SWEETHEARTS." From these it will be seen that the insignificant

little white flowers impress not the popular mind. But the twin

burs which steal a ride on every passing animal, whether man or

beast, in the hope of reaching new colonizing ground far from the

parent plant, rarely fail to make an impression on one who has to

pick trailing sprays beset with them off woollen clothing.

Several other similar bur-bearing relatives there are, common in

various parts of America as they are in Europe. The SWEET-SCENTED

BEDSTRAW (G. trifolium), always with three little greenish

flowers at the end of a footstalk, or branched into three

pedicels that are one to three flowered, and with narrowly oval,

one-nerved leaves arranged in whorls of six on its square stem,

ranges from ocean to ocean on this continent, over northern

Europe, and in Asia from Japan to the Himalayas. It will be

noticed that plants depending upon the by hook or by crook method

of travel are among the best of globe trotters. This species

becomes increasingly fragrant as it dries.


(Sambucus Canadensis) Honeysuckle family

Flowers - Small, creamy, white, numerous, odorous, in large,

flat-topped, or convex cymes at ends of branches. Calyx tubular,

minute; corolla of 5 spreading lobes; 5 stamens; style short,

3-parted. Stem: A shrub 4 to 10 ft. high, smooth, pithy, with

little wood. Leaves: Opposite, pinnately compounded of 5 to 11

(usually 7) oval, pointed, and saw-edged leaflets, heavy-scented

when crushed. Fruit: Reddish-black, juicy "berries" (drupes).

Preferred Habitat - Rich, moist soil; open situation.

Flowering Season - June-July.

Distribution - Nova Scotia to the Gulf of Mexico, and westward

2,000 miles.

Flowers far less beautiful than these flat-spread, misty

clusters, that are borne in such profusion along the country lane

and meadow hedgerows in June, are brought from the ends of the

earth to adorn our over-conventional gardens. Certain European

relatives, with golden or otherwise variegated foliage that looks

sickly after the first resplendent outburst in spring, receive

places of honor with monotonous frequency in American shrubbery


Like the wild carrot among all the umbel-bearers, and the daisy

among the horde of composites, the elder flower has massed its

minute florets together, knowing that there was no hope of

attracting insect friends, except in such union. Where clumps of

elder grow - and society it ever prefers to solitude - few

shrubs, looked at from above, which, of course, is the winged

insect's point of view, offer a better advertisement. There are

people who object to the honey-like odor of the flowers.

Doubtless this is what most attracts the flies and beetles, while

the lesser bees, that frequent them also, are more strongly

appealed to through the eye. No nectar rewards visitors,

consequently butterflies rarely stop on the flat clusters; but

there is an abundant lunch of pollen for such as like it. Each

minute floret has its five anthers so widely spread away from the

stigmas that self-pollination is impossible; but with the help of

small, winged pollen carriers plenty of cross-fertilized fruit

forms. With the help of migrating birds, the minute nutlets

within the "berries" are distributed far and wide.

When clusters of dark, juicy fruit make the bush top-heavy, it

is, of course, no part of their plan to be gathered into pails,

crushed and boiled and fermented into the spicy elderberry wine

that is still as regularly made in some old-fashioned kitchens as

currant jelly and pickled peaches. Both flowers and fruit have

strong medicinal properties. Snuffling children are not loath to

swallow sugar pills moistened with the homeopathic tincture of

Sambucus. The common European species (S. nigra), a mystic plant,

was once employed to cure every ill that flesh is heir to; not

only that, but, when used as a switch, it was believed to check a

lad's growth. Very likely! Every whittling schoolboy knows how

easy it is to remove the white pith from an elder stem. An

ancient musical instrument, the sambuca, was doubtless made from

many such hollow reed-like sticks properly attuned.

A more woody species than the common elder, whose stems are so

green it is scarcely like a true shrub, is the very beautiful

RED-BERRIED or MOUNTAIN ELDER (S. pubens), found in rocky places,

especially in uplands and high altitudes, from the British

Possessions north of us to Georgia on the Atlantic Coast, and to

California on the Pacific. Coming into bloom in April or May, it

produces numerous flower clusters which are longer than broad,

pyramidal rather than flat-topped. They turn brown when drying.

In young twigs the pith is reddish-brown, not white as in the

common elder. Birds with increased families to feed in June are

naturally attracted by the bright red fruit; and while they may

not distribute the stones over so vast an area as autumn migrants

do those of the fall berries, they nevertheless have enabled the

shrub to travel across our continent.