The pleasure of a walk in the woods and fields is enhanced a hundredfold by some little knowledge of the flowers which we meet at every turn. Their names alone serve as a clew to their entire histories, giving us that sense of companionship with our surroundings which is so necessary to the full enjoyment of outdoor life. . But if we have never studied botany it has been no easy matter to learn these names, for we find that the very people who have always lived among the flowers are often ignorant of even their common titles, and frequently increase our eventual confusion by naming them incorrectly. While it is more than probable that any attempt to attain our end by means of some "Key," which positively bristles with technical terms and outlandish titles, has only led us to replace the volume in despair, sighing with Emerson, that these scholars Love not the flower they pluck, and know it not, And all their botany is Latin names !
So we have ventured to hope that such a book as this will not be altogether unwelcome, and that our readers will find that even a bowing acquaintance with the flowers repays one generously for the effort expended in its achievement. Such an acquaintance serves to transmute the tedium of a railway journey into the excitement of a tour of discovery. It causes the monotony of a drive through an ordinarily uninteresting country to be forgotten in the diversion of noting the wayside flowers, and counting a hundred different species where formerly less than a dozen would have been detected. It invests each boggy meadow and bit of rocky woodland with almost irresistible charm.
Surely Sir John Lubbock is right in maintaining that "those who love Nature can never be dull," provided that love be expressed by an intelligent interest rather than by a purely sentimental rapture.
Ninety-seven of the one hundred and four plates in this book are from original drawings from nature. Of the remaining seven plates, six (Nos. LXXX., XCIX., CI., XXII., XLII., LXXXI.), and the illustration of the complete flower, in the Explanation of Terms, are adapted with alterations from standard authors, part of the work in the first three plates mentioned being original. Plate IV. has been adapted from "American Medicinal Plants," by kind permission of the author, Dr. C. F. Millspaugh. The reader should always consult the "Flower Descriptions" in order to learn the actual dimensions of the different plants, as it has not always been possible to preserve their relative sizes in the illustrations. The aim in the drawings has been to help the reader to identify the flowers described in the text, and to this end they are presented as simply as possible, with no attempt at artistic arrangement or grouping.
We desire to express our thanks to Miss Harriet Procter, of Cincinnati, for her assistance and encouragement. Acknowledgment of their kind help is also due to Mrs. Seth Doane, of Orleans, Massachusetts, and to Mr. Eugene P. Bicknell, of Riv-erdale, New York. To Dr. N. L. Britton, of Columbia College, we are indebted for permission to work in the College Herbarium.
New York, March 15, 1893.