Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/336

This page has been validated.

to the unusual development of the stem at its upper end, together with the high color and the fantastic shapes assumed. This is one of the few exceptions to the rule that a fasciation of the stem is not constant.

Last summer, while looking through the nursery rows of a propagator of hardy perennials, my attention was attracted to the stems of the large-flowered bell-flower (Campanula grandiflora), Instead of the cylindrical stem and the loose spray of flowers, these two had developed as shown in the asparagus, and from the broad, flat stalk the flowers were closely arranged. At the enlarged end there were several buds and blossoms more or less blended. In one instance three separate flowers were so closely grown together as to appear as a single monstrous blossom. Passing now to leaves, the reader will perhaps first of all think of the so-called "four-leaved" clover, in which, instead of the ordinary three leaflets, there is an additional one, or possiblyPSM V42 D336 Proliferous roses.jpgFig. 2—Proliferous Rosestwo or more, the abnormity sometimes running as high as seven leaflets. Some years ago, while in Iowa, the writer found a clover plant with fourteen leaves having four leaflets and seventeen with five leaflets, and these outnumbered the ordinary ones. A "sixleaved" leaf found upon another plant had a lobe growing from one side of one leaflet resembling a mouse's ear. There are clover leaves in which the fourth leaflet is shaped like a funnel. The same shape is rarely seen in geranium leaves, and cabbage and lettuce leaves sometimes show strange outgrowths from the middle of the under side. Twin leaves at the most unexpected places are, to say the least, surprising. One such in my possession is of the lilac, which ordinarily has foliage of a well-defined form.

It is when we come to the flower that the greatest absurdities are to be found. Plants may have their stem fasciated and their leaves with strange lobes and incisions, but in the blossom they sometimes go quite "crazy." Gardeners occasionally send or