It is frankly offensive in its character, and its young juices deadly as any hellebore that ever grew. Like most mountain herbs it has an uncanny haste to bloom. One hears by night, when all the wood is still, the crepitatious rustle of the unfolding leaves and the pushing flower-stalk within, that has open blossoms before it has fairly uncramped from the sheath.
Even the leaflets were like large entire leaves, and out of each bunch of leaves we could see that there grew a large white flower hanging upon a long pendulous flower-stalk with its top downward. These flowers gave the grove a very beautiful appearance their splendid white corollas contrasting elegantly with the deep-green of the leaves.
He kissed her hand in homage as he replied, "A joy like this is almost as hard to comprehend at first as an equally great sorrow. My garden teaches me to understand you. A perfect flower-stalk is suddenly and rudely broken. Instead of dying, it eventually sends out a little side-shoot which gives what bloom it can." "And you will be content with what it can give?"
The flower-stalk never attains a height of more than two or three inches, and the leaves are covered with reddish hairs, each of which has a drop of clammy fluid at its tip, making the whole appear as if spangled over with small diamonds.
Left to itself the plant now sends all its reserve of food into this bud, and the great flower-stalk shoots upward at the rate of several inches daily; then the great pyramid of flowers develops. But man interferes. The flower-bud is cut out, and a neat, deep cup is fashioned amid the bases of the cluster of leaves. The sap which should produce that wonderful growth is poured into this cup.
The native country of this plant is not known; but it is a well-known garden Cactus, and thrives in a warm, airy greenhouse in summer, and on a dry, sunny shelf in winter. The swollen base of the tube is a good example of the nature of what is usually termed the flower-stalk in these plants. It is, as has been pointed out, the elongated calyx, and the swollen portion is the ovary or seed vessel.
"That water finds its way by preference through the fibro-vascular bundles even in the more delicate parts, is shown by placing the cut peduncle of a white tulip, or other large white flower, in a harmless dye, and then again cutting off its end in order to bring a fresh surface in contact with the solution, when after a short time the dye will mount through the flower-stalk and tinge the parts of the perianth according to the course of the bundles."
Titania's self, just stepped upon the moonlit earth, could scarcely have stood poised on an unbroken flower-stalk, in form more airy, in attitude more graceful, with countenance more radiant than those of Emily F , as, arrayed in likeness of the Faery Queen, she thus burst upon our view, and with an air half-archly playful, half-proudly triumphant, enjoyed our bewildered surprise, and received the involuntary homage of our admiration.
All I do know is that Mr Solomon did not speak to me once, but sat rolling the flower-stalk in his mouth, and staring right before him, aiming straight at some place or another that was going to be my prison, and all the while the sturdy horse trotted fast, the wheels spun round, and there was a disposition on the part of my box to hop and slide about on the great knot in the centre made by the cord.
Boys suck the honey of the flower-stalk; and adults drink or otherwise use, as corrective of bile, an infusion of the leaves and the under bark. They could not give me the receipt for the valuable preparation of the green apple, well known to the Fantis of Accra. After returning to Axim we heard of rich diggings two hours' march inland, or north with easting from Esyáma.