Birds of Nebraska: Newspaper Accounts, 1854-1923

May 15, 1921. Omaha Sunday World-Herald 56(32): 4-W.

Forest, Field and Stream

Jack in the Pulpit.

Sandy Griswold.

That it may not be in exact consonance with the general belief in the necessities of conditions, and both anomalous and apocryphal as it seemingly is, it is nevertheless true that the present cold, wet and backward spring has at least proved a wonderful one for both our birds and flowers and the lovers of nature should now be in clover up to their knees.

So do not procrastinate. The cream of the most delightful epoch of all the year - the revivifying spring time, - will soon disappear like th flash of an opal. Just now a jaunt up the Old River Road - that ancient hunting trail of Indian and Mormon - will be well worth while. Educationally, it cannot be excelled by a ramble in any adjacent region, and your reward, if it is anything like what mine is, will be incalculable.

In these delayed May days, the little sorties should be one of almost unspeakable charm, as the beauties and the witcheries so abundant in these old woods and fields, and along the ever rolling and tuneful river, are at their height now and therefore surpassed in no locality in this part of the world.

As you all probably know, to the lover of birds and wild flowers, May is the supreme month of the whole twelve, especially the latter part of it and along into rosy June, and the more you can get out into the open the wiser and the happier you will be.

The misguided sportsman has always thought that May weather was made especially for him and his fishing delights, and while he is right in a way, he surely realizes, anyway vaguely, how much the wild flowers and the wild birds add to an angling excursion. To be sure one does not have to be an erudite botanist or a finished ornithologist, to enjoy a day with the black bass and the crappies, neither does one have to be a fisherman to find superlative ecstasy in May's woods and fields.

Today, and tomorrow, and on through the coming weeks, it should be no trick at all up among he umbrageous elms and low oaks, in checquered copse and bosky dell, along the wooded ridge of the river road, to find new and almost unheard of blossoms, and see strange little warblers, which no man may name without the key, every day, almost, and every hour, and yet not be utterly confounded by the floral and avian wealth that these mellifluent days fairly overwhelm themselves.

Today, let me mention just one little plant, simply mention it this time, and while it is not so generally known excepting among the cult, it is a most interesting growth, and one of the wild flowers somewhat numerously in evidence along this legendary of pathway, I so love to visit, and to talk and write about.

I refer to the mystic Indian turnip. This is not what the learned floral savants call the plant, but it is what we were told it was by the best naturalist I ever knew - my father - when I ran wild as a bare-footed boy, hunting birds nests and chasing chipmunks among the hazel patches and in the big red and white oak woods that environed my old Ohio home. "Indian turnip," that may be a homelier name than the sesquipedalian and all but unpronounceable Latin title, and therefore we insist on using it.

In our callow days we never dreamed there were two such words as Arisaema isephyllum, but there are, and that is what floral scientists call our beloved Indian turnip, or in other words, the well-known and adored Jack-in-the-pulpit.

It is a plant with many mystic qualities, and one of them, a most disagreeable one, of which I shall endeavor to tell you another Sunday.