Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/796

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774
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

oped leaves are in striking contrast with the dust-begrimed stems and foliage over which the treacherous and baneful vines climb. The "poison-oak" differs from the poison-sumac of the East (Rhus toxicodendron, L.), in having sharply-toothed leaflets, nearly sessile panicles, and close clusters of fruit. The writer has been poisoned by both species, and can testify that the sensations of burning and itching of skin of face and fingers are practically the same for both kinds. The leaves of a common composite called "gum-plant" (Grindelia) are bruised and rubbed over any exposed part of the skin as a preventive.

The most attractive flowers, both as to appearance and fragrance, were those of the phlox-like Gilia Californica, Benth. This shrub is two or three feet high, and grows upon the dry hill-sides. The leaves are thickly set and villous, while the stems are terminated by clusters of rose-or lilac-colored flowers an inch or more across the limb. The fragrance is indescribably rich, when not too profuse. The peculiar foliage and the extreme delicacy of tint and fragrance of the flowers place this "mountain pink" at the head of the list of flowering plants during a winter drought. Not far below the Gilia in attractiveness is a member of the large genus Hosackia (H. glabra, Torr.), of the order Leguminosæ. This species has slender, woody stems several feet in length, which bend and become decumbent or rest upon surrounding shrubs. In color the flowers are a mixture of yellow and brown, closely set upon the curved, drooping stems, and are not obscured by the small leaves. The sprays might well serve for making delicate wreaths. This is one of the most common winter-bloomers of the pea family. In the same localities the large vetch Lathyrus vestitus, Nutt., with its rose or violet flowers, was frequently found making an entangled mass of wiry stems several feet in length. It seemed most at home along the rocky sides of cañons, where it could climb to its heart's content.

The wild blackberry (Rubus ursinus, C. and S.) was abundantly in bloom from the lateral branches upon the long canes. There is an absence of any compactness of growth; the main stems trail along for twenty feet, perhaps. The almost impenetrable entanglement made by such a growth, when climbing over and among shrubs, may be more easily experienced than imagined. Two of the shrubby composites were found in bloom—namely, Baccharis piluraris, D. C, and B. viminea, D. C. Both species grow much higher than a man's head, and sometimes the stems attain two or three inches in diameter. Both are badly infested with Coleosporium baccharidis, C. and H.—a rust which attacks all parts of the plant and causes large swellings in the older stems. This is one of the best illustrations of the perennial nature of some of the parasitic fungi when the host is under favorable conditions for indefinite continuous growth.

The Ribes speciosum, Pursh., is an attractive, fuchsia-like goose-