Hound the mouths of the rivers that run into this bay, there are extensive shoals of brackish water; these favour the growth of a certain plant of the genus vallisneria a grass-like plant, standing several feet out of the water, with deep green leaves, and stems, and having a white and tender root.
Of all marine plants, the Ulva latissima, or Sea-Lettuce, is first and best. It has broad, light-green fronds, and is hardy and a rapid grower, and hence a good giver of oxygen. Next to this in looks and usefulness comes the Enteromorpha compressa, a delicate, grass-like Alga. After a while the Chondrus crispus, or common Carrageen Moss, may be chosen and added.
The lads pull them off, and break the stems, to watch the white "milk" well up, the whole plant being full of acrid juice. Whorls of woodruff and grass-like leaves of stitchwort are rising; the latter holds but feebly to the earth, and even in snatching the flower the roots sometimes give way and the plant is lifted with it.
Now all is of a grass-like hue, infinitely dainty; next the rib grows golden, the fronds remaining green as ferns; and then, as the trunk continues to mount and to assume its final hue of grey, the fans put on manlier and more decided depths of verdure, stand out dark upon the distance, glisten against the sun, and flash like silver fountains in the assault of the wind.
The novel beauty of the Dabney gardens can scarcely be exaggerated; each step was a new incursion into the tropics, a palm, a magnolia, a camphor-tree, a dragon-tree, suggesting Humboldt and Orotava, a clump of bamboos or cork-trees, or the startling strangeness of the great grass-like banana, itself a jungle.
What were the wide grass-like blades making green the plain? What were the vines that sent their runners all about? Carefully he tilled the field. The stems grew strong, and the broad leaves gleamed in the sunshine. Still he kept the secret, spending many hours in watching for his enemies. When summer drew near its close, Manabush paddled his canoe to the shore nearest the wrestling ground.
In order to reach this, one has to recur to the individual fluctuability, and therefore to seed. Nearly half a century ago, Parris discovered, on the island of Barbados, that seeds might occasionally be gathered from the canes. These, however, yielded only grass-like plants of no real value. The same observation was made shortly afterwards in Java and in other sugar producing countries.
It is a tall, perennial grass-like plant, giving off numerous erect stems 6 to 12 feet or more in height, from a thick solid jointed root-stalk." The ground is plowed in rows in which, not seed, but a stalk of cane is lightly buried. The rootlets and the new cane spring from the joints of the planted stalk which is laid flat and lengthwise of the row.
For a cut, called "na-fa'-kag," the fruit of a grass-like herb named la-lay'-ya is pounded to a paste, and then bound on the wound. Burns, ma-la-fub-chong', are covered over with a piece of bark from a tree called ta-kum'-fao. Kay-yub', a vegetable root, is rubbed over the forehead in cases of headache.
Fortunately the underwood was perfectly free from thorns, or they would have had their clothes torn to shreds, even had they been able to penetrate it. It was generally of a reed or grass-like nature, so that they could push it aside or trample it down; and under the more lofty trees the ground was often for a considerable distance completely open, when they made more rapid progress.