A still more popular edition of what has proved to the author to be a surprisingly popular book, has been prepared by the able hand of Mr. Asa Don Dickinson, and is now offered in the hope that many more people will find the wild flowers in Nature's garden all about us well worth knowing. For flowers have distinct objects in life and are everything they are for the most justifiable of reasons, i.e., the perpetuation and the improvement of their species. The means they employ to accomplish these ends are so various and so consummately clever that, in learning to understand them, we are brought to realize how similar they are to the fundamental aims of even the human race. Indeed there are few life principles that plants have not worked out satisfactorily. The problems of adapting oneself to one's environment, of insuring healthy families, of starting one's children well in life, of founding new colonies in distant lands, of the cooperative method of conducting business as opposed to the individualistic, of laying up treasure in the bank for future use, of punishing vice and rewarding virtue--these and many other problems of mankind the flowers have worked out with the help of insects, through the ages. To really understand what the wild flowers are doing, what the scheme of each one is, besides looking beautiful, is to give one a broader sympathy with both man and Nature and to add a real interest and joy to life which cannot be too widely shared.
Oyster Bay, New York, January 2, 1917.
Editor's Note.--The nomenclature and classification of Gray's New Manual of Botany, as rearranged and revised by Professors Robinson and Fernald, have been followed throughout the book. This system is based upon that of Eichler, as developed by Engler and Prantl. A variant form of name is also sometimes given to assist in identification.--A.D.D.