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Wild Flowers of the North-Eastern States

Wild Flowers of the North-Eastern States

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Excerpt from Wild Flowers of the North-Eastern States: Being Three Hundred and Eight Individuals Common to the North-Eastern United States

It was with no desire to compete with scientific botanies that this collection of flowers was gathered together, but with the hope of making their acquaintance more easy to non-scientific folk than the much condensed manuals of our flora are able to do. The opportunity of introducing a plant, with that graceful amplitude which forestalls human meetings, is denied to the scientific botanist by the needful restrictions of his formul?, and there remain unnoted by him (because beyond the scope of a special terminology) numberless traits of race-habit, and personal details of growth belonging to the plants, to which the unlearned observer will attach a degree of significance, incommensurate, perhaps, to their scientific value. To the simple Nature-lover each growth possesses a personal quality more desirable than the catalogued facts of its existence, and which offers an invitation to his thought beyond the knowledge he may gain from books.

Supplementary, then, to the scientific classification, there is a place for the mere lover and observer, who shall display the results of his study in the most direct terms, that require no glossaries of explanation, nor, if it may be avoided, any dissection of flower-growths. Too often the amateur is dismayed, in his effort to name a plant, by the botanical need of a microscopic analysis, which calls for a preliminary training, and in its process destroys the flower he seeks to know.

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