* Leoniodon Taraxacum - Plate 3 B.
But we have another illustration, which will serve to explain a different set of these Composite flowers, called the Corymbi-fers from their heads being generally in corymbs - the Daisy,* Burns's "bonny gem," which is almost ever and everywhere in blossom. The Daisy is a dwarf perennial herb, with a spreading rosulate tuft of obovate or spathulate leaves, from among which arise the numerous slender stalks, bearing not however a corymb, but a single or solitary head of flowers. Here, the involucre consists of about two rows of green bracts, and within them, at the outer edge of the receptacle, is a row of ligulate female florets, with a very short tubular portion at their base, from whence issues the two-branched style, these having no stamens. These are the ray florets. The other part of the receptacle is filled with small tubular funnel-shaped equal florets, which are hermaphrodite, having both stigmas and anthers. These small tubular disk florets form the yellow centre of the Daisy flower-head. The manner in which the poet Burns apostrophized this "modest crimson-tipped flower," while following the plough, and lamenting over the destruction he was causing it and could not avoid, is singularly pathetic - "the share upturns thy bed, and low thou lies."
* Beltisperennis - Plate 3 C.
Of the subdivision of Monopetals in which the stamens are distinct from the corolla, examples will be found in the spring-blooming Vaccinium or Whortleberry family.
The division in which the corolla is hypogynous, bearing the stamens: in other words, in which the flowers are peri-gynous, is well illustrated by the Primrose, already adverted to in our opening page. Another illustration is afforded by the Lesser Periwinkle,* one of the Apocynaceous or Dogbane family, found occasionally in hedges and woody banks, and commencing to flower in spring - ay, sometimes very early in the year. This is a perennial, with long trailing stems, clothed with opposite ovate-oblong leaves, and producing also short erect flowering-branches, which bear solitary axillary flowers; these have a free calyx with five narrow deep divisions; a monopetalous corolla, in which the tube is almost campanulate, and the limb consists of five flat spreading segments, having a lateral twist; five stamens enclosed in the tube of the corolla; and two ovaries, distinct at the base, but connected at top by a single style, terminating in an oblong stigma, contracted in the middle. The twisted corolla and pulley-shaped stigma are special marks of the Apocynaceous family, to which the Periwinkle belongs.
The Buckbean,+ an aquatic plant, found in bogs and shallow pools, and famous for its tonic properties, comes into flower soon after the Periwinkle, and affords another example of the same subdivision, belonging to another natural family, that of the Gentians. It has stoutish creeping or floating stems, with strong coarse roots, and forming at the end a tuft of leaves, consisting of three obovate or oblong leaflets, set on a long stalk, which is sheathing at the base. The flowers come in erect racemes, and each consists of a short calyx with green lobes, and a bell-shaped corolla, deeply five-lobed, the lobes spreading or even reflexed, white tinged with red, the inside elegantly fringed. The flowers have five stamens joined to the tube of the corolla, and the fruit is a capsule opening in two valves.
* Vinca minor - Plate 3 D.
† Menyanthes trifoliata - Plate 4 A.
We must pass on to another great division of Dicotyledons in which the structure is of a simpler character. These are the Monochlamyds, having Monochlamydeous or one-coated flowers. They form a considerable group, comprising some few showy families, and including many others in which the blossoms are quite inconspicuous. Here there is normally not more than one floral envelope (sometimes none) to the stamens or pistil, which are the essential organs of the flower. The envelope when present is called the perianth or perigone, and is in reality a green or coloured calyx, the corolla being constantly wanting.
To this series belongs the gay but poisonous Mezereon shrub,* one of the Thymelaceous family, a very early-blooming plant, found in woods and thickets. The branches of this dwarf deciduous shrub are clothed with the little clusters of flowers, "blushing wreaths investing every spray," while yet the young leaves are undeveloped. The latter appear later, and are oblong or lanceolate in form. The flowers have a short broadish tube to the perianth, a limb of four spreading lobes, and eight stamens which are attached in two rows to the inner face of the tube. The flowers are purple or in some plants white, very sweet-scented, and succeeded by a "vesture gay" of red or yellow berries, containing a single seed; this was present in the form of a pendulous ovule in the urn-shaped ovary, which stood free within the base of the perianth.
* Daphne Mezereum - Plate 4 C.
Of the same Monochlamydeous division, and growing in similar habitats, but of much more frequent occurrence, is the Wood Spurge,* representing the varied and extensive Euphor-biaceous family. This plant is in early spring conspicuous on account of its umbels of light yellowish-green bracts. It has almost woody stems, of a reddish colour, bearing narrow-oblong leaves, above which the umbel of five or six principal branches is produced. These bear floral leaves or bracts in pairs, of a yellowish-green colour, and between each pair a small green body, apparently a flower but really a flower-head, consisting of a small cup-shaped involucre resembling a perianth, having four minute teeth, and alternating with them as many horizontal yellowish glands, which are here crescent-shaped; within these are several stamens each bearing a pointed filament and a minute scale at its base, thus showing them to be distinct male flowers; while in the centre is a single female flower on a recurved stalk, consisting of a three-celled ovary and a three-cleft style. This ovary grows into a fruit of three carpels, called cocci, whence the fruit is called tricoccous.