AS we wander through the deep embosomed lanes on our way to the wild moorland and shady woods, pointing out each herb and flower, marking its beauties, uses, and peculiarities, let us also learn the language of the flowers, by which it tells the family it belongs to, and marks its place in the universe. We shall find this language in the formation of its root, the shape, texture, colour, and marking of its foliage: the stem, the flower, and the mode in which it is attached thereto speak volumes to the eye of the observing. It will be seen that every flower and every plant has not only an individual existence, but each and every one has its appointed place in the universe, filling some mission, belonging to some family - often widely different in appearance - of the vegetable world The varied form of seed, flower, and leaf, is one mode of recognizing their genus and species. To make these variations intelligible and to avoid long descrip-tions, it is necessary to use a few scientific terms. If we take the boot of a plant, we find that it generally consists of a body called a caudex, and a number of small fibres known as radiculae: the one is the root proper, and the other the rootlets. The simplest and most common form of root consists of a tuft of fibres or capillaries, as the roots of grass and corn generally. The creeping root is familiar in the couch-| grass, the mint tribe, the common bracken, and other plants. The spindled-shaped root tapers gradually, as shown in the carrot, parsnip, etc. The truncated root is the spindle root with an abrupt termination, as if bitten off. The tuberous root is exemplified in the potato. The bulbous root is a round firm mass, from the base of which fibres issue. The bulb itself may be solid, as in the crocus; in concentric rings, as the onion; in fleshy scales, as the white lily.
The stem of a plant is variously spoken of: as simple when it only bears leaf and flowers, and has no branches. Some are forked, some ascend, some are prostrate, and some creep. The angle between the leaf and stem is called an axil. When a flower or bud starts from this angle, as in the mistletoe or balsam, it is called axillary.
The leaves or foliage of the plant, ere the flowers appear, afford the only means of recognizing it. When the leaves spring around the root, as in the cowslip, they are termed radical; those that grow up the stem are either alternate, opposite, or whorled, as a wheel. They are called simple when there is only one leaf on a stalk, as in the oak, and compound when composed of many leaflets, like the ash. The smaller leaflets attached to the base of the leaves of many plants are called stipules. The presence or absence of these is often an important characteristic of a family. The rose has an oblong stipule, while those in the vetch are often arrow-shaped. Leaves without stalks, as in the ground ivy, are termed sessile; when they have a kind of foot-stalk (called a petiole), they are termed petiolate. A ternate leaf has three leaflets on a common stalk, as the famous shamrock and the clovers; a quatemate, four leaflets; a quinate, five, as in the cinquefoil; and so on. If the leaflets spring out from the same point, the leaf is digitate, as in the cinquefoil; if they are in pairs along the leaf-stalk, as in the rose, it is pinnate, or feathered. If the leaflets are again subdivided, as in the parsley, carrot, or fennel, it is then doubly or trebly pinnate.
Quinate and Digitate.
A leaf is entire when there are no divisions, lobed when there are deep and rounded divisions, as in the oak. If the lobes are so deep as to extend more than half-way to the mid-rib, it is palmate, as the palm of the hand. When so sharply cut as to resemble a pinnate leaf, it is pinnatifid. If the points of the divisions run back, as in the dandelion, it is runciate. A peltate leaf has the stalk attached at or near the centre, as in the pennywort and garden nasturtium. When the stalk passes through the leaf, it is termed perfoliate; but if two leaves are joined together and the stalk passes through them, as in the teazle, it is termed connate. "When the leaf runs down the stem, as in the comfrey and thistles, it is decurrent, and im-bricated when the leaves overlap each other, like the ling, or the scales of a pine-cone.
In shape the leaves are termed ovate, heart-shaped, kidney-shaped, arrow-shaped, fiddle-shaped, lyre-shaped, strap-shaped, and sword-shaped. The margin of the leaf may be entire, or crenate when the edge is in small rounded divisions, serrate when edged like a saw, and toothed when in small pointed divisions.
The flower is, however, the keystone to the arch of wild flowers. In the previous chapter the individual peculiarities of the calyx and corolla were just touched upon. The various shapes of the corolla most commonly met with are salver-shaped, as the primrose; funnel-shaped, as the cowslip; wheel-shaped, when the tube is short, and the margin quite flat; bell-shaped, as the harebell and the hyacinth; trumpet-shaped, as in the convolvulus; cruciferous (four petals cross-shaped, like the wallflower). The labiate or lipped corollas consist of one petal, as the nettle and sage. If the lip is open, it is said to be gaping; if closed, it is termed personate. The butterfly-shaped blossoms of the pea and vetch are termed papilionaceous, and have five irregular petals, one large at the top, two at the side, and two at the bottom. The calyx and corolla are not present in all flowers: some have one without the other - some have neither. In any case the word perianth is used to express the part of the flower which encloses the stamen and pistils.