Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 51.djvu/363

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
351
WILD FLOWERS OF THE CALIFORNIA ALPS.

accumulation of raindrops; and the insects ensnared are mainly winged varieties, such as flies, bees, wasps, and beetles, though ants, spiders, slugs, and other crawling creatures often share their untimely fate. In one of these omnivorous vegetable traps the writer once discovered a tuft of three straight pine needles, six PSM V51 D363 California snow plant.pngCalifornia Snow Plant. inches in length, though how they ever worked their way, unbent, through the curved mouth, will ever remain an unsolved problem.

Intermingled with the pitcher plants and coarse grasses of the swamps is often found a tall, graceful orchid (Habenaria leucostachys), with spikes of small, white flowers, distilling the fragrance of the tropics; and in its company frequently grows the California Cypripedium, or "lady's slipper," which has leafy stems about two feet in height and from three to a dozen blossoms, with brownish, twisted petals, and a white lip veined with purple.

The rose-tinted, drooping Calypso, and the Spiranthes, or "ladies' tresses," are also lovers of wet places, the latter blooming in the late summer months and being easily recognizable by the curious manner in which the little, greenish-white flowers are coiled or twisted around the stem.

Somewhat allied to the "ladies' tresses" is the "rattlesnake plantain" (Goodyeara Menziesii), the leaves of which were used by the Indians as sovereign cures for snake-bites. From the center of the variegated, rosette-like foliage springs a pubescent stalk, about a foot in height, bearing a spike of one-sided white flowers, which bloom in the deep woods through July and August.

The epipactus (Epipacius gigantea) is found in the tangled undergrowth along the banks of mountain streams, and has slender, leafy stems and from three to ten brown and green blos-