Low Yellow Wood Sorrel (Oxalis Repens) has several prostrate and creeping stems and numerous erect, leafy branches; it is very low, seldom attaining a height of more than three inches, although the prostrate stem may measure a foot in length. The little yellow flowers are set on short deflexed pedicels; this peculiar arrangement is more prominent after the seed pods have developed as the stems are even more deflexed at that period; it looks just as though some one had bent each of the flower pedicels sharply back at their junction with the stem or peduncle. This species is less common than the preceding.
A. Wild Geranium; Cranesbill.
B. Herb Robert.
Wild Geranium; Cranesbill (Geranium Maculatum) is one of our most common woodland plants, flowering from May to July. The stem, the leaves and the flower calyx are rough-hairy, the former being quite stout and branching and attaining heights of one to two feet. The large, magenta or pale purple flowers are in loose, few-flowered clusters at the ends of the branches; the petals are large and rounded and slightly over-lap; they are delicate in texture and show several rather transparent lines radiating from their whitish, bearded bases; the ten stamens are all tipped with large, golden-brown anthers and surround a slender, green pistil. This pistil grows to be very long by the time the plant is in fruit, and it is this long beak that gives the species the name of Cranesbill; when the fruit is fully matured, it suddenly splits upwards from the base and scatters the seeds contained therein, for a distance of several feet.
The leaves of the Geranium are very beautiful; some of them are on long petioles from the base and others on shorter stems from the main plant stalk. Their texture is very coarse and fuzzy, and the surface often spotted with white or brown; they are palmately divided into five lobes, each of which is sharply toothed and pointed. It is very common from Me. to Manitoba and southwards.
Herb Robert (Geranium Robertianum) is a smaller edition of the last. Its flowers are similar, but smaller and coarser in texture. Its leaves are smaller and usually more deeply cleft. The stem is usually stained with red; both this and the leaves emit a strong odor when bruised.
The blossoms of this, and the last species, are frequented by various kinds of bees that are necessary to insure its pollenization, since the anthers have fallen away before the stigma ripens. Herb Robert is common from Me. to Minn, and southwards.