Box 15, Folder 11: Grass like Plants of Wisconsin, 1855

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rail road between Milwaukee and Madison; and similar occurrences have taken place in Ohio and Michigan.

Along the margin of some streams, and of lakes subject to fluctuations of level in the surface of the water the turf often becomes broken into irregular masses, which separate, and being carried away by the current, or by the force of the wind form little floating islands, that are freqently drifted to great distances from the place where they [grew]. were formed. The roots take but slight hold of the soft mud beneath the water; so that a rise of the water easily lifts the sod, [with it]; which rises and falls with the fluctuation of the water. These floating masses if obstructed in their course down the current may collect forming a dam and a pond or lake above it.

The marshes and turf-covered lakes become the appropriate habitat of a great number of mollusks with their covering of calcareous shells. These shells [gradually] continually accumulate at the bottom, and as time rolls away, extensive beds are formed of what is known as "shell marl." Mingled with the decayed vegetable matter the marl forms one of the most valuable

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comports that could be applied to an over cropped soil. Cases are found where the beds of shell marl are several feet in thickness and cover an extent of a number of acres of ground. In these beds have been detected nearly all the different species of shells that now live in and about the marshes, mingled occasionally with bones or horns of quadrupeds; but no new or extinct species of animal has yet been discovered among them in Wisconsin.

Most of the cyperaceae are cespitose; that is, they grow in bunches called tussocks, with open spaces around each branch. By carefully stepping from one tussock to another a person may often cross marshes that would otherwise be impassible. After the land is drained it is [often] frequently necessary to burn the tussocks before they can be destroyed. Dr. Darlington in his "Agricultural Botany" relates that he once hauled a quantity of them into his barnyard, with the hope that they might decompose and make manure; but they effectually resisted decomposition, and were tossed about the yard for years-as large & almost as indistructible as so many hatter's blocks.

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Several species of Cyperaceae have been made to subserve the purposes of man. Before the discovery of the art of making paper it is known that the ancient Egyptians used a substitute called papyrus. This was formed by cutting the stems of Cyperus papyrus, of Linnaeous, into their slices which were united together under pressure.

The Cyperus legatum is used in India for mat-making as the bull rush (Scirpus lacustris) is with us.

The Eriophorum cannabinum, is used in the same country where it is called Rhabhur, for making rope bridges for crossing the torrents in the hills. Other species are used for making a coarse kind of rope.

The root of the Cyperus esculentus is much used under the name of eath-chestnut, in Spain and the south of France as a substitute for chocolate. The chestnuts are little tubers; about the size of peas, which are first roasted. They are also used as an article of food.

Leaves of some of the coarser species of Carex are used in England to tie hops to the poles; and in the wine producing countries they are put between the staves of wine corks to keep them tight.

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[Carex rostrata, Michaux. Sterile spike solotary, stalka small nearly sessile].

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[Carex striata, Michaux Syn. C. polymorpha Michl.]

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