This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The following plants, mostly herbaceous, are to be found growing on our streets, in fence corners and ditches, and on the open lots in and just on the edge of the town :
Stellaria media, Calendrinia Menziesii, Ranunculus Californicus, Rumex pulcher, " acetosella, " crispus, " conglomeratus, Antheniis cotula, Cotula coronopifolia, Malva boreal is.
" rotundifolia, Medicago denticulata, Erodium rnoschatum.
" cicutarium, Sonchus oleraceus, Raphanus raphanistrum, Capsella bursa-pastoris, Clienopodiuin ambrosoides,
" hirtella, Xanthium spinosum,
Erigeron Canadense, Marubiura vulgare, Amarantus retroflexus, Oxalis corniculata, Anagallis arvensis, Gilia squarrowa, Troximon grandiflorum, Silybium marianum, Aster Chamissonis, Claytonia perfoliate, Heliotropiuin curassavicum Eschscholtzia Californica, Polygonum aviculare, " acre,
" campestris, Mentha aquatica,
Artemisia vulgaris, Epilobium paniculatum, Oenothera ovata, Meldotus parvirlora, Zauchneria Californica, Stachys ajugoiiles. " pycnantha, " bullata, Ambrosia psilostachya, Silene Gallica, Hemizonia macradenia, " angustifolia,
Corothrogine rilaginifolia, Hosackia glabra,
" probably two or three other species, Centaurea Melitensis, Grindelia robusta, Madia sativa, Matricaria discoidea, Boisduvalia densiflora, Baccharis pilularis,
" perhaps other sp's, Bidens pilosa, Hypoclneris glabra, Achillea millefolium, Hypericum anagalloides, Solanam nigrum. Taraxacum dens-leonis, Nasturtium officinale, Verbena prostrata, Urtica holosericea, Kranseria bipinnata, Atriplex leucophilla. Sisymbrium officinale.
Some of the above list grow principally, or more actively, during the cooler months, others are summer growers, thriving in almost any amount of dryness. The Erodiums and Malvas are conspicuous instances of the former class, the Madia and Hemizonias of the latter. Not a few of the annuals come up all through the winter months, making but little progress, however, until the arrival of spring.
Hypericum anagalloides is to be found on lawns, where, diminutive as it is, it succeeds in pushing back the grass and enlarging its borders. Here also, if anywhere, will be seen Dandelion. This weed of the Eastern states is not likely to spread in California, or even to exist here, excepting on thoroughly irrigated land.
Capsella b. p. and Senecio vulg. are met with as yet, only in two or three spots in town. The latter, I presume, is a recent introduction, and as it seeds freely and abundantly will rapidly spread. Cotula coronopifolia grows in wet gutters, ditches, and in quiet water along the margins of streams. Its flowers looking like golden buttons are almost always with us. Watson, in his Botany of California, names but one mint, M. canadensis, a foot high plant. The species growing in Santa Cruz is frequently seen from three to five feet in height. This, without analyzing it, I have supposed to be M. aquatica. It may be an enlarged form of M. c, because of continuous growth from year to year. The Atriplex and Franseria grow on the beach - never away from it, except when removed by human hands. Plants of both were brought by myself from the beach last spring and set out in rich loamy soil a half-mile back from the bay. Here they grew just as luxuriantly as on their native sand. Why should not at least the Franseria, with its spiny fruit, like its relatives the Xanthi-ums, become widely distributed over this coast country, the soil of which seemingly so well suits it?
As will be seen, I have omitted from my list the native and introduced grasses, and the plants which are only found along the river's edge.
Santa Cruz, California. [We are glad to give this as a suggestion to young botanists in large cities, who long for the collecting opportunities of the country, to note how much of interest may often be found within the walls. Geographical botany is in itself a very enchanting study, and towns offer an excellent chance to watch the introduction and spread of new comers. In regard to what our correspondent says about the dandelion, we do not believe aridity will stop its onward march. The writer saw it in great abundance everywhere about Ogden, Utah, in June last - and it is probably drier there than at Santa Cruz, which is in the direct track of the moisture from the Pacific Ocean and which is probably the secret of the great vigor of the Redwood forests near that town. - Ed. G. M].