Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/698

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

of Audubon. Yes, there it was blooming in those semi-tropical waters, and, from its golden chalice, this excellent lady drank the exquisite pleasure of a scientific discovery, and, sweeter still, the privilege that she could bid pass away that cloud of incredulity of over a generation of years. In fact, it was communicated to that Nestor of American botanists, Prof. Gray, and was duly acknowledged. It was truly the long-ignored Nymphæa lutea—Audubon's yellow water-lily. And, more than this, this deported beauty, through our modern Portia's zeal, is to be introduced to the best botanic circles of the world. Mrs. Treat has provided a liberal stock for the botanic garden at Harvard; and the curator, Prof. Sargent, is giving them careful and skilled culture, and is also supplying the gardens of Europe with specimens. Among the botanists, then, Audubon and his beautiful water-lily to-day stand quoted above par. Whether the "bird of Washington" is to reappear, and set this early ornithologist right with the modern bird-men, perhaps may hardly admit of a hope. That Audubon, like Wilson and the rest, did sometimes err in the diagnosis of his species, was easily possible; that he could lie, we think, was impossible. Much work of these earlier students has had to be done over again, and, as Dr. Coues has shown, this is emphatically true of the Falconidæ, or diurnal birds of prey. Very radical undoing has been needed of the work done on the eagles. Lately, we had at our very doors not less than three notable eagles—the black eagle, the gray eagle, and the bald eagle. But more thorough and skillful work has eliminated two out of these three species by showing that the black was the young, the gray the middle-aged, and the bald the mature, or adult stage, all of one and the same species, namely, the Haliaëtus leucocephalus—the bald eagle. We would like to see some condonement for the long ignoring of that Southern lily. If it were scientifically orthodox to rechristen that rediscovered flower, we would have its history crystallized in a new specific name, Nymphæa Audubonii, which, after so long incredulity, would be doing the bonny thing; and thus the yellow water-lily would dot, with golden memories of the gentle enthusiast, Audubon, the waters of the river of time.

 

THE PLANT-EATERS OF NORTH AMERICA.
By Professor SANBORN TENNEY.

THERE may, perhaps, be a question in the minds of some, or even of many, as to what animals are absolutely the most useful to man; but there can be no question that those which furnish him with milk and flesh for food, wool and leather for clothing, and which bear his burdens and draw his loads, have very high claims to this rank.