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[ENDOGENOUS or MONOCOTYLEDONOUS; Glumaceous.]ı
1. Schoenus mucrona'tus, Clustered bog-rush, iii. 1, ap.), 1 f., A.-My., S. Europe. 2. Scir' pus lacus'tris, Tall club-rush, iii. 1, (ap.), 6 f., Jl.-Au., Britain. 3. Scirpus trique'. ter, Triangular club-rush, iii. 1, ap.), 3 f., Au., Eng. 4. Cype'rus vege'tus, Smooth marshsedge, iii. 1, (ap.), 18 in., My.-Au., N. Am. 5. Phleum praten'se, Timothy grass, with portions of the flower magnified, iii. 2, (ap.), 2 f., J., N. Am. 6. Tricus'pis quinque fida, English red-top, iii. 2, (ap.), 2 f., Jn.-J., N. Am. 7. Po'a aquatica, Water meadow-grass, iii, 2, ap.), 6 f., Jl., N. Am. and Britain. 8. Agros'tis vulga'ris, American red-top, with the flower magnified, iii. 2, (ap.), 18 in., Jn., N. Am. 9. Briza me' dia, Common quakinggrass, iii. Ž, (ap.), 18 in., Jn., Britain. into a perfect sheath. The plants of this family are of little value as nutriment to man or beast; but they are found in all parts of the world, in marshes, ditches, running streams, in meadows and on heaths, in groves and forests, on the flowing sands of the sea-shore, on the tops of mountains, from the arctic to the antarctic circle, wherever flowering vegetation can exist.
2. That the Grasses occupy a very different position in the vegetable kingdom will at once be apparent when we remark that in this family are found such plants as rye, oats, barley, maize or Indian corn, rice, sugar-cane, bamboo, and reeds, as well as the ordinary grasses. Of about four thousand species, of which this numerous and valuable family consists, only a single one, the poisonous darnel, is known to be injurious to man. All the grasses are provided with true flowers, that is, with stamens and pistils, but there is little trace of the calyx and corolla. The general appearance of the common grasses is so well-known that we need not describe it; nor need we speak of their wide distribution, for every body knows
that they “ come creeping, creeping every where," as is prettily told in
THE VOICE OF THE GRASS.
You can not see me coming,
And the glad morning light,
More welcome than the flowers
And the merry bird not sad,
When you're number'd with the dead
And deck your silent home-
My humble song of praise
I beautify the land,
Creeping, silently creeping every where.—Sarah ROBERTS. 7. Of the immense value of the cereals to mankind we need not attempt to form an estimate; for how could human life, in one half of the globe, be sustained without them? And as to the grasses proper, they are the principal food of the most valuable of the domestic animals. In the United States alone, the value of agricultural products belonging to this great family is estimated at not less than seven hundred millions of dollars annually! And what an amount of labor is bestowed upon their cultivation! What variety and extent of interests are dependent upon the seasonable rain, and the dew, and the sunshine, which our heavenly Father sends to bring them to perfection! And what anxieties are felt about those scourges from insects, and storms, and blight, and mildew, that occasionally injure, and threaten to destroy them!
8. Wheat, “ golden wheat," of which there are reckoned three hundred varieties, is supposed to have been, once, an unprofitable grass growing wild on the shores of the Mediterranean, and to have become, by cultivation, the most valuable of all vegetable products. It is now difficult to tell what are mere varieties and what are distinct species ; certain it is, that though it thrives best when treated as a biennial—sown in autumn and harvested the following summer—yet winterwheat sown in spring will ripen the same year, though the produce of succeeding generations of spring-sown wheat is found to ripen better; white, red, and beardless wheat change
2d Div. oF .. VEGETABLE PHYSIOLOGY, OR BOTANY.
, OR BOTANY.
(CEREALS.-ENDOGENOUS or MONOCOTYLEDONOUS ; Glumaceous.]
1. Triticum hybernum, Winter wheat, iii, 2, (ap.), 4 f., Jn.-Jl., unknown. 2. Trit'. icum compos'itum, Egyptian wheat, iii. 2, (ap.), 34 f., Jn.-Jl., Egypt. 3. Trit'icum spe'lta, Spelter wheat, iii. 2, (ap.), 31 f., Jn.-Jl., Egypt. 4. Seca'le cerea'le, Common rye, iii, 2, (ap.), 4 f., Jn.-Jl., Crimea. 5. Saccharum officina'rum, Sugar-cane, iii. 2, (ap.), 12 f.. Au., India. 6. Ave'n fa'tua, Wild oat, fii. 2, (ap.), 4 f., Au., Britain. 7. Hor'deum vui qa're, Spring barley, iii. 2, (ap.), 3 f., Ji., Sicily. 8. Mil'ium effu'sum, Common millet, iii. 2, (ap.), 4 f., Jn.-Jl., Britain. 9. Írit'icum Polon'icum, Polish wheat, iii. 2, (ap.), 4f. Jn.-Jl., Egypt.
and run into each other on different soils and in different clïmates; and even the Egyptian wheat is known to change to the single-spiked common plant.
9. The American reader will recollect that in Europe wheat is called corn, a term which we apply only to maize or Indian corn. The latter was found cultivated for food by the Indians of both North and South America on the first discovery of the continent, and from this circumstance it derived its popular name. It is still found growing, in a wild state, in the humid forests of Paraguay, where, instead of having each grain naked as is always the case after long cultivation, each is completely covered with glumes or husks. The varieties produced by cultivation are numerous.
10. Indian corn furnishes a fine example of those plants which have staminate flowers on one part of the plant and pistillate on another. Thus the staminate flowers of the corn are those loose yellow branches which grow at the top of the stalk, while the pistillate, hidden among the lower leaves, are.
only discovered by their long shining styles which hang from the ears in tufts like silken tassels. One peculiarity noticed in nearly all the members of the Grass family is the exceeding hardness of the outer covering of their stems, which is caused by a thin coating of fiinty or silicious matter. The sharp edge of a blade of grass has often cut the flesh of curious or careless boys in the experiment of drawing it through their fingers.
11. Numerous and abundant, throughout all literature, are the tributes of praise with which poetry has striven to enshrine in our affections the valuable cereals we cultivate. The ancients, in their mythology, placed agriculture above all other pursuits, and called CERES, who was the fabled goddess of grain ‘and harvests, the Great Goddess, and the Mighty Mother Songs and festivals celebrated her benevolent gifts to man; and when we come down to later ages, we find that songs to the “Harvest Moon,” and songs of“ Harvest Home,” have ever been the most popular of national melodies.
Pleasing 'tis, O harvest-moon!
And thinking soon,
Along the road,
To see the load,
The last dear load of harvest-home.-HENRY KIRKE WHITE. As a suitable closing of this lesson we must extend it still farther, and give place to the following, which is both appropriate to the subject, and to be admired for the associations which it recalls.
When on the breath of autumn-breeze,
From pastures dry and brown,
The fair white thistle-down,
Amid a field new shorn,
The piled-up stacks of corn ;
The quivering of the leaves,
Binding the yellow sheaves;
I see the fields of Bethlehem,
And reapers many a one,
And Boaz looking on;
The fields of Galilee,
Were full of corn, I see;
How beautiful they seem!
To me are like a dream.
Seem of old time, and take me there.—Mary Howitt. GLU-MA-CEOUS plants are those which have glumes, like the husk or chaff of the gralna and grasses.
LESSON XXI.-OF THE HIDDEN USES OF PLANTS.
THERE be in plants Influences yet unthought, and virtues, and many inventions, And uses above and around, which man hath not yet regarded. Not long, to charm away disease, hath the crocus yielded up its bulb, Nor the willow lent its bark, nor the nightshade its vanquished poison ; Not long hath the twisted leaf, the fragrant gift of China, Nor that nutritious root, the boon of far Peru, Nor the many-colored dahlia, nor the gorgeous flaunting cactus, Nor the multitude of fruits and flowers ministered to life and luxury : Even so, there be virtues yet unknown in the wasted foliage of the elm, In the sun-dried harebell of the downs, and the hyacinth drinking in the
meadow, In the sycamore's winged fruit, and the facet-cut cones of the cedar; And the pansy and bright geranium live not alone for beauty, Nor the waxen flower of the arbute, though it dieth in a day, Nor the sculptured crest of the fir, unseen but by the stars; And the meanest weed of the garden serveth unto many uses, The salt tamarisk, and juicy flag, the freckled orchis, and the daisy. The world may laugh at famine when forest trees yield bread, When acorns give out fragrant drink, and the sap of the linden is as fatness : For every green. herb, from the lotus to the darnel, Is rich with delicate aids to help incurious man.-M. F. TUPPER.
There is perhaps no pursuit which leads the mind more directly to an appreciation of that wisdom and goodness which pervade creation, than the study of the vegetable kingdom, in which infinite variety, beauty, and ele. gance, singularity of structure, the nicest adaptations, and the most preeminent utility, meet us at every step, and compel us to observe and learn, even when often the least disposed to inquiry or reflection.-CHAMBERS.