changed. The gas is broken up ; part of it (oxygen
gas) which makes the atmosphere pure and good for
us to breathe again, is sent back again to do that
useful work. Part of it (carbon) joins with the
substance of the corpuscle, and so, as a general rule,
forms little grains of starch. This work, or process,
is called assimilation^ because the plant takes in
what it wants from the atmosphere (carbon), and
makes it part of itself, for the starch grains are the
* cf. Appendix, "atmosphere," " carbonic acid gas."
t From the Latin " assimilo" I make like. The act of converting
something into its own substance, cf. carbon in the Appendix.
great stores from which the plant builds up its
But whilst assimilation goes on only under the
influence of light, always by day and by night plants
are working in another way in connection with the
air. They are taking in the oxygen and giving off
carbonic acid gas, and this is known by the name of
respiration* What a good thing it is that plant-
respiration, by which the plants take up that part of
the air which we require to live upon and give off
that gas upon which we cannot live, is very small
compared with plant assimilation, which does the very
contrary ; so small that on the whole it is not notice-
able, and does not hinder the great and beneficial
work which the plants do for us by assimilation.
So if you have many flowers in your room during
the dark hours of night, when no assimilation is going
on, but respiration continues, they will help to make
the air impure and unhealthy for you. Indeed
flowers which are not green (p. 197) do not assimilate
at all, but they respire the carbonic acid gas ; and
some are particularly injurious, because of other
poisons which they give off.
So now by these changes the liquid food or sap
has become much changed from what it was when
first absorbed by the roots (crude sap). It has been
added to and altered, mainly in the leaves, and as it
*From the Latin "re," again, and " spiro, " I breathe. To breathe
out again, to breathe back.
FURTHER CHANGES IN THE SAP. 1 99
moves away from the chlorophyll corpuscles the starch
grains or carbon food (p. 197) mixed up or dissolved
in it are carried with it. Thus, as it passes through
certain cells and vessels through the plant, the food
taken up in liquid form from the earth and in gaseous
form from the atmosphere all works in together ; and
new substances are formed or old ones added to as
the case may be. These further changes are called
by one name, " metastasis"* In this way the proto-
plasm of plants is nourished, and so the living cells
and vessels of plants increase and cause the tissues,
that is the plant, to grow. In this way are formed the
solid crystals, as well as starch and oils and other
things, about some of which I told you in the last
In this way food is stored up in certain parts of
plants for future use. Easy examples of this are
found in tubers, tubercles, rhizomes, bulbs, and seeds.
They contain, as you know, stores of food ready to
support the growth of the young plant until by its
own roots and other organs it can take in fresh
food to supply its daily need.
-Now what I want you to remember is that plants
can feed upon elementary substances, which you and
I and animals cannot do. Carbon, for instance, is an
elementary substance that is chemists cannot separate
* From the Greek " me fa" over, and " stasis," a placing or setting
(fr : " histemi" I stand). A removal or alteration. It is also called
2OO FL WE R- LAND.
it into two different parts ; and it is necessary to life.
But we cannot take it alone we can only take it
when it is combined with other substances. We
must have prepared food. Now this is just what the
plants do for us. As we have seen, they take in the
carbon and assimilate or combine it into their own
substance. Then in this combined and prepared
form you and I and the animals in general can use
the stalks, leaves, seeds, and other parts of plants
How wonderful is this and of what vital importance
to us are the plants ! Silently, but busily, they are
working for us all the day long, not only purifying
the atmosphere for us to breathe, but also actually pre-
paring food for us to eat Under God's Providence,
through the working of the plants, we can breathe
and eat and live.
Fig- 173. Acacia. With bipinnate leaves and lomentaceous fruit.
You will now, I hope, understand a little about the
way in which plants live and grow. First, you will
remember that their food is made up of solids, liquids,
and gases ; but the solids are dissolved, as plants can
only take up their food in a liquid or a gaseous form
absorption (p 192). Then, whilst superfluous fluid is got
rid of by transpiration (p. 192), carbon is obtained by
assimilation (p, 197), oxygen is taken in by respiration
(p. 198), new tissues and other substances are formed
by metastasis, and so the plant lives and grows.*
I want you to like this part of botany, and so I will
try to show you further how many interesting things
there are connected with it and how very useful this
kind of knowledge is.
Suppose, for instance, that we consider some of those
things without which plants cannot live; and if I
repeat anything that I have already told you it will
help you to remember it. We will take light, heat,
air, earthy food and water.
Would it not be terrible if our herbs and leaves
were all white instead of green. But that is just what
happens when plants grow without any light. I dare-
say you have noticed this in sprouts of potatoes which
have been kept in darkness, or in the white stems of
sea-kale, or the celery stem so beautifully white
where it was covered by the earth, whilst its top
which was exposed to the light is of the familiar
green. Without light no green chlorophyll is formed
and we should lose the beautiful green colouring so
restful to our eyes. Without light no carbon would be
* cf. parasite in the Appendix.
assimilated and the plants would die, and we, too,
should perish for want of food.
Then I expect you have noticed how long and thin
the white shoots of the potatoes are when they have
been stored in a dark place, that is because light
affects the rapidity of growth ; it checks it and
prevents the plant growing too fast. The white weak
potato shoots grow unhealthily and too fast for want
of light. This helps us to understand why plants
placed in a window bend towards the light, the side
of the stem away from the light grows faster than
the side which is towards it, and so the stem becomes
curved over upon its shortest side, that is towards the
light. You see that in a healthy plant just as in a
healthy boy or girl all the processes or movements of
life must go on in proper degree.
So also plants are greatly affected by changes in
the temperature or heat of the atmosphere. The
heat which will suit some will destroy others, so
the " flora " or flowering plant life is different in
countries or districts according to their heat or cold.
Some plants which do very well in a greenhouse,
or sheltered south border of your garden, will not
thrive in more exposed and colder places, so that
with the plants in frames and green-houses gardeners
are always careful about the heat as well as about the
light they give to them. You will understand that
this is the more necessary when you remember about
transpiration, and because of assimilation and re-
2O4 FL WE R- LAND.
spiration you will understand why the plant needs a
proper supply of air.
In wild places the herbs and leaves of trees decay
upon the ground where they grow and so give back
to the earth what they took away from it by their
roots. But if the crops are taken away from the land
and nothing put into it again it gradually gets poorer
and poorer until at last there is not enough food in it
for the plants to thrive upon. This is why the
manuring of land is so necessary, and it requires both
knowledge and judgment to give the land that kind
of manure or food which will best suit the kind of
plant which we are about to grow.
Then from a knowledge of the nature of plants as to
their need with regard to water has grown up the
science of draining.
But I have said enough to show you that without
some knowledge of the physiology of plants, farmers
and gardeners and those who have to do with the
life and growth of plants, cannot work intelligently,
and can hardly expect to be successful.
We will end our talks on physiology by my telling
you about the length of time plants live. Some only
have one flowering season and then die. These are
called " monocarpous"* one fruiting. A few of them
From the Greek " monos" one ; or "polus" many ; and " karpos"
GROWING PLANTS. 205
live some years before they blossom, fruit, and
die. But generally these monocarpous plants spring
up, produce seed and die in a single year, when
they are called " annuals?^ as wheat : or they do
not come into flower and seed until the second year
and then die, as the turnip ; these are called
" biennials." }
But many plants blossom and seed continually year
after year and so are called polycarpous* These are
shrubs and trees with woody stems and herbs with
underground stems, such as rhizomes, bulbs, etc.
These are commonly called ^ perennials"^
How long do seeds keep alive ? They vary very
much, but some will grow after very many years if
the life has not been destroyed by heat or cold or
other special cause. Dr. Hooker mentioned an instance
of an Indian bean growing after 100 years as being one
of the longest proved instances of seed life ; but this
is a very much disputed point. If, however, you are
ever near a place where new soil has been thrown up
to the surface, as in a gravel pit or railway cutting,
always look for any new plant, new to the neighbour-
hood at least, which may have sprung up from long
So now I hope you know a little about the methods
* See note * on page 204.
f From the Latin " annus," a year (annual, of one year); " fa's"
twice and annus (biennial, of two years) ; or "per" through, and annits
(perennial, through or during several years).
206 FLO WE R- LAND.
and laws of plant life about which I have been telling
you (physiology). Telling you only a very little, but
enough I hope for you to be eager to know more, and
able also to take up one of the more advanced books
without being easily disheartened by its difficulties.
YOU will remem-
ber, I hope, that
the plant king-
dom is made up
of two great
divisions or sub-
kingdoms :(i) the
" flowering," (2)
the " flowerless "
plants (p. 10). The
fungi, and sea-
weeds, and lich-
ens, and mosses,
Fig. 174. Yew. (Taxtts baccatd). Cleaves.
c fruit with arillus/ and ferns, you
will learn about at some future time if you wish
to do so. I will only tell you now that the
flowerless plants are called Cryptogams. They are
so called because they have no flowers such as you
have been learning about in " Flower-land," and so the
way in which they are reproduced is comparatively
" hidden." The flowering plants on the other hand ,
are called Phanerogams or Phcznogams, because the
flowers and their parts producing seeds, from which
young plants grow up again, are plainly " seen."*
But I must now tell you that some of the plants I
have spoken of as flowerless have flower-like organs,
only they do not produce seed. A seed, you remem-
ber, is a young plant, of course very tiny and not
developed, but still there root, stem, and leaves in
their beginnings and all enclosed in a skin or covering.
It is the production of seeds by which the plants of
this sub-kingdom, which we have called Phaenogams
or flowering plants, are really to be distinguished and
separated from the plants of that other sub-kingdom
which we have called Cryptogams. These plants,
therefore, which you have been learning about
are most accurately called seed-bearing plants
or Spermaphytes\ in distinction from all other plants
which do not bear seeds. They reproduce them-
selves by spores, about which you will learn hereafter.
Now I want you particularly to notice one
or two things so that you may be able to
* The words are taken from the Greek. Cryptogam, the manner of
production, " kruptos" i.e. hidden. Phanerogam, the manner of pro-
duction, " phaneros" i.e. visible.
f From the Greek " sperma" a seed, and " phutos" " phuo, n to
bring forth, to produce.
distinguish from one another the three classes into
which Spermaphytes are divided.
i. Are there any yew trees in your neighbourhood ?
They are dioecious, you know (p. 123), -and I want you
to fmd some of the pistil bearing trees. They will be
in flower in April, but later in the season will be all
the better for you. Then you will see the little green
seeds, each with its greenish cup in which it is fixed
something like an egg in art egg cup. Gradually the
greenish cup thickens and becomes juicy and red.
It is called an " arillus" (Fig. 174). You have
often seen them, I dare say, and very pretty they are.
But what I want you to notice is not the cup
or arillus, but the seed which it partly surrounds.
I want you to remember that it is a seed, and not like
the acorn or nut, a seed enclosed in an ovary.
For instance, if you pick some common flower of good
size, primrose or poppy or hyacinth, one of which the
corolla has faded away, one which has " gone to seed."
Where is the seed ? Quite right. It is ripening
within the ovary ; cut open the ovary and there you
can see the seed. You can see the seed of the yew
quite well without cutting or disturbing anything.
The ovules of the yew were not enclosed in ovaries,
and when they were fertilized (p. 133), ripened as
uncovered or naked seeds. So plants of this habit
are called gymnosperms* because their seeds are
* See note * on next page.
210 t . FLOWER-LAND.
uncovered and naked ; whilst plants like the primrose
are called angiosperms* because their seeds are
enclosed within an ovary.
This is one of the characteristic differences which
you should remember, so that you may be ab^e to
distinguish from one another the "classes" into which
spermaphytes have been divided.
2. The next difference is also connected with the
seed. It has to do with the number of the coty-
ledons of the embryo, about which I have already
told you (p. 154). And you know that when the
embryo of the seed has only one cotyledon (p. 176)
the plant is 'called a monocotyledon ; when it has
two opposite cotyledons the plant is called a dicotyle-
don. But when the seed has more than two cotyle-
dons (some of the gymnosperms have as many as
fifteen) the plant is called a poly 'cotyledon.
So far then we have the three classes of Phseno-
gams arranged as follows :
Class I. Angiosperms and Dicotyledons.
Class II. Angiosperms and Monocotyledons. . t
Class III. Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons or
But these differences are not always easy for you to
see. So I will mention some other differences which
you can observe more easily.
*From the Greek " aggos" " aggcion," a vessel,, or "gumnos"
naked, and " sperma" seed.
3. You must notice the venation of the leaves,
whether they are straight-veined or net-veined leaves
4. So also the shape of the leaves, whether they
are simple or compound, whether they are entire or
5. Then as to the structure and manner of growth
of the stem. ometimes it is such as I have
described in chapter XXX. (Fig. 155, p. 176). This
kind of stem you remember has been called exogenous,
and so a plant with such a stem has been called
an exogens (p. 179).
But sometimes the fibre-vascular bundles are
scattered here and there amidst the fundamental
tissue. The stem when cut across shows no regular
rings, the fibre-vascular bundles growing wherever
within the stem they may happen to be (Fig. 154,
p. 176). So this kind of stem has been called endo-
genous ; and a plant with such a stem is called an
endogens (p. 179).
6. Then lastly you may notice the number of the
sepals, petals, and stamens of a plant whether -they
occur in sets of three, or four, or five, etc.
But remember that though any one of these
differences is generally a guide to the class to which
a plant belongs, it is not so always. So when you
examine a plant, consider as far as you can all the
marks which I have mentioned, and then judge the
plant to belong to that class with the characteristics
of which it most generally agrees. If you remember
this, and study well the table which I now give you,
you will seldom fail, I think, to place a British plant
in its proper class.
PARTS OF FLOWER.
Angiosperms and ... Net- veined ; ...Exogenous ...Four or five or mul-
Dicotyledons. in shape & tiple of five, seldom
margin vari- three or multiple of
ous. three. *
Angiosperms and ... Straight- vei- ...Endogenous... Three or multiple of
Monocotyledons, ned, shape three, seldom four,
simple,mar- never five or mul-
gin entire. tiple of five.
The British plants which belong to this class
include the pines "and firs. The common juniper is
one of them, and so, as we have seen (p. 209) is the
common yew. Their leaves are simple and entire.
* Multiple : A number into which the other number can be divided
without any remainder. Thus, six and nine are multiples of three ;
en is a multiple of five.
FROM CLASS TO NATURAL ORDER. 213
FROM CLASS TO NATURAL ORDER.
Fig. 175. Coltsfoot. ( Tussilago farfara). c top' of
flower stalk, showing reflexed involucre, receptacle
and florets. d single floret (magnified), of the
margin, ligulate. e single floret of the disk, tubular
YOU will now b able, I think, to find out to which
of the three classes a plant belongs. Next you want
to find its " natural order'' But as there are about
a hundred natural orders (British), it is not always
easy to find out to which of them your plant belongs.
So to help you, botanists divide the classes into
sub-classes and divisions, different writers doing so
upon different plans. You will be able to understand
and use these classifications if you remember what I
have told you in the chapters on morphology, with
one or two additions, which I will now give you.
So let us see if we can find a buttercup. . I want
you to notice the position of the ovaries relatively
to that of the stamens, the corollas, and the
calyx. You see the ovaries are superior (p. 118)
right at the top of the flower stalk. If you pull off
the stamens, petals, and -sepals, you
take them from the stalk below the
ovaries of the pistil (Fig. 176). So
because the other parts of the flower
are inserted under the pistil, a flower of
this kind is called " hypogynous "'
Fig. 176. Buttercup (Fig- 1 77> H )-
flower, calyx, corolla,
and stamens re-
moved ; / ovaries, a But often it is not so, and then the
stamens, s peduncle,
x receptacle. flower is either " pengynous or
" epigynous." It is "perigynous "* when the other floral
parts are inserted upon the receptacle or extended axis
of the flower-stalk so as to be around but not under
* From the Greek " hupo" under ; "peri" around; "*$*" upon
the ovary. These terms are also applied to stamens and petals to
describe their insertion.
FROM CLASS TO NA TURAL ORDER,
the ovary (Fig. 177, p). Try examples of this in
the bramble, and common avens or herb bennet
But sometimes when the rim of the flower-stalk is
extended far upwards, or a calyx tube far downwards,
around the ovary, the calyx, corolla, and stamens, as
the case may be, appear as if they were inserted upon
the top of the ovary. In this case the ovary is
Fig- *77' & Hypogynous. P Perigynous. E Epigynous. a top of
stem or axis, k calyx, c corolla. s stamens, f carpels, n stigma.
"inferior" (p 118), and the flower is said to be
" epigynous?* as in the carrot, cow-parsnip, or vege-
table marrow (Fig. 177 E).
The following terms are also ' used to mark the
various positions of the stamens. A flower is
Thalamifloral when they spring from the flower-
stalk below the ovary (starrrens hypogynous).
Discifloral when they are inserted upon the expan-
ded top or disc of the flower-stalk (stamens perigynous).
* See note * on page 214.
2 1 6 FLO WER-LA ND.
Calycifloral when they are upon the calyx (stamens
perigynous or epigynous-).
Corollifloral or Epipetalous when they are upon the
Gynandrous when they are upon the pistil.*
But sometimes these differences are difficult to
distinguish, and it may sometimes help you to trace
a plant from its class to its natural' order if you use
the artificial system of classification.
And now you want to know what this artificial
system is ? Well, the system of classification which
I have been hitherto telling you about is called the
" natural system." It is so called because plants are
arranged in it according to their natural similarities.
Other systems have been' made which are called
artificial. They are so called because plants are
grouped together in -them which are alike in some
special features, but which are often very unlike each
other in their general natural characteristics. The
artificial system I shall tell you of is the one which'
was made by the great Swedish botanist Linnaeus,
and so it is generally called the Linnaean system.
In this plants are grouped in twenty-four classes, the
spermaphytes into twenty-three of them, the twenty-
fourth including all the other plants. These
twenty-three classes are arranged according to the
numbers and position of the stamens. If you
* c f" gynous, androm, in the Appendix.
FROM CLASS TO NATURAL ORDER. 2*7
get " Withering's Handbook to the Linnaean System,"
I think you will find it useful. It will often help you
to make out a plant with which you may be puzzled,
as the stamens and pistil are generally easy to
examine. The descriptions also of the plants are
full. Remember, however, that the natural system
is the best and the most interesting, and that
is the one- which you must take pains to learn
and which you should generally use. So we leave
the . artificial system. For what I want you now
to remember is the main framework of the natural
system. The classes, the natural orders, the genera,
and the species. Then in due course with a book in
which plants are described, arranged, and named (a
flora) you will be able to take a plant and find out
first the class to which it belongs, then its natural order,
then its genus, then its species, and so you will find its
general description and its name.
For you remember, I hope, what I told you about
the names of plants. Every plant has two names,
one its generic or family name, the other its specific
or individual name, by which the members of the
family are distinguished from one another (Ch. XI.)
Now you know that in English we put the individual
name first, and the family name second ; we say Red
Clover to distinguish it from White Clover, just as we
say John Brown, to distinguish him from Robert Brown.
But the scientific names of plants are in Latin, and
then the family or generic name comes first, and the
2 1 8 FLO WE R- LAND.
individual or specific name comes second. So instead
of the sweet violet its Latin name is Viola odorata
You should take pains to know well at least the
three classes (p. 212), so that you can tell to which
of them a plant belongs. And you should know also
the five natural orders, the cruciferae (p. 37), the papili'
onacese (leguminosse, p. 39, 108),- the labiatae (p 42),
the umbelliferae (p. 43, 45), the compositae (p. 48, 229).
You will soon know more as you practise with some
I hope also soon to offer you a little hand-
book, easily carried in your pocket, and useful
to help you in finding quickly the names of the
plants you meet with in your country rambles.* You
could afterwards notice and compare them more fully
with your larger flora .at home. .
I have so much enjoyed our talks and rambles,
that I feel to have grown quite at home with you, and