On the Seashore eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 50 pages of information about On the Seashore.

Another useful plant is the Sea Cabbage, which grows on some parts of our sea coast.  It is rather a ragged, tough kind of Cabbage, and perhaps you would not choose it for your dinner-table.  We have more tempting sorts in our gardens—­Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, Cauliflower, but long, long ago the wild seaside cabbage was the only one growing.  Men found it to be eatable, and began to plant it near their huts or caves.  From that small beginning all our garden cabbages have come.

Walking a little farther from the sea, we leave the sand and come to stones, rocks and cliffs.  We pass a pretty plant, the Sea Lavender, and another, the Sea Stock.  They love best the sandy, muddy parts of the shore.  Their lilac flowers look bright and pretty.  Coming to the rocky places, we find tufts of the flower known as Sea Pink or Thrift.  Its leaves are like grass, and its flowers form a round pink bundle at the top of a bare stalk.

There are many tufts of Thrift growing among the rocks; and each tuft has a number of pink flowers.  In some places you could step from one tuft to another for several miles.  Bare and ugly stretches of coast are made into a gay garden by this lovely flower.

Here and there on the rocks is a plant with large yellow blossoms—­the Yellow Horned Poppy.  It is a handsome plant, and you are surprised to see such fine flowers among dry shingle, sand, or rock; but the Horned Poppy is well able to stand the salt spray and storms of its favourite home.  When the petals have dropped, a green seed-pod is left.  It is very long—­nearly twice as long as this page and looks much more like a stem than a seed-pod.

Sometimes this seaside poppy is seen growing high up the face of the cliff, where only the jackdaw and sea-birds can find a footing; and many another plant may be seen there too.  The cliffs are full of cracks, some tiny and some wide.  In these places there is always a certain amount of dirt and grit.  You could hardly call it “soil,” and most plants would starve if you planted them in such a place.

[Illustration:  SEA LILY.]

These plants of the rock and cliff are not so proud.  They have very long and very thin roots, admirably suited to pierce the grit, and explore the cracks in the rock, to find the moisture they need.  Besides this, they have fleshy leaves which help them to keep alive.  The Stone-crop and the Penny-wort are well-known plants of this kind.  They grow where you would least expect to find a living plant.  Neither heat nor thirst seems to kill them.  Mother Nature has found many a wonderful way of helping her children to live.

EXERCISES

1.  Why do plants which grow in sand have such long roots?

2.  In what way are the grasses growing on the sand so useful?

3.  Give the names of four flowering plants of the shore.

4.  Where would you look for the Stone-crop and Penny-wort?

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
On the Seashore from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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