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By ESTELLE THOMSON.
A Fairy's Slipper.
THE dainty little blue Ionidium
filiforme (threadlike) is often known as lady's slipper, but for so delicate and tiny an affair surely fairy's slipper would be a bet- ter name; then, too, several orchids of the pitcher type are known as lady's slippers, so that to associate the Ionidium with the little people
would avoid confusion.
(a) Ionidium filiforme (blue), (b) Ionidium auriantiacum (yellow).
The name Ionidium refers to a re- semblance in structure between these flowers and the violets (Gk. "Ion," a violet; and "eidos," resembling), though to the ordinary observer there does not seem to be much similarity be- tween the plants. In the drawing above two distinct species are shown. The upper (a) is the blue fairy's slip- per (I. filiforme), and the lower, the orange Spade-flower (I. aurantiacum). In/the fairy's slipper the flowers are arranged In a loose spray, all above the leaves, while in the spade-flower the-v are axillary, and spring from the junctions of leaf and main stalk. The fairy's slipper has smooth narrow leaves, of which the upper few grow in opposite pairs, while those lower down the stem are alternate. In the spadk-flower they are toothed, and usually all alternate.
The flowers themselves are similar in structure; each has inconspicuous tiny green petals and sepals, which only a magnifying glass will show, and one large petal, out of all pro- portion to the rest. In the blue species the petal is longer than its breadth, of a very variable blue, from a pale "powder" shade to a good deep royal blue, and is marked by delicate strlatlons of ,a dark indigo. The orange-tawny petal of the spade flower is much broader, and does not show the conspicuous "guide lines," which are supposed to help insects to find the honey store.
Both plants are slender and wiry,
and on that account seem to flourish, in dry times, when there is little else lo be seen. Both grow almost any- where round Brisbane, though th© blue is much the commoner. In vol. I. of "The Queensland Flora," by F. Man- son Balley, the habitat of the spade flower is given as the Georgina River. The work referred to was published in 1899, so that either the orange Ioni- dium had not been observed locally at that time, or else it has been trans- ported to these parts by some means during the last 30 years.
Lomatia, "Wild Parsley.''
VyiLD parsley is the name by which
the handsome creamy Lomatia is commonly known, and of all popular names this is surely the poorest and least descriptive. I cannot see one point of resemblance between the low growing, curly parsley of our kitchen gardens, and the stiff, Upright Loma- tia. However, inquiry has elicited no other name, so wild parsley it re- mains.
Lomatia siliafolia, "Wild Parsley" (reduced), (a) Seed vessel after splitting and discharging seed.
The Lomatias, of wnich there are three, differing only in the leaf, be- long to the order of the Proteaceae, of which Florence Sulman, in "Wild Flowers of New South Wales," says: "This family Is named because of its great variety of foliage, flowers, and fruit, after Proteus; the sea-god, who, it was believed by'the ancients, could assume any form. It Is a very old family, now found in Europe only as
fossils of the Tertiary period. These old plants probably migrated In re- sponse to changed conditions of cli- mate to Africa, and by an ancient land connection to Australia; in each country they 'have developed accord- ing to their environment, and "are entirely different."
Quite a number of the Proteaceae are familiar to us all; the Grevillea, or silky oak, with its beautiful cop- pery orange flowers, and leaves rather like those of the Lomatia illustrated above; the Hakea, or snake-bush; and the well-known Banksias, or bottle brushes, the dry fruit of which May Gibbs has made familiar to every Australian child as the "Bad Banksia man"-the villain of the piece in the perennial adventures of the Gumnut Babes. Then there are the Per soonias or Geebungs, with their yel- low flowers, like miniature tiger lilies and their succulent fruit; and, last of all, the regal Waratah of New South Wales and Victoria. These are all members of the floral aristocracy of Australia, so you will see that the Lomatia is "verra weel connecket," be- longing to one of the oldest families, and well able to hold up its beautiful creamy head among such mere up- starts as the daisies.
The wild parsley is found in many open spaces among timber round the Coopers Plains," Sunnybank, and Rochedale districts, where the soil is sandy. The plant is an erect shrub 2ft. or 3ft. high, and the flowers are awanged in a loose spike at the top of the stem. Each flower has a shmt stalk, called a "pedicel." The, buds are greenish, but when the waxy flowers open they are a beautiful creapiy white. There are four petals -which drop soon after the flower is fully open; the stamens are placed close to the base of the column of the pistil, and it is a peculiarity of these plants that there is no calyx. The leaves are a dark green, divided and toothed. The whole plant Is adapted for growing in a dry situation, and, as the solid waxy nature of the flow- ers would suggest, it lasts well In water, especially if cut "before the buds are fully opened. The seeds are con- tained in flat vessels, which split open when ripe.