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Purple Finch ~ Carpodacus purpureus
Not purple at all, the male Purple Finch looks like a large-billed sparrow with a glowing red head. The brownish female is boldly streaked and wears white facial stripes. These small, conical-billed birds are usually most abundant at New England feeding stations in spring, when the red maples are in bloom. Thoreau, who scattered crumbs for these birds at Walden Pond, loved to hear the Purple Finch's rich strains of music and their sharp call note. "The hearing of this note," he wrote, "implies great improvement in the acoustics of the air."
Lilac ~ Syringa vulgaris
If sentiment alone determined the most popular flowering shrub, it might well be the Lilac. There is hardly a person whose memory is not stirred by it, and its scent is one of the most familiar of all perfumes associated with flowers. Lilac flowers grow in panicles, the botanical name for their pyramid-shaped clusters. The panicles grow at the end of the small branches of a shrub or small tree which may reach twenty feet in height. In the spring, Lilac bushes are laden with fragrant clusters of flowers which vary in size. They prefer a rich soil but are strong enough to survive almost anywhere.
From The Wildflowers of the 50 States U.S. stamps issued July 24, 1992:
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