Among these hundreds of flowering plants some very interesting and unusual forms are found. Some such as the Indian pipe or ghost plant have in reality become fungi, growing entirely upon decayed vegetable matter and containing no coloring whatever - a pearly white plant which resembled in appearance and growth a fungus growth but which develops a typical flower. Another of this group which grows in the dense shade of the forest floor, the Barbers pole has no green coloring matter and is entirely saphrophitic, but is a light color marked with spiral stripes of bright red. This peculiar marking gives rise to the name.
Several tiny plants that bloom above the timber-line in the region of permanent ice and snow are clothed in dense, wolly overcoats of fine hairs which no doubt protect them from the freezing temperatures encountered every night at that elevation. The blue gentian, very common in the late summer, has a very delicate flower which it protects by rolling up tight at the first hint of a storm or bad weather. In this way it often weathers the first snows and continues to bloom for some time in spite of its fragility. Another, the Indian paintbrush has succeeded in folling the world into believing it is an "regular" flower by developing brilliant red and crimson leaves which pass as flowers when actually the real flower is a tiny green affair entirely hidden by those gaudy leaves and not at all beautiful.
But in so brief a story, or even in a book for that matter, it is entirely impossible to give any adequate idea of the beauty or the profusion of the wild flower fields of the National Park. You will agree with me that they must be seen to be rightly appreciated.
|<<< Previous||> Cover <|