Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 55.djvu/705

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THE COLORS OF NORTHERN FLOWERS.

called "the jelly," and a similar substance is found near the head. When only part of this jelly has been eaten its effects are a peculiar vertigo, nausea, vomiting, pains all over the body, more especially in the limbs. The feeling of vertigo is similar to that of intoxication, hence the fish has been called "drunken fish."

The "filefishes," or "trigger fishes," when found in the tropics, where they feed on coral polypi, have the reputation of being most unwholesome.

In the West Indies "sea eels," or murenas, are only eaten by the negroes. The blood of eels is said by Mosso to contain a poison like that of vipers. It is related that a man drank some eel's blood mixed with wine, and was in consequence seized with severe diarrhœa, disturbance of vision, foaming at the mouth, and stertorous breathing. He ultimately recovered after vigorous treatment.

Dr. Gordon, of Montego Bay, Jamaica, records a case of death from eating the flesh and liver of a species of coast conger (Gymnothorax restratus). In spite of treatment, the man died after a lingering illness.

Space will not permit me to dwell in this article on the remaining noxious fishes, but it is to be hoped that enough has been written to teach people to be cautious in their selection of fish when in the West Indies.

 

THE COLORS OF NORTHERN FLOWERS.
By JOHN H. LOVELL.

FOR profusion of bloom and brilliancy of coloring, the land of the tropics, with all its luxuriance of vegetation, can offer nothing to compare with a New England meadow in June. Along the great rivers of the South or in the islands of the East strange and beautiful flowers occur individually or in small groups, but the traveler looks in vain for myriads of blossoms giving a distinctive coloring to the landscape itself. It was long the popular notion that the colors of flowers were of no importance except as they gave human pleasure. This idea has been made familiar by a well known line of Gray's Elegy. It was a German pastor, Christian Conrad Sprengel, at the close of the last century, who first pointed out their true significance. So enthusiastically did he pursue his botanical studies that he neglected the duties of his office, and finally even omitted the Sunday sermon. The natural result followed, that he was deprived of his parish. In straitened circumstances he then sought unsuccessfully to maintain himself at Berlin by giving lessons in botany and Sunday excursions in search of plants.