* Nymphoea alba - Plate 7 B.
One interesting peculiarity has been recorded of the White Water Lily, namely, that its flowers expand only in bright weather, and close towards evening, when they either recline on the surface of the water, or sink beneath it; so that it has been called "day's own flower," and described as "drooping its head beneath the waves," there "watching, weeping, through the live-long night, impatient for the dawn."
From this water-fairy let us pass to the flaunting Poppy* of the cornfields - type of the Papaveraceous family. Here we have an erect branched annual plant, with hairy leaves and stems, the leaves deeply cut in what is called a pinnatifid manner, and the flowers large and specious, but fugacioae. The calyx consists of a pair of hairy sepals, quickly deciduous, being pushed off by the expansion of the corolla, which latter consists of four broad, spreading, nearly equal, overlapping bright scarlet petals, that are crumpled not folded in the bud. The ovary, which is somewhat top-shaped, with the stigma radiating on its flat sessile disk, is imperfectly many-celled and filled with small seeds, which escape by means of a series of apertures beneath the rim of the stigmatic disk.
In waste places, especially in limestone districts, will be found the spike-like inflorescence of the Wild Mignonette,† a member of the Resedaceous family, forming a dwarfish herb, with many branches clothed with variously divided leaves, and terminating in long erect racemes of greenish-yellow dull-looking flowers, which have no pretension to beauty, and are entirely without the delicious fragrance which in the Mignonette of the gardens atones for the absence of graceful form or attractive colouring. Here there are from four to six sepals; as many petals, of which the lowest is entire or two-cleft, and the others irregularly divided; an indefinite crowd of stamens; and an oblong ovary, having three short apical teeth.
* Papaver Rhoeas - Plate 7 C. † Reseda lutea - Plate 7 D.
The common Rockcist* represents another Order of regular-flowered Thalamiflores, - the Cistaceous family. It is a low, diffuse-growing, slender, shrubby plant, having its branches furnished with small opposite oblong leaves, which have each a pair of minute stipules at their base; and bearing loose terminal racemes of pretty yellow flowers, which are however of very short duration. These flowers consist of five sepals, the two outer of which are smaller than the rest; five broad obovate spreading petals; numerous stamens; and a one-celled capsule, which opens in three valves. The species of Helianthe-mum are very pretty summer-flowering plants, of which many forms are cultivated on sunny rockwork in gardens.
On dry hilly pastures and peaty fens, during the summer months, the Milkwort † may very frequently be gathered. This little herb represents a genus of exotic shrubs, much more showy than itself, and also the type of the irregular-flowered Polygalaceous family. Its stems are slender, diffuse, generally a few inches long, with small leaves, obovate below and lanceolate above. The flowers, which form terminal racemes, are usually of a bright blue, and very pretty. The calyx consists of five sepals, of which the two innermost, larger than the others, petal-like and elegantly veined, are commonly called wings. The corolla is very irregular; the petals much smaller than the sepals, the two lateral ones oblong-linear, the lowest keel-shaped tipped with a little crest, and all more or less united with the stamens, which form two parcels, each with four anthers. The ovary and capsule are both flat, and contain a single seed in each of the two cells.
* Helianthemum vulgare - Plate 8 A. † Poli/gala vulgaris - Plate 8 C.
Another small family, that of the Frankeniaceous plants, is represented by the Sea Heath or Common Frankenia* a diffuse-growing much-branched perennial, with the small leaves crowded in little opposite clusters along the branches, the flowers very few, pink, sessile among the upper leaves, and regular in structure. The sepals are combined into a tubular calyx with four or five teeth; the petals, four or five in number, have each a long claw, and a spreading limb; there are four or five stamens alternating with the petals and usually two or three opposite to them; the stigma is three-cleft; and the capsule, which opens in two or three or four valves, contains very small seeds. It is found on maritime sands, and salt marshes on the south-eastern coasts.
A comprehensive family of Thalamiflores, that of the Caryo-phyllaceous plants, is illustrated by the Pink,† a plant found in a half-wild state in a few localities in England, but probably an escape from cultivation. This handsome plant, the original doubtless from which some at least of the favourite double florists' Pinks have descended, is a perennial, with peculiar rigid grassy glaucous leaves, and a flower-stem 6-12 inches high, branched, and bearing from two to five pinkish fragrant aromatic flowers, the calyx of which is tubular, with five teeth, and clasped at the base by two opposite pairs of green scales, which are very much shorter than the tube. The corolla, which is regular, consists of five long-clawed spreading petals which are deeply multifid at the margin; and there are ten stamens, and two long recurving styles.
* Frankenia lavis - Plate 8 D. † Dianthus plumarius - Plate 9 A.
Another plant of the same family, a common cornfield weed, and at the same time a very pretty flower, is that known as the Corn Cockle.* This is a tall erect-growing annual, slightly branched, hairy, with long narrow leaves, and large showy regular flowers, on long leafless peduncles, borne on the upper part of the stems. These flowers have a tubular calyx with five long linear lobes projecting much beyond the petals, which latter are broad undivided and spreading, tapering into a long claw at the base, and forming together a large inodorous flower, of circular outline, and of a pale reddish-purple colour. There are ten stamens and five or rarely four styles. The capsule, which opens in five teeth, contains numerous seeds.