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Canadian lousewort (Pedicularis Canadensis, L.); the Diptera, canthus strepens Nees (Ruellia, L.), with great blue funnel-shaped blossoms, and the Gerardia pedicularia, L., are fond of such places; and where the bushes grow higher, and the Rhus glabra, L., Zanthoxylum Americanum, Mill., Ptelea trifoliata, L., Staphylea trifolia, L., together with Ribes-Rubus Pyrus, dogwood (cornus), and hawthorn (Cratægus), form an almost impenetrable thicket, surrounded and garlanded by the round-leaved, rough bind-weed (Smilax rotundifolia), and herbacea L., Dioscorea villosa, L., the blooming, everywhere-climbing, bristling rose (Rosa setigera, L.), the Celastrus scandens, L., remarkable for its beautiful red fruits, the Clematis Virginiana, L., the polygony of the brakes (Polygonum dumetorum, L.), the bindweed (Convolvulus panduratus, L.), and other vines, these weedy herbs attempt to over-top the bushes. Developing their young shoots under the protection of the shade, they exert themselves to gain the open air, and unfold in the sunshine the splendours of their brilliant blossoms. Baptisia leucantha, Torr & Gr., with its delicate pale hue, the Canadian tragacanth (Astragalus canadensis, L.), which grows to an extraordinary size, the goat's beard (Spiræa Arancus, L.), the Canadian elder-bush (Lambucus Canadensis), the purple liver-wort (Eupatorium purpureum, L.), and the gigantic Composituræ Silphium perfoliatum, L., the Rudbeckia laciniata, L., Lepachys pinnata, Torr. & Gr., finally the deep blue Tradescantia Virginica, L., stand beside the purple swallow-wort (Asclepias purpurascens, L.); and the carmine calix of the Lilium superbum, L., among which those beautiful grasses, Melica speciosa, Muhl., Tricuspis seslerioides, Torr., Stipa Avenacea, L., Andropogon Virginicus, L., elevate their heads.
Having reached the table land, we wander through a little grove, consisting of small-sized trees, stunted oak and hickory, which on better soil attain a good height, since in the forests you may find white oaks a hundred feet high, and of considerable thickness; with hickory, and maple trees, cotton-poplars, and sycamores 80 feet high, besides at least twenty different species of trees, attaining or even surpassing the height of 60 feet.
We now enter upon the illimitable prairie which lies before us; pot upon that dry sandy prairie, with its temporary herbaceous dress, but the fertile prairie, in whose undulating surface the moisture is retained; this waits for cultivation, and will soon be deprived of its flowery attire, and bear plain, but for man's nourishment indispensable, grain. Those who have not yet seen such a prairie, should not imagine it like a cultivated meadow, but rather a heaving sea of tall herbs and plants, decking it with every variety of colour.
In the summer the yellow of the large compositæ will predominate here and there, intermingled with the blue of the tradescantias, the fiery red of the lilies (Lilium Philadelphium, and Lilium Canadense, L.), the purple of the Phlox glaberrima, L., the white of the Cacalia tuberosa, Nutt., the pepper-wort (Melanthium Virginicum, L.), and the umbelliferous plants. In spring, small sized plants bloom here, such as the anemone (Anemone Caroliniana, Walt.), with its blue and white blossoms, the palmated violet (Viola palmata), the ranunculus (Ranunculus fascicularis, Muhl.), which are the first ornament of the prairies in spring, then follow the esculent sea-onion (Scilla esculenta, Ker.), Pentalophus longiflorus, D. C., the grummel (Lithospermum hirtum, Lehm.), the Cynthia virginica, Don., Echinacea angustifolia, D. C., and Baptisia leucophæa, Nutt. As far as the eye reaches no house nor tree can be seen; but where civilization has come, the farmer has planted small rows of the quickly-growing black. acacia (Robinia pseudacacia, L.), which affords shelter from the sun to his feeding cattle, and fuel for his hearth in the winter. We find the greatest prairies in the northeastern part of the State, stretching from the Illinois River to the State of Indiana, at intervals intersected by the shaded course of a river, but entirely destitute of trees on its highest points, whence in all directions flow little brooks to meet the Illinois and Wabash.
“ There one breathes more freely,” are the words of an old hunter, for whom the daily increasing fences proved too confining; "as far as the eye can reach, nothing but the skies and an ocean of grass.” Taste, however, varying greatly, many would prefer a limited view, changing by turns and affording to the eye points of rest; such a view as may be had from Prospect Hill, four miles north of Peoria. Having approached the margin of the table-land, we look down upon a delightful valley, through which flows the Illinois River, enlarged to the breadth of a sea. Fifteen miles further up, we perceive the cloud of smoke following a steamer sailing upward, and stopping at the white houses of yonder little town just built, from which a long railroad train hurries across the gently rising prairie, disappearing behind the pro
jecting wooded bluff. Bushes rise prominent above the sheet of water which inundates the country, adjacent to the other bank, beyond which in the distant background may be seen a cultivated plain, destitute of trees, covered with corn fields, which wave around the isolated farms enclosed by groves; close to our feet, however, and distinctly indicating the broken, rolling formation of the slope, is a vast forest, which, assuming in autumn all varieties of colour, from the most lively carmine to the darkest green, presents a most striking appearance.
Here in rocky places may be found the Aquilegia Canadensis, L., fostered in the gardens of Europe, and remarkable for its yellow and red coloured blossoms, curiously shaped in the form of a bell; the violet wood-sorel (Oxalis violacea, L.), that, together with the Dodecatheon meadia, L., is fond of the prairie; the well known strawberry (Fragaria vescat. and Virginiana, Ehrh.), the Senega milk-tare (Polygala Senega, L.), the Comandra umbellata, of the order of the santalaceæ, Heuchera Americana, L., one of the few saxifragas growing here, the shrub-like Hydrangea arborescens, L., with its white tufts; the Rhus aromatica, with its irregularly indented leaves, and scarlet-red fruits, flourishing at the feet of old trunks of trees; and various rock cresses. On descending below the shadowy canopy of mighty oaks, walnut trees, linden, maple, elm, ash, mulberry, sassafras, and chesnut trees, we find the ground strewn with beautiful grasses, (belonging to the orders of the Muhlenbergia, Glyceria, Uniola, Leersia, Cinna and Panicum), and numerous feros, among which the pedate venus grass (Adiantum pedatum, L.), excels by its delicate fan-form and purple-black stalk, and the Claytonian onoclea (onoclea Claytoniana), Polystichum acrostichoides, Schott., and the Pteris aquilina, well known in Germany by its exuberant growth. Among these rises the Desmodium acuminatum, D. C., on its broad-leaved basis, the rosy-red Paniela, adorned with papilionaceous blossoms, together with the tall white anemones (Anemone Pennsylvanica, L., and Anemone Virginiana, L.), the beautiful blue Delphinium exaltatum, Ait., the American bell-flower, (Campanula Americana), with long stalks covered with sky-blue blossoms, the Aralia racemosa, L., Triosteum perfoliatum, L., and the Agrimonia Eu. patoria, L., are rarely wanting. Following the course of a spring, which bubbles down, we find at its margin the Circaca lutetiana, L., also in. digenous in Germany, the marsh wolf's milk (Lathyris palustris, L.), the asper horse-mint (Stachys aspera, Mich.), the meadow rue (Thalietrum Cornuti L.), the clustered rough bind-weed (Smilacina racemosa, Desf.), and the high-growing Polygonatum canaliculatum Pursh. We now enter the level part of the forest, which has a rich black soil. Great sarmentous plants climb here up to the tops of the trees, wild grapes, the climbing poisonous sumac (Rhus toxicodendron, L., var. radicans), and the vine-like quinquefoil (Ampelopsis quinquefolia, Mich.), which transforms withered naked trunks into green columns, Tecoma radicans Juss (Bignonia, L.), with their brilliant, scarlet, trumpet flowers, are the most remarkable. Imposing are also the draperies of the green dome of foliage, the contemplation of which delights the eye of the spectator; but you would search in vain here for the evergreen pinetree, with its strong smell of resin. The Thuja occidentalis, L., which may be met with in European gardens, stands in mournful solitude on the margins of pools; here and there an isolated cedar (Juniperus Virginiana, L.), and the low box-tree (Taxus Canadensis), on the rocky slopes of the Mississippi Valley, are in Illinois the only representatives of the evergreens, forests of which first appear in the northern part of Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Gerardias, with purple and yellow monkey-flowers, Mimulus ringens, L., and Mimulus alatus, Ait., Chelone glabra, L., Blephilia hirsuta, Benth., and the common prunel (Prunella vulgaris, L.), blossom here; of the compositæ, the beautiful Rudbeckia triloba, L., excels by its black purple disc, and fiery yellow spoke-flowers, and among the delicate little plants, the Anychia dichotoma, Mich., Cerastium nutans, Raf., Stellaria longifolia, Muhl., and various galia, are deserving of particular notice. On wet and shaded places an exuberance of Impatiens fulva, Nutt. and pallida, Nutt., may be found united with urtica
While the forest is resplendent in sun ner with a dazzling array of colours, in spring it is adorned with lovely plants of delicate succulent structure. The first child of spring is the blue liverwort (Hepatica triloba., D. C.), wbich unfolds its brilliant blossoms about the middle of March ; then follows, on wet places, the buttercup (Caltha palustris, L.), and in the midst of April, we see among the naked trees, of which the yellow winter-oak (Æsculus flava, Ait.), first shoots forth its leaves, a multitude of most beautiful flowers, most of them of the purest white, or imperceptibly changing from white into a tender rose colour, among them that lovely anemone-like meadow rue (Thalietrum anemonoides, Mich.), the Canadian blood-wort (Sanguinaria canadensis, L.), the broad-leaved Podophyllum peltatum, L., the round-leaved Cardamine (Cardamina rotundifolia, Mich.), Mitella diphylla, L, the Trillium cernuum, L., Dicentra canadensis, D. C., a delicate fumariacea, with a fleshcoloured stalk, and pale green leaves, which, on account of the peculiar form of its blossoms, that in a manner resemble short, spread-out leather breeches, is called “Dutchman's breeches," the Dentaria lanciniata Muhl., Claytonia Virginica, L., and Ellisia nyctelaea, L. The blue tint is peculiar to the Mertensia Virginica D. C., which covers entire wooded tracts, the capon's tail, Polemonia reptans, L., or Polemonia pilosa L., and the crested violet (Viola cucullata, Ait.), the Violet Pedanthus hesperides, Torr. & Gr., the red Geranium maculatum, L., the Trillium sessile, L., with a brownish flower enclosed in three leaves, the yellow ranunculus (Ranunculus repens, L.), Cypripedium pubescens, Willd., with pedate flowers, almost two inches long, and the Uvularia grandiflora, Smith. All these species are represented by numerous individuals. Less frequently are seen the purple violet rag-wort, Orchis spectabilis, L.), with white labiated flowers, Leontice thalietroides, L., Aralia medicinalis, L., &c.
The trees are also clad in other colours besides green. The inflesible branches of the Cercis canadensis are covered with peach-coloured blossoms, the Pyrus coronaria, L., exhibits rosy-red blossoms, the Sassafras officinale Nees, yellow ones, and different species of hawthorn (Cratægus), and dogwood (Cornu).
The pawpaw tree (Asimina triloba, Dunal), a small tree, with large oval leaves, developes still sooner its brown-red blossoms, and bears in autumn great, fleshy, dirty-yellow fruits, which taste like stale dough; the Euonymus atropurpureus Jacq., has smaller, brownishred blossoms. Of large trees, there are also the wild-cherry tree, (Cerasus serotina, D. C.), the prickly Gleditschia triacanthos L., with its fine coronate leaves, and another cisalpinia, the Gymnocladus cana densis, Lam., with thick pulpous pods; rarer to be seen is the Virginian persimmon (Diospyros Virginiana, L.), whose orange-coloured fruits are eatable only after the first frost in late autumn, and the Cornus Florida, L., with its great snow-white husks, both of them