Buttercups And Daisies. Let us consider these two familiar friends attentively. In the buttercup the natural leaves consist of many divisions, while in the daisy the leaf is in one piece; in both leaves,
However, we find the veins, or fibres, of the leaf distributed upon a somewhat similar plan, viz., a central, or principal fibre, from which smaller fibres arise, and form a network of veins on either side. On cutting the stalks, moreover, and examining them with a magnifying glass, we discover a further similarity of structure ; for we see that there are bundles of woody tissues symmetrically arranged around a central pith (d) Above the bracts we find the blossom, which consists of the following parts: - 1. Calyx; 2. Corolla; 3. Stamens; 4. Pistil. If we look at the base or back of the buttercup, we shall observe five small green loaves, as it were, supporting the yellow leaves of the blossom, (tig. 2, b). Each of these green leaves is called a sepal, and the five sepals together form what is called the calyx, because they are frequently united at their edges, and thus constitute a cup (calyx) for the flower. "Within or above the calyx we have five yellow petals which together form the corolla, a word that signifies in Latin a little crown orgarland,and has been applied to this part because the petals (the parts of the corolla) are usually of a brilliant colour, and give beauty to the flower. If we remove these yellow petals, we shall find at the base of each (fig. 1, p) a small scale, or gland, which was at one time called the nectary, from the idea that it was the organ which secreted honey. It may here be appropriately pointed out, that in nearly all plants with branched stems and reticulated (net-veined) leaves, there is a curious relation in the number of their parts. In the buttercup before us, we found a calyx consisting of five sepals, then a corolla of five petals; and in the section of the stem we count Jive bundles of woody tissue; in the other parts of the flower we shall find also the number five, or a multiple of it. In all such growths the numbers four and five, or their multiples, predominate. Within the corolla are smaller organs, which, though more difficult to distinguish, are more important agents in the production of fruit or seed. These will require the use of a lens to be minutely examined, but can be distinguished in their general outlines by the naked eye. Indeed, at first sight, the distinction between the stamens, which are outermost, and of a deeper yellow - and the pistils, which are the innermost, and have a greenish appearance - will be obvious. In the common wallflower, the cherry-blossom, and poppy, the difference between the stamens and the pistils is very remarkable. Let the stamens be removed, and the mode of their attachment to the stem noted ; the pistils, with the ovaries, or unripe fruit,
Will then be seen. In the natural process of growth the petals and stamens fall from the (lower, and the unripe fruit goes on Increasing without them (tig. 1, o). In the daisy the parts of the flower are not so distinct as in the buttercup; but the blossom is a type of a large number of plants, amongst which are the dandelion, sunflower, china-aster, and other flowers having a central disc with white or coloured rays around. These are called composite flowers, because, in fact, a great many flowers compose each blossom. It was explained that the green leaflets at the back of the flower in the daisy were not sepals, but bracts; and the pupil is therefore prepared to find calyx, Corolla, stamens, and pistils, within and above them. Gently pull away one of the white leaves of the flower, in such a manner to bring away with it all the parts attached to its base. Upon careful examination it will be found that a complete floret is thus removed; and by continuing the operation, it will he manifest that the Whole of the head of the blossom consists of a series of flowers crowded together upon the expanded top of the flower-stalk, which is named the receptacle.