Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

SECOND DIVISION OF THE VEGETABLE KING

DOM. ENDOGENS.

The four most important physiological peculiarities of this great natural division are, 1st. The structure is endogenous (for which see Fourth Reader, p. 187). 2d. The leaves are straight or parallel-veined. 3d. The flowers are ternary; that is, have three sepals, petals, and stamens, or some power of that number. 4th. The embryo has but one cotiTēdon; that is, the plants are monocotyle'donous. Other peculiarities will be noticed under the different families which compose the division.)

LESSON XIX.—THE IRIS, LILY, AND PALM FAMILIES..

[ENDOGENOUS or MONOCOTYLEDONOUS; Aglumaceous.]?

[graphic]

Lily Family.

Iris Family. 1. I'ris versi color, Blue flag, iii. 1, b., 2 f., My.-Jn., N. Am. 2. I'ris te'nax, California iris, iii. 1, pu., 18 in., A.-My., California. 3. I'ris sambuci na, Flower-de-luce, iii. 1, b., 3 f., Jn., S. Europe. 4. Tigridia pavonia, Tiger flower, xv. 3, 0, and r., 2 f., Jl.-S., Mexico. 5. Cro'cus vernus, Spring crocus, iii. 1, y., 6 in., M., Eng. 6. Cro'cus sativus, Autumn crocus, iii. 1, y., 10 in., S., Erg. 7. Lil'ium Japon'icum, Japan lily, vi. 1., w., 2 f., Jl.-Au., China. 8. Lil'ium Philadelphicum, Red lily, vi. 1, r. and y., 5 f., Jl.-Aug., N. Am. 9. Lil'ium Canaden'se, Nodding lily, vi. 1, r. and y., 4 f., Jl.-Au., N. Am. 10. Tu'lipa sylves'tris, Wild tulip, vi. 1, y., 18 in., A.-My., Eng. 11. Fritilla'ria imperia'lis, Crown imperial, vi. 1, r, and y., 48., My., Persia.

1. CONSPICUOUS among the ENDOGENOUS plants, which constitute the second great division of the vegetable kingdom, are the Iris, Lily, and Palm families, the palm being taken as typical of the endogenous structure. Endogens probably contain more plants contributing to the food of man, and fewer poisonous species in proportion to their whole number, than Exogens; as the grasses, which include all the cereals, are found here, to which may be added the numerous palms yielding fruit, wine, sugar, sago, the pine-apple, bananas, the arrow-roots, and the gingers.

2. The large and showy tiger flower, the blue flag, flowerde-luce, gladiolus, and the crocus, are good examples of the richly-tinted Iris family. The name itself implies that the flowers are rainbow-colored. Among the Greeks, Iris was the winged messenger of the gods, and is thus alluded to by Virgil:

"Iris, on saffron wings array'd with dew

Of various colors, through the sunbeams flew." According to Plutarch, the word īris signified, in the ancient Egyptian language, “the eye of heaven,” and was appropriated to this flower because no other name was so expressive of its serene lustre. A modern poet has attributed the naming of the beauty to her sister flowerets.

All with their pearls so fair,
The gay flowers wreathed were,

But, 'midst them all,
Crown'd at the rainbow festival,
A sapphire-colored blossom shone
The loveliest there; no other one

Her jewels wore
So gracefully. Her robe all o'er
Was radiant, yet deep blue, like twilight sky,
And softly shaded, as when clouds do lie
Upon the deep expanse. 'Twas strange, none knew
A name for this fair form, so bright and blue :
But sister flowerets fancifully said,
As they to note her beauty had been led
By its enhancement in the rainbow shower,

They e'en would call her Iris from that hour.--TWAMLEY. 4. “The beautiful creations,” says Lindley," which constitute the order of Lilies, would seem to be well known to all the world, for what have been so long admired and universally cultivated as they ?” The lily is often alluded to as being, among flowers, the emblem of majesty. In heathen mythology it was a great favorite with Juno, and was consecrated to her by heathen nations. The Jews imitated its form in their first magnificent temple, and the Savior described it as more splendid than King Solomon in his most gorgeous apparel.

Observe the rising lily's snowy gracel;
Observe the various vegetable race';
They neither toil nor spin, but careless grow;
Yet, see how warm they blush'! how bright they glow'!
What regal vestments can with them compare'?

What king so shining', or what queen so fair' 2–THOMSON. 6. Among the flowers of the Lily family, the crown imperial, or fritillaria, is noted for its drooping but brilliant tulip

The tulin kushing clo many a nie

shaped corollas, which have the appearance of so many gay bells, or crowns. Its golden stigma is very appropriately described as

"The dazzling gem

That beams in fritillaria's diadem." The tulip, another member of the Lily family, is especially noted for a sort of mania among the florists of the seventeenth century, who bought and sold single bulbs at prices amounting to five hundred pounds sterling and upward-in those days an immense sum. Although the taste for tulips has greatly declined since that period, the tulip is still considered by many as “the king of florist's flowers.” How highly the poet Montgomery prized it may be gathered from the following lines :

"Not one of Flora's brilliant race

A form more perfect can display:
Art could not feign more simple grace,

Nor nature take a line away.
Yet, rich as morn, of many a hue,

When flushing clouds through darkness strike,
The tulip's pétals shine like dew,

All beautiful, but none alike." 8. Highest in the division of Endogens stands the Palm family, embracing the stately palm-trees of the tropics, and the palmettos of the Southern States. “The race of plants to which the name of Palms has been assigned,” says Lindley, “is, no doubt, the most interesting in the vegetable kingdom, if we consider the majestic aspect of their towering stems, crowned by a still more gigantic foliage; the character of grandeur which they impress upon the landscape of the countries they inhabit; their immense value to mankind, as affording food, and raiment, and numerous objects of economical importance; or, finally, the prodigious development of those organs by which their race is to be propagated. A single spāthe or flower-stem of the date palm contains about twelve thousand flowers, and another species has been computed to have six hundred thousand upon a single individual; while every bunch of the seje palm of the Orinoco bears eight thousand fruits.”

9. The variety of forms which they exhibit is briefly but well described in the following language of the celebrated traveler Humboldt. “ While some have trunks as slender as the graceful reed, or longer than the longest cable, others are three and even five feet thick; while some grow collected in groups, others singly dart their slender trunks into the air; while some have a low stem, others tower to the height of nearly two hundred feet; and while one part flourishes in the (Palm Family.—ENDOGENOUS or MONOCOTYLEDONOUS; Aglumaceous.]"

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors]

1. Cor'ypha umbraculif'era, Great fan palm, or Tallipot palm, vi. 1, y., 100 f., Jl., E. Indies, (The topmost leaves form immense fans, twenty feet long and fifteen wide.) 2. Sa'gus rum'phii, Rumphius's sago palm, xix. 6, g., 50 f., Jl.-Au., E. Indies. 3. Co'cus nucif'era, Cocoanut palm, xix. 6, g., Jl.-Au., 50 f., E. Indies. 4. Phoenix dactilif'ers, Date palm, xx. 3, w. and g., 50 f., W. Asia. 5. Ela'is Guineen'si , Guinea oil palm, xx. 6, W. and g., 30 f., Guinea, 6. Chamæ'rops hys'trix, Porcupine palm, xx. 2, w. and g. 10 f., Georgia. low valleys of the tropics, or on the declivities of the lower mountains, another part consists of hardy mountaineers, bordering on the limits of perpetual snow.”

10. The cocoanut palm, which grows abundantly in the East Indies, supplies nearly every want of the native inhabitants. Travelers have described the uses which the native of Ceylon makes of it. He builds his house of its trunk, and thatches the roof with its leaves. His children sleep in a rude hammock made of the husk of the fruit; his meal of rice and scraped cocoanut is boiled over a fire made of cocoanut shells and husks, and is eaten from a dish of plaited green leaves of the tree, with a spoon cut out of a cocoanut shell.

11. In his canoe, made of the trunk of the palm-tree, he carries a torch of dried palm leaves, and fishes with a net of cocoanut fibre. When thirsty he drinks the juice of the cocoanut, and when hungry eats its soft kernel. He makes a drink called arrack from the fermented juice, and dances to the music of cocoanut castanets. He anoints himself with cocoanut oil, and, when sick, gets his medicine from the tree so useful to him in health. Over his couch in infancy, and over his grave, a bunch of cocoanut blossoms is hung to charm away evil spirits.

12. Branches of palm were anciently carried in token of victory, but more generally it was reserved for religious triumphs; and from this, as well as from the prominent place it

occupies in Holy Writ, we feel the epithet of “celestial palm,” bestowed on it by Pope, not inapplicable. No wonder that the Arab loves the palm, which he converts to so many uses-of food, and drink, and raiment, and shelter — and that he places it among the foremost objects of his affections.

13. The palmetto, which grows in South Carolina, and farther south, is the only representative of the Palm family north of the Gulf of Mexico. It will be recollected that the fort on Sullivan's Island, so gallantly defended by Colonel Moultrie in 1776, was constructed of palmetto logs, and that, owing to the soft

nature of the wood, the balls Carolina Palmetto.

of the enemy had but little effect to injure it. The palmetto has been appropriately placed on the coat of arms of South Carolina. · A-GLU-MA'-CEOUS plants are such as have not the glumes or husks which characterize the

grains and grasses.

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

LESSON XX.—SEDGES AND GRASSES. 1. SEDGES are grass-like herbs, growing in tufts, and never acquiring a shrubby condition. So nearly do they resemble grasses in appearance, that the one may be readily mistaken for the other by the inexperienced; but, unlike grasses, the stems of sedges are usually angular, never hollow, and not completely jointed; and, moreover, when the leaf-stalks of sedges surround the stem, they grow together by their edges

« ElőzőTovább »