Page:A memoir of Lewis David von Schweinitz.djvu/32

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23
LEWIS D. VON SCHWEINITZ.

too apparent to the senses; lie too much upon the surface; there is nothing of the spirit of adventure; nothing of the Giant of the Brocken to be encountered.

But, set before her a turf studded with mosses—a clump of twenty different sea-weeds, a bundle of a hundred strange ferns, a basket of innumerable new fungous parasites; or, in defect of any thing more exquisite, a load of nameless sedges and grasses, and there is at once a banquet for her keen appetite to revel on,—a truly "dignus vindice nodus."

And who shall venture to accuse this far-reaching and deep-searching propensity of the northern botanists? Certainly not one who has never entered beyond the outer gate of this chosen sanctuary of nature.

It is probable that even the greater number of professed botanists are little attentive to the wide extension given by nature to the cryptogamic races. Fungi, as well as the other classes in this great division of her works, are spread over almost every sort of vegetable matter, whether in the dead or the living state. They are to be met with in wells, mines and caverns, as well as in the garden, the field, and the farm yard; on decayed branches, stumps and roots of trees; on the bark, beneath the epidermis, and amidst the inner coats of growing timber; on the petioles and nerves of dry leaves; on the ground, amidst dense forefcts—lawns, marshes and meadows. One[1] inhabits only the decaying hoofs of horses and horns of oxen, while another[2] is no where

  1. Ostygena equina.
  2. Onygena cervina.