between the flora of Japan
and of North America
, upon the successive epochs of heat which led the wandering flowers along the Arctic
lands, and of cold which isolated them once more.
Yet doubtless these humble movements of our local plants may be laying up results as important, and may hereafter supply evidence of earth's changes upon some smaller scale.
May expands to its prime of beauty; the summer birds come with the fruit-blossoms, the gardens are deluged with bloom, and the air with melody, while in the woods the timid spring flowers fold themselves away in silence and give place to a brighter splendor.
On the margin of some quiet swamp a myriad of bare twigs seem suddenly overspread with purple butterflies, and we know that the Rhodora is in bloom.
never immortalized a flower more surely than Emerson
this, and it needs no weaker words; there is nothing else in which the change from nakedness to beauty is so sudden, and when you bring home the great mass of blossoms they appear all ready to flutter away again from your hands and leave you disenchanted.
At the same time the beautiful Cornel-tree is in perfection; startling as a tree of the tropics, it flaunts its great flowers high up among the forest-branches, intermingling its long, slender twigs with theirs, and garnishing them with alien blooms.
It is very available for household decoration, with its four great, creamy petals,—flowers they are not, but floral involucres,—each with a fantastic curl and stain at its tip, as if the fire-flies had alighted on them and scorched them; and yet I like it best as it peers out in barbaric splendor from the delicate green of young Maples
And beneath it grows often its more abundant kinsman, the Dwarf Cornel
, with the same four great petals enveloping its floral cluster, but lingering low upon the ground,—an herb whose blossoms mimic the statelier tree.
The same rich, creamy hue and texture show themselves in the Wild Calla
, which grows at this season in dark, sequestered watercourses, and sometimes well rivals, in all but size, that superb whiteness out of a land of darkness, the Ethiopic Calla
of the conservatory.
At this season, too, we seek another semi-aquatic rarity, whose homely name cannot deprive it of a certain garden-like elegance, the Buckbean (Menyanthes trifoliata
). This is one of the shy plants which yet grow in profusion within their own domain.
I have found it of old in Cambridge
, and then upon the pleasant shallows of the Artichoke
, that loveliest tributary of the Merrimack
, and I have never seen it where it occupied a patch more than a few yards square, while yet within that space the multitudinous spikes grow always tall and close, reminding one of Hyacinths, when in perfection, but more delicate and beautiful.
The only locality I know for it in this vicinity lies seven miles away, where a little inlet from the lower, winding bays of Lake Quinsigamond
goes stealing up