by learningtheflowers


“But the prairie had two strings to its bow. Fires thinned its grasses, but they thickened its stand of leguminous herbs; prairie clover, bush clover, wild bean, vetch, lead-plant, trefoil, and Baptista, each carrying its own bacteria house in nodules on its rootlets. Each nodule pumped nitrogen out of the air into the plant, and then ultimately into the soil. This the prairie savings bank took in more nitrogen from its legumes than it paid out to its fires. That the prairie is rich in known to the humblest deermouse; why the prairie is rich is a question seldom asked in all the still lapse of ages.”

Aldo Leopold, “Odyssey”, A Sand County Almanac