Historical Reprints Science Wild Flowers Worth Knowing

Wild Flowers Worth Knowing

Wild Flowers Worth Knowing
Catalog # SKU1371
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 2.00 lbs
Author Name Neltje Blanchan


Wild Flowers
Worth Knowing

Neltje Blanchan

Flowers have distinct objects in life and are everything they are for the most justifiable of reasons, i.e., the perpetuation and the improvement of their species. The means they employ to accomplish these ends are so various and so consummately clever that, in learning to understand them, we are brought to realize how similar they are to the fundamental aims of even the human race. Indeed there are few life principles that plants have not worked out satisfactorily.


The problems of adapting oneself to one's environment, of insuring healthy families, of starting one's children well in life, of founding new colonies in distant lands, of the cooperative method of conducting business as opposed to the individualistic, of laying up treasure in the bank for future use, of punishing vice and rewarding virtue--these and many other problems of mankind the flowers have worked out with the help of insects, through the ages.

To really understand what the wild flowers are doing, what the scheme of each one is, besides looking beautiful, is to give one a broader sympathy with both man and Nature and to add a real interest and joy to life which cannot be too widely shared.


Common St. John's-Wort
Hypericum Perforatum

Flowers--Bright yellow, 1 in. across or less, several or many in terminal clusters. Calyx of 5 lance-shaped sepals; 5 petals dotted with black; numerous stamens in 3 sets; 3 styles. Stem: 1 to 2 ft. high, erect, much branched. Leaves: Small, opposite, oblong, more or less black-dotted. Preferred Habitat--Fields, waste lands, roadsides. Flowering Season--June-September. Distribution--Throughout our area, except the extreme North; Europe and Asia. "Gathered upon a Friday, in the hour of Jupiter when he comes to his operation, so gathered, or borne, or hung upon the neck, it mightily helps to drive away all phantastical spirits." These are the blossoms which have been hung in the windows of European peasants for ages on St. John's eve, to avert the evil eye and the spells of the spirits of darkness. "Devil chaser" its Italian name signifies.

To cure demoniacs, to ward off destruction by lightning, to reveal the presence of witches, and to expose their nefarious practices, are some of the virtues ascribed to this plant, which superstitious farmers have spared from the scythe and encouraged to grow near their houses until it has become, even in this land of liberty, a troublesome weed at times. "The flower gets its name," says F. Schuyler Mathews, "from the superstition that on St. John's day, the 24th of June, the dew which fell on the plant the evening before was efficacious in preserving the eyes from disease. So the plant was collected, dipped in oil, and thus transformed into a balm for every wound." Here it is a naturalized immigrant, not a native. A blooming plant, usually with many sterile shoots about its base, has an unkempt, untidy look; the seed capsules and the brown petals of withered flowers remaining among the bright yellow buds through a long season.

The Shrubby St. John's-wort (H. prolificum) bears yellow blossoms, about half an inch across, which are provided with stamens so numerous, the many flowered terminal clusters have a soft, feathery effect. In the axils of the oblong, opposite leaves are tufts of smaller ones, the stout stems being often concealed under a wealth of foliage. Sandy or rocky places from New Jersey southward best suit this low, dense, diffusely branched shrub which blooms prolifically from July to September.

Farther north, and westward to Iowa, the Great or Giant St. John's-wort (H. Ascyron) brightens the banks of streams at midsummer with large blossoms, each on a long footstalk in a few-flowered cluster.

285+ pages - 8 x 5 inches SoftCover
Over 40 Color Illustrations


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