THERE is probably no group of organisms, and few, if any, science topics more interesting to layman and naturalist alike than are the plants. This general interest attaches, however, mainly to the flowering plants and ferns—the flowers and the trees —other types of plants being either so inconspicuous as to be essentially invisible to all except specialists, as in the case of the bacteria, or of simple and unromantic body form, such as the pond slimes or algae.
Most people take pride in knowing a certain number of the trees and flowers of their native region, if no others. Plants are partial' larly suited to field study and to collection. The plant is stationary, can not run away and hide, hence, does not have to be hunted or trapped with acquired skill and expensive apparatus. Plants pose for their pictures without exhibiting nervousness or self-conscious ness. Through their beauty they inspire artists, poets and lovers, as few animals have ever done. Their only real competition is from the female of the human species, but they have throughout history been considered her chief adornment.
A beautifully colored flower book—besides its value to flower lovers and flower hunters—is a popular and decorative living-room table piece. It is not within the scope of this article to enter this field. Without greatly increasing the size of the book, the individual plants could not be treated descriptively with the detail and con sideration which their beauty and general interest warrant. This task is left to other books. There is, however, a field in plant study which the editors of this series take pleasure in presenting to the