Page:A Book of Dartmoor.djvu/33

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
11
BOG PLANTS

extent, and that by taking a straight line it would be easy to get out of it, but in a fog it was not possible to take a bee-line. Happily, for a moment the curtain of mist lifted, and I saw on the horizon, standing up boldly, the stones of the great circle that is planted on the crest. I at once shouted to the children to follow me, and in two minutes we were on solid land.

The Dartmoor bogs may be explored for rare plants and mosses. The buckbean will be found and recognised by its three succulent sea-green leaflets, and by its delicately beautiful white flower tinged with pink, in June and July. I found it in 1861 in abundance in Iceland, where it is called Alptar colavr, the swan's clapper. About Hamburg it is known as the "flower of liberty," and grows only within the domains of the old Hanseatic Republic. In Iceland it serves a double purpose. Its thickly interwoven roots are cut and employed in square pieces like turf or felt as a protection for the backs of horses that are laden with packs. Moreover, in crossing a bog, the clever native ponies always know that they can tread safely where they see the white flower stand aloft.

The golden asphodel is common, and remarkably lovely, with its shades of yellow from the deep-tinted buds to the paler expanded flower. The sundew is everywhere that water lodges; the sweet gale has foliage of a pale yellowish green sprinkled over with dots, which are resinous glands. The berries also are sprinkled with the same glands.