Among the Plants


NEXT in order to leaves, in the unfolding of the beauties of the plant, are flowers, "the stars of earth." Of graceful forms and delightful fragrance, and rich in brilliant and delicate colors, they are the glory of the vegetable world.

The names given by botanists to the different parts of the flower are so often met with that it is well to understand what is meant by them. Let us take the rose to pieces, and examine its beautiful and perfect construction. The green cup, or calyx, is composed of several leaves called sepals, which enveloped the tiny rosebud till it burst them apart, and now supports the corolla, or flower. The fragrant rose leaves are the petals that form the corolla. 

Within the corolla are the little yellow thread-like stamens surrounding the pistil in the center. All these are found in a complete flower.

See how perfect is the texture of those petals. The richest velvet looks coarse and common compared with that soft, velvet-like surface. The contrast between man's best work and the beautiful creations of God is very great, the one so very imperfect, the other so faultlessly correct.

Long years ago, upon a mountain in Palestine, our Saviour, looking probably over the fields stretching out to the view, bright with the brilliant-hued lilies of the East, taught one of the sweetest lessons ever given to man. He said, "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?"

It seems as if God would keep this lesson of trust before us by placing flowers all around us wherever we go. They smile upon us from our gardens and lawns, look in at our windows, whiten the roadsides, and gem with starry blossoms even the grass. The pond lily sits as queen of the waters; high up the mountain side or on the edge of the precipice, delicate blossoms remind us that, "He who careth for the flowers will much more care for us."

They brighten every season of the year, from the time the early snow-drop lifts its head above the ground in spring, through all the succession of summer and autumn beauties, to the chrysanthemums and geraniums that blossom in winter.

In France and some other countries are large fields of flowers that are cultivated for manufacturing perfumery. Hundreds of tons of orange flowers, roses, cassia, jasmine, and violets, are raised yearly for this purpose. When the flower harvest comes, men, women, and children, go out into the fields to gather the fragrant blossoms. This is pleasant out-door work. 

How we would like to be out in the flower fields, seeing the lovely sight, and breathing the odorous air!

When we see the autumn flowers fading away, it brings to us the thought that we, like them, are frail, and will soon fade away; they teach us not to love this world too well, or make our plans for life too confidently, for our stay here is short. But we look for them again, bright and beautiful as ever; so we hope, when faded and withered here, to bloom anew in Heaven; and flowers become not only types of our dying, but "Emblems of our own great resurrection, Emblems of the bright and better land."

S. S. Advocate