Field Book of Western Wild Flowers

Field Book of Western Wild Flowers

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Field Book of Western Wild Flowers

Field Book of Western Wild Flowers

Read FREE!

Excerpt

WATER-PLANTAIN FAMILY. Alismaceae.

A rather small family, widely distributed, growing in fresh-water swamps and streams. The leaves are all from the root, with long sheathing leaf-stalks, and the flowers are regular and perfect, or with only pistils or only stamens; the sepals three; the petals three; the stamens six or more; the ovaries numerous, superior, developing into dry, one-seeded nutlets.

There are a good many kinds of Sagittaria, with fibrous roots and milky juice; the leaves are usually arrow-shaped; the lower flowers usually pistillate and the upper ones usually staminate: the stamens are numerous and the numerous ovaries are closely crowded and form roundish heads. The name is from the Latin for "arrow," referring to the shape of the leaves.

An attractive and very decorative plant, with stout, smooth, hollow flower- stems, from eight inches to four feet tall, with very handsome, smooth, olive-green leaves and papery bracts. The flowers are about an inch across, with delicately crumpled, white petals and yellow anthers, forming a bright golden center, and the plants look very pretty standing along the edges of ponds. The leaves are exceedingly variable both in size and shape. This is found throughout North America. The tubers are edible and hence the plant is often called Tule Potato, and they are much eaten by the Chinese in California. The Indian name is Wapato.

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