As one may reach the heart of a city by many different roads, so the student may find his way into the heart of flower-craft in a variety of ways. Many plans have been adopted to make botany easy. In this little volume we shall endeavour to use all that is best of the different methods. Those who take us for their guide should have a pocket-lens, and should study the plants where they find them growing.
It is necessary at the outset to master the four whorls of a blossom.
(1) The outer whorl, usually green, is the calyx, and is made up of sepals, either separate or joined together. Examples are the buttercup and primrose (Fig. 1).
(2) The next whorl, which is usually coloured, is called the corolla. It is made up of petals, which may be either separate or joined together, as in the flowers already named (Fig. 1).
(3) Inside the petals come the stamens, and it is important to notice where they are situated. In some cases, as in the primrose, they are attached to the petals. In others, as in the buttercup, the stamens remain after the petals and sepals are removed. They are on the receptacle.
(4) In the very heart of the flower will be found the pistil, which in the primrose is like a pin. It must be noted that some flowers have not all the four sets of organs. The pistils and stamens are of the greatest importance when we come to classification (Fig. 3).
Fig. i. - Blossoms of Primrose and Buttercup, showing petals and calyx.
The other parts of the flower or plant, such as leaves, prickles, tendrils, bracts, glands, fruits and seeds, are of great value for distinguishing different classes and orders. Our British Wild Flowers chiefly fall into two great groups, known as monocotyledons and dicotyledons; and they are distinguished as follows:-
Fig. 2. - Diagram of Mono- and Dicotyledon.
A. Monocotyledon; B, Dicotyledon. 1. Pistil; 2. Inner whorl of stamens; 3. Outer whorl; 4. Petals ; 5. Calyx. The perianth is made up of 4 and 5.
with parallel veins.
with netted veins.
Organs of flowers in
threes or sixes.
in fours or fives.
with separable bark.
without separable bark.
wood in bundles, not in rings.
wood in annual layers or rings.
with one seed leaf.
with two seed leaves.
The crocus, lily, or narcissus (Fig. 4) will represent the monocotyledons; the primrose, buttercup (Fig. 1), or geranium may illustrate the dicotyledons.
All our trees and shrubs belong to the dicotyledons. There is only one exception - the butchers broom (85).1
As the subject is so large we shall not be able to classify the trees, shrubs, grasses, sedge rushes and weeds. Our wild flowers may chiefly be studied in three ways: according to (1) the season, (2) the situation, or (3) the structure. I shall give some hints on each of these heads, and follow the suggestions with a list of plants, arranged somewhat on the lines which Linnaeus adopted. This consists in noting the number of stamens and pistils. But, as our plants fall into families or orders, it will be found necessary to blend the natural system with the Linnean.
The following Plan will show how the work is arranged, and where to look for any given subject:
I. The Flowers in Season (p. 13).
II. The Flowers In Situation (P. 16)
(1) Hedgerows, banks, and ditches.
(2) Meadows and fields.
(3) Heaths, downs, and commons.
(4) Woodlands and forests.
(5) Marshes, fens, and bogs. *
(6) Lakes, ponds, and rivers.
(7) The seashore and estuary.
* The numbers in parentheses refer to the list at the end.
Fig. 3. - Disk-florets of Daisy.
With Stigmas Extended.
III. The Structure And Habits Of Flowers (P. 20)
(1) General observations.
(2) The blossom.
(4) Fruits and seeds.
(5) Leaves, bracts, and stipules.
(6) Stems and outgrowths.
(7) Climbing and rambling.
(8) Roots and tubers.
(9) Aromatics and poisons.
(10) Fly catchers.
(11) Spurges and orchids.
IV. The Classification Of Flowers (P. 37)
2 stamens, 1 pistil .............
3 stamens, 1 pistil ..............
4 stamens, 1 pistil ............
4 stamens, 2 long, 2 short . . .
5 stamens free ..............
5 stamens, 2 pistils .............
5 stamens, several pistils . . .
5 stamens forming a tube . .
6 stamens equal ................
6 stamens unequal...
8 stamens free ...............
9 stamens free ...............
10 stamens equal ...............
10 stamens, bases joined . . .
10 stamens in 2 sets ............
10 to 20 stamens ...............
20 stamens, more or less . .
many stamens .................