(Sedum Telephium) Orpine family Flowers - Dull purplish, very pale or bright reddish purple in close, round, terminal clusters, each flower 1/3 in. or less across, 5-parted, the petals twice as long as the sepals; 10 stamens, alternate ones attached to petals; pistils

4 or 5. Stem: 2 ft. high or less, erect, simple, in tufts, very smooth, pale green, juicy, leafy. Leaves: Alternate, oval, slightly scalloped, thick, fleshy, smooth, juicy, pale gray green, with stout midrib, seated on stalk. Preferred Habitat - Fields, waysides, rocky soil, originally escaped from gardens. Flowering Season - June- September. Distribution - Quebec westward, south to Michigan and Maryland. Children know the live-forever, not so well by the variable flower - for it is a niggardly bloomer - as by the thick leaf that they delight to hold in the mouth until, having loosened the membrane, they are able to inflate it like a paper bag. Sometimes dull, sometimes bright, the flower clusters never fail to attract many insects to their feast, which is accessible even to those of short tongues. Each blossom is perfect in itself, i.e., it contains both stamens and pistils; but to guard against self-fertilization it ripens its anthers and sheds its pollen on the insects that carry it away to older flowers before its own stigmas mature and become susceptible to imported pollen. After the seed-cases take on color, they might be mistaken for blossoms. As if the plant did not already possess enough popular names, it needs must share with the European goldenrod and our common mullein the title of Aaron's rod. Sedere, to sit, the root of the generic name, applies with rare appropriateness to this entire group that we usually find seated on garden walls, rocks, or, in Europe, even on the roofs of old buildings. Rooting freely from the joints, our plant forms thrifty tufts where there is little apparent nourishment; yet its endurance through prolonged drought is remarkable. Long after the farmer's scythe, sweeping over the roadside, has laid it low, it thrives on the juices stored up in fleshy leaves and stem until it proves its title to the most lusty of all folk names. PURPLE or WATER AVENS (Geum rivale) Rose family Flowers - Purple, with some orange chrome, 1 in. broad or less, terminal, solitary, nodding; calyx 5-lobed, purplish, spreading; 5 petals, abruptly narrowed into claws, forming a cup-shaped corolla; stamens and pistils of indefinite number; the styles, jointed and bent in middle, persistent, feathery below. Stem: 1 to 2 ft. high, erect, simple or nearly so, hairy, from thickish rootstock. Leaves: Chiefly from root, on footstems; lower leaves irregularly parted; the side segments usually few and small; the 1 to 3 terminal segments sharply, irregularly lobed; the few distant stem leaves 3-foliate or simple, mostly seated on stem. Fruit: A dry, hairy head stalked in calyx. Preferred Habitat - Swamps and low, wet ground. Flowering Season - May-July. Distribution - Newfoundland far westward, south to Colorado, eastward to Missouri and Pennsylvania, also northern parts of Old World. Mischievous bumblebees, thrusting their long tongues between the sepals and petals of these unopened flowers, steal nectar without conferring any favor in return. Later, when they behave properly and put their heads inside to feast at the disk on which the stamens are inserted, they dutifully carry pollen from old flowers to the early maturing stigmas of younger ones. Self-fertilization must occur, however, if the bees have not removed all the pollen when a blossom closes. When the purple avens opens in Europe, the bees desert even the primrose to feast upon its abundant nectar. Since water is the prime necessity in the manufacture of this sweet, and since insects that feed upon it have so much to do with the multiplication of flowers, it is not surprising that the swamp, which has been called "nature's sanctuary," should have its altars so exquisitely decked. This blossom hangs its head, partly to protect its precious nectar from rain, and partly to make pilfering well nigh impossible to the unwelcome crawling insect that may have braved the forbidding hairy stems.


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