Many of the trees also send their seeds on air voyages, in the hope of finding some piece of land that will give them a chance to grow into new, strong trees.
The seeds of the willow have silky white sails such as we have found already in the plants of the milkweed and willow herb; and the cottonwood tree is so called because its tufted seeds remind one of the famous cotton seeds from which we get our cotton thread.
There are other trees which use wings instead of sails when they send their seeds flying through the air.
Here you have the winged fruits of the maple. In summer you see these winged fruits hanging in clusters from the trees; and later in the year they are thickly scattered along the village street and in the city squares.
You can understand how easily the maple seeds inside these cases would be carried upon the breeze by their wings.
Each seed of the elm tree is winged nearly all the way round. The picture shows you a cluster of these as they look upon the tree.
Here is a bunch of the long-winged seeds of the ash. Next comes a fruit cluster from the hop hornbeam, and above is a single fruit.
The seeds of the pine tree are hidden away in the pine cone you know so well, and those of the hemlock in the hemlock cone. When they are quite ripe, they break away from these cones. In so doing, each one carries with it a little piece of the cone, which acts as a wing to the seed.
Nearly all of these seeds you can find for yourselves when you wander about the country. Indeed, if you have eyes that are good for anything, many of them you cannot help seeing. It is all very well to read about these plants and trees, and to look at pictures of their flowers and fruits, and to have your teacher bring into the schoolroom specimens for examination. If this is all the city children can do (although even in the city one can do more than this), why, surely it is far better than nothing.
But best of all is it to go right into the woods and fields where these strange, interesting creatures are living, and to see for yourselves their manners and customs.