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This inviting selection of Thoreau’s best flower writings is arranged by day of the year and accompanied by Thoreau’s philosophical speculations and his observations of the weather and of other plants and animals. They illuminate the author’s spirituality, his belief in nature’s correspondence with the human soul, and his sense that anticipation—of spring, of flowers yet to bloom—renews our connection with the earth and with immortality.
Thoreau’s Wildflowers features more than 200 of the black-and-white drawings originally created by Barry Moser for his first illustrated book, Flowering Plants of Massachusetts. This volume also presents “Thoreau as Botanist,” an essay by Ray Angelo, the leading authority on the flowering plants of Concord.
elsewhere. It is as if you had taken a step suddenly a month forward, or had entered a greenhouse. MAY 8, 1860 The cinquefoil is closed in a cloudy day—and when the sun shines it is turned toward it. MAY 9, 1852 The Viola ovata is one of the minutest of spring flowers—two leaves and a blossom bud showing the blue close to the earth. What haste to push up and open its lesser azure to the greater above. Such a disproportion of blossom to the leaves. Almost literally a pretty delicate blue
modest-colored flower gracefully drooping, neat, with a fugacious richly-spiced fragrance, facing the ground, the dry leaves, as if unworthy to face the heavens. It is a beautiful sight, a pleasing discovery, the first of the season—growing in a little straggling company, in damp woods or swamps. When you turn up the drooping flower, its petals make a perfect geometrical figure, a six-pointed star. These faint fugacious fragrances are pleasing. You are not always quite sure that you perceive any.
place where a life is to be lived. It is not beautiful to him who has not resolved on a beautiful life. The horned utricularia appears to be in its prime, though there was none here June 16th. It yellows the shore together with the hyssop and filiform ranunculus, not to mention the lanceolate loosestrife. The spear thistle. false nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica) water plantain (Alisma triviale) The tall anemone grows by the red oak near the elms opposite the pond on Conantum and is still in
purpurea var. parviflora) nodding bur-marigold (Bidens cernua) SEPTEMBER 6, 1851 The ripening grapes begin to fill the air with their fragrance. The vervain will hardly do for a clock—for I perceive that some later and smaller specimens have not much more than begun to blossom. While most have done. Saw a tall pear tree by the roadside beyond Harris’ in front of Hapgood’s. Saw the lambkill, Kalmia angustifolia, in blossom, a few fresh blossoms at the ends of the fresh twigs—on Strawberry
49, 84 water (Decodon verticillatus), 187, 188 white (Salix alba), 59 windflower (wood anemone, Anemone nemorosa=A. quinquefolia), 38–39 winterberry, common (speckled black alder, Ilex verticillata), 259 winter cress, common (herb of St. Barbara, yellow rocket, Barbarea vulgaris), 51, 60, 63, 78 wintergreen (pipsissewa, Chimaphila umbellata), 115, 118, 131 spotted (Chimaphila maculata), 237, 239 witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), 217, 224, 237, 238, 239, 245, 253, 258 witches’ moneybags