National Geographic : 1925 Jul
PAGES FROM THE FLORAL LIFE OF AMERICA known of the broad-leaved species Its spikes are a little less dense, at least toward the base, and its leaves are a little thinner and of a brighter green. But otherwise the differences that make them two species instead of one would escape the eye of the layman. Rugels plantain is found from New Bruns wick and Ontario southward to Florida and Texas. Its flowering season is from June to September. The common plantain flowers from May to September and has a range that includes nearly all North America and the West Indies. The Indians called the two species white-man's-foot. NUTTALLS PONDWEED Potamogeton epihydrus Raf. Pondweed Family [Plate XXII, middle] This species of pondweed is found in ponds and streams from Newfoundland to British Columbia and southward to North Carolina and Iowa. Its flowering season is from June to August. GREAT RAGWEED Ambrosia trifida L. Ragweed Family [Plate XXII, right] The great ragweed is sometimes known as horse-cane and hitterweed. It flourishes from Quebec and Manitoba to Florida and New Mexico. Since its pollen has an irritating effect on the mucous membranes of so many human noses, it has received the name hay fever weed. COMMON WOODRUSH Juncoides campestre (L.) Ktze Rush Family [Plate XXIII, left] This species of rush occurs in woodlands throughout the United States and Canada, and is also indigenous to Asia and Europe. It hears many common names, among them, sweeps, chimney-sweeps, black-caps, cuckoo grass, and good-Friday. This species is fairly typical of the wole family, except that some of the others do not have tufted stalks. VENUS FLYTRAP Dionaea muscipula Ellis Sundew Family [Plate XXIV, left] Charles Darwin once wrote that he con sidered the Venus flytrap "the most wonderful plant in the world," and anyone who studies its behavior will doubtless agree with his ver dict. It is found on the coast of the Carolinas in very limited areas. The edges of the leaves bear a series of little spikes and the slightly concave surface of each leaf half bears three or more fine, tapering bristles, hair triggers, as it were, to set off the trap. Touch one of these hair triggers twice or two of them once, and immediately the leaf closes, the spikes at the two edges interlace, and you will see how the plant takes and retains its .prisoners. The trap is baited with sweets that are espe cially tempting to insects. When they spring it and are caught they are held lightly for the time being, as if the flytrap were debating the edibility of the catch. If the prisoner be too small for a good morsel, or a bit of nonnutri tive matter, the trap will open and the prisoner be released. But if it be edible and nutritious, the trap closes down so rigidly that one can see the impression of the insect body through the leaf. Struggling to escape boots the prisoner nothing, for the harder the struggle the tighter the flytrap's hold The leaf secretes a digestive ferment, and with this it breaks up and absorbs the tissues of the erstwhile unwilling guest. When only the chitinous parts remain the leaf opens up again, casts out the "bones" of its feast, and sets its trap for the next victim. CORALBELLS Heuchera sanguinea Engelm. Saxifrage Family [Plate XXIII, middle] The coralbells belong to the genus Heuchera, of the saxifrage family. It very closely resem bles its cousin Hcnchcra americana, the alum root, which is the type species of the genus. Most of the species of Heuchera are essentially Mississippi Valley plants, although a few of them are found on the Atlantic seaboard. The flowering time of the coralbells and the other members of this genus is May and June. PARTRIDGE PEA Chamaecrista fasciculata (i\ichx.) Greene Senna Family [Plate XXIII, right] The partridge pea, locally known as the large-flowered sensitive pea, dwarf-cassia, and magoty-hoy-bean, flourishes in dry soil from Massachusetts to Florida and westward to Min nesota and Mexico. It is an annual, sometimes spreading and sometimes erect, and flowers from July to September. Its behavior and ap pearance both remind one of the sensitiveplant of the mimosa family. AMERICAN LOTUS Nelumbo lutea (\Villd.) Pers. Waterlily Family [Plate XXIV, right] This species, sometimes known as the water chinkapin, sometimes as duck-acorn, and some times as the wankapin, lives in rivers and lakes from Massachusetts to Cuba and from Minne sota to Louisiana. The tubers and seeds are farinaceous and edible. It is a close relative of the Hindu lotus, which serves many useful pur poses in the East. The filaments of the Hindu species are astringent and cooling, and are used in the treatment of burns, the leaves are used as bed sheets for fever patients; a sherbet made from it is given to smallpox patients as a refrigerant. An early number of the NATIONAl. GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE will contain 32 pages of illustrations in full color of 200 Wild Flowers of California and other Western States.