This is a very large family made up of trees, shrubs and herbs. It contains some of our most valuable plants and fruit-bearing trees such as pear, apple, strawberry, blackberry, etc. The flowers are all regular, have five petals, five sepals, numerous stamens, one or more pistils, and an abundance of nectar and pollen. They supply a bounteous feast for insects and they are chiefly fertilized by them.
B. Hardack; Steeple Bush.
Meadowsweet (Spiraea Salicifolia) is a common and beautiful shrub that grows along the edges of woods, swamps or even roadsides. Its handsome pyramidal clusters of flowers are in evidence during July and August. The stem is straight, slender, woody and yellowish buff; along it, at close intervals, alternate the lanceolate, toothed, short-stemmed leaves. At the top is a spire-like panicle of fleecy flower clusters. Each flower has five, round, white petals and numerous long, pink stamens that give the flowers a feathery appearance and a rosy tint.
Its name is rather misleading for the flowers are only slightly fragrant. It ranges from N. Y. to Mo. and southwards; the common species found in the New England states is specifically known as latifolia. Its leaves are thinner and the stem more reddish.
Hardhack; Steeplebush (Spiraea Tomento-Sa) is one of our most beautiful flowering shrubs. The flower spike is more slender and steeple-like than that of Meadowsweet and the flowers are a beautiful shade of pink. The flowers bloom downwards from the top of the spike, so that it soon assumes a brownish or yellowish tinge at the top of the spire. The leaves are more closely alternated and are dark green above and lighter below. Steeple-bush grows in low ground from N. B. to Minn, and southwards.
A. Wild Strawberry. Fragraria virginiana.
B. Wild Blackberry. Rubus allegheniensis.
Anyone not acquainted with the Strawberry in its wild state has our sympathy for they have missed one of the most luscious treats that Nature has provided. We have, after years of cultivation, increased the size of the berry many times, it is true, but this increase in size has been largely at the expense of deterioration in flavor. I have yet to see the cultivated strawberry that is comparable to the wild one in this respect.
The hairy stems of both leaves and flowers rise directly from the running rootstalk. The flowers, several of which grow on each stem, are wheel-shaped, have five rounded white petals and narrow lanceolate greenish sepals; the center is occupied by a green cone-like pistil and numerous stamens with small yellow anthers. After the flowering season, the green center expands, becomes pulpy and finally turns red on the outer surface; the numerous seeds are in little pits provided for them on the surface of the berry. The weight of the berries causes the slender peduncles to bend, while the flowers were erect.
The leaves are three-parted, each division being spatulate and sharply toothed at the rounded end. The Wild Strawberry is common in fields and pastures throughout our range.