Plant Nature Study I by Various Plant Nature Study I by Various    

Lesson 3: Peter Makes More Discoveries (Edible Flowers)

lesson image

Peter Rabbit slowly went down from the rocky top of the hill in the Green Forest. At the foot of the hill he turned towards the Green Meadows. He would make a few hops and stop. Then he would do it over again. He paid no attention to where he was going. The fact is, Peter was doing that most foolish of all foolish things for any of the little people of the Green Forest or the Green Meadows to do, — forgetting to watch out. Like a great many people he can think of only one thing at a time, and just now he was thinking of flowers and not of possible danger.

So it happened that he almost walked into Reddy Fox. Just in time, the very nick of time, Peter saw Reddy. At the same instant Reddy saw Peter. You may be sure that all thought of flowers left Peter's funny little head then. There was nothing for him to do but to take to his heels. That is just what he did. Yes, sir, that is just what he did. He made those long heels of his fairly fly.

After Peter raced Reddy Fox. Reddy knows that Peter can run fast for only a short distance. He must reach a place of safety very soon. Reddy meant that this time Peter shouldn't reach a place of safety. Peter is a great dodger. He dodged around trees and jumped over logs and darted behind stumps. All the time he could see Reddy gaining on him, and in Reddy's eyes was a look of hungry eagerness which made Peter feel most uncomfortable.

Now Peter was down near the edge of the Green Forest where the trees were rather far apart. It was the kind of a place where Reddy Fox could run at his best. "Oh, dear!" panted Peter. "I must get to that old bramble-tangle on the edge of the Green Forest. If I don't, Reddy will surely catch me."

But that bramble-tangle was farther away than Peter had thought, and it began to look very much as if Reddy Fox would have a Rabbit for his dinner. Twice Peter dodged barely in time. He was in despair when he scampered around a big stump, and there between two roots was a hole just big enough for him to squeeze into. Peter didn't waste any time. He popped into that hole without waiting to find out anything about it. For all he knew there might be somebody in there. As his funny little apology for a tail disappeared, Reddy's teeth snapped so close to it that he actually pulled out a little bunch of white hairs.

Peter remained in that hole for a long time. He didn't even peek outside. He knew that Reddy Fox could be very patient at times and might be waiting around for him to come out. So Peter was content to be safe and wait. After he was quite over his fright, he began to think of flowers again, and the surprising things he had learned. Already he had found three kinds, yet rough Brother North Wind still howled at times through the Green Forest and Jack Frost still came around at night.

"I wonder," thought Peter, "if there are any other flowers. Tommy Tit said that he suspected he would be able to find some on the Green Meadows if he went to look for them. I wonder what ones he thinks he could find there this time of year. Oh, dear, I wish Reddy Fox had kept away from here! I want to go hunt for more flowers."

By and by Peter ventured to peep out to see if the way were clear. He could see nothing of Reddy Fox, but that didn't mean that Reddy wasn't somewhere about. He might be hiding. So Peter sat with only his nose out of that hole. Thinking of Reddy Fox, he forgot flowers until something pink just a little to one side caught his attention. It was a flower! There was no doubt about that. Peter ventured to poke his whole head out that he might see better.

"It is a pink Hepatica, I do believe!" exclaimed Peter to himself, and poked his head out still farther. Then he noticed the stem. It was very different from the stem of the Hepatica. It was longer, slender, and perfectly smooth. There were no little hairs on it. As he looked more closely he saw that while at first it had seemed to be all light green, it was slightly stained with red. It wasn't straight, but rather crooked, and halfway up were two leaves which right away made Peter think of grass, for they were long, narrow and pointed.

"Why-ee!" exclaimed Peter. "It isn't a Hepatica at all."

"Who said it was?" demanded a very small voice, which Peter at once recognized as that of the little Bee he had seen so busy at the blossoms of the Saxifrage. Then, without waiting for Peter to reply, the little Bee continued, "It is the Spring Beauty which I've heard some folks call Claytonia. I like the first name best myself."

Peter nodded. "I say so, too," said he. "When I first saw it I thought it was a pink Hepatica. Are the Spring Beauties always pink?"

"No," mumbled the little Bee, as she sucked up the nectar from the heart of the flower." Sometimes they are white with little pink veins. This is the first one I have found this spring, but there will be a lot of them around here soon, for this is the kind of a place they like. You notice that the ground is quite damp here, and the trees are so far apart that the sun can get in. It is a good thing that jolly, round, red Mr. Sun is shining, or we wouldn't have seen this little beauty."

Why not?" demanded Peter.

Because, like the Hepaticas, it closes when there is no sunshine. If you sit here long enough, you will find that it turns so as to always face towards the sun. It surely is a lover of sunshine. Just notice that it has five petals. There isn't any other flower quite like the Spring Beauty. By the way, Peter Rabbit, are there any dandelions yet on the Green Meadows?"

Peter shook his head. "I haven't seen any," said he.

"Pooh! That doesn't mean anything," said the little Bee. "I guess I could find some if I went to look for them. Dandelions and Common Chickweed can be found any month in the year if you look in the right place for them. Good-by, Peter Rabbit." The little Bee disappeared as suddenly as she had appeared,

Peter waited only long enough to make certain in his own mind that the way was clear. Then he started for the Green Meadows and the dear Old Briar-patch. A glint of yellow caught his attention on the very edge of the Green Meadows. Eagerly Peter turned that way. Could there be a Dandelion there? Yes, there was! There was no mistaking that round blossom of pure gold. Peter had known Dandelions ever since he could remember. Sometimes he got Dandelion leaves in his mouth and he knew just how bitter they are. But that spot of bright yellow where the grass had hardly yet begun to turn green was good to see, and as Peter looked down at the cheery little blossom he was filled with respect for this common plant.

A Merry Little Breeze came dancing along and saw what Peter was looking at. "Isn't it wonderful how so many flowers can grow together on one stem?" cried the Merry Little Breeze.

Peter stared about him, blinking rather foolishly. "I don't see but one flower," said he.

The Merry Little Breeze rumpled up Peter's hair and cried, "There must be something wrong with your eyes, Peter. You are looking at a whole bunch of them right now."

"I'm not!" retorted Peter. "I am looking at this Dandelion."

"Look closer, Peter. Look just as close as you can. What you call a single blossom is made up of dozens and dozens of tiny flowers all growing together so as to look like one big flower," cried the Merry Little Breeze.

"What?" cried Peter. Then he looked very closely, as he had been told to do, and sure enough he discovered that the Merry Little Breeze had told him the truth. He was so astonished that for a few minutes he could do nothing but sit and stare at that Dandelion. At last he found his tongue. "And all the time," said he, "I have thought there was nothing wonderful about a Dandelion."

"Ignorance, Peter, ignorance," chuckled the Merry Little Breeze. "There is nothing in all the Great World more wonderful than some of the plants that people call common. You think it is wonderful because what you thought a single flower is made up of ever and ever so many tiny flowers. But there are other things just as wonderful about the Dandelion. At night all those little flowers are closed up in a little green house, for the Dandelion opens only after the sun comes up and closes before dark. By and by each one of those little flowers will become a seed on the end of a little feathery stem, and in the place of what you call a flower will be a feathery, little silver ball. Then I will come dancing along and blow, and away will go those little seeds, sailing far across the Green Meadows as if each were carried by a little balloon. It is great fun to blow them this way and that way. From each little seed will spring a new plant, and that is the way the Dandelions are spread. Have you noticed anything strange about that stem?"

"No," said Peter. "It is rather big, but that is all that I see strange about it."

"Well, it is hollow," replied the Merry Little Breeze. "If you should break it off you could blow through it. I suppose you know that the Dandelion got its name because someone imagined that those strange leaves with the notches on them are like a lion's teeth."

Just then Peter remembered the Chickweed. He wondered if that, too, were in bloom. Perhaps the Merry Little Breeze would know. So he asked. You know Peter never hesitates to ask questions.

"Certainly. Of course," replied the Merry Little Breeze. "You probably have seen it a dozen times since the snow left. I must say that for real pluck and bravery I know of no flower to equal the Common Chickweed. I've seen it in bloom in bare sunny spots in the middle of winter. There are some blossoms right over there now."

Peter looked, but at first all he saw was a mass of little plants a few inches high and having smooth little leaves growing in pairs along the stem and shaped something like the ear of a Mouse. Of flowers Peter saw none at all. Once more the Merry Little Breeze told him to look closely. Peter hopped over and put his nose right down to those little plants. Then for the first time he discovered the tiniest of white flowers, so tiny that always he had quite overlooked them. But they were real flowers. Peter counted the petals. There were five. Then he made a discovery. Each tiny white petal was notched so that it looked almost like two. Tiny as it was, it was really a beautiful little flower.

Peter noticed that the plants were branched and spread over the ground. They looked too delicate for cold weather, yet the Merry Little Breeze had told him that even in the middle of winter blossoms of the Chickweed sometimes were to be found. The wonder of it filled Peter's mind as he once more turned towards the dear Old Briar-patch. He had made but a hop or two when he saw another little flower that caused him to stop again with eyes round with surprise.

"Gracious!" exclaimed Peter. "Here is one of those little flowers grown to be a giant."

It is not surprising that he thought so, for the flower at which he was looking, though small, was several times larger than the others, and in form was much like them. But presently Peter noticed that its stem was straighter and the leaves were a darker green and of different shape. Then he knew that this must be a different flower, but he was sure that it must be related to the other.

Peter was right. He had found the Larger Mouse-ear Chickweed, a cousin of the Common Chickweed.

    Plant Nature Study I by Various Plant Nature Study I by Various    

Lesson 3: Peter Makes More Discoveries (Edible Flowers)


Study the lesson for one week.

Over the week:

  • Read the story.
  • Review the synopsis.
  • Recite aloud the vocabulary words and their definitions.
  • Learn the concepts.
  • Complete the enrichment activities.
  • Study the review questions.


After a narrow escape from Reddy Fox, Peter mistakes a Spring Beauty for a Hepatica. Upon closer inspection, Peter learns that the Spring Beauty stem is not hairy and its leaves look like grass blades. Unlike the Hepatica, each flower has green sepals and five petals. The Spring Beauty closes when it is cloudy and moves to face the sunshine. Peter visits the meadow and sees the sunny gold of the Dandelion. A Merry Little Breeze tells Peter the Dandelion is made of dozens and dozens of tiny flowers. Each of the tiny flowers making up a single dandelion head turns into a seed that blows away with the wind to spread new dandelions. The Merry Little Breeze also tells Peter that the Dandelion stem is hollow, and that the Dandelion gets its name due to the sharp-toothed edges of its leaves. Peter also learns the dandelion opens in the day and closes at night. Finally, the Merry Little Breeze shows Peter where to find the Common Chickweed. The Common Chickweed grows a few inches high, has mouse ear-shaped leaves that grow in pairs, and sports tiny white blossoms with five petals. Peter also spots the Larger Mouse-ear Chickweed, which has larger blossoms than the Common Chickweed.


Bramble: Any thorny shrub.
Vein: A stripe or streak of a different color or composition.
Briar: Any of many plants with thorny stems growing in dense clusters.
Meadow: A field or pasture; a piece of land covered or cultivated with grass.
Edible: Able to be eaten without harm.


Edible Flowers:

  1. Edible flowers include Dandelions, Pansies, Roses, Violets, and Lavender.
  2. Dandelions contain beneficial iron, calcium, vitamins, and minerals.
  3. People can eat every part of the Dandelion - stems, roots, leaves, and flowers.
  4. Dandelion flowers can be fried and eaten.
  5. Dandelion stems can be cooked and mixed with pasta.
  6. Dandelion leaves can be used raw in salads or cooked.
  7. Dandelion roots can make Dandelion 'coffee.'
  8. Remind children that they are never to eat any plant or flower without a trusted adult's permission.


Activity 1: Narrate the Story

  • After reading or listening to the story, narrate the story events aloud using your own words.

Activity 2: Study the Dandelion Picture

Study the above picture of the Dandelion and find the following:

  • Blossom
  • Stem
  • Root
  • Leaf
  • Something used to make tea
  • Something eaten raw in salads
  • Something that exudes a milky white sap
  • Something that turns into seeds
  • Something that opens during the day and closes at night
  • Something pointed like a lion's teeth

Activity 3: Take a Nature Walk, Visit a Flower Shop, or Research Online - Dandelion Hunt

Embark upon a nature walk and locate the following:

  • Golden Dandelion Head
  • Dandelion Seed Head
  • Dandelion Sap
  • Dandelion Hollow Stem
  • Dandelion Sharp-Toothed Leaves

Make observations and gather data.

Use the gathered information to create the field book entry.

Activity 4: Complete a Field Book Entry   

After your nature walk, complete page 6 in 'Science Field Book for Third Grade.'


Question 1

Describe how the Spring Beauty moves.
1 / 5

Answer 1

The Spring Beauty closes when it is cloudy and moves to face the sunshine.
1 / 5

Question 2

Is a Dandelion head made of one flower or many flowers?
2 / 5

Answer 2

A Dandelion head is made of many flowers.
2 / 5

Question 3

Describe the stem of the Dandelion.
3 / 5

Answer 3

The stem of the Dandelion is hollow and when cut oozes a milky sap.
3 / 5

Question 4

Why is the Dandelion named after a lion?
4 / 5

Answer 4

The Dandelion has sharp-toothed edges on its leaves, like lion teeth.
4 / 5

Question 5

Can people eat Dandelions?
5 / 5

Answer 5

Yes, people can eat Dandelions.
5 / 5

  1. Describe how the Spring Beauty moves. The Spring Beauty closes when it is cloudy and moves to face the sunshine.
  2. Is a Dandelion head made of one flower or many flowers? A Dandelion head is made of many flowers.
  3. Describe the stem of the Dandelion. The stem of the Dandelion is hollow and when cut oozes a milky sap.
  4. Why is the Dandelion named after a lion? The Dandelion has sharp-toothed edges on its leaves, like lion teeth.
  5. Can people eat Dandelions? Yes, people can eat Dandelions.


  1. Burgess, Thornton. Burgess Flower Book for Children. Ithaca, Boston, Massachusetts. Little, Brown, and Company, 1923.
  2. Comstock, Anna Botsford. Handbook of nature-study (Twenty-fourth edition). Ithaca, New York Comstock Publishing Company, Inc, 1911.
  3. 'Taraxacum.' Wikipedia. n.p.