The longest and the shortest vine that I found in Cuba were both leguminous. I have said that the harbor side of the Morro hill is clothed with tall yellow-flowered comp[anie]s through which it is difficult to pass, but there are smooth velvety lawn-like patches in these Compositae forests. Coming suddenly upon one of those open places I stopped to admire its greenness and smoothness and observed a sprinkling of large papilionaceous blossoms among the short green grass. The long comp[anie]s that bordered this little lawn were twined and almost smothered with vines which bore similar corollas in tropic abundance, and I at once decided that those sprinkled flowers had been blown off from the encompassing tangles and had been kept fresh y dew and spray from the sea, but on stooping to pick one of them up I was surprised to find that it was attached to mother earth by a short prostrate slender hair of a vine stem bearing, besides the one large flower a pair of linear leaves, the flower weighing more than stem, root and leaves combined. Thus in this land of creeping and twining giants we also find this charming encouraging simplicity, the vine reduced to its lowest terms. [Drawing – “Vine described above (Nat. size).”]
Original journal dimensions: 10 x 16.5 cm.
Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist