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A similar plant from America, called the side-saddle flower, has also leaves which form a kind of jug, and contain water.
Another singular object to be seen in the same hothouse as those just named is the flytrap. At the end of its leaves is a flat green piece, covered with a clammy juice, and set
round with prickly points like the teeth of a steel-trap. Insects are tempted to it by the sweet juice: no sooner, however, do they alight on the leaf than the edges quickly close, and secure or kill them. When an insect is thus caught, the leaf remains closed till its prey is dead, it then opens, and is ready for another morsel.
Here is the carrion plant from South Africa, which emits an unpleasant odour, though it is said to be as acceptable to the Hottentot as the fragrance of roses is to the toilet of an English lady. It is not dissimilar to the plants of the cactus tribe. The flowers are like little starfishes. We are told that the smell and appearance of the leafless stems attract flies, which lay their eggs on what seems to them putrid flesh. When the young are hatched, they find nothing on which to feed, and die in great numbers. It has been observed, that this is among the many plants designed by the great Creator to keep insect-life within certain bounds.
We have now before us one of the most useful and singular of vegetable productions mathe gutta percha tree, though its virtues and uses have not been long known. About twelve years ago an English physician was walking through a forest in Singapore, when he saw a woodman at work. Observing that the handle of his axe was of a substance quite unknown to him, he inquired what it was made of, and was told that it was the juice or gum of a tree, which could be moulded into any form by merely dipping it in hot water, after which, when cold again, it became quite hard. This juice lies in straight lines down the tree, and is obtained by cutting small holes in the trunk, when it freely flows out, of a whitish colour. When it hardens it becomes darker in appearance. The gutta percha, as the natives of the country call it, is now used as soles for shoes, piping, bottles, floor-cloth, and a hundred other purposes. Besides the juice, the tree yields a pleasant fruit, a useful oil, and a drug for medicine. Its flowers serve for food, and
its wood for timber.
In the same house in the garden is a small specimen of the cow-tree of Brazil. During several months of the year, when no rain falls, and its branches appear dried up and dead, if the trunk be tapped or cut, a sweet and nourishing milk comes out. The flow is most abundant at sunrise ; and negro women are seen early in the morning with their pails and jugs at the tree, procuring a supply of milk for their families. It may therefore be well called the cow-tree. A traveller says the sight reminded him of a shepherd distributing the milk of his herd. The milk soon thickens into cream, and is used with tea and coffee. This well-grown tree is of large size, and its timber is in much demand for ship-building.
Among other curious things we must not fail to notice the caricature plant, the leaves of which are like those of a green bay-tree, but are marked in the middle with yellowish spots. If you look carefully at these spots, you may imagine that the portrait of some one you well know, or even a picture of yourself, is plainly to be traced thereon.
Another strange object is the butterfly plant from the West Indies. It throws out to a short distance its brown and yellow flowers ; these move to and fro, and appear like butterflies on the wing. Even on a closer look there appear the head, body, legs, and wings of a perfect insect. In the museum of Kew Gardens may be seen specimens of other odd. looking plants, one of which seems to have growing on it a number of large caterpillars.
This hand plant claims a passing moment. It comes from Mexico, where it is called “the tree of little hands,” because its beautiful small flowers have some resemblance to the fingers of a child's hand. Over these flowers, in the land from whence the plant is brought, hosts of lovely humming birds delight to flutter.
The king plant too, from Ceylon, must not be overlooked, whose leaves are like brownish green velvet, covered with a delicate network of gold; nor the lace-bark tree, from Jamaica, whose inner bark resembles the finest kind of lace ; nor that small plant in a pot, labelled dorstenia. “It is," says a writer, “something like a flat piece of green leather growing at the end of a flower-stalk, and is in fact a flat, and open receptacle of minute flowers. Roll it up with the flowers outside, and it is breadfruit; with them inside, it is a fig.” It might
be called a fruit-cake, and was formerly supposed to be an antidote to all kinds of poison.
Oh that the wonders of this scene of plants and flowers would lead our thoughts upward to the glories of another world, where all is pure and bright and eternal!
THE ALL-SEEING SAVIOUR. JESUS knows all our wants, our necessities, our dangers, and our sorrows. He knows our wants, and is willing to supply them. He knows our necessities, and is willing to relieve them. He knows our dangers, and is willing to defend us.
He knows our sorrows, and is willing to comfort us. He knows our sinfulness, and is willing to save us.
Blessed, blessed is the child who can say, in faith, “This Saviour is mine, and I am his !” Amen.
BOYS' MARBLES. THERE is something strange in the manufacture of boys' marbles. The greater part of them are made of hard stone, found near Cobourg in Saxony. The stone is first broken with a hammer into small six-sided pieces, and about 100 to 150 of these are ground at one time in a mill, somewhat like a flour-mill. The lower grinding-stone, which remains at rest, has several circular grooves or furrows; the upper stone is the same across as the lower, and is made to turn round by water or other power. Very small streams of water are directed into
the furrows of the lower stone. The
pressure of the upper stone on the little pieces rolls them over in all directions, and in about a quarter of an hour the whole of the rough pieces of stone are made into nice round marbles.
SAYING PRAYERS. “In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanks. giving let your requests be made known unto God," Phil. iv. 6.
To say my prayers is not to pray,
prayer we speak to God above,
grace to make us pure within. My infant lips were early taught To
say “Our Father," as I ought, And every morn and every night, To use my daily prayer is right. But oh, if I am found to smile, Or play, or look about the while, Or think vain thoughts, the Lord will see, And how can he pleased with me ? Then let me when I kneel to pray, Not only mind the words I say ; But also strive, with earnest care, To let my heart