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WILD LUPINE OLD MAID'S BONNETS WILD PEA SUN DIAL







(Lupinus perennis) Pea family Flowers - Vivid blue, very rarely pink or white, butterfly-shaped corolla consisting of standard, wings, and keel; about 1/2 in. long, borne in a long raceme at end of stern; calyx 2-lipped, deeply toothed. Stem: Erect, branching, leafy, to 2 ft. high. Leaves: Palmnate, compounded of from 7 to 11 (usually 8) leaflets. Fruit: A broad, flat, very hairy pod, 1 1/2 in. long, and containing 4 or 5 seeds. Preferred Habitat - Dry, sandy places, banks, and hillsides. Flowering Season - May-June. Distribution - United States east of Mississippi, and eastern Canada. Farmers once thought that this plant preyed upon the fertility of their soil, as we see in the derivation of its name, from lupus, a wolf; whereas the lupine contents itself with sterile waste land no one should grudge it - steep gravelly banks, railroad tracks, exposed sunny hills, where even it must often burn out under fierce sunshine did not its root penetrate to surprising depths. It spreads far and wide in thrifty colonies, reflecting the vivid color of June skies, until, as Thoreau says, "the earth is blued with it." What is the advantage gained in the pea-shaped blossom? As usual, the insect that fertilizes the flower best knows the answer. The corolla has five petals, the upper one called the standard, chiefly a flaunted advertisement; two side wings, or platforms, to alight on; and a keel like a miniature boat, formed by the two lower petals, whose edges meet. In this the pistil, stamens, and nectar are concealed and protected. The pressure of a bee's weight as he alights on the wings, light as it must be, is nevertheless sufficient to depress and open the keel, which is elastically affected by their motion, and so to expose the pollen just where the long-lipped bee must rub off some against his underside as he sucks the nectar. He actually seems to pump the pollen that has fallen into the forward part of the keel upon himself, as he moves about. As soon as he leaves the flower, the elastic wings resume their former position, thus closing the keel to prevent waste of pollen. Take a sweet pea from the garden, press down its wings with the thumb and forefinger to imitate the action of the bee on them; note how the keel opens to display its treasures, and resumes its customary shape when the pressure is removed. The lupine is another of those interesting plants which go to sleep at night. Some members of the genus erect one half of the leaf and droop the other half until it becomes a vertical instead of the horizontal star it is by day. Frequently the leaflets rotate as much as 90 degrees on their own axes. Some lupines fold their leaflets, not at night only, but during the day also there is more or less movement in the leaves. Sun dial, a popular name for the wild lupine, has reference to this peculiarity. The leaf of our species shuts downward around its stem, umbrella fashion, or the leaflets are erected to prevent the chilling which comes to horizontal surfaces by radiation, some scientists think. "That the sleep movements of leaves are in some manner of high importance to the plants which exhibit them," says Darwin, "few will dispute who have observed how complex they sometimes are." CANADIAN or SHOWY TICK-TREFOIL (Meibomia Canadensis; Desmodium Canadense of Gray) Pea family Flowers - Pinkish or bluish purple, butterfly-shaped, about 1/2 in. long, borne in dense, terminal, elongated racemes. Stem; Erect, hairy, leafy, 2 to 8 ft. high. Leaves: Compounded of 3 oblong leaflets, the central one largest; upper leaves nearly seated on stem; bracts, conspicuous before flowering, early falling off. Fruit: A flat pod, about 1 in. long, jointed, and covered with minute hooked bristles, the lower edge of pod scalloped; almost seated in calyx. Preferred Habitat - Thickets, woods, riverbanks, bogs. Flowering Season - July-September. Distribution - New Brunswick to Northwest Territory, south to North Carolina, westward to Indian Territory and Dakota. As one travels hundreds or even thousands of miles in a comfortable railway carriage and sees the same flowers growing throughout the length and breadth of the area, one cannot but wonder however the plants manage to make the journey. We know some creep along the ground, or under it, a tortoise pace, but a winning one; that some send their offspring flying away from home, like dandelions and thistles; and many others with wings and darts are blown by the wind. Berries have their seeds dropped afar by birds. Aquatic plants and those that grow beside running water travel by river and flood. European species reach our shores among the ballast. Darwin raised over sixty wild plants from seed carried in a pellet of mud taken from the leg of a partridge. So on and so on. The imagination delights to picture these floral vagabonds, each with its own clever method of getting a fresh start in the world. But by none of these methods just mentioned do the tick-trefoils spread abroad. Theirs is indeed a by hook or by crook system. The scalloped, jointed pod, where the seeds lie concealed, has minute crooked bristles, which catch in the clothing of man or beast, so that every herd of sheep, every dog, every man, woman, or child who passes through a patch of trefoils gives them a lift. After a walk through the woods and lanes of late summer and autumn, one's clothes reveal scores of tramps that have stolen a ride in the hope of being picked off and dropped amid better conditions in which to rear a family. Only the largest bees can easily "explode" the showy tick-trefoil. A bumblebee alights upon a flower, thrusts his head under the base of the standard petal, and forces apart the wing petals with his legs, in order to dislodge them from the standard. This motion causes the keel, also connected with the standard, to snap down violently, thus releasing the column within and sending upward an explosion of pollen on the under surface of the bee. Here we see the wing petals acting as triggers to discharge the flower. Depress them and up flies the fertilizing dust - once. The little gun will not "go off" twice. No nectar rewards the visitor, which usually is a pollen-collecting bee. The highly intelligent and important bumblebee has the advantage over his smaller kin in being able to discharge the pollen from both large and smaller flowers. The NAKED-FLOWERED TICK-TREFOIL (M. nudiflora; D. nudiflorum of Gray) lifts narrow, few-flowered panicles of rose-purple blooms during July and August. The flowers are much smaller than those of the showy trefoil; however, when seen in masses, they form conspicuous patches of color in dry woods. Note that there is a flower stalk which is usually leafless and also a leaf-bearing stem rising from the base of the plant, the latter with its leaves all crowded at the top, if you would distinguish this very common species from its multitudinous kin. The trefoliate leaves are pale beneath. The two or three jointed pod rises far above the calyx on its own stalk, as in the next species. The POINTED-LEAVED TICK-TREFOIL (M. grandifiora; D. acuminatum of Gray) has for its distinguishing feature a cluster of leaves high up on the same stem from which rises a stalk bearing a quantity of purple flowers that are large by comparison only. The leaves have leaflets from two to six inches long, rounded on the sides, but acutely pointed, and with scattered hairs above and below. This trefoil is found blooming in dry or rocky woods, throughout a wide range, from June to September. Lying outstretched for two to six feet on the dry ground of open woods and copses east of the Mississippi, the PROSTRATE TICK-TREFOIL (M. Michauxii; D. rotundifoliurn of Gray) can certainly be named by its soft hairiness, the almost perfect roundness of its trefoliate leaves, its rather loose racemes of deep purple flowers that spring both from the leaf axils and from the ends of the sometimes branching stem; and by its three to five jointed pod, which is deeply scalloped on its lower edge and somewhat indented above, as well. BLUE, TUFTED, or COW VETCH or TARE; CAT PEAS; TINEGRASS (Vicia Cracca) Pea family Flowers - Blue, later purple; 1/2 in. long, growing downward in 1-sided spike, 15 to 40 flowered; calyx oblique, small, with unequal teeth; corolla butterfly-shaped, consisting of standard, wings, and keel, all oblong; the first clawed, the second oblique, and adhering to the shorter keel; 10 stamens, 1 detached from other 9. Stem: Slender, weak, climbing or trailing, downy, 2 to 4 ft. long. Leaves: Tendril bearing, divided into 18 to 24 thin, narrow, oblong leaflets. Fruit: A smooth pod 1 in. long or less, 5 to 8 seeded. Preferred Habitat - Dry soil, fields, wastelands. Flowering Season - June-August. Distribution - United States from New Jersey, Kentucky, and Iowa northward and northwestward. Europe and Asia. Dry fields blued with the bright blossoms of the tufted vetch, and roadsides and thickets where the angular vine sends forth vivid patches of color, resound with the music of happy bees. Although the parts of the flower fit closely together, they are elastic, and opening with the energetic visitor's weight and movement give ready access to the nectary. On his departure they resume their original position, to protect both nectar and pollen from rain and pilferers whose bodies are not perfectly adapted to further the flower's cross-fertilization. The common bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) plays a mean trick, all too frequently, when he bites a hole at the base of the blossom, not only gaining easy access to the sweets for himself, but opening the way for others less intelligent than he, but quite ready to profit by his mischief, and so defeat nature's plan. Dr. Ogle observed that the same bee always acts in the same manner, one sucking the nectar legitimately, another always biting a hole to obtain it surreptitiously, the natural inference, of course, being that some bees, like small boys, are naturally depraved. In cultivated fields and waste places farther south and westward to the Pacific Coast roams the COMMON or PEBBLE VETCH OR TARE (V. saliva), another domesticated weed that has come to us from Europe, where it is extensively grown for fodder. Let no reproach fall on these innocent plants that bear an opprobrious name: the tare of Scripture is altogether different, the bearded darnel of Mediterranean regions, whose leaves deceive one by simulating those of wheat, and whose smaller seeds, instead of nourishing man, poison him. Only one or two light blue-purple flowers grow in the axils of the leaves of our common vetch. The leaf, compounded of from eight to fourteen leaflets, indented at the top, has a long terminal tendril, whose little sharp tip assists the awkward vine, like a grappling hook. The AMERICAN VETCH or TARE or PEA VINE (V. Americana) boasts slightly larger bluish-purple flowers than the blue vetch, but fewer of them; from three to nine only forming its loose raceme. In moist soil throughout a very broad northerly and westerly range it climbs and trails its graceful way, with the help of the tendrils on the tips of leaves compounded of from eight to fourteen oblong, blunt, and veiny leaflets. BEACH, SEA, SEASIDE, or EVERLASTING PEA (Lathyrus maritimus) Pea family Flowers - Purple, butterfly-shaped, consisting of standard petal, wings, and keel; 1 in. long or less, clustered in short raceme at end of slender footstalk from leaf axils; calyx 5-toothed; stamens 10 (9 and 1); style curved, flattened, bearded on inner side. Stem: to 2 ft. long, stout, reclining, spreading, leafy. Leaves: Compounded of 3 to 6 pairs of oblong leaflets somewhat larger than halberd-shaped stipules at base of leaf; branched tendrils at end of it. Fruit: A flat, 2-valved, veiny pod, continuous between the seeds. Preferred Habitat - Beaches of Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, also of Great Lakes. Flowering Season - May-August. Sometimes blooming again in autumn. Distribution - New Jersey to Arctic Circle; also Northern Europe and Asia. Sturdy clumps of the beach pea, growing beyond reach of the tide in the dunes and sandy wastelands back of the beach, afford the bee the last restaurant where he may regale himself without fear of drowning. From some members of the pea family, as from the wild lupine, for example, his weight, as he moves about, actually pumps the pollen that has fallen into the forward part of the blossom's keel onto his body, that he may transfer it to another flower. In some other members his weight so depresses the keel that the stamens are forced out to dust him over, the flower resuming its original position to protect its nectar and the remaining pollen just as soon as the pressure is removed. Other peas, again, burst at his pressure, and discharge their pollen on him. Now, in the beach pea, and similarly in the vetches, the style is hairy on its inner side, to brush out the pollen on the visitor who sets the automatic sweeper in motion as he alights and moves about. So perfectly have many members of this interesting family adapted their structure to the requirements of insects, and so implicitly do they rely on their automatic mechanism, that they have actually lost the power to fertilize themselves. In moist or wet ground throughout a northern range from ocean to ocean, the MARSH VETCHLING (Lathyrus palustris) bears its purple, butterfly-shaped flowers, that are the merest trifle over half the size of those of the beach pea. From two to six of these little blossoms are alternately set along the end of the stalk. The leaflets, which are narrowly oblong, and acute at the apex, stand up opposite each other in pairs (from two to four) along the main leafstalk, that splits at the end to form hooked tendrils. BUTTERFLY or BLUE PEA (Clitoria Mariana) Pea family Flowers - Bright lavender blue, showy, about 2 in. long; from 1 to 3 borne on a short peduncle. Calyx tubular, 5-toothed; corolla butterfly-shaped, consisting of very large, erect standard petal, notched at rounded apex; 2 oblong, curved wings, and shorter, acute keel; 10 stamens; style incurved, and hairy along inner side. Stem: Smooth, ascending or partly twining, 1 to 3 ft. high. Leaves: Compounded of 3 oblong leaflets, paler beneath, each on short stalk. Fruit: A few-seeded, acutely pointed pod about 1 in. long. Preferred Habitat - Dry soil. Flowering Season - June-July. Distribution - New Jersey to Florida, westward to Missouri, Texas, and Mexico. A beautiful blossom, flaunting a large banner out of all proportion to the size of its other parts, that it may arrest the attention of its benefactors the bees. According to Henderson, the plant, which is found in our Southern States and over the Mexican border, grows also in the Khasia Mountains of India, but in no intervening place. Several members of the tropic-loving genus, that produce large, highly colored flowers, have been introduced to American hothouses; but the blue butterfly pea is our only native representative. The genus is thought to take its name from kleio, to shut up, in reference to the habit these peas have of seeding long before the flower drops off. WILD or HOG PEANUT (Falcata comosa; Amphicarpaea monoica of Gray) Pea family Flowers - Numerous small, showy ones, borne in drooping clusters from axils of upper leaves; lilac, pale purplish, or rarely white, butterfly-shaped, consisting of standard petal partly enfolding wings and keel. Calyx tubular, 4 or 5 toothed; 10 stamens (9 and 1); 1 pistil. (Also solitary fertile flowers, lacking petals, on thread-like, creeping branches from lower axils or underground). Stem: Twining wiry brownish-hairy, to 8 ft. long. Leaves: Compounded of 3 thin leaflets, egg-shaped at base, acutely pointed at tip. Fruit: Hairy pod 1 in. long. Also 1-seeded, pale, rounded, underground peanut. Preferred Habitat - Moist thickets, shady roadsides. Flowering Season - August-September. Distribution - New Brunswick westward to Nebraska, south to Gulf of Mexico. Amphicarpaea ("seed at both ends"), the Greek name by which this graceful vine was formerly known, emphasizes its most interesting feature, that, nevertheless, seems to many a foolish duplication of energy on Nature's part. Why should the same plant bear two kinds of blossoms and seeds? Among the foliage of low shrubbery and plants in shady lanes and woodside thickets, we see the delicate, drooping clusters of lilac blossoms hanging where bees can readily discover them and, in pilfering their sweets, transfer their pollen from flower to flower. But in case of failure to intercross these blossoms that are dependent upon insect help to set fertile seed, what then? Must the plant run the risk of extinction? Self-fertilization may be an evil, but failure to produce seed at all is surely the greatest one. To guard against such a calamity, insignificant looking flowers that have no petals to open for the enticing of insects, but which fertilize themselves with their own pollen, produce abundant seed close to the ground or under it.Then what need of the showy blossoms hanging in the thicket above? Close inbreeding in the vegetable world, as in the animal, ultimately produces degenerate offspring; and although the showy lilac blossoms of the wild peanut yield comparatively few cross-fertilized seeds, these are quite sufficient to enable the vine to maintain those desired features which are the inheritance from ancestors that struggled in their day and generation after perfection. No plant dares depend upon its cleistogamous or blind flowers alone for offspring; and in the sixty or more genera containing these curious growths, that usually look like buds arrested in development, every plant that bears them bears also showy flowers dependent upon cross-pollination by insect aid. The boy who "Drives home the cows from the pasture Up through the long shady lane" knows how reluctantly they leave the feast afforded by the wild peanut. Hogs, rooting about in the moist soil where it grows, unearth the hairy pods that should produce next year's vines; hence the poor excuse for branding a charming plant with a repellent folk-name,





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