Wild Flower Families
Indian Pipe Family
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( Originally Published 1908 )
One who has noticed the structure of the flower of the beautiful wild rose or who has studied with any care the equally beautiful apple blossoms has gotten an idea of the structure of a typical ex-ample of the Rose family, which includes a large number of trees and shrubs as well as a few herbaceous wild flowers. All the parts of the flower are present, there being five sepals and five petals, many stamens and one or more pistils.
WILD STRAWBERRY. The wild strawberry is so universally distributed in open ground and along the borders of woods that we scarcely think of it as a wild flower. Yet the common field strawberry is a native American species, having been described many years ago as the Virginian Strawberry. The first of the familiar white flow-ers bloom early in spring; the full crop of blossoms appears in May and the fruit ripens in June. The flowers have a delicate odor and are visited by a great variety of bees, flies, and other insects, while the fruit is eaten by many kinds of birds by which the seeds are scattered far and wide.
NORTHERN WILD STRAWBERRY. In the more northern states a delicate species, sometimes called the Northern Wild Strawberry, is also commonly found. It is much smaller than the other, with thinner and lighter green leaves that have comparatively few hairs upon their surface. The cluster of flowers rises above the leaves, while the fruit is slender and pointed, the seed-like achenes resting on the surface and not being sunken into tiny pits as they are in the Virginian Strawberry.
If you compare the structure of one of these delicious strawberry fruits with a blackberry or a raspberry you will see how differently they are made up. In the former the hundreds of tiny seed-like achenes are distributed over the surface of the enlarged torus—the end of the flowerstalk—which forms the edible part of the fruit, while in the latter there is an edible pulp surrounding each tiny seed.
CINQUEFOILS. Several distinct species of Potentilla or Cinquefoil are abundant over a large part of the northern states and Canada. The two most important from our present point of view are the Common Cinquefoil and the Silvery Cinquefoil.
The Common Cinquefoil has yellow flowers, nearly half an inch in diameter, that resemble miniature strawberry blossoms in their structure, although the color of the petals is so different. Like the strawberry, too, the plant spreads over the ground by long and slender runners, which often produce a thick carpet of plants in fields and along highways, the running stems being smooth and almost wire-like. The name Cinquefoil is from the French and means five-fingers, so called because of the five-parted leaf so characteristic of the plant, which indeed with us is quite generally called the Five-fingers.
The Silvery Cinquefoil is at once distinguished by its whitened appearance, especially. on the smaller stems and the lower surface of the leaves. The yellow flowers are only about a quarter of an inch in diameter and are borne on short, slender stems. Like the Common Cinquefoil the species is widely distributed over the Northern States and Canada.
The Rough or Norway Cinquefoil is a third abundant species, though it is to be ranked as a weed rather than a wild flower. It is a robust, erect plant, having a coarse appearance that at once distinguishes it from either of the above named species. There are three leaflets to each leaf. The styles are glandular and thickened below, and there are about twenty stamens in each flower.
The Barren or Dry Strawberry of the genus Waldsteinia has a habit of growth similar to that of the Common Cinquefoil, but is at once distinguished by its three leaflets. It is widely distributed in sparse woods and uncultivated fields as far west as Minnesota and as far south as Georgia.