Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 51.djvu/365

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353
WILD FLOWERS OF THE CALIFORNIA ALPS.

pink and white blossoms, on the ends of the long, fleshy flower stalks, ripen in June into little double seed pods, which, when shaken in the hand or brushed against by accident, produce a sound much like that of the dreaded rattlesnake. Sometimes these plants domesticate themselves upon submerged rocks, the leaves floating on the surface of the current like those of a water lily, while the masses of tangled roots threaten to trip up heedless fishermen. Though many varieties of saxifrage are found in different parts of the State, none equal, either in size or picturesqueness, these beautiful border plants of the northern Sierra streams. =

At irregular intervals along the banks grow tall thickets of fragrant azaleas, or rhododendrons, reflecting their bright green leaves and pink and cream-white flowers in the limpid water below; and behind them are terraces of feathery purple or white ceanothus, or mountain lilac, beloved by deer and honeybees.

Then come the dogwoods, flaunting their showy white bracts full fifteen feet in air, and mingling their spreading boughs with those of the laurel, the alder, the cottonwood, the wild hawthorn, and syringa. At their feet appear the freckled faces of the

PSM V51 D365 Giant saxifrage of sacramento river.png
Giant Saxifrage or Sacramento River.

tawny tiger-lilies, the largest of which is the Humboldt, as tall as a good-sized man and with from four to six whorls of leaves, each whorl ten to twenty leaves in number; and rivaling them in attractiveness are the stately Washington lilies, with their satiny-white chalices, flecked with black and gold, suggestive of the Bermuda or Easter lilies of gardens and greenhouses.