John Muir


image preview


The largest vine prostrate and untwined like its little neighbor covers patches of several hundred sq. yds. With its countless branches and close growth of upright trifoliate smooth green leaves. The flowers are as plain and unshowy in size and color as those of the sweet peas of gardens. The seeds are large and satiny. The whole plant is noble in its motions and gestures, covering the ground with a depth of unconfused leafage which I have never seen equaled by any other plant. The extent of leaf surface is greater, I think, than that of a large Kentucky oak. It grows, as far as my observation has reached, only upon shores in a soil composed of broken shells and corals, and extends exactly to the waterline of the highest-reaching waves. The same plant is abundant in Florida. The cacti form an important part of the plant population of my ramble ground. They are various as the vines, consisting of a diminuitive joint or two hid in the weeds, or rising into bushy trees, wide topped, with trunks a foot in diameter, and with glossy dark green joints that reflect light like the silex varnished palms. They, together with the Spanish bayonet and Agave, are planted for fences. In one of my first walks I was laboriously scrambling among some low rocks gathering ferns and vines, when I was startled in finding my face close to a great snake whose body was disposed carelessly like a castaway rope among the weeds and stones. After escaping and coming to my senses I discovered that the snake was a member of the vegetable kingdom, without any dangerous amount of loco-

Date Original

July 1867


Original journal dimensions: 10 x 16.5 cm.

Resource Identifier



Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

Rights Management

To view additional information on copyright and related rights of this item, such as to purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish them, click here to view the Holt-Atherton Special Collections policies.


John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist