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Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Prose Works. 1892.

I. Specimen Days

156. Wild Flowers

THIS has been and is yet a great season for wild flowers; oceans of them line the roads through the woods, border the edges of the water-runlets, grow all along the old fences, and are scatter’d in profusion over the fields. An eight-petal’d blossom of gold-yellow clear and bright, with a brown tuft in the middle, nearly as large as a silver half-dollar, is very common; yesterday on a long drive I noticed it thickly lining the borders of the brooks everywhere. Then there is a beautiful weed cover’d with blue flowers, (the blue of the old Chinese teacups treasur’d by our grand-aunts,) I am continually stopping to admire—a little larger than a dime, and very plentiful. White, however, is the prevailing color. The wild carrot I have spoken of; also the fragrant life-everlasting. But there are all hues and beauties, especially on the frequent tracts of half-open scrub-oak and dwarf-cedar hereabout—wild asters of all colors. Notwithstanding the frost-touch the hardy little chaps maintain themselves in all their bloom. The tree-leaves, too, some of them are beginning to turn yellow or drab or dull green. The deep wine-color of the sumachs and gum-trees is already visible, and the straw-color of the dog-wood and beech. Let me give the names of some of these perennial blossoms and friendly weeds I have made acquaintance with hereabout one season or another in my walks:

  • wild azalea,
  • dandelions,
  • wild honeysuckle,
  • yarrow,
  • wild roses,
  • coreopsis,
  • golden rod,
  • wild pea,
  • larkspur,
  • woodbine,
  • early crocus,
  • elderberry,
  • sweet flag, (great patches of it,)
  • poke-weed,
  • creeper, trumpet-flower,
  • sun-flower,
  • scented marjoram,
  • chamomile,
  • snakeroot,
  • violets,
  • Solomon’s seal,
  • clematis,
  • sweet balm,
  • bloodroot,
  • mint, (great plenty,)
  • swamp magnolia,
  • wild geranium,
  • milk-weed,
  • wild heliotrope,
  • wild daisy, (plenty,)
  • burdock,
  • wild chrysanthemum.