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A Trip to the Ozarks #8

but to the devotees of fashion it is the flower of all flowers,
the very acme of floral perfection. It has been called the Princess
of Flowers, and popular opinion ranks it at the head of the floral
aristocracy. A certain florist has been quoted as saying that the orchid
occupies the same rank in the cut-flower world as the diamond in the wworld
of precious stones.

Among the elite of our large cities the favorite Orchid for festal
occasions is the white Cattleya, a native of Tropical America, growing
from Mexico as far south as Brazil. It is cultivated by both florists
and Orchid growers, and ranks as the largest and the handsomest of all
known Orchids. By these same florists and Orchid growers it is sold
for fabulous prices. The Orchid is a flower that assumes a variety of
irregular, fantastic and grotesque forms. There is an orchid that
resembles a brilliant little humming bird. There is an Orchid that
resembles a beautiful Moth with expanded wings - resembles it even to
rings, spots and markings on the insect's wings. There is a famous
Central American Orchid which resembles the head of a Bord of Paradise.
There is an Orchid called the Butterfly Orchid (Orcidium papillio), which
resembles a gaudy butterfly with outstretched wings. But perhaps the
most curious and unique of all known Orchids is that which is called the
Holy Spirit, or the Dove Plant. This Orchid is also a native of Central
America. It grows from 4 to 5 feet in height. Its flowers are globular,
white and very fragrant. The two stamens and the pistil unite to
form what is called the [...] of the flower. The flower itself
forms a spherical case of alabaster whiteness within which is enclosed
a delicate little bird with expanded wings - a bird with the form of a
dove and of the form which artists adopt in typifying the Holy Spirit.
The Spanish Americans regard this Orchid with peculiar veneration, and
employ it profusely in their religious festivals. They call El
Spirito Santo, the Holy Spirit. It has been cultivated, but it loses
much of its sixe and vigor outside of its native land.

There is one of our native Orchids which resembles a ram's horned head.
There is a whole genus of Orchids, including nearly 40 species, the
flowers of which resemble a Lady's slipper, and hence the Orchid is
called a Cypupedium, or Lady's Slipper (or Slipper of Venus.)

The Orchid, although a beautiful flower, has but little if any economic
value. There is in fact only one known Orchid that has any economic
value, the Vanilla Orchid, from the bean of which the vanilla of commerce
is obtained. The soil of the Ozarks being composed largely of decaying
and decayed vegetation, was so favorable to the growth of Orchids that
it seems as if one might resonably expect to find at least three or
four of our native Orchids in the mountains, but I found one species
only, " The Slender Ladies Tresses " (Gyrostachy gracilis). This Orchid
grows about 18 inches in height, sending up from the ground a tall scape
which bears several pure white flowers of a waxy appearance. As these
flowers are spirally twisted around the scapethe Orchid has received the
popular name of " Ladies Tresses". In the Ozarks this Orchid usually
grows ingrassy places on the Mountain side, and as the pure white
flowers appeared here and there overtopping the grass, it was much more
handsome than as a mounted specimen, for as everyone knows the drying
and pressing of a plant destroys not only the delicate structure of
the flowers, but also much of its natural and inherent beauty.

In a wide and deep ravine in the Mountains where the trees were so closely
crowded together that even at mid-day a semi-darkness pervaded the place

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