Bloodroot, 1901

I’ve been looking through a book that was my mother’s, Southern Wildflowers and Trees by Alice Lounsberry and illustrated by Mrs. Ellis Rowan, published 1901 by Frederick A. Stokes Company. This book bears a resemblance to the wonderful bird book that was my father’s in that its descriptions of plants (as with his book’s descriptions of birds) make them sound almost human. Here’s a description of bloodroot:

“This white wilding with its centre of gold breathes out so freely a greeting to the early spring that it seems not to be especially petted by dame Nature, in spite of its fragility. Very bravely it shows a bold front to the weather. Neither has it been ruthlessly thrust on the world. Its protection is found in the way the young leaf is wrapped around the tender blossom which does not unfold and allow its stalk to stretch upward until after it has gained some confidence in its strength. And then almost as soon as it has fully blown, it perishes. One must be out with the early birds to catch a glimpse of it as the warm sun blows it open and before its sepals have been carried away by a lively wind. It lives, it would seem, only long enough to perish.”

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