So saying, he gave her the hybrid plant his falcon eye had seen amid the tufts of gentian acaulis and saxifrages, a marvel, brought to bloom by the breath of angels.
Linnaeus called them Primula veris, and recognized three types as pertaining to this species, but Jacquin and others have elevated these subspecies to the full rank of species. They now bear the names of Primula elatior with larger, P. officinalis with smaller flowers, and P. acaulis.
Now two of them bear their flowers in bracted whorls, condensed into umbels at the summits of a scape. The scapes themselves are inserted in the axils of the basal leaves, and produce the flowers above them. In the third species, Primula acaulis, this scape is lacking and the flowers are inserted singly in the axils on long slender stalks.
In the second lecture we have seen that the old species of Linnaeus, the Primula veris, was split up by Jacquin into three smaller ones, which are called P. officinalis, P. elatior and P. acaulis. From this systematic treatment we can infer that these three forms are assumed to be derived from a common ancestor.
Most of them take kindly to being transferred from a mile or more up in the air to sea level; the edelweiss, for one, grows here readily from seed, and the exquisitely beautiful Gentiana acaulis thrives in American rock gardens. But, on the whole, alpines do not do as well here as in England, where the summer climate is not so hard on them.
Christian was so cold when we had finished our investigations, that he determined to take his second refreshment en route, and, moreover, time was getting rather short. We had started from Gonten at half-past nine in the morning, and reached the glacière about half-past twelve. It was now three o'clock, and the boat from Gonten must reach the steamer at half-past six precisely, so there was not too much time for us; especially as we were to return by a more mountainous route, which involved further climbing towards the summit of the Rothhorn, and was to include a visit to the top of the Ralligflue. On emerging from the cave, we were much struck by the beauty of the view, the upper half of the Jungfrau, with its glittering attendants and rivals, soaring above a rich and varied foreground not unworthy of so glorious a termination. There was not time, however, to admire it as it deserved, and we set off almost at once up the rocks, soon reaching a more elevated table-land by dint of steep climbing. The ground of this table-land was solid rock, smoothed and rounded by long weathering, and fissured in every direction by broad and narrow crevasses 2 or 3 feet deep, at the bottom of which was luxuriant botany, in the shape of ferns, and mallows, and monkshood, and all manner of herbs. The learned in such matters call these rock-fallows Karrenfelden. When we had crossed this plateau, and came to grass, we found a gorgeous carpet of the huge couched blue gentian (G. acaulis, Fr. Gentiane sans tige), with smaller patterns put in by the dazzling blue of the delicate little flower of the same species (G. verna ); while the white blossoms of the grass of Parnassus, and the frailer white of the dryade