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A Red Wallflower by Susan Warner

''Not better than I know the Leontodon


'Are

you going for cresses, Christopher?'

'No, Miss Esther, not at this time. Sarah has set her mind that she must have boiled greens for dinner; and her will must be done. And here is the article--not boiled yet, however.'

He stopped and stooped, and with a sharp knife cut a bunch of stout-looking leaves growing in the grass; then made a step to another bunch, a yard off, and then to another.

'What are they, Christopher?'

'Just dandelions, Miss Esther. _Leontodon taraxacum_.'

'Dandelions! But the flowers are not out yet.'

'No, Miss Esther. If they was out, Sarah might whistle for her greens.'

'Why? You could tell better where they are.'

'They wouldn't be worth the finding, though.'

Christopher went on busily cutting. He did not seem to need the yellow blossoms to guide him.

'How can you be sure, Christopher, that you are always getting the right ones?'

'Know the look o' their faces, Miss Esther.'

'The _flowers_ are their faces,' said the little girl.

Christopher laughed a little. 'Then what are the leaves?' said he.

justify;">'I don't know. The whole of them together show the _form_ of the plant.'

'Well, Miss Esther, wouldn't you know your father, the colonel, as far off as you could see him, just by his figger?'

'But I know papa so well.'

'Not better than I know the _Leontodon_. See, Miss Esther, look at these runcinate leaves.'

'Runcinate?'

'Toothed-pinnatifid. That's what it gets its name from; lion's tooth. _Leontodon_ comes from two Greek words which mean a lion and a tooth. See--there ain't another leaf like that in the hull meadow.'

'There are a great many kinds of leaves!' said Esther musingly.

'Like men's human figgers,' said the gardener sagely. 'Ain't no two on 'em just alike.'

Talking and cutting, they had crossed the meadow and came to a rocky height which rose at one side of it; such as one is never very far from in New England. Here there were no dandelions, but Esther eagerly sought for something more ornamental. And she found it. With exclamations of deep delight she endeavoured to dig up a root of bloodroot which lifted its most delicate and dainty blossom a few inches above the dead leaves and moss with which the ground under the trees was thickly covered. Christopher came to her help.

'What are you goin' to do with this now, Miss Esther?'

'I want to plant it out in my garden. Won't it grow?'

Christopher answered evasively. 'These here purty little things is freaky,' said he. 'They has notions. Now the _Sanguinaria_ likes just what it has got here; a little bit of rich soil, under shade of woods, and with covering of wet dead leaves for its roots. It's as dainty as a lady.'

'_Sanguinaria?_' said Esther. 'I call it bloodroot.'

'_Sanguinaria canadensis_. That's its name, Miss Esther.'

'Why isn't the other its name?'


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