Ere the end of April the shower of seed-leaves noticed earlier have sent forth their aerial leaves, and conspicuous amongst them is the star-like whorl of the common Cleaver (Galium aparine), which is mounting high in the hedges. "We shall notice it in bloom further on. Overhead we see the Wayfaring Tree (Viburnum lantana), with its broad, toothed, downy leaves, shrubby growth, and its clustered blossoms of perfect flowers. As the summer advances, flattened red berries will succeed the bloom, and as winter approaches the berries will turn black. The leaves and berries of the wayfaring tree are powerfully astringent. The latter are used in the manufacture of ink, and the leaves yield with alum a yellow dye. The wood is white and hard, useful to the turner, and the rind of the root is not unknown to boys in the making of birdlime.

Closely allied to the foregoing is the Guelder Rose (V. opulus), the Snowballs of our gardens, and we shall find its "silver globes" thickening on the shrub in the hedgerows. In the wild state the flowers are not globular. The leaves are three to five lobed, and smooth. In the autumn we shall notice its ornamental red fruit, which in Sweden and Norway is eaten with honey and flour. The branches yield a yellow dye, and the wood is used for a variety of purposes, that of tobacco-pipe stems not being the least important.

If in our springtide walk we pass the solitary cottage by the wayside, we shall see the Elder tree (Sam-bucus nigra) in blossom. Its well-known pinnate leaves and stout arms are planted by the wayside to keep off the witches, or to gather the flowers, which are made into an ointment, or to permit the berries to ripen, with a view to the making of the cottagers' winter cordial - elderberry wine. The pithy wood is made by boys into popguns, by butchers into skewers, and the old yeomen thought highly of it for their arrows. The Dwarf Elder (S. ebulus) is known as Danewort.

The Box shrub (Buxus sempervirens), so useful to the wood engraver and the turner, is only indigenous in England at Boxhill in Surrey, and the prickly Holly (Ilex aquifolium), are now in bloom. The leaves of the latter are stated to be equal to Peruvian bark in the cure of intermittent fevers. The root and leaves have valuable medicinal properties, and birdlime is made from the bark. The Paraguayan tea tree is a species of holly.

The Spindle tree (Euonymus Europoeus) shows its small green blossoms in May. The Cornel or Dogwood (Cornus sanguinea) is also showing its white clusters on the edge of the chalk downs, where it loves to dwell.

The beautiful Hawthorn - the lovely May (Crataaegus oxycantha) must not be forgotten amongst our spring flowers, though it sometimes blooms on into summer. We have before spoken of the legends which have clung around the hawthorn. The Crab (Pyrus malus), which is the wild apple, has a richly-tinted purplish peduncle of flowers. The Wild Cherry (P. avinum) and the Bird Cherry (P. padus) are in bloom on their long stems by the side of the coppice; and creeping through all is the common White Bryony {Bryonia dioica), with its vine-like leaves and long curling tendrils. The flowers are marked with green veins, and are well worth inspection. The male flowers grow in clusters, are bell-shaped, and greenish-yellow in colour. The tendrils have the uncommon property of twisting different ways. In autumn its brilliant-coloured fruit will glisten amongst the rich-coloured leaves. It is acrid and poisonous, though its young shoots may be gathered and eaten as a vegetable with impunity. This is not to be mistaken for the Black Bryony (Tamils communis), which has glossy heart shaped leaves, and blooms later.

The Geranium family - the Crane's-bills - of which we have seventeen varieties, and no less than thirteen with pink or purplish flowers - begin to blossom by the hedgerow and by the wayside, as well as in the woodlands. One of the earliest is the rose-coloured bell-shaped flower of the Dove's-foot Crane's-bill (Geranium molle) and the Herb Robert (G. Robertiantm), which remains in bloom all the year and in almost every locality.

The Bladder Campion (Silene inflata) has burst into bloom ere this, and its starry white flowers seated on their bladder-like cup, form an object in the early May landscape. It precedes a little the Germander Speedwell {Veronica chamoedrys), "Bright as the brightening eye of smiling child, And bathed in blue transparency of heaven," which studs the bank beneath it. The Corn-Law Rhymer knew this plant by its Midland name of "Eye-bright," and he called it the "Loveliest flower of all that grow In flower-lov'd England."

It bears the name also of "Paul's Betony," and "Fluellin;" and there is a touching anecdote of the lesson which the germander speedwell taught the heart of Rousseau, This flower is easily known by its coarsely toothed leaves and axillary clusters of large deep blue blossoms, slightly veined with a lighter blue. We nave in our woods, fields, and hedges, no less than thirteen species of veronica: some, however, are very rare, others we shall notice in our walks.

Wild Flowers Of Spring 26