The rank and rapid growth of these grass-like plants in marshes and other low wet places yields annually a large amount of vegetable matter, which gradually accumulates, ths filling up the marshes and converting them into dry land. The very numerous long thread-like roots penetrating the soil in every direction form a matted mass that materially aids in this accumulating process. The result is a black peaty kind of earth which is very valuable as a manure for keeping up the natural fertility of the soil. Peat is formed by the decay of a kind of moss (Spaghnum) but the decay of the Cyperaceae forms a substitute very nearly resembling it, and perhaps quite as valuable to the farmer. This process of annual growth and decay having been continued for a long period in past history, very extensive beds of this peaty soil have been accumulated; many marshes have been entirely filled with it so as to be now fit for the plough, while others are rapidly approaching this condition. These beds form a vast storehouse of future wealth, that may be drawn upon for ages to come without exhausting the supply.
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