Common Prickly Pear Cactus

  • In many partly desert or dry regions this production of leaflike stems or branches is common, an excellent garden example being asparagus, which came originally from Europe and the feathery growth of which is all stem. In Tasmania a kind of yew tree produces no leaves, all the foliage being modified stem, which is true of many kinds of spurge in the West Indies, where an almost impenetrable scrub is largely made up of a shrub which is apparently covered with leaves, all actually part of the branches and stems.

  • The number of different kinds of fruits that one can buy even in the greatest markets in the world is so small, compared to all fruits that are annually produced by plants, that they might almost be likened to an ear of corn as against a Missouri cornfield. If, as we have seen, all flowering plants must produce fruits, then what we commonly call such can be only a fraction of what actually makes up nature’s annual harvest. It follows that fruits often occur in unfamiliar disguises and, as we shall see presently, some of the things we have been calling fruits may be so only partly, if at all.