. Some think it is like
one thing, and some think it is like another;
perhaps noses are not all alike."
"And yet everybody likes it."
FIG. 6.-LILY OP THE VALLEY.
I am told that in Hanover large parties go
into the forests on Whit Monday to gather
these May flowers."
"That is Bank Holiday."
LILY OF THE VALLEY.
"Bank holidays are unknown in Hanover;
but there are holidays, and this is one."
"And is it really a lily ? It is so different
from the great white lily which grows in gar-
"Yes, it is a lily in the same way that the
wild hyacinth is a lily, or the asparagus plant,
or the onion. They all belong to the lily family,
and in that sense they are lilies. In no other
sense are they lilies."
"How it spreads over the ground in large
The roots are like runners, creeping under
the surface, and running for a long distance, so
that it would be difficult to root it out."
"And all the leaves come up from the roots
without any proper stem."
Delicate pale green leaves too, with a smooth
"I should think they are almost lance-shaped
-broadest in the middle and narrowed to each
"Narrowed most at the bottom, so as to have
LILY OF THE VALLEY.
a leaf-stalk not quite so long as the leaf, with
the bottom part in the ground."
And smooth everywhere."
I wish you to look at the veins of the leaf,
for in many leaves of common plants there is a
mid-rib, which runs down the middle of the leaf,
with short branches on each side, and these
branch again and again, so as to cover the leaf
like a network; but in this lily the veins run in
lines, 'side by side, along the whole length of
Oh, yes; almost as they do in a grass leaf."
"You will see the same kind of veins in a
tulip leaf, and in the wild garlic, and in the
leaves of most of the bulb-rooted plants."
"So that there are net-veined leaves and
I fancy you will find out, by-and-by, that
plants which have straight-veined leaves have
the flowers with three or six leaves, and the
stamens are either three or six in the middle of
the flowers. Just look at these flowers of the
lily of the valley."
LILY OF THE VALLEY.
"The flower-stalk comes up from the roots."
"And bends over at the top in a curve, so
that the flowers seem to droop from one side."
"As they do in the wild hyacinth."
"And every one of them with a short flower-
stalk or foot-stalk, with a very narrow and very
small pointed leaf on the main stalk, just where
the foot-stalk of the flower joins the stem."
-- r 11" 1-i
I- ki l
FIG. 7.-LILY OF THE VALLEY.
1, Root; b, Inflorescence; 2, Section of Flower; 3, Capsules; 4, Section of Ovary.
See there are eight flowers on this stalk,
and ten flowers on this, and nine on this."
"So that there are from eight to ten flowers
on each flower-stalk; and at first, before they
are open, each flower-bud is round like a berry,
with about six little furrows."
LILY OF THE VALLEY.
And the flowers go nid-nid-nodding with
the wind blowing them."
"Just as they are said to do in the lines-
'The lily of the vale, whose virgin flower
Trembles at'every breeze, beneath its leafy bower.'"
Why is it called 'virgin flower,' uncle ?"
Because the flowers are of such a pure white-
ness, virgin white, or pure white."
And, when open, they hang like round silver
"Each flower has six teeth on the open edge,
< A a little bent back, and six shallow
grooves down the sides; and now
you must look inside."
One, two, three, four, five, six
TION OF FLOWER. "Around the centre column. But
do you notice that none of the flowers have on
their outside the usual green flower-cup ?"
I had forgotten that."
This is the way it is explained. Each flower
is formed of six pieces, grown together at the
sides, and the teeth at the edge of the flower
LILY OF THE VALLEY.
are the ends of the flower-leaves. Of these six
leaves, if they were not grown together, three
of them would belong to the flower-cup and the
other three to the proper flower."
And yet all of them white ?"
"Yes; for if we were to look at a tulip in the
garden when we are back home again, we shall
see that the tulip has no green flower-cup, but
six separate flower-leaves, all of one colour.
Three of these are outside, and belong to the
flower-cup, and three are inside, and belong to
the proper flower, called a perianth."
But if we do not find a tulip in flower, what
shall we do then ? "
"Take a single snowdrop instead, and that
will teach us the same lesson. I recollect a
Scotch verse about the lily, which is perhaps
too hard for you to remember-
'Sweet flower o' the valley, wi' blossoms of snow,
And green leaves that turn the cauld blast frae
Bright emblem o' innocence, thy beauties I lo'e
Aboon the king's coronet circled wi' gems."
T was a cool March morning when Cissy
and her uncle wandered into a small wood
to hunt for a plant about which they had been
talking. Saint Patrick's Day was coining, and
no one thinks of that day without thinking also
of the shamrock, and they went to seek the
wood-sorrel, which some call shamrock. As
they walked they talked, and this time it was
of the patron saint of Ireland, and the story of
"Now, Cissy, you must hunt amongst the
wood-sorrel, and see if you can find any flowers."
There's a large patch of it, looking very
much as if it were clover."
More delicate than clover, and only like it
in the trefoil leaves."
"I know the roots, running just under the
ground like little strings of fine twine."
Some of the kinds of wood-sorrel are very
hard to root out of a garden when once they are
in it. The roots run a long way, and spread
the plant very fast; we should rather call them
'runners,' or underground shoots."
The. leaves grow from the runners in little
"The leaves have long, thin foot-stalks, and
three leaflets, nearly heart-shaped, fixed at the
top of the stem by the narrow end, and
notched at the outer edge, like trefoil or white
"And the stalks are velvety, but thin and
If you look at the young leaves, you will see
that the three lobes are bent backwards to the
"And so are the old leaves sometimes."
"When the leaves are bent in this way, it is
the top side of the leaves that is turned out-
wards; but in the white clover leaves the upper
sides turn inwards, and the under sides are left
Then the leaves of the wood-sorrel and those
of the white clover close up in quite a different
"Yes; the wood-sorrel hides the under side,
and the white clover hides the upper side."
What makes them close up and go to sleep ?"
FIG. 9.-LEAVES OF WOOD-SORREL.
"Perhaps if I tell you how it takes place you
will be able to guess. In the wood-sorrel, during
the daytime the leaves are quite open and flat.
In the evening each one of the three leaflets or
lobes gradually falls, and keeps on falling till the
under side of the leaves nearly touches the leaf-
stalk, and so they rest through the night."
Then they go to sleep for the night."
"After half-past five in the evening they
droop and fall quickly, and by seven o'clock are
bent quite down to the foot-stalk, and remain
so all night. In the morning, about a quarter
to seven, they begin to rise again, and keep rising
till they are quite flat; this motion takes about
an hour. During the day they move a little up
and down according to the weather."
But do they move during the night ?"
I think not. Between seven o'clock in the
evening and nearly seven in the morning they
seem to be quite at rest."
Then it is just like going to sleep ?"
It is sometimes called 'sleep,' but I suppose
it is done for some purpose; because if the leaves
were flat the dew would settle upon them, and
that would make them colder; but if bent
downwards they keep drier, and so they are
"And they know when it is time to go to
sleep ? "
They seem to know also the time to wake.
Little boys and girls are seldom so ready to go
to bed, and some of them are not so ready to
"And do any other plants shut up like the
wood-sorrel and white clover?"
Oh dear, yes. A great many of them move
a little, but not so much. Some droop their
leaves, and some close their flowers, and some
even droop or close their leaves in the daytime
when they are touched."
"Indeed I know how the daisy closes up
sometimes, so you cannot see the inside of the
Flowers could teach us a great many things
we do not know, if we would listen to them."
Here are some wood-sorrel flowers at last.
What dear little flowers !"
"You see that they grow singly at the top
of short foot-stalks, coming up from the roots,
almost hidden amongst the leaves."
"Flowers with five leaves this time."
"Five small spreading flower-leaves, and five
green cup-leaves on the outside. You will
notice that all the flower-leaves are a little
grown together at the bottom, and so are the
The flowers are a little pink on the outside
and white on the inside, with pretty lilac mark-
ings like little veins. Some of them are quite
"They will soon open when the sun shines
upon them, and then you will see the ten
threads or stamens in the middle, five of them
longer than the other five. All fives, Cissy-
five cup-leaves, five flower-leaves, five long
stamens and five short ones, and five little
points on the column in the centre."
And do they make seeds ? "
"When the flowers fall away you will find a
little capsule of five parts joined together, with
the seeds inside."
I shall look for them again when the flowers
are all dead and the little seeds are ripe. And
that is all the wood-sorrel can teach us?"
"No, no; by no means. You have not
noticed a pair of very little leaves growing half-
way up the flower-stalks."
"Yes, I did see them, and wondered what
They are little leaves, and so small and so
different from the others that they are not
called leaves, but bracts. You will often find
that the pair of leaves next to a flower are
different in size and shape from the rest, and
these are bracts."
"I wish there were not so many strange
words about flowers, but I suppose we must
I think you must, or you will never under-
stand what you read about flowers, because you
must know one part from another. But you
have not tasted the leaves yet."
"Are they nasty, like the 'lords and ladies'?"
Don't be afraid of them. There is nothing
you will dislike."
They are quite sour, but I like them. I
shall eat some more. Does any one eat
"Sometimes the leaves are gathered and put
in salads, with lettuce and onions. One of its
names is 'sour clover,' and another is 'gowk's
clover.' Sheep are said to be fond of it."
"Has it any other names ?"
"In France it is called 'cuckoo's bread,' or
'cuckoo's meat,' and I suppose one of its oldest
names in England is alleluja.'"
And why alleluja ? "
"Because it comes about Easter, when alle-
luja' is sung. But, strangest of all, some persons
believe it is the 'shamrock,' although others say
that the true shamrock is clover."
And what is the story of the shamrock ."
A long time ago a Welshman was made a
bishop, and his name was changed to Patrick.
The Pope sent him to Ireland to convert the
Irish; but he had a hard time of it, and the Irish
were ready to stone him because he preached of
the Trinity. Saint Patrick, as he is now called,
plucked a leaf from the ground with three leaf-
lets, and said, 'Is it not as possible for the
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as for these three
leaves to grow upon a single stalk ?' and then
they believed him."
And the plant was called the shamrock ?"
"Yes; and Irishmen wear the leaves in their
hats upon St. Patrick's Day."
The wood-sorrel leaves ?"
No; the Irishmen wear clover leaves. But
many persons believe that the true shamrock is
'Chosen leaf of bard and chief,
Old Erin's native shamrock.'
In olden times they say that it was the sorrel
leaf, and more lately the white clover, which was
called the shamrock."
"And both leaves are very much alike."
With three leaflets on one stalk. There is
a belief that whoever shall find a four-leaved
shamrock will have the power to do many
"And do you think that any one has ever
found a clover leaf, or a wood-sorrel leaf, with
four leaflets instead of three?"
It is very probable that such a thing may
have happened, but it is not a common event.
I do not think it at all impossible. I remember
to have once seen a clover leaf with four leaflets,
but one was smaller than the rest. The Irish
believe that a four-leaved shamrock is a charm
against witches; and an old song says,-
SI'll seek the four-leaved shamrock,
In all the fairy dell;
And if I find those charmed leaves,
Oh, then, I'll weave my spell.
For I would play the enchanter's part,
And scatter bliss around,
Till not a pain, or aching heart,
Should in the world be found.'"
" IHAT pale-green plant, Cissy, about half
I a yard high, is the wood-spurge, and
we shall want the whole plant and a little
patience to understand it, for it is a very curious
plant, with very small flowers, so you had better
pluck it up by the roots."
Here it is; but what is the matter with it ?
See here, uncle, wherever it is broken, or a leaf
pulled off, it bleeds a white blood, just like milk."
So you have found out the first secret
already, that every part of the living wood-
spurge is filled with a white juice, which looks
"And see how it runs out and drops, as if it
were blood running out of a wound, and it makes
my fingers dirty and sticky."
1. WOOD SPURGE. 2. WILD ANGELICA. YELLOW ARCHANGEL
4. BITTER SWEET.
You must not put them in your mouth until
you have washed them, for this juice is strong
and unpleasant, and might sting your tongue."
"It spurts out everywhere, the plant is full
of it. Are there any other milk plants ? "
FIG. 10.-INDIA-RUBBER TREE.
"Yes, there are several spurges found in this
country which have a milky juice; but in foreign
countries there are many more, and some of
them grow to very large trees."
"And are they still milky when they are
Yes, Cissy; but they grow in very hot coun-
tries, and the natives bore holes in the trunk to
let the juice run out, and they catch it in bowls."
"But what do they do with it? They can-
not drink it."
When the juice has run out it hardens and
turns darker coloured, until it is almost like
leather, and then it is called caoutchouc, or india-
To rub out pencil marks ?"
"And make goloshes and waterproof coats,
and a great many other useful articles."
"Is india-rubber always a milky juice when
it runs out of the tree ?"
"Yes, always; and it soon becomes sticky, as
this juice was upon your fingers, and after that
it becomes hard and tough."
But the milk of the wood-spurge is not
india-rubber, is it ?"
"Not exactly, but something like it when it
dries. The 'rubber' of some trees and of some
THE "Cow TREE."
countries is much better than others, and some
milk does not become 'rubber' at all, or not
such 'rubber' as could be made use of. There
is a large tree which grows in South America,
and is called the 'cow tree.' It gives a great
deal of milk, which is sweet and pleasant. The
natives drink it, and soak their bread and cakes
in it; but white people find it cling about their
mouths so much, because it is sticky, that they
are not so fond of it."
And it does them no harm ?"
Certainly not; it is very much like cow's
milk. But I must tell you of another tree
which yields milk, and in this case the milk is
so poisonous that the natives poison their arrows
by dipping them in the milk. These arrows
will kill any man or animal that is pricked with
The milk of some trees is sweet and pleasant,
of others it is poisonous, and of others it becomes
"Just so; and of some it is stinging to the
taste and very unpleasant, as in the spurges,
and in some of these it dries into a kind of gum,
which is used for medicine. So you see that
this milky juice, which is found in some plants,
is a very curious substance."
And is the milk of the wood-spurge used for
Country children when they have warts on
their hands rub them with the milk of the
spurge, which, it is said, eats them away."
Now, uncle, we must see to this plant, which
you say is so curious in other ways."
"You will notice that the stem and branches
are round and of a reddish colour, and if you
pinch them you will find them quite hard and
firm. Then the top of the stem has five
branches, which are all together on the same
level, called an umbel, because they are like
those rods which open out an umbrella or parasol.
You must remember what an u zbel is, because
we shall find it again in the wild angelica, and
many common wild flowers. The branches start
from the same level, and reach to nearly the
I shall think of it when I open an umbrella."
"The leaves on the stem are narrow-oblong,
and crowded together about the middle of the
stem; but they are shorter above, and further
apart. These are the true leaves, but there are
others of a different form on the umbel."
Some of the five branches of the umbel are
"Yes, they are forked; but you must not
think that the number five is wanted to make
an umbel, for in some plants there might be as
many as twenty rays or branches in an umbel.
Now for the floral leaves on the umbels, these
are in pairs, which are connate, or united, so as
to look like one round leaf, with the stalk pass-
ing through it. In the middle of these floral
leaves, or bracts, you will see the little flowers,
which are also very curious, and we must look
at them through a pocket-glass, because they are
"They are strange-looking greenish flowers.
What is that green cup outside, with half moons
around the edge of it 1"
That looks like a corolla, but it is called an
involucre, a name you will have to recollect. It
might be a corolla, or perianth, if it was only
one flower; but in this case it is a cup which
holds several flowers, as you will see presently,
and so it is called an involucre. Its meaning is
' a wrapper,' and nearly the same as 'envelope.'
Those half-moon shapes on the edge are yel-
f" Ornaments for the edge of
"Hush, Cissy! don't forget
that it is an involucre, although
it is shaped like a cup; and
FIo. 12.-SECTION OF between the glands are small
"And there are four or five moon-shaped
"The flowers within the involucre look as if
they were only stamens, with an ovary or a pistil
in the middle; but I must show you why they
are not. Let us look at the female flower first
-that is the one in the centre. It is an ovary
standing upon a stalk. Around it are several
erect little bodies very much like stamens; but
if you pull away one or two of them very care-
fully, you will see that there is a joint at the
middle of the filament, and a minute scale at the
base. This little scale at the bottom of the fila-
ment is all the perianth the flower can boast; but
they are imperfect male flowers, and not stamens."
"Then the male flowers would be stamens if
there were no little scale at the bottom of the
filaments, and the female flower would only be
a stalked ovary if the male flowers were only
stamens. Is that what I am to learn?"
"Yes, Cissy, that explains the difference; but
after all it is not a very big one to make a fuss
I think it is very much like great cry and
little wool;' but I suppose we must mind what
the books say. I don't see that I should be so
very wrong if I were to call them, what they
look like, stamens, and not male flowers. It
seems so stupid to call the little things flowers.
I can hardly see them at all."
"You have learned at least that the spurge
family is a very singular one; and if ever you
should go to a botanic garden, such as Kew
Gardens, you must look for some of the very
-- -.- --_-__- -strange forms that grow
in foreign lands, and
they will surprise you.
There are some very
S-curious foreign plants
:- which are very juicy and
thick, many of them
-:' armed with sharp spines,
q i .-- but without any leaves.
S One kind is called Cactus,
.'Q and they have often
splendid flowers; but
-- -- .: .. another kind, very much
like them, are spurges,
FIG. 13.-AFRicAN EUPHORBIA. or Euphorbia,which have
only small flowers. They are not like the
English spurges in appearance, but so nearly
like cactus as to seem as if they imitated them."
"T HE plant we are looking for to-day is a
S large one, and one of the members of
a very large family. The family likeness is seen
most strongly in the arrangement of the flower-
heads, those clusters of flowers called the in-
florescence. In this case an almost countless
number of flowers are found in each cluster, and
they are grouped upon an umbel. I have told
you already that an umbel is a number of flower-
stalks, which start from the same level and
reach to the same height, and are something
like the thin rods which hold up the ribs of an
umbrella when it is opened. The top of an
umbel is often nearly flat, and when you look
down upon it you only see a large round flat
cluster of small whitish or yellow flowers closely
SA angelica sylvestris.
packed together. The carrot, parsnip, parsley,
celery, all of them garden vegetables, have their
flowers in umbels. Yonder stands an angelica
plant as tall as yourself, so that you can soon
see what an umbel is like."
Fim. 14.---UBELLIFEROUS PLANT.
"I have often seen flowers growing in that
way, and didn't know what to call them."
"We will not pluck this one and carry it
away, but will sit down beside it. And take my
word for it that, in most cases, the root goes
straight down for a long way, growing thinner
and thinner, until it ends in a point, like the
root of a carrot or a parsnip; but in the wild
plants they are not so thick as in garden plants,
and are more woody and tough. We may call
it a tap-root."
Then a carrot or a parsnip is a tap-root, or,
I suppose, a tapering root."
"And now for the stem, which is upright,
straight, and thick. If you cut it across any-
where, you will find it hollow, like a tube or
pipe, with ridges and furrows on the outside,
and a branch here and there, carrying a smaller
umbel at the top."
"It is very light for such a large plant, and,
I suppose, that is because the stem and branches
The leaves, Cissy, will be a puzzle for you
to name, except that they are compound; for
nearly all the umbel-bearing plants have coin
pound leaves, and these are not so compound as
many of them. You will remember that comz-
pound means that they are not simple leaves,
but composed of a number of leaflets."
"I know there are a great many different
kinds of compound leaves, and these are very
"If you find one of the largest and most
perfect of the leaves, there is, first of all, the
principal leaf-stalk in the middle, with a com-
pound leaflet at the top, and two pairs of com-
pound leaflets below. Each compound leaflet
has a simple leaflet at the end, and two pairs of
leaflets below; but the lowest pair are sometimes
divided again, so that each leaf is twice or three
"That is a puzzle. I should scarcely know
how to write it down, except as a double com-
"The simple leaflets are not so difficult, as
they are rather a long oval, pointed at the top,
but with the edges sharply toothed all round,
like the teeth of a saw. For this reason they
are said to be serrate-that is to say, they are
toothed like a saw."
"But what a funny pouch at the bottom of
the leaf-stalk !"
"Yes, I thought you would see that; and
many of the plants in this family are made in
that way. The leaf-stalk is very much widened
at the bottom, and the edges are clasped around
the stem, like a stocking or a boot, so that there
is a large hollow in the axil of the leaf. You
recollect what an axil is ? "
The arm-pit, where the leaf-stalk joins the
In some plants, instead of the bottom of the
foot-stalk being widened and clasping the stem
in this way, there is a very small leaflet on each
side, just by the stem, and these are called
stipules. You may find them on the haw-
"And now we come to the inflorescence."
That is right, Cissy. I am glad that you
remember inflorescence as the name for the
whole arrangement of the flowers. In this case
we find not only an umbel, but a compound
umbel. The flower-stalks rise all from one
level; and just where they join the stem you
will see three or four little narrow leaflets, called
bracts, for they are floral leaves, and not true
"I see them, but they are very tiny."
"Each one of the rays of the umbel, or, as
you would say, each one of the flower-stalks in
the umbel, has a little umbel at the top of it,
with its little rays, or flower-stalks, and the
little bracts at the bottom. Every umbel is
made up of a lot of smaller ones, and so it is
called a compound umbel. And every little
umbel carries a great number of small whitish
And some of them just a little pink."
"Sharp eyes, Cissy, for the flowers."
"I cannot quite see the calyx, but I suppose
it is there, but so very small. And there are five
petals, not touching each other, leaving a round
green spot in the middle, with two tiny horns;
that will be the top of the ovary."
"Call it the disk, which is the top of the
ovary; and the two horns are the two styles,
with the five stamens standing around. So you
see, that although the flowers are very small,
they are as perfect as are flowers twenty times
"I think I should like to see the fruits; are
they berries ?"
Oh dear, no They are little dry fruits,
almost like the seeds of some other plants. You
will find them in plenty late in the autumn, for
they remain a long time on the umbels."
Could you show me what they are like ?"
"I will tell you all I can about them. They
are nearly as large as your finger-nail, flattened,
and of a roundish outline. The fruit consists of
two halves joined together; and in this case the
halving is through the thin direction, so that
the two halves are of the same
size and shape, with the flat
backs joined together. Each
half has a thin edge which is
called a wing, and the outside
surface has three ridges run- FIG. 13.-FRUIT AND
ning from top to bottom. FRUIT.
When the halves split apart, people are apt to
call them seeds, although only the inner portion
is a seed. When you cut through one of the
fruits with a sharp knife, across in the middle,
you will see the wings, and the ridges, and the
oval seed which lies in the centre."
"It is not quite easy to understand what
they are like without seeing them, but we shall
be able to get them in the autumn. Are
all the fruits in this family something like
them ? "
"Well, they are all similar, because they are
double, and often winged and flattened; but
they are very variable in shape. You should
look at the carraway seeds which are used in
making seed-cake, and the seeds, as they are
called, of coriander sold by chemists, and the
seeds of carrot and parsley, if you can get them;
then you will see how they are alike, and how
much they differ."
And is this angelica of any use ?"
"Not that I am aware of. But the true
angelica, which is much like it, is grown in
gardens, and the green stalks are candied with
sugar and sold as 'candied angelica.' Some
people are very fond of it, but the taste is rather
Thus ended our "chat" on one plant of the
largest families of plants, in which the flowers
are very small, and grow on umbels of short
branches. They are all herbs, and mostly with
hollow stems; but many of them are of great
service to the human race. The roots of the
carrot and parsnip, the leaves of parsley and
fennel, and the leaf-stalks of celery are culti-
vated as vegetables; the fruits of carraway,
cumin, coriander, anise, and dill as condiments;
and some parts of many others are used in
medicine. Some species or other is nearly cer-
tain to be found during a country walk.
It would be very useful to compare the wild
carrot with the angelica, as it belongs to the
same family, and the woodcuts will help to make
this task an easy one. We have first of all the
inflorescence, which is a compound umbel, A,
(Fig. 16), with very deeply cut compound leaves,
and very distinct toothed bracts close beneath the
umbel. Then one of the flowers is much enlarged
in figure B, with a section cut through it at c.
The figure D shows the fruit, and D' a section cut
down from the top to the bottom, and figure E is
a cross-section of the same. The wild carrot is
FIG. 10.-WILD CARROT.
A, Inflorescence; B, Flower; C, Section ; D, Fruit, and D', Section; E, Transverse
Section of Fruit.
common enough on hedge-banks, and is easily
known by the outer rays of the umbel curling in-
wards, giving it the appearance of a bird's nest.
IN their woodland ramble Cissy and her uncle
were not long in finding a damp spot, on
which was growing a common weed with yellow
flowers, which at first looked a little like a nettle,
but with no stinging hairs, called sometimes the
yellow dead-nettle, at others by the name of
yellow archangel, and less commonly as "weasel
snout." Country children know at once that it
is not a stinging nettle because of the yellow
flowers. Cissy had not forgotten the rule to
gather an entire plant, roots as well as stem, and
soon seated herself and laid it across her lap.
"My dear," said her uncle, I wish you to
listen to me this morning, and I will tell you
what I think you should look at, and try to
remember, about this yellow dead-nettle, because
there are a great many wild flowers very much
like it in the shape of the blossom, which is a
very curious one; and you can ask me questions
about anything more you may wish to know."
That will be nice; you will give me a lesson."
"Yes, Cissy, for this time I will lecture you.
Let us begin at the bottom. What you see
there are not simple roots, but long strings, as
we may call them, which run underground, and
are only just covered by the soil. Sometimes
they are called 'runners,' but 'creeping roots'
will do just as well. If you look closely at them,
you will see, here and there, that buds grow at
the joints, and these, in due time, also become
plants. That will explain how it is that so many
of the plants of this family are found growing in
such large clumps, which go on getting bigger
and bigger as the creeping roots spread more and
more. Mint, which grows in the garden, the
musk-plant, which is grown in flower-pots, and
the ground-ivy in woods, are all first cousins;
they are all alike in this respect. There are no
buds to be found on real roots.
"Now look at the stems. You will see at
once how different they are from most other
stems, because they are not round, like the stem
of the buttercup or the mallow, but nearly
square, with four corners or angles. Whether
they are hairy or smooth is not of so much
consequence. If you pass your fingers up and
down the stems, you will feel that they are
thicker in places, not far apart, where the leaves
grow. These are the joints, or nodes, and of
course you can see as well as feel them. All
the leaves and branches grow out from one or
other of these nodes, or joints. In most cases I
should say that the stems are about -a foot long.
"The leaves are stalked, but the foot-stalks
are never very long, and they are arranged upon
the stems in a manner which is called decussate,
and may be thus explained. They are in pairs,
opposite to each other, on opposite sides of the
square stems; but two following pairs are not
directly over, or under, each other, for one pair
are on the two opposite sides, and the next pair
on the intermediate two sides, so that the first
and third pair, and the second and fourth pair,
are over each other, and so on throughout.
Thus, one pair will project north and south, the
next pair east and west, the next pair north and
south again, and the next pair again east and
west. Such a method is common with the leaves
of plants having square stems.
And now for the leaves themselves. In this
case they are narrowly ovate, and rather wrinkled,
the edges coarsely toothed like a saw, or serrate.
When crushed, the whole plant has an odour
which is thought to resemble that of the weasel,
and gives it the name of weasel snout.
The flowers grow in the axils of the leaves,
in circles, or whorls, round the stem; of course,
several in each whorl. I have told you before
that sometimes the leaves, and sometimes the
flowers, are in circles, or whorls, all being on the
same level in each whorl. The calyx, or cup, is
cup-shaped, with five pointed teeth at the edge,
and ribbed on the outside. Within the cup
stands the two-lipped or bilabiate corolla. In
this species the two lips are broadly gaping, or
ringent, and the lower part of the corolla forms
a tube. The upper lip is arched and hood-like;
the lower lip is spreading, with the middle lobe
broadest, the two side lobes being rather nar-
rower. The whole corolla is of a bright and
pleasant yellow blotched with red.
"And now we must see what is to be found
within the corolla. Of course, there are the
stamens, of which there are four, in two pairs.
The mint family is a large one, and this, as well
as the snapdragon family, has only four stamens,
which are often in pairs. In one or two kinds
there are only two stamens. When so many of
our wild flowers have five stamens, it is well to
recollect those which have but four, especially
when the other parts of the flower are five, such
as five teeth to the calyx and five lobes to the
corolla. The ovary is small but four-parted,
and contains four ovules, which become, when
ripe, four seeds. You see now that you should
never forget to count the stamens when you
pluck a flower in pieces, especially if it is one
you have not seen before.
This plant is not noted for any great virtues,
and is not used in medicine, except by herb
doctors; but there are many useful herbs in the
family to which it belongs. I have called it the
mint family already, and you will at once think
of the mints of the gardens as having a strong
family likeness. The common mint reminds you
of 'mint sauce,' and the peppermint of strong-
flavoured sweets or of a useful family medicine.
These, and many others, have a strong scent,
such as thyme, marjoram, and lavender; and this
scent abounds in the leaves, where it is stored
up in little cells, or glands. The scent is what
is termed a volatile oil; it is not a greasy oil or
fat oil, like olive oil, but volatile, or one which
flies off, or evaporates easily. A great many
perfumes are made from volatile oils, such as
otto of roses and rose-water. Many plants store
up in little cells, or glands, their own particular
; \N,-'11 .. I
volatile oil; and when the leaf is broken or
bruised, some of these little glands are broken,
and the volatile oil, or scent,
escapes. There are a great many
of the mint family which are very
useful because of the volatile oil
they contain. There is sage, and
savory, and basil, as well as those
I have already named, and the
wood-sage is as bitter as hops, and
horehound is even more bitter, so
that the mint family is noted for
the volatile oil which so many of
the species contain. Remember
that most of them have square
stems, opposite leaves, bilabiate or
two-lipped flowers, and either two
or four stamens, but usually four
in two pairs."
I suppose that none of them
are hurtful or poisonous ?"
"I know of none, and should
scarcely think it probable. Some of
the foreign species are very showy
garden flowers." FIG.
" O NE of the most straggling of climbing
plants is the bitter-sweet, which is com-
mon enough in hedges and in little wood copses.
It is a very bad climber, for it has no tendrils, and
does not make use of its leaves for the purpose,
but only scrambles amongst other plants, and
supports its slender stems as best it may. Some-
times it has been called the deadly nightshade,"
but that is a different plant, with bell-shaped
flowers, and is very poisonous. The woody
nightshade, or bitter-sweet, has flowers very
much like those of the potato, but smaller and
darker. The stems are more woody and the plant
more like a shrub than the little black night-
shade, which grows as a weed in all gardens.
When scrambling in hedges, it seems to imitate
the honeysuckle in manner of growth; but it
cannot support itself in the same way, for it is
unable to twine itself around sticks and twigs,
and has no twirling motion. In other places I
have spoken already of families of plants, and
this one belongs to the nightshade family, and
its members are all alike in some features, espe-
cially that in the wild state some part of the
plant is inclined to be poisonous, by being nar-
cotic, or causing sleep. Even the fruit of the po-
tato has some of this power, and so also have the
berries of the bitter-sweet, and especially the dark
berries of the deadly nightshade, and the whole
plant of henbane. When you learn what the
flowers are like, you will always remember that
flowers of that kind are a danger signal, and you
must be warned not to put them in your mouth,
and prevent other children doing so, or else they
may make you very ill.
"There are the flowers, Cissy, nearly out of
reach, in that thicket. See the straggling clus-
ters of little purple flowers drooping, as though
ashamed for intruding themselves amongst the
green leaves of some other plants. I will reach
you a bunch or two, and we will take the flowers
first. We have had single flowers before, and
bunches of flowers growing together, but have
1, Portion of Stem with Flowers; 2, Flower; 3, Section; 4, Pistil; 5, 6, Sections
never looked for the differences in the manner
in which different flowers are grouped together
in bunches, so we must do a little now."
"What are the bunches called ?"
"What are the bunches calledZ"
"All flowers, and clusters of flowers, are the
inflorescence, and this means the flower branches,
and the way the flowers are arranged upon
them. Some flowers are solitary, one standing
alone; we may leave them out. Others are
grouped in 'different ways. When the flowers
grow close to the stalk, in one upright long
spike, it is called a spike; but when the flowers
are stalked, it is a raceme. In both these cases
the common stalk, which bears all the flowers,
is not branched. Then there are other kinds of
inflorescence, in which the common stalk, or axis,
is branched. This, of the bitter-sweet, is the
only one we shall talk about now. One flower,
which is the centre one, opens first; then the
branches beside it are forked, and grow one after
the other, or in succession, and each branch bears
a flower. This is called a cyme. You cannot
understand all the forms of inflorescence at once,
and the cyme is often a difficult one, but it
should always begin with a centre flower, and
then others follow. You must look at it care-
fully again and again, and in time you will learn
to know when an inflorescence should be called
"Yes, uncle, I know a spike; I am not sure
that I know a raceme; and I will try to know
"A raceme is not difficult to remember: it
is a spike with the flowers stalked, like the 'lily
of the valley' or the common currant. But we
must come back to the flowers of the bitter-sweet."
"Each single flower has an outside calyx, or
cup, with five little teeth. These are sepals
joined together. Inside is the corolla of five
purple petals. I think they are not separate,
but joined together into one piece
-a one-petalled corolla."
"All right thus far; and you
see how soon the outer ends of
the petals turn backwards."
FIo. 22.-FLOWER OF
BITTER-SWEET. "And leave that yellow col-
umn standing upright in the middle."
It is a curious-looking column, rather pointed
at the top, almost like an extinguisher. Notice
how it is made up of the five anthers-you
might call them stamens, only they have scarcely
a filament at all. These stamens join at the
side, and hide the pistil, which is in the centre,
so that they form a tube round the pistil. The
purple petals bent backwards, and the yellow
FIG. 23.-LEAF OF BITTER-SWEET.
column standing up in the middle, give a singular
appearance to the flowers."
"And are potato flowers like that too ?"
"Yes; but larger, and white. After the
flowers come the fruit, which is at first a green