Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 31.djvu/106

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

its close of kin the larkspur-violet (V. delphinifolia, Nutt.), and the Indian turnip (Arasæma triphyllum, Low.), sometimes better known as "Jack-in-tbe-pulpit." The writer will never forget his first introduction to the tuberous root-stock, or "turnip," of the last-named plant. The mean face of the full-grown man who prepared a slice of the "turnip" for me (then only an inexperienced child) has never faded from my memory. My directions were to chew it and swallow all quickly. Only those who have tasted of the corm know how intensely acrid its substance can be.

For the balance of the month, and in the order here given, the following plants came into bloom: The bur-oak (Quercus macrocarpa, Michx.) 3 wild plum (Primus Americana, Marsh); white-oak (Quercus alba, L.); butternut (Juglans cinerea, L.); spike-rush (Eliocharis obtusa, Sch.); columbine (Aquilegia Canadensis, L.); hard maple (Acer saccharinum, var. nigrum, Gr.); meadow-rue (Thalictrum dioicum, L.); blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides, Michx.); wild black currant (Ribes floridum, L.); wild gooseberry (Ribes cynosbati, L.); and the lousewort (Pedicularis Canadensis, L.). This dozen species includes five trees, four of which are of great economic value, the hard maple and the white-oak taking the first places. Among the herbs, the columbine, or the "honeysuckle" of childhood, is the most showy. Boys as well as bees know that sweet is found at the base of each long spur-petal.

It will be seen that fifty-six species bloomed here (Ames, Iowa) during the month of April, or an average of about two and a half per day from April 6th, when the first blossoms of the hepatica were discovered, until the close of the month. The species recorded for May number seventy-seven and for June one hundred and thirty-one. The average for May is the same as for April, but for June it rises to four and one third per day. In July, it is five and a quarter new plants per day, Sundays not excluded. The season of 1886 has been an exceptional one. The spring opened early as the large number of species blooming in April substantially proves. During two months in midsummer there was only a quarter of an inch of rain instead of nine, which is the average. This drought pushed many species forward out of their natural places, and has doubtless much influenced the record.

The flora of the State of Iowa is not very large in numbers. Professor Arthur's catalogue made in 1876 gives nine hundred and seventy-nine species, including well marked varieties. Since 1876 one hundred and ninety-seven additions have been made to the list of flowering plants, thus increasing the total number to eleven hundred and seventy-six. A preliminary list for this county (Story), in which six hundred and nine species and varieties are recorded, has been made the present season by a graduate student, Mr. A. L. Hitchcock, and to whom the writer is indebted for a full and careful record of the time of bloom-