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-,,------Atir Naturalists'…


Atir Naturalists' Sjlum, THE STUDY OF FLOWERS. CHAPTER XXI. ST. JOHN'S WORT (Hypericum). Class, Polyadelphia: Order, Polyandrit. We have twelve different species of St. John's Wort, and all of them, with the exception of the large flowered (Hypericum Oalycinum), are very fre- quently found wild in our pastures, hedge banks, and rocky places the latter we often find culti- vated in shrubberies. The square stalked St. John's Wort (H. quad- rangulum) is a pretty plant, with a panicle of terminal yellow flowers, and leaves covered with a sprinkling of black dots, and, as the specific name denotes, has a square stem; it is found in our moist meadows. The common, perforated, St. John's Wort (H. perforatum), has a two edged stem, and there are minute black dots on the tops of the blossoms. The calyx and leaves, and the profusion of yellow flowrets, has caused it to be spoken of as the Hypericum, all bloom, so thick a swarm Of flowers, like flies, closing its slender rods, The scarce a leaf appears. It is commemorated by physicians as Balm of the warrior's wound." The plant boiled in wine and drunk is said to heal inward bruises, hurts, and spitting of blood. Made into an ointment it opens obstructions, dis- solves swellings, and closes up wounds, and the Oil of St. John's Wort is sold by chemists. There is a superstition attached to this plant, as may be gleaned from the following:— The young maid stole through the cottage door, And blushed as she sought the plant of pow'r Thou silver glow-worm, oh lend me thy light, I must gather the mystic St. John's Wort to-night, The wonderful herb, whose leaf shall decide, If the coming year shall make me a bride. The Trailing St. John' Wort (H. humifusum) is a weak plant, trailing on gravelly heaths. The pelucid black dots are present in this as in most of the other species. The Marr-h Species (H. elodes) is found in boggy spots of mountains, and The Upright St. John's Wort (ff. pulchrum), which is the prettiest plant of all, grows on heatlis and dry waste places. The flowers are bright yellow, tipped with red. Before expansion the anthers are red, stems from one to two feet high, bearing the blossoms in a panicle, slender, erect, and rigid. The whole plant is smooth, and the blossoms, like the calyx, are fringed with black glands. BINDWEED (Convolvulus), Class, Pentandria; Order, Monogynia. Many of our garden flowers do not possess half the beauty or delicacy of some of the flowers which decorate our wild scenery, and amongst the number the large white cup of the Great Bindweed (Convolvu- lus Sepium), are not excelled by any blossom in tint, beauty of form, and gracefulness of growth, as they cling their tendrils about our hedges, their large heart-shaved leaves accompanied by its beautiful cup. The Bindweed, pure and pale, That sues to all for aid. And when rude storms assail Her snowy virgin veil, Doth like some timid maid In conscious weakness most secure, Unscathed its sternest shocks endure. The Small Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) is is very common in corn fields, the root is creeping, and, like the former species, if it once gets into the arable land or garden hedge, it is almost impossi- ble to eradicate it. The blossom is about half the size of the other species, and is of a delicate white and pink blend. In the corn field its slender stalks encircle the corn and injure the produce, and the farmer well knows the difficulty expe- rienced in expelling its tenacious roots from his land. We merry flowers are running The meadow mazes through, And be farmers e'er so cunning, We're as cunning to. Up an ear of barley We nimbly twist and twirl, To deck his brown stem early, With a wreath of pink and pearl. We climb the poppy's heavy stalk, And with wrath he grows more red, To see us, weeds of the meadow walk, Peer up above his head. And many a time the farmer vows He'll banish us his land, But we still run up the hawthorn boughs, A merry and myriad band. <> Like the Pimpernel and some other flowers, it closes its blossoms before approaching storms. It rejoices in sunshine, like other plants of the same family, and does not display the beauty of the flower after the sun has attained its meridian. The blossoms throw out a perfume similar to almonds. I J.H.C.

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I The Leading Schools.

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