« ElőzőTovább »
3. Nothing, perhaps, astonishes an individual more, when commencing the search for and study of our uncultivated plants, than to find, even in the most commonplace walk, what an immense variety of different kinds-species, as they are called botanically-he has, day by day, trodden under foot, without an idea of their existence. Interest succeeds astonishment; he finds a new source of pleasure opened to him, and one which gives not only pure and healthy thoughts to the mind, but health to the body, by affording inducements to exercise, and adding to the latter that excitement which gives it a tenfold value.
4. Few pursuits in which the mind can engage are purer, or have more tendency to afford innocent and happy thoughts, than the study of flowers generally; and though it may be some advantage to possess gardens and conservatorieswell stocked with the gorgeous natives of other climates, the mere contemplation of these can never bring half the pleasurable excitement which the search after the wild plants of our own country affords to the zealous collector and student. The former are the privileges of the rich, the latter are open to the poorest in the land
“A blessing given
That wanders 'neath the vault of heaven."
LESSON II.-CLASSIFICATION OF PLANTS.
" The Almighty Maker has, throughout,
Twins at all points." 1. CLASSIFICATION in botany is the process by which plants are distributed into divisions, classes, genera or families, species, and varieties. Dictionaries are so arranged that a person can easily find any word in the language; and in a manner somewhat similar he can find a description of any
known plant in a botanical dictionary or flora. The number of different kinds or species of plants is about one hundred thousand, and it is a very important matter to arrange them in the most convenient manner for reference.
2. It will occur to the reader that plants should be classified by their resemblances; and it may seem to be an easy task thus to arrange them; but those who have attempted it have encountered many difficulties. Plants that at first sight appear very much alike will often be found to differ widely; and those which seem unlike will have many things that agree.
3. A humming-bird, flitting from flower to flower, seems to resemble the butterfly of variegated wing; but the naturalist considers the humming-bird more like an elephant than a butterfly. He will call the bird and elephant vertebrate animals, and will show a striking resemblance between the skeleton of the tiny wing of the one and the huge leg of the other.
4. As a scientific arrangement of plants requires an intimate acquaintance with the form, structure, and properties of a hundred thousand species, we can well understand why a correct classification was impossible in the infancy of the science. Some early writers attempted to arrange plants according to the alphabetical order of their names; others took for their guide the structure of their roots; another class only regarded the form of the leaves; while others considered the time of flowering, the place of growth, or medicinal properties. Two hundred years ago the poet Cowley published an arrangement of plants founded on their size and appearance. Herbs, flowers, and trees were his divisions; which Hugh Miller has said was like Buffon's division of animals into wild and tame.
5. Many methods of classification have been proposed within the last two centuries, but they have gradually given place to the artificial system of Linnæus, and the natural method of Jussieu. The former divided the vegetable world into twenty-four CLASSES, by characteristics depending on the number, position, length, or union of the stamens; and these classes he then subdivided into ORDERS, founded mostly on peculiarities of the pistils. A synopsis of the twenty-one classes in which American botanists have arranged plants on the Linnæan method, is here given.* As the “Natural Method,” however, is the one now most approved by botanists, we have adopted that arrangement in our treatment of the subject.
6. The naming and classifying of plants was the delightful task of Eve in Paradise, according to Milton, who represents her as saying,
SYNOPSIS OF THE ARTIFICIAL OR LINNÆAN SYSTEM, As the 11th, 18th, and 23d classes of Linnæus comprise but few genera found in the United States, and those variable in their characters, most American botanists have distributed them among the other classes, an arrangement which we have adopted in this synopsis, and in our references to the Linnæan system. See next page.
From the first opening bud, and gave ye names !
LESSON III.-NATURAL METHOD OF CLASSIFICATION.
It is pleasant to note all plants, from the rush to the spreading cedar,
From the giant king of palms to the lichen that staineth its stem.-TUPPER. 1. The primary and most obvious division of the vegetable kingdom is into two great series or classes, FLOWERING* and
First Class, MONANDRIA, has one
Twelfth Class, POLYANDRIA, has stamen.
over ten stamens, on the recep-
has four stamens, two longer
Fourteenth Class, TETRADYNA-
stamens united in one tube.
Ex. : hollyhock, mallows, cot-
stamens united in two sets.
Seventeenth Class, SYNGENESIA,
anthers united, flowers com-
pound. Ex. : lily, hyacinth, jonquil,
Ex.: daisy, dandelion, aster,
lettuce, tansy, sunflower, etc.
mens and pistils in different Ex. : cranberry, nasturtion,
flowers on the same plant. buckwheat, fuchsia, maple, etc.
Ex. : Indian corn, nettles, etc.
mens and pistils on different
Ex.: willow, poplar, ash, hop,
hemp, yew, etc.
Twenty-first Class, CRYPTOGA-
MIA, flowerless plants.
Ex. : ferns, mosses, lichens,
21 Eleventh Class, ICOSANDRIA, has
The ORDERS of the first 12 classes are deover ten stamens, on the calys. termined by the number of styles (or stig
Ex.: rose, cherry, myrtle, raspberry, plum, peach, etc.
mas when the styles are wanting): of the
113th class by the covering or nakedness of the seeds : of the 14th by the shape of the pods : of the 15th, 16th, 18th, 19th, and 20th, by the number or union of the stamens : of the 17th by peculiarities in the compound Horets.
a. Called by botanists Phenog'amous plants.
FLOWERLESS plants. Next is a subdivision of the former into the exogenous, or outside growers, and the endogenous, ' or inside growers, whose leading characteristics of seed, sten, and leaf have already been noticed in the article on Botany, in the Fourth Reader.
2. A very large proportion of the exogenous plants have their seeds covered in various ways, some being inclosed in little boxes or chests, called pericarps and capsules, some in pods, and others in the centre of the fruit, as in apples, peaches, and pears. A few of the exogenous plants, however, of which the pines, the firs, and the yews are the representatives, differ from all the rest in having their seeds naked. Thus Nature has formed two great divisions of the exogenous plants; and we may designate them as those which have covered seeds, and those which have naked seeds.
3. The endogenous plants, which are only about one fifth as numerous as the exogenous, are also divided into two classes, those which are without glumes or husks surrounding the flower, and those which have them. Lilies, tulips, jonquils, and hyacinths are examples of the former, and the grasses and various kinds of grain of the latter. In this latter division are comprised about one twelfth part of the described species of flowering plants, and yet these species embrace at least nine tenths of the number of individuals composing the vegetable world; nor is their number surprising when we consider that the grasses are the chief source of that verdure which covers the earth of northern countries with a gay carpet of green during the months of summer.
4. The flowerless plants, which are remarkable for the extreme simplicity of their structure, having no wood, properly so called, but consisting of mere masses of cells, are divided into the acrogens, or summit-growers, and the thallogens, 2 which grow into a mere flat or round expansion. In the former are included all such plants as ferns, scouring rushes, liverworts, and mosses; and in the latter the lichens, fungus plants, sea-weeds, and mushrooms.
5. Thus, in the three great divisions of the vegetable world —the exogenous, the endogenous, and the cryptogamoust or flowerless plants—there are six natural classes. These are divided into about 170 orders, which are composed of genera or families, as in the artificial system. The orders are founded on the most manifest characteristics of the plant, Lelom. the distinctions of classes. Thus compound flowers make an order called the composite;' the numerous pod-bearing plants are arranged in the leguminous' order; and flowers in the form of a cross indicate the order cross-shaped, or cruciferous."
o Called by botanists Cryptog'amous plants. c Ex-OG-EN-OUS;
EN-DðG'-EN-Ous, see Fourth Reader, p. 176. sCalled Gymnosperms.
& Called Ag’umacecus.
e Called Angiosperons h Called Glumaceous.
6. It requires much more knowledge of botany to examine a plant and find a description of it by the natural than by the artificial method; but as it is applicable in many instances when the latter is inadequate, the reader who designs to pursue the delightful study of plants further than the design of this series of Readers permits, should make himself familiar with both systems, as explained in the excellent text-books of Gray, Wood, Darby, and Mrs. Lincoln.
7. We have spoken of a natural classification ; but that which has thus far been developed by the labors of botanists has still much of the artificial. Finite knowledge can not grasp the infinite. “There is a systematic arrangement in nature which science did not invent, but gradually discovered. The terms in which this arrangement is expresed are the translation, into human language, of the thoughts of the Creator." This is the comprehensive view of scientific classification held by the most scientific men of the day. The Author of nature is the author of the natural system of classification.
8. Most exalted, then, is the study of the laws and arrangement of the vegetable world. Why seek trifling sources of enjoyment,
When at hand,
Of potent fragrance; nor Narcissus10 fair,
Legumino'xæ, having papilionaceous, or butterfly-shaped flowers. * Cruci'feræ, or cross-bearing; also called crucifers.