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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 203 pages of information about New National Fourth Reader.

Let pupils make out an analysis of the lesson, and use it in giving the story in their own words.

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LESSON XLI.

veg e ta’tion, every thing that grows out of the ground.

meth’od, way; manner.

ta’per ing, growing smaller toward the end.

men’tioned, spoken of.

struct’ure, arrangement of parts; a building of any kind.

marsh’y, wet.

swamp, low ground filled with water.

sprung, started; begun.

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SOMETHING ABOUT PLANTS.

The name plant belongs in a general way to all vegetation, from the tiniest spear of grass or creeping flower one sees on the rocks by the brook-side, to the largest and tallest of forest trees.

Plants are divided into numerous groups of families, and the study of the many species belonging to each family, is very interesting.

There are thousands of kinds of grasses, shrubs, and trees, scattered over the different parts of the earth, and the larger portion of them are in some way useful to mankind.

In speaking of grasses, we are apt to think only of the grass in the meadows, which is the food for our horses and cattle; but there are other kinds of grasses which are just as important to man as the grass of the meadow is to the beast.  These are oats, rye, barley, wheat, corn, and others, all of which belong to the grass family.

Perhaps it appears strange to you to hear wheat and corn called grass, and you ask how can that be.

In the first place, all plants that have the same general form and method of growth, belong to the same family.

Now, if you will pull up a stalk of grass and a stalk of wheat or rye and compare them, you will find that they are alike in all important respects.

The roots of each look like a little bundle of strings or fibers, and are therefore called fibrous; the stalks you will find jointed and hollow; and the leaves are long and narrow, tapering to a point at their ends.

Then, if you examine the seeds, you will see that they are placed near together and form what we call an ear or head, as in an ear of corn, or a head of wheat.

This same general form or structure applies to every one of the plants belonging to the grass family; and in this family are included all the different kinds of canes and reeds that grow in swamps and marshy places, as well as the bamboo of the tropics.

Shrubs are those plants which have woody stems and branches.  They are generally of small size, rarely reaching over twenty feet in height.  Small shrubs are usually called bushes.

In this class of plants, the branches generally start close to the ground, and in some cases, a little below the surface of the ground, rising and spreading out in all directions.

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