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Common Hawthorn
In Ireland, old crones tell marvellous tales about the hawthorns, and the banshees which have a predilection for them. So much for folklore.
White Sweet Clover
The ubiquitous White or Dutch Clover (Trifolium repens), whose creeping branches send up solitary round heads of white or pinkish flowers on erect, leafless stems, from May to December, in fields, open waste land, and cultivated places throughout our area, Europe, and Asia, devotes itself to wooing bees, since these are the only insects that effect cross-fertilization regularly, other visitors aiding it only occasionally.
Flowering Spurge
A very commonplace and uninteresting looking weed is this spurge, which no one but a botanist would suspect of kinship with the brilliant vermilion poinsettia, so commonly grown in American greenhouses.
Staghorn Sumac
Everyone should know the Poison Sumac (R. Vernix)—R. venenata of Gray—as the shrub above all others to avoid.
American Holly
Would that the beautiful holly of English gardens, more glossy and spiny of leaf and redder of berry than our own, might live here. But it is too tender to withstand New England winters, and the hot, dry summers farther south soon prove fatal.
Black Alder
The Smooth Winterberry, a similar species, but of more restricted range, ripens its larger, orange-red berries earlier than the preceding, and before its leaves, which turn yellow, not black, in autumn, have fallen.
Bittersweet
Not to be hung above mirror and picture frames in farmhouse parlors, as we have been wont to think, do the brilliant clusters of orange-red wax-work berries attract the eye, but to advertise their charming wares to hungry migrating birds, which will drop the seeds concealed within the red berry perhaps a thousand miles away, and so plant new colonies.
New Jersey Tea
Light, feathery clusters of white little flowers crowded on the twigs of this low shrub interested thrifty colonial housewives of Revolutionary days not at all. The tender, young, rusty, downy leaves were what they sought to dry as a substitute for imported tea.
Northern, Wild, Fox, or Plum Grape
Another familiar member of the Grape family, the Virginia Creeper, False Grape, American or Five-leaved Ivy, also erroneously called Woodbine, is far more charming in its glorious autumnal foliage, when its small dark blue berries hang from red peduncles.
White Violets
The sprightly Canada Violet, widely distributed in woodlands, chiefly in hilly and mountainous regions, rears tall, leafy stems terminated by faintly fragrant white or pale lavender blossoms.
Enchanter's Nightshade
Each tiny flower having a hairy calyx, that acts as a stockade against ants and other such crawling pilferers, we suspect there are abundant sweets secreted in the fleshy ring at the base of the styles for the benefit of the numerous flies seen hovering about.
American Spikenard
The Ginseng, found in rich woods from Quebec to Alabama, and westward to Nebraska, bears a solitary umbel of small yellowish-green, five-parted, polygamous flowers in July and August at the end of a smooth stem about a foot high.
Wild Carrot
Still another fiction is that the cultivated carrot, introduced to England by the Dutch in Queen Elizabeth's reign, was derived from this wild species. Miller, the celebrated English botanist and gardener, among many others, has disproved this statement by utterly failing again and again to produce an edible vegetable from this wild root.
Smoother Sweet-Cicely
With splendid, vigorous gesture the Cow-Parsnip rears itself from four to eight feet above moist, rich soil from ocean to ocean in circumpolar regions as in temperate climes.
Flowering Dogwood
Even more abundant is the Silky Cornel, Kinnikinnick, or Swamp Dogwood, found in low, wet ground, and beside streams, from Nebraska to the Atlantic Ocean, south to Florida and north to New Brunswick.
Pokeweed
Children, and some grown-ups, find the deep magenta juice of the ink-berry useful. Notwithstanding the poisonous properties of the root, in some sections the young shoots are boiled and eaten like asparagus, evidently with no disastrous consequences.
White Alder
Like many another neglected native plant, the beautiful sweet pepperbush improves under cultivation. And when the departed lilacs, syringa, snowball, and blossoming almond, found with almost monotonous frequency in every American garden, leave a blank in the shrubbery at midsummer, these fleecy white spikes should exhale their spicy breath about our homes.
Round-leaved Pyrola
Deliciously fragrant little flowers, nodding from an erect, slender stalk, when seen at a distance are often mistaken for lilies-of-the-valley growing wild.
Indian Pipe
Colorless in every part, waxy, cold, and clammy, Indian pipes rise like a company of wraiths in the dim forest that suits them well. Ghoulish parasites, uncanny saprophytes, for their matted roots prey-either on the juices of living plants or on the decaying matter of dead ones, how weirdly beautiful and decorative they are!
Labrador Tea
Whoever has used the homoeopathic lotion distilled from the leaves of Ledum palustre, a similar species found at the far North, knows the tealike fragrance given forth by the leaves of this common shrub when crushed in a warm hand.
Wild Rosemary
Only a delightfully imaginative optimist like Linnaeus could feel the enthusiasm he expended on this dwarf shrub, with its little, white, heathlike flowers, which most of us consider rather insignificant, if the truth be told.
Creeping Wintergreen
Closely allied to the wintergreen is the Red Bearberry. Trailing its spreading branches over sandy ground, rocky hillsides and steeps until it sometimes forms luxuriant mats, it closely resembles its cousin the arbutus in its manner of growth.
Black or High-bush Huckleberry
This common huckleberry, oftener found in pies and muffins by the average observer than in its native thickets, unfortunately ripens in fly-time, when the squeamish boarder in the summer hotel does well to carefully strutinize each mouthful.
Creeping Snowberry
Allied on the one hand to the cranberry, so often found with it in the cool northern peat bogs, and on the other to the delicious blueberries, this snow-born berry, which appears on no dining-table, nevertheless furnishes many a good meal to hungry birds and fagged pedestrians.
Star-flower
Is any other blossom poised quite so airily above its whorl of leaves as the delicate, frosty-white little star-flower? It is none of the anemone kin, of course, in spite of one of its misleading folk-names.
Indian Hemp
From the fact that Indians used to substitute this very common plant's tough fibre for hemp in making their fishnets, mats, baskets, and clothing, came its popular name.
Whorled or Green-flowered Milkweed
In describing the common milkweed, so many statements were made that apply quite as truly to this far daintier and more ethereal species, the reader is referred back to the pink and magenta section.
Wild Potato Vine
No one need be told that this flaring, trumpet-shaped flower is next of kin to the morning-glory that clambers over the trellises of countless kitchen porches, and escapes back to Nature's garden whenever it can.
Gronovius' or Common Dodder
Like tangled yellow yarn wound spirally about the herbage and shrubbery in moist thickets, the dodder grows, its beautiful bright threads plentifully studded with small flowers tightly bunched.
Virginia Water-leaf
In high altitudes the clusters became deeper hued; but much as the more specialized bees love color, food appeals to them far more.
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