Wildflowers of North America in Full Color

Wildflowers of North America in Full Color

Wildflowers of North America in Full Color

Wildflowers of North America in Full Color

Excerpt

It is an intriguing fact that the ocean beaches of our continent, tide-flooded every twelve hours throughout the year, are virtually devoid of flowering plant life. A primary reason for this dearth, of course, lies in the chemistry of salt water. Only a few yards away, on higher ground which the breakers seldom invade, there may well be countless lovely wildflowers such as the Sea Pinks and California Poppies. Rarely is this oceanside contrast between daintiness and restless majesty more striking than on the Monterey Peninsula, inshore from the famous Bird Rocks with their mantles of white guano.

The history of wild plant life began very long ago when the Earth first started to assume reasonably firm form. There were no true flowers then, but in all directions one would have seen myriads of their predecessors, the spore- bearers. Prominent among these were the Equisetums whose stems were green, sometimes almost leafy, and interspersed with stouter leafless ones topped with brown or yellowish spore heads. It must have been a weird, wild world, largely dominated as it was by huge flying reptiles and even more frightful water monsters.

Today these primitive Equisetums are still with us. We usually call them Horsetails because of the appearance of their nonproducing stalks. There are various species of them, all virtually unchanged for many millions of years. They thrive in a variety of sunny as well as shaded places, whether wet or dry. Indeed, you may come upon them almost anywhere.

Another odd plant is the Golden Club, frequently seen in pond shallows from Massachusetts southward, particularly near the coast. Occasionally it ranges inland as far as central Pennsylvania and Louisiana. Its slim flowering stalks are tipped with masses of minute blossoms which richly reward examination through a good magnifying glass. In case you covet this lovely

Many of our warmer ocean margins are rich in wildflowers. Here on the Monterey Peninsula, California, Sea Figs, California Poppies and others weave a colorful, living tapestry.

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