own; for, though they do not acquiesce in cultivation, like the sycophantic Bloodroot, yet they are hard to banish from their native haunts, but linger after the woods are cleared and the meadow drained.
The bright flowers blaze back all the yellow light of noonday, as the gay petals curl and spread themselves above their beds of mottled leaves; but it is always a disappointment to gather them, for in-doors they miss the full ardor of the sunbeams, and are apt to go to sleep and nod expressionless from the stalk.
And almost on the same day with this bright apparition one may greet a multitude of concurrent visitors, arriving so accurately together that it is almost a matter of accident which of the party shall first report himself.
Perhaps the Dandelion
should have the earliest place; indeed, I once found it in Brookline
on the seventh of April.
But it cannot ordinarily be expected before the twentieth, in Eastern Massachusetts
, and rather later in the interior; while by the same date I have also found near Boston
, or Marsh
, the Spring
-Saxifrage, the Anemones, the Violets, the Bellwort, the Houstonia, the Cinquefoil, and the Strawberry-blossom.
Varying, of course, in different spots and years, the arrival of this coterie is yet nearly simultaneous, and they may all be expected hereabouts before May-day at the very latest.
After all, in spite of the croakers, this festival could not have been much better timed; for the delicate blossoms which mark the period are usually in perfection on this day, and it is not long before they are past their prime.
Some early plants which have now almost disappeared from Eastern Massachusetts
are still found near Worcester
in the greatest abundance,—as the larger Yellow Violet, the Red Trillium
, the dwarf Ginseng.
the Clintonia or Wild Lily-of-the-Valley, and the pretty fringed Polygala, which Miss Cooper
Others, again, are now rare near Worcester
, and growing rarer, though still abundant a hundred miles farther inland.
In several bits of old, swampy wood one may still find, usually close together, the Hobble-Bush
and the Painted Trillium
, the Mitella, or Bishop
's-Cap, and the snowy Tiarella
Others still have entirely vanished within ten years, and that in some cases without any adequate explanation.
The dainty white Corydalis, profanely called ‘Dutchman's Breeches,’ and the quaint, woolly Ledum, or Labrador
Tea, have disappeared within that time.
The beautiful Linnaea
is still found annually, but flowers no more; as is also the case, in all but one distant locality, with the once abundant Rhododendron.
Nothing in Nature has for me a more fascinating interest than these secret movements of vegetation,—the sweet, blind instinct with which flowers cling to old domains until absolutely compelled to forsake them.
How touching is the fact, now well known, that salt-water plants still flower beside the Great Lakes
, yet dreaming of the time when those waters were briny as the sea!
Nothing in the demonstrations of Geology seem grander than the light lately thrown by Professor Gray
, from the analogies