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The ferns grew freely in many parts of the town, but the favorite haunt of this interesting family was the south bank of the Lowell railroad, east of the Sycamore-street bridge, where the railroad is cut through a ledge of slate-stone. All the common ferns grew along the brook at the foot of the banking, but the real treasures were found in the crevices of the ledge above.

Rand's woods, already mentioned, always repaid us for a visit, the low cornel and the lady's slipper being the choicest flowers growing here.

But the rear of Mr. Holland's farm, back of where the elevated railroad car houses now stand, furnished us with more interesting specimens than any other spot in West Somerville. Here Alewife brook separated the farm from Cambridge, and in the spring were found many water-loving plants, among others, the pitcher plant, that most curious of all New England wild flowers; the marsh marigold, the arrowhead, the forget-me-not, and the buck bean, perhaps the choicest and most beautiful wild flower then growing in Somerville, in spite of its commonplace name; and Colonel Higginson doubtless thought he lavished high praise on this dainty flower when he said it possessed a certain ‘garden-like elegance.’

In all long-settled countries there is always a large class of plants that become naturalized and are as common, and often much more tenacious of life, than the original occupants of the soil. Many of these plants possess blossoms of real beauty, but they also include most of the common weeds, chickweed, mayweed, and pigweed, burdock and thistles, pursley and sorrel, which follow the plough in all temperate regions as surely as do the planted crops. A number of these naturalized plants are natives of the Western states or of tropical America, but many more came originally from Europe, and were introduced in various ways. A few were brought over by the first colonists to give a little touch of home to, their dreary abodes in a far-away land. The sweet briar and the barberry bush are of this number, and were among the first English plants to, become naturalized in their adopted country. The mints, tansy, and plantain were evidently brought over on account of their medicinal value, and

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Sycamore, De Kalb County, Illinois (Illinois, United States) (1)
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Alewife Brook (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
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Mary Rand (1)
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