Field, Forest, and Wayside Flowers: With Chapters on Grasses, Sedges, and Ferns; Untechnical Studies for Unlearned Lovers of Nature

Front Cover
Baker and Taylor Company, 1899 - Botany - 395 pages
Excerpt from book: CHAPTER V GREEN LEAVES AT WORK Between the budding and the falling leaf, Stretch happy skies, With colors and sweet cries, Of mating birds in uplands and in glades. The world is rife.?7. B. Aldrich. When spring, long waited for, has come indeed, and young leaves are unfolding in May sunshine, we find the ground beneath the branches strewed with half-transparent green or brownish scales. In city parks they litter the asphalt walks, and drift along their edges into little heaps. They are bud-scales, whose day of usefulness is over. They have braved all the rigors of storm and frost, while, folded safe within them, lay the foliage of the coming summer, destined to expand in tender colors under happy skies. But the bud-scales seldom have any beauty, save the beauty of fitness. They and the sleeping life which they enfoldtogether constitute the winter bud. It contains very little water in its tissues, and so can withstand low temperatures without freezing. The bud-scales live in a chill and sombre world, and when the sky is blue and full of light they fall and perish in the heart of spring. Yet, they are themselves imperfectly-formed and partially-developed leaves. Under certain exceptional circumstances they have shown their possibilities, and developed into typical leaves. And under most circumstances there is in them the arrested power to become like the green foliage of summer. Stunted, as they are, these scales have done work which perfect leaves could never do. Their horny substance has shed the cold rains of winter, resisted the frost, and protected the tips and shoots in which the life of the branches lay dormant. We owe to the bud-scales most of the beauty of the summer world. Their highest usefulness has been attained through sacrifice of thei...

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 384 - The Night is mother of the Day, The Winter of the Spring, And ever upon old Decay The greenest mosses cling. Behind the cloud the starlight lurks, Through showers the sunbeams fall ; For God, who loveth all his works, Has left his Hope with all ! 4th lit month, 1847.
Page 36 - Tis the Spring's largess, which she scatters now To rich and poor alike, with lavish hand, Though most hearts never understand To take it at God's value, but pass by The offered wealth with unrewarded eye.
Page 64 - And now in age I bud again, After so many deaths I live and write; I once more smell the dew and rain, And relish versing: O my only light, It cannot be That I am he, On whom thy tempests fell all night.
Page 355 - The eternal regions : lowly reverent Towards either throne they bow, and to the ground With solemn adoration down they cast Their crowns inwove with amarant and gold ; Immortal amarant, a flower which once In Paradise, fast by the tree of life, Began to bloom ; but soon for man's offence To heaven removed where first it grew, there grows, And flowers aloft shading the fount of life...
Page 149 - Praised be my Lord for our sister water, who is very serviceable unto us and humble and precious and clean. "Praised be my Lord for our brother fire, through whom thou givest us light in the darkness; and he is bright and pleasant and very mighty and strong. "Praised be my Lord for our mother the earth, the which doth sustain us and keep us, and bringeth forth divers fruits and flowers of many colors, and grass.
Page 17 - As sweet desire of day before the day, As dreams of love before the true love born, From the outer edge of winter overworn The ghost arisen of May before the May Takes through dim air her unawakened way, The gracious ghost of morning risen ere morn.
Page 244 - In effecting this, the several branches, after touching the surface, often rise up, place themselves in a new position, and again come down into contact with it. In the course of about two days after a tendril has arranged its branches so as to press on any surface, the curved tips swell, become bright red, and form on their under-sides the well-known little discs or cushions with which they adhere firmly.
Page 115 - But the leaves of the herbage at our feet take all kinds of strange shapes, as if to invite us to examine them. Star-shaped, heart-shaped, spear-shaped, arrow-shaped, fretted, fringed, cleft, furrowed, serrated, sinuated; in whorls, in tufts, in spires, in wreaths endlessly expressive, deceptive, fantastic, never the same from footstalk to blossom; they seem perpetually to tempt our watchfulness, and take delight in outstripping our wonder.
Page 62 - If the oak is out before the ash, 'twill be a summer of wet and splash; but if the ash is before the oak, 'twill be a summer of fire and smoke" — which has been abbreviated by the Kentish folk to "Oak smoke, ash squash.
Page 282 - Of your balsam and your resin, So to close the seams together That the water may not enter, That the river may not wet me!

Bibliographic information