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slip (CALTHA palustris), a fine example of the class Polyandria; and the adder's tongue (ERYTHRONIUM dens-canis), having a beautiful liliaceous flower, which affords a good example of the class Hexandria.
In woods, and by the sides of brooks, is to be seen the Sanguinaria or blood-root; which bears a white blossom, more elegant and ornamental for a garden, than many flowers which are brought from foreign countries, and affording from its root a highly valuable medicine.
The CLAYTONIA, or as it is often called, spring beauty, is also to be found at this season; the dandelion too, you well know is found among the earliest flowers of spring. The garden violet, which is an exotic, appears also at this time; the VIOLA rotundifolia, or yellow violet, with roundish leaves lying close to the ground, is found in the fields. Besides these, are found several species of Carex, a coarse kind of grass; the trailing arbutus, EPIGEA repens, and the TRILLIUM, which we remarked under the class Hexandria, as a flower exhibiting great uniformity in its divisions.
In May, many species of the Viola appear; there is sometimes a difficulty in determining between these species; the distinctive marks seem often to be blended; we are in such cases obliged to place our plant' under that species, to which in our judgment, it seems to have most resemblance.
One of the most interesting flowers of this season, found in woods and meadows, is a species of ANEMONE, the Windflower (virginiana), a name, given as some say, because the flower expands only in windy weather; its petals are large and usually white, the stem grows to the height of two or three féet, and contains one terminal flower. Several other species of the Anemone are in blossom about this time.
The Xylosteum, or fly-honey-suckle, may be found by the side of brooks, a shrub with blossoms growing in pairs; also the UVULARIA, a plant of the lily family having a yellow blossom; and the strawberry, with its numerous stamens growing on the calyx; it has also many styles, each one bearing a seed.
The ARONIA, is an early flower, a species of which, the shad-blossom, is not unfrequently found in April; this is a shrub, often growing upon the banks of brooks, with white petals, clustering together in the form of a raceme.
Many of the mosses are now in blossom; these, we trust, you have learned to consider as presenting much that is interesting, to those who understand their structure; but you will
Dandelion, &c.-Flowers of May--Viola-Anemone, &c.-Mosses now in bloom.
not be called on to examine the mosses in the commencement of your botanical studies, neither will they be likely to force themselves upon your notice. You no doubt were surprised to learn that they have flowers, and are considered as of any importance; but you must recollect that they are the workmanship of His hand, who is no less wise in the formation of a moss, than in the creation of a world. It is to be hoped you have learned to look upon every work of God as important, and to feel that our ignorance of the uses of many natural productions, is not a proof that the Creator has formed aught in vain, but of our own blindness.
The ARUM, or wild-turnip, is now in blossom; it is a curious plant, with the stamens and pistils growing on a spadix, a clubshaped organ surrounded by a spatha; it is found in shady places. The root is valuable in medicine. The CALLA pаlustris, or water arum, which is placed in the same class, is now in bloom; this is of the same genus as the Egyptian lily.
The AQUILEGIA, or wild columbine, with its horned nectaries, is found hanging in rich clusters from the clefts of rocks.
Flowers of Summer.
The plants which are now in blossom are so numerous, that we can mention only a few of the most common, or most striking.
A well known shrub, the elder (SAMBUCUS), is now found along the sides of hedges, or on the margin of brooks, and in the meadows; the RUBUS, or raspberry, the RANUNCULUS, or butter-cup, the CYNOGLOSSUM, or hound's-tongue, and the TRIFOLIUM, or clover. It is recorded in history, that when Saint Patrick went as a missionary, to preach the Gospel to the pagan Irish," he illustrated the doctrine of the Trinity, by showing them a trifolium, or three-leaved-grass with one stalk; this, operating to their conviction, the Shamrock, which is a bundle of this grass, was ever afterwards worn upon this Saint's anniversary, to commemorate this event."
In the meadows is seen at this time the GERANIUM maculatum, a showy flower, and almost the only American Geranium; in the woods, the splendid ladies'-slipper (CYPRIPEDIUM), and the wild mandrake (PODOPHYLLUM), a flower of curious ap
The genus CONVALLARIA, of which the Solomon's-seal is an example, may now be found; it is usually white, of a funnelform corolla. Some other species, as the lily of the valley,
Wild turnip, &c.-Flowers of June-Elder, &c.-St. Patrick's use of the Clover-Geranium, &c.-Trees in perfection.
have a bell-form corolla. The various species of VACCINIUM, of which the whortleberry is an example, are now in blossom; the woods are ornamented by the snowy white cornus, or dogwood flowers.
In the early part of June the foliage of the trees usually appears in perfection; among the earliest are the willow, poplar, and alder; next are the bass-wood; horse-chesnut, the oak, beech, ash, walnut and mulberry, which are not all usually in full leaf before the middle of June.
At the summer solstice,* a new race of blossoms appears; as the roses, pinks, and lilies, with many other exotics. The Iris is found in stagnant waters and in gardens. Among native plants we now find the ASCLEPIAS, or milk-weed, affording a good example of the class Gynandria. The little bellflower (CAMPANULA), may be seen nodding over the brows of the rocks.
The brilliant laurel (KALMIA), is now in bloom, also the mullein, affording a good illustration of the class Pentandria. The climbing virgin's-bower (CLEMATIS), hangs in graceful clusters of white flowers from the boughs of shrubs and trees. The curious side-saddle-flower (SARRACENIA), which was described under the class Polyandria, is now to be found in swamps and wet grounds.
More flowers are in blossom about the time of the summer solstice, than during any period of the year, until the blossoming of the autumnal plants. The hot breath of summer seems to wither the expanded flowers, the earlier ones fade away, and the late ones do not immediately come forward; it would seem as if the earth, having poured forth for so long a time in rapid succession, innumerable treasures, now required a suspension of her efforts; but with recovered energy, she soon begins to spread forth new beauties in great profusion and brilliancy.
Autumnal Flowers.-Evergreens.-Ancient Superstition respecting Plants.-Various Phenomena of Plants.
THE autumnal flowers, are, mostly, in appearance, unlike those which we find in the earlier part of the season.
* When the sun is at the tropic of Cancer.
Blossoms appearing at the summer solstice--What effect does the heat of summer have upon flowers-Autumnal flowers.
examples of the compound flowers occur, until the latter part of July and beginning of August; this is fortunate for students just commencing the analysis of plants; were they to find only the compound flowers at first, they would be discour aged in the commencement of the study; but nature seems kindly to lead them on step by step, reserving the more difficult plants until they have had an opportunity of becoming familiar with the easier classes.
There is little difficulty in learning to distinguish the different families of compound flowers; as an aster from a solidago, or a helianthus. But some of these families contain many species; and the chief difficulty consists not in finding the genus, but in determining the species with accuracy. Indeed it is not to be concealed that there is in this part of botanical science some confusion among writers; and we must not be surprised if we are not always able to bring our plant exactly under any species described.
Among the fine flowers which autumn presents, are the scarlet LOBELIA, or cardinal flower; the yellow GERARDIA (false fox-glove), and the noble sun-flower (Helianthus). The modest LINNEA borealis, so named from the great founder of our present artificial system of Botany, is found in September; at this time the white pond lily (NYMPILEA), one of the most splendid of American flowers, is seen whitening the surface of the lakes and ponds, sometimes alternating with yellow water lily (NUPHAR), a flower of less striking elegance than the former, but perhaps not less curious in its form.
Another aquatic plant, which, although it blossoms in summer, continues in flower until late in the autumn, is the SAGITTARIA, or arrow-head, with a three-leaved calyx, having white petals, staminate and pistillate flowers on the same root; it belongs to the class Monacia. The Eupatorium, or thoroughwort which blossoms in autumn, has no external beauty to recommend it, but as a remedy in diseases, perhaps no plant is more useful.
In remarking the few flowers which linger until the approach of winter, we see the hardy dandelion, which, although one of the earliest, is also among the latest of the vegetable tribes. We see among the last blossoms of the season, some compound flowers which seem for a time to bear the autumnal blasts, but which gradually give way to the reign of winter, leaving the desolate fields and meadows to present but a gloomy contrast to their former verdant and glowing appear
Are they proper for first lessons in analysis-Which is most difficult to ascertain, the genus or species ?-Various flowers of autumn-Last flowers of the season.
During the season of winter in our climate, no flowers appear, except on such plants as are shielded from the inclemency of the weather; even the green house plants can scarcely be made to blossom.
The leaves of the trees, and the stems of all annual plants, are also decayed; some hardy evergreens yet retain their cheerful verdure. At Christmas, the foliage of the pine, spruce, and the beautiful running or ground pine (LYCOPODIUM), belonging to the family of Ferns, are found in perfection, ready to welcome the anniversary of our Saviour's birth.
The custom of decorating churches with evergreens, is of very ancient date. On this subject an English writer observes, "The evergreens, with which the churches are usually ornamented at Christmas, are a proper emblem of that time when, as God says by the Prophet Isaiah, I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, and the myrtle, and the olive tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree and pine tree, and the box tree together.' And in another place, The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee; the fir tree and the pine tree, and box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious.""
In the Romish church, which abounds in external observances of religion, it is customary to bear palm boughs in procession on the anniversary of the day when Christ went into Jerusalem, and the children strewed branches of palm trees before him. In more northern latitudes, box, pine, olive, and willows are used as a substitute for real palms, which do not grow as in Judea, by the way sides. The day on which this ceremony is performed is called Palm Sunday.
Superstitions with regard to the blossoming of plants.
In the Romish church, many superstitions exist with regard to certain plants which happen to blossom about the time of some Saint's days. In Italy and other countries in the south of Europe, where these superstitions first originated, the deadnettle being in blossom about the time of St. Vincent's day, a martyr who suffered for Christianity under the Emperor Dioclesian, in the year 304, the flower is consecrated to him.
The winter hellebore is usually in blossom about the time of the conversion of St. Paul, supposed to be in commemoration of that event.
What flowers appear in winter-Decorating churches with evergreensPalm Sunday--Superstitions in the Romish church with regard to the blossoming of certain plants.