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Title: How to Know the Ferns - A Guide to the Names, Haunts and Habitats of Our Common Ferns
Author: Parsons, Frances Theodora
Language: English
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HOW TO KNOW THE FERNS


[Illustration: "The cheerful community of the polypody."]



How to Know the Ferns


A GUIDE

TO THE NAMES, HAUNTS, AND HABITS OF
OUR COMMON FERNS


By
Frances Theodora Parsons
_Author of "How to Know the Wild Flowers,"
"According to Season," etc._


Illustrated by
Marion Satterlee and Alice Josephine Smith


NEW YORK
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
1915



_Copyright, 1899, by
Charles Scribner's Sons_

[Illustration]



TO

J. R. P.



      "_If it were required to know the position of the
      fruit-dots or the character of the indusium, nothing could
      be easier than to ascertain it; but if it is required that
      you be affected by ferns, that they amount to anything,
      signify anything to you, that they be another sacred
      scripture and revelation to you, helping to redeem your
      life, this end is not so easily accomplished._"

            --THOREAU



PREFACE


Since the publication, six years ago, of "How to Know the Wild
Flowers," I have received such convincing testimony of the eagerness
of nature-lovers of all ages and conditions to familiarize themselves
with the inhabitants of our woods and fields, and so many assurances
of the joy which such a familiarity affords, that I have prepared this
companion volume on "How to Know the Ferns." It has been my experience
that the world of delight which opens before us when we are admitted
into some sort of intimacy with our companions other than human is
enlarged with each new society into which we win our way.

It seems strange that the abundance of ferns everywhere has not
aroused more curiosity as to their names, haunts, and habits. Add to
this abundance the incentive to their study afforded by the fact that
owing to the comparatively small number of species we can familiarize
ourselves with a large proportion of our native ferns during a single
summer, and it is still more surprising that so few efforts have been
made to bring them within easy reach of the public.

I wish to acknowledge my indebtedness to the many books on our native
ferns which I have consulted, but more especially to Gray's "Manual,"
to Eaton's "Ferns of North America," to the "Illustrated Flora" of
Messrs. Britton and Brown, to Mr. Underwood's "Our Native Ferns," to
Mr. Williamson's "Ferns of Kentucky," to Mr. Dodge's "Ferns and Fern
Allies of New England," and to that excellent little quarterly, which
I recommend heartily to all fern-lovers, the "Fern Bulletin," edited
by Mr. Willard Clute, of Binghamton, N. Y.

To the State Botanist, Dr. Charles H. Peck, who has kindly read the
proof-sheets of this book, I am indebted for many suggestions; also to
Mr. Arthur G. Clement, of the University of the State of New York.

To Miss Marion Satterlee thanks are due not only for many suggestions,
but also for the descriptions of the Woodwardias.

The pen-and-ink illustrations are all from original drawings by Miss
Satterlee and Miss Alice Josephine Smith. The photographs have
been furnished by Miss Murray Ledyard, Miss Madeline Smith, and Mr.
Augustus Pruyn.

In almost all cases I have followed the nomenclature of Gray's
"Manual" as being the one which would be familiar to the majority of
my readers, giving in parentheses that used in the "Illustrated Flora"
of Messrs. Britton and Brown.

FRANCES THEODORA PARSONS

ALBANY, March 6, 1899



      "_The more thou learnest to know and to enjoy, the more
      full and complete will be for thee the delight of living._"



CONTENTS


                                                               _Page_

_Preface_                                                          v

_Ferns as a Hobby_                                                _1_

_When and Where to Find Ferns_                                   _15_

_Explanation of Terms_                                           _28_

_Fertilization, Development, and Fructification of Ferns_        _32_

_Notable Fern Families_                                          _36_

_How to Use the Book_                                            _38_

_Guide_                                                          _40_

_Fern Descriptions:_

    _Group I_                                                    _54_

    _Group II_                                                   _67_

    _Group III_                                                  _87_

    _Group IV_                                                  _105_

    _Group V_                                                   _120_

    _Group VI_                                                  _159_

_Index to Latin Names_                                          _211_

_Index to English Names_                                        _213_

_Index to Technical Terms_                                      _215_



LIST OF PLATES


⁂ _The actual sizes of ferns are not given in the
illustrations. For this information see the corresponding description._

PLATE                                                             PAGE

     I. SENSITIVE FERN,            _Onoclea sensibilis_,            57

    II. OSTRICH FERN,              _Onoclea Struthiopteris_,        59

   III. CINNAMON FERN,             _Osmunda cinnamomea_,            61

    IV. CURLY GRASS,               _Schizæa pusilla_,               65

     V. ROYAL FERN,                _Osmunda regalis_,               69

    VI. INTERRUPTED FERN,          _Osmunda Claytoniana_,           73

   VII. ADDER'S TONGUE,            _Ophioglossum vulgatum_,         79

  VIII. TERNATE GRAPE FERN,        _Botrychium ternatum_,           83

    IX. MOONWORT,                  _Botrychium Lunaria_,            85
        LANCE-LEAVED GRAPE FERN,   _Botrychium lanceolatum_,        85

     X. PURPLE CLIFF BRAKE,        _Pellæa atropurpurea_,           91

    XI. NARROW-LEAVED SPLEENWORT,  _Asplenium angustifolium_,       99

   XII. NET-VEINED CHAIN FERN,     _Woodwardia angustifolia_,      103

  XIII. HAIRY LIP FERN,            _Cheilanthes vestita_,          113

   XIV. HAY-SCENTED FERN,          _Dicksonia pilosiuscula_,       115

    XV. LADY FERN,                 _Asplenium Filix-fœmina_,       121

   XVI. SILVERY SPLEENWORT,        _Asplenium thelypteroides_,     125

  XVII. RUE SPLEENWORT,            _Asplenium Ruta-muraria_        127

 XVIII. MOUNTAIN SPLEENWORT,       _Asplenium montanum_,           131

   XIX. EBONY SPLEENWORT,          _Asplenium ebeneum_,            135

    XX. GREEN SPLEENWORT,          _Asplenium viride_,             139

   XXI. SCOTT'S SPLEENWORT,        _Asplenium ebenoides_,          141

  XXII. PINNATIFID SPLEENWORT,     _Asplenium pinnatifidum_,       143

 XXIII. BRADLEY'S SPLEENWORT,      _Asplenium Bradleyi_,           145

  XXIV. VIRGINIA CHAIN FERN,       _Woodwardia Virginica_,         157

   XXV. NEW YORK FERN,             _Aspidium Noveboracense_,       161

  XXVI. MARSH FERN,                _Aspidium Thelypteris_,         163

 XXVII. SPINULOSE WOOD FERN,       _Aspidium spinulosum_, _var.
                                       intermedium_,               165

XXVIII. BOOTT'S SHIELD FERN,       _Aspidium Boottii_,             167

  XXIX. CRESTED SHIELD FERN,       _Aspidium cristatum_,           169

   XXX. CLINTON'S WOOD FERN,       _Aspidium cristatum_, _var.
                                       Clintonianum_,              171

  XXXI. GOLDIE'S FERN,             _Aspidium Goldianum_,           173

 XXXII. EVERGREEN WOOD FERN,       _Aspidium marginale_,           175

XXXIII. FRAGRANT SHIELD FERN,      _Aspidium fragrans_,            179

 XXXIV. BRAUN'S HOLLY FERN,        _Aspidium aculeatum_, _var.
                                       Braunii_,                   183

  XXXV. BROAD BEECH FERN,          _Phegopteris hexagonoptera_,    189

 XXXVI. OAK FERN,                  _Phegopteris Dryopteris_,       191

XXXVII. BULBLET BLADDER FERN,      _Cystopteris bulbifera_,        195

XXXVIII. FRAGILE BLADDER FERN,     _Cystopteris fragilis_,         197

 XXXIX. RUSTY WOODSIA,             _Woodsia Ilvensis_,             199

    XL. BLUNT-LOBED WOODSIA,       _Woodsia obtusa_,               201

   XLI. NORTHERN WOODSIA,          _Woodsia hyperborea_,           205

  XLII. SMOOTH WOODSIA,            _Woodsia glabella_,             207



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


"_The cheerful community of the polypody_"              _Frontispiece_
    _From a photograph by Miss Madeline Smith._

                                                                _Page_

_New York Fern_                                                   xvi

_"The greatest charm the ferns possess is that
  of their surroundings"_                                         _12_
    _From a photograph by Mr. Augustus Pruyn._

_Fiddleheads_                                                     _18_

_Fragile Bladder Fern_                                            _19_

_Crested Shield Fern_                                             _20_

_Purple Cliff Brake_                                              _22_

_Ternate Grape Fern_                                              _24_

_Evergreen Wood Fern_                                             _27_

_Sensitive Fern_                                                  _55_

_Cinnamon Fern_                                                   _60_

_Royal Fern_                                                      _68_

_Interrupted Fern_                                                _74_

_Climbing Fern_                                                   _75_

_Rattlesnake Fern_                                                _80_

_Slender Cliff Brake_                                             _89_

"_The unpromising wall of rock which rose beside us_"             _94_
    _From a photograph by Miss Ledyard._

_More compound frond of Purple Cliff Brake_                       _95_

_Christmas Fern_                                                  _97_

_Narrow-leaved Spleenwort_                                        _98_

_Brake_                                                          _106_

_Maidenhair_                                                     _110_

_Mountain Spleenwort_                                            _130_

_Mountain Spleenwort_                                            _132_

"_In the shaded crevices of a cliff_"                            _132_
    _From a photograph by Miss Madeline Smith._

_Maidenhair Spleenwort_                                          _137_

_Walking Leaf_                                                   _146_

"_We fairly gloated over the quaint little plants_"              _148_
    _From a photograph by Miss Ledyard._

_Hart's Tongue_                                                  _151_

_Marsh Fern_                                                     _162_

"_Like the plumes of departing Summer_"                          _178_
    _From a photograph by Miss Madeline Smith._

_Common Polypody_                                                _184_

_Long Beech Fern_                                                _187_

_Oak Fern_                                                       _191_

_Bulblet Bladder Fern_                                           _194_



How to Know the Ferns


[Illustration: New York Fern]



FERNS AS A HOBBY


I think it is Charles Lamb who says that every man should have a
hobby, if it be nothing better than collecting strings. A man with
a hobby turns to account the spare moments. A holiday is a delight
instead of a bore to a man with a hobby. Thrown out of his usual
occupations on a holiday, the average man is at a loss for employment.
Provided his neighbors are in the same fix, he can play cards. But
there are hobbies and hobbies. As an occasional relaxation, for
example, nothing can be said against card-playing. But as a hobby
it is not much better than "collecting strings." It is neither
broadening mentally nor invigorating physically, and it closes the
door upon other interests which are both. I remember that once, on a
long sea-voyage, I envied certain of my fellow-passengers who found
amusement in cards when the conditions were such as to make almost
any other occupation out of the question. But when finally the ship's
course lay along a strange coast, winding among unfamiliar islands,
by shores luxuriant with tropical vegetation and sprinkled with
strange settlements, all affording delight to the eye and interest
to the mind, these players who had come abroad solely for instruction
and pleasure could not be enticed from their tables, and I thanked
my stars that I had not fallen under the stultifying sway of cards.
Much the same gratitude is aroused when I see men and women spending
precious summer days indoors over the card-table when they might be
breathing the fragrant, life-giving air, and rejoicing in the beauty
and interest of the woods and fields.

All things considered, a hobby that takes us out of doors is the best.
The different open-air sports may be classed under this head. The
chief lack in the artificial sports, such as polo, golf, baseball,
etc., as opposed to the natural sports, hunting and fishing, is that
while they are invaluable as a means of health and relaxation, they
do not lead to other and broader interests, while many a boy-hunter
has developed into a naturalist as a result of long days in the woods.
Hunting and fishing would seem almost perfect recreations were it not
for the life-taking element, which may become brutalizing. I wish
that every mother who believes in the value of natural sport for her
young boys would set her face sternly against any taking of life that
cannot be justified on the ground of man's needs, either in the way of
protection or support.

The ideal hobby, it seems to me, is one that keeps us in the open air
among inspiring surroundings, with the knowledge of natural objects
as the end in view. The study of plants, of animals, of the earth
itself, botany, zoölogy, or geology, any one of these will answer the
varied requirements of an ideal hobby. Potentially they possess all
the elements of sport. Often they require not only perseverance and
skill but courage and daring. They are a means of health, a relaxation
to the mind from ordinary cares, and an absorbing interest. Any one of
them may be used as a doorway to the others.

If parents realized the value to their childrens' minds and bodies
of a love for plants and animals, of any such hobby as birds or
butterflies or trees or flowers, I am sure they would take more pains
to encourage the interest which instinctively a child feels in these
things. It must be because such realization is lacking that we see
parents apparently either too indolent or too ignorant to share the
enthusiasm and to satisfy the curiosity awakened in the child's active
mind by natural objects.

Of course it is possible that owing to the strange reticence of
many children, parents may be unconscious of the existence of any
enthusiasm or curiosity of this sort. As a little child I was so
eager to know the names of the wild flowers that I went through my
grandfather's library, examining book after book on flowers in the
vain hope of acquiring the desired information. Always after more or
less tedious reading, for I was too young to master tables of contents
and introductions, I would discover that the volume under examination
was devoted to garden flowers. But I do not remember that it occurred
to me to tell anyone what I wanted or to ask for help. Finally I
learned that a book on the subject, written "for young people," was
in existence, and I asked my mother to buy it for me. The request
was gratified promptly and I plodded through the preliminary matter
of "How Plants Grow" to find that I was quite unable to master the
key, and that any knowledge of the flowers that could appeal to my
child-mind was locked away from me as hopelessly as before. Even
though my one expressed wish had been so gladly met, I did not confide
to others my perplexity, but surrendered sadly a cherished dream.
Owing largely, I believe, to the reaction from this disappointment, it
was many years before I attempted again to wrestle with a botanical
key, or to learn the names of the flowers.

How much was lost by yielding too easily to discouragement I not only
realize now, but I realized it partially during the long period when
the plants were nameless. Among the flowers whose faces were familiar
though their names were unknown, I felt that I was not making the
most of my opportunities. And when I met plants which were both new
and nameless, I was a stranger indeed. In the English woods and along
the lovely English rivers, by the rushing torrents and in the Alpine
meadows of Switzerland, on the mountains of Brazil, I should have felt
myself less an alien had I been able then as now to detect the kinship
between foreign and North American plants, and to call the strangers
by names that were at least partially familiar.

To the man or woman who is somewhat at home in the plant-world,
travel is quite a different thing from what it is to one who does not
know a mint from a mustard. The shortest journey to a new locality
is full of interest to the traveller who is striving to lengthen his
list of plant acquaintances. The tedious waits around the railway
station are welcomed as opportunities for fresh discoveries. The slow
local train receives blessings instead of anathemas because of the
superiority of its windows as posts of observation. The long stage
ride is too short to satisfy the plant-lover who is keeping count of
the different species by the roadside.

While crossing the continent on the Canadian Pacific Railway a few
years ago, the days spent in traversing the vast plains east of the
Rockies were days of keen enjoyment on account of the new plants seen
from my window and gathered breathlessly for identification during
the brief stops. But to most of my fellow-passengers they were days
of unmitigated boredom. They could not comprehend the reluctance with
which I met each nightfall as an interruption to my watch.

When, finally, one cold June morning we climbed the glorious Canadian
Rockies and were driven to the hotel at Banff, where we were to rest
for twenty-four hours, the enjoyment of the previous week was crowned
by seeing the dining-room tables decorated with a flower which I had
never succeeded in finding in the woods at home. It was the lovely
little orchid, _Calypso borealis_, a shy, wild creature which had
been brought to me from the mountains of Vermont. It seemed almost
desecration to force this little aristocrat to consort with the
pepper-pots and pickles of a hotel dining-room. In my eagerness to see
Calypso in her forest-home I could scarcely wait to eat the breakfast
for which a few moments before I had been painfully hungry.

Unfortunately the waiters at Banff were proved as ruthless as vandals
in other parts of the world. Among the pines that clothed the lower
mountain-sides I found many plants of Calypso, but only one or two of
the delicate blossoms had been left to gladden the eyes of those who
love to see a flower in the wild beauty of its natural surroundings.

That same eventful day had in store for me another delight as the
result of my love for plants. For a long time I had wished to know the
shooting-star, a flower with whose general appearance from pictures or
from descriptions I was familiar. I knew that it grew in this part of
the world, but during a careful search of the woods and meadows and of
the banks of the rushing streams the only shooting-star I discovered
was a faded blossom which someone had picked and flung upon the
mountain-path. Late in the afternoon, having given up the hope of any
fresh find, I went for a swim in the warm sulphur pool. While paddling
about the clear water, revelling in the beauty of the surroundings
and the sheer physical joy of the moment, my eyes fell suddenly on a
cluster of pink, cyclamen-like blossoms springing from the opposite
rocks. I recognized at once the pretty shooting-star.

Two days later, at Glacier, I had another pleasure from the same
source in the discovery of great beds of nodding golden lilies, the
western species of adder's tongue, growing close to white fields of
snow.

      "Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
      Tossing their heads in sprightly dance."

The enjoyment of the entire trip to the Pacific coast, of the voyage
among the islands and glaciers of Alaska, and of the journey home
through the Yellowstone and across our Western prairies, was increased
indescribably by the new plants I learned to know.

The pleasure we take in literature, as in travel, is enhanced by a
knowledge of nature. Not only are we able better to appreciate writers
on nature so original and inspiring as Thoreau, or so charming as John
Burroughs, but such nature-loving poets as Wordsworth, Lowell, Bryant,
and countless others, mean infinitely more to the man or woman who
with a love of poetry combines a knowledge of the plants and birds
mentioned in the poems.

Books of travel are usually far more interesting if we have some
knowledge of botany and zoölogy. This is also true of biographies
which deal with men or women who find either their work or their
recreation--and how many men and women who have been powers for good
may be counted in one class or the other--in some department of
natural science.

One fascinating department of nature-study, that of ferns, has
received but little attention in this country. Within the last few
years we have been supplied with excellent and inexpensive hand-books
to our birds, butterflies, trees, and flowers. But so far as I know,
with the exception of Mr. Williamson's little volume on the "Ferns
of Kentucky," we have no book with sufficient text and illustrations
within the reach of the brains and purse of the average fern-lover. In
England one finds books of all sizes and prices on the English ferns,
while our beautiful American ferns are almost unknown, owing probably
to the lack of attractive and inexpensive fern literature. Eaton's
finely illustrated work on the "Ferns of North America" is entirely
out of the question on account of its expense; and the "Illustrated
Flora" of Britton & Brown is also beyond the reach of the ordinary
plant-lover. Miss Price's "Fern Collectors' Hand-book" is helpful, but
it is without descriptive text. "Our Native Ferns and their Allies,"
by Mr. Underwood, is exhaustive and authoritative, but it is extremely
technical and the different species are not illustrated. Mr. Dodge's
pamphlet on the "Ferns and Fern Allies of New England" is excellent so
far as it goes, the descriptions not being so technical as to confuse
the beginner. But this also is not illustrated, while Mr. Knobel's
pamphlet, "The Ferns and Evergreens of New England," has clear
black-and-white illustrations of many species, but it has no text of
importance.

In view of the singular grace and charm of the fern tribe, patent
to the most careless observer, this lack of fern literature is
surprising. It is possible that Thoreau is right in claiming that
"we all feel the ferns to be farther from us essentially and
sympathetically than the phenogamous plants, the roses and weeds for
instance." This may be true in spite of the fact that to some of us
the charm of ferns is as great, their beauty more subtle, than that
of the flowering plants, and to learn to know them by name, to trace
them to their homes, and to observe their habits is attended with an
interest as keen, perhaps keener, than that which attends the study of
the names, haunts, and habits of the flowers.

That ferns possess a peculiar power of blinding their votaries to the
actual position they occupy in the minds of people in general seems to
me evidenced by the following quotations, taken respectively from Mr.
Underwood's and Mr. Williamson's introductions.

So competent and coldly scientific an authority as Mr. Underwood opens
his book with these words:

      "In the entire vegetable world there are probably no forms
      of growth that attract more general notice than the Ferns."

The lack of fern literature, it seems to me, proves the fallacy of
this statement. If ferns had been more generally noticed than other
"forms of growth" in the vegetable world, surely more would have been
written on the subject, and occasionally someone besides a botanist
would be found who could name correctly more than three or four of
our common wayside ferns.

In his introduction to the "Ferns of Kentucky," Mr. Williamson asks:
"Who would now think of going to the country to spend a few days, or
even one day, without first inquiring whether ferns are to be found in
the locality?"

Though for some years I have been interested in ferns and have
made many all-day country expeditions with various friends, I do
not remember ever to have heard this question asked. Yet that two
such writers as Mr. Underwood and Mr. Williamson could imagine the
existence of a state of things so contrary to fact, goes far to prove
the fascination of the study.

To the practical mind one of the great advantages of ferns as a hobby
lies in the fact that the number of our native, that is, of our
northeastern, ferns is so comparatively small as to make it an easy
matter to learn to know by name and to see in their homes perhaps
two-thirds of them.

On an ordinary walk of an hour or two through the fields and woods,
the would-be fern student can familiarize himself with anywhere from
ten to fifteen of the ferns described in this book. During a summer
holiday in an average locality he should learn to know by sight and
by name from twenty-five to thirty ferns, while in a really good
neighborhood the enthusiast who is willing to scour the surrounding
country from the tops of the highest mountains to the depths of the
wildest ravines may hope to extend his list into the forties.

During the past year several lists of the ferns found on a single walk
or within a certain radius have been published in the _Fern Bulletin_,
leading to some rivalry between fern students who claim precedence for
their pet localities.

Mr. Underwood has found twenty-seven species within the immediate
vicinity of Green Lake, Onondaga County, N. Y., and thirty-four
species within a circle whose diameter is not over three miles.

Mrs. E. H. Terry, on a two-hours' walk near Dorset, Vt., did still
better. She found thirty-three species and four varieties, while Miss
Margaret Slosson has broken the record by finding thirty-nine species
and eight varieties, near Pittsford, Rutland County, Vt., within a
triangle formed by "the end of a tamarack swamp, a field less than a
mile away, and some limestone cliffs three miles from both the field
and the end of the swamp."

Apart from the interest of extending one's list of fern acquaintances
is that of discovering new stations for the rarer species. It was
my good fortune last summer to make one of a party which found a
previously unknown station for the rare Hart's Tongue, and I felt
the thrill of excitement which attends such an experience. The other
day, in looking over Torrey's "Flora of New York," I noticed the
absence of several ferns now known to be natives of this State. When
the fern student realizes the possibility which is always before him
of finding a new station for a rare fern, and thus adding an item of
value to the natural history of the State, he should be stimulated to
fresh zeal.

Other interesting possibilities are those of discovering a new variety
and of chancing upon those forked or crested fronds which appear
occasionally in many species. These unusual forms not only possess
the charm of rarity and sometimes of intrinsic beauty, but they are
interesting because of the light it is believed they may throw on
problems of fern ancestry. To this department of fern study, the
discovery and development of abnormal forms, much attention is paid
in England. In Lowe's "British Ferns" I find described between thirty
and forty varieties of _Polypodium vulgare_, while the varieties of
_Scolopendrium vulgare_, our rare Hart's Tongue, extend into the
hundreds.

The majority of ferns mature late in the summer, giving the student
the advantage of several weeks or months in which to observe their
growth. Many of our most interesting flowers bloom and perish before
we realize that the spring is really over. There are few flower lovers
who have not had the sense of being outwitted by the rush of the
season. Every year I make appointments with the different plants to
visit them at their flowering time, and nearly every year I miss some
such appointments through failure to appreciate the short lives of
these fragile blossoms.

A few of the ferns share the early habits common to so many flowers.
But usually we can hope to find them in their prime when most of
the flowers have disappeared.

[Illustration: "The greatest charm the ferns possess is that of their
surroundings."]

To me the greatest charm the ferns possess is that of their
surroundings. No other plants know so well how to choose their haunts.
If you wish to know the ferns you must follow them to Nature's most
sacred retreats. In remote, tangled swamps, overhanging the swift,
noiseless brook in the heart of the forest, close to the rush of the
foaming waterfall, in the depths of some dark ravine, or perhaps high
up on mountain-ledges, where the air is purer and the world wider and
life more beautiful than we had fancied, these wild, graceful things
are most at home.

You will never learn to know the ferns if you expect to make their
acquaintance from a carriage, along the highway, or in the interval
between two meals. For their sakes you must renounce indolent habits.
You must be willing to tramp tirelessly through woods and across
fields, to climb mountains and to scramble down gorges. You must be
content with what luncheon you can carry in your pocket. And let
me tell you this. When at last you fling yourself upon some bed of
springing moss, and add to your sandwich cresses fresh and dripping
from the neighboring brook, you will eat your simple meal with a
relish that never attends the most elaborate luncheon within four
walls. And when later you surrender yourself to the delicious sense of
fatigue and drowsy relaxation which steals over you, mind and body,
listening half-unconsciously to the plaintive, long-drawn notes of
the wood-birds and the sharp "tsing" of the locusts, breathing the
mingled fragrance of the mint at your feet and the pines and hemlocks
overhead, you will wonder vaguely why on summer days you ever drive
along the dusty high-road or eat indoors or do any of the flavorless
conventional things that consume so large a portion of our lives.

Of course what is true of other out-door studies is true of the study
of ferns. Constantly your curiosity is aroused by some bird-note, some
tree, some gorgeously colored butterfly, and, in the case of ferns
especially, by some outcropping rock, which make you eager to follow
up other branches of nature-study, and to know by name each tree and
bird and butterfly and rock you meet.

The immediate result of these long happy days is that "golden doze
of mind which follows upon much exercise in the open air," the
"ecstatic stupor" which Stevenson supposes to be the nearly chronic
condition of "open-air laborers." Surely there is no such preventive
of insomnia, no such cure for nervousness or morbid introspection as
an absorbing out-door interest. Body and mind alike are invigorated to
a degree that cannot be appreciated by one who has not experienced the
life-giving power of some such close and loving contact with nature.



WHEN AND WHERE TO FIND FERNS


      "It is no use to direct our steps to the woods if they do
      not carry us thither. I am alarmed when it happens that I
      have walked a mile into the woods bodily, without getting
      there in spirit."--_Thoreau_



WHEN AND WHERE TO FIND FERNS


It is in early spring that one likes to take up for the first time
an out-door study. But if you begin your search for ferns in March,
when the woods are yielding a few timid blossoms, and the air, still
pungent with a suggestion of winter, vibrates to the lisping notes of
newly arrived birds, you will hardly be rewarded by finding any but
the evergreen species, and even these are not likely to be especially
conspicuous at this season.

Usually it is the latter part of April before the pioneers among
the ferns, the great Osmundas, push up the big, woolly croziers, or
fiddleheads, which will soon develop into the most luxuriant and
tropical-looking plants of our low wet woods and roadsides.

At about the same time, down among last year's Christmas Ferns, you
find the rolled-up fronds of this year, covered with brown or whitish
scales. And now every day for many weeks will appear fresh batches of
young ferns. Someone has said that there is nothing more aggressively
new-born than a young fern, and this thought will recur constantly as
you chance upon the little wrinkled crozier-like fronds, whether they
are bundled up in wrappings of soft wool or protected by a garment of
overlapping scales, or whether, like many of the later arrivals, they
come into the world as naked and puny as a human baby.

[Illustration: Fiddleheads]

Once uncurled, the ferns lose quickly this look of infancy, and
embody, quite as effectively, even the hardiest and coarsest among
them, the slender grace of youth. Early in May we find the Osmundas in
this stage of their development. The Royal Fern, smooth and delicate,
is now flushing the wet meadows with its tender red. In the open woods
and along the roadside the Interrupted and the Cinnamon Ferns wear a
green equally delicate. These three plants soon reach maturity and
are conspicuous by reason of their unusual size and their flower-like
fruit-clusters.

On the rocky banks of the brook, or perhaps among the spreading roots
of some forest-tree, the Fragile Bladder Fern unrolls its tremulous
little fronds, on which the fruit-dots soon appear. Where there is
less moisture and more exposure we may find the Rusty Woodsia, now
belying its name by its silvery aspect. At this same season in the
bogs and thickets we should look for the curious little Adder's Tongue.

[Illustration: Fragile Bladder Fern]

By the first of June many of the ferns are well advanced. On the
hill-sides and along the wood-path the Brake spreads its single
umbrella-like frond, now pale green and delicate, quite unlike the
umbrageous-looking plant of a month later. Withdrawing into the
recesses formed by the pasture-rails the Lady Fern is in its first
freshness, without any sign of the disfigurements it develops so often
by the close of the summer. Great patches of yellowish green in the
wet meadows draw attention to the Sensitive Fern, which only at this
season seems to have any claim to its title. The Virginia Chain Fern
is another plant to be looked for in the wet June meadows. It is one
of the few ferns which grows occasionally in deep water.

The Maidenhair, though immature, is lovely in its fragility. Thoreau
met with it on June 13th and describes it in his diary for that day:
"The delicate maiden-hair fern forms a cup or dish, very delicate and
graceful. Beautiful, too, its glossy black stem and its wave-edged,
fruited leaflets."

In the crevices of lofty cliffs the Mountain Spleenwort approaches
maturity. And now we should search the moist, mossy crannies of the
rocks for the Slender Cliff Brake, for in some localities this plant
disappears early in the summer.

[Illustration: Crested Shield Fern]

We may hope to find most of the ferns in full foliage, if not in
fruit, by the middle of July. Dark green, tall and vigorous stand the
Brakes. The Crested Shield Fern is fruiting in the swamps, and in
the deeper woods Clinton's and Goldie's Ferns are in full fruitage.
Magnificent vase-like clusters of the Ostrich Fern spread above our
heads in the thicket along the river-shore. The Spinulose Shield Fern
and the Evergreen Wood Fern meet us at every turn of the shaded path
beside the brook, and on the rocky wooded hill-side the Christmas
Fern is almost as abundant. Where the stream plunges from above, the
Bulblet Bladder Fern drapes the steep banks with its long feathery
fronds. In the wet meadows and thickets the New York Fern and the
Marsh Shield Fern are noticeable on account of their light green
color and delicate texture. On mountain-ledges we look for the little
Woodsias, and in rocky places, often in the shadow of red cedars, for
the slim erect fronds of the Ebony Spleenwort.

Possibly it will be our good fortune to discover the blue-green
foliage of the Purple Cliff Brake springing from the crevices of some
dry limestone cliff. Almost surely, if we search the moist, shaded
rocks and ravines in the neighborhood, we shall greet with unfailing
pleasure the lovely little Maidenhair Spleenwort.

In somewhat southern localities the tapering, yellow-green fronds
of the _Dicksonia_ or Hay-scented Fern are even more abundant and
conspicuous than the darker foliage of the Spinulose Shield Fern. They
abound along the roadsides and in partially shaded or open pastures,
the spores ripening not earlier than August.

In the same month we find in full maturity three interesting wood
ferns, all belonging to the same group. The first of these is the
Long Beech Fern. It is abundant in many of our northern woods and
on the rocky banks of streams. Its shape is noticeably triangular,
the triangle being longer than broad. Its texture is rather soft and
downy. The lowest pair of pinnæ stand forward and are conspicuously
deflexed, giving an easy clew to the plant's identity.

[Illustration: Purple Cliff Brake]

The most attractive member of the group to my mind is the Oak Fern.
I find it growing abundantly in the cedar swamps and wet woods of
somewhat northern localities. Its delicate, spreading, three-branched
frond suggests that of a young Brake. This plant is peculiarly dainty
in the early summer, as frequently later in the year it becomes
blotched and disfigured.

The Broad Beech Fern seeks drier neighborhoods, and often a more
southern locality than its two kinsmen. Its triangular fronds, broader
than they are long, are conspicuous on account of the unusual size of
the lowest pair of pinnæ.

A common plant in the rich August woods is the Virginia Grape Fern,
with its spreading leaf and branching fruit-cluster. The rather
coarsely cut fronds of the Silvery Spleenwort are also frequently met
with in the same neighborhood. Occasionally in their companionship we
find the delicate and attractive Narrow-leaved Spleenwort.

August is the month that should be chosen for expeditions in search
of some of our rarest ferns. In certain wild ravines of Central New
York, at the foot of shaded limestone cliffs, the glossy leaves of the
Hart's Tongue are actually weighed down by the brown, velvety rows of
sporangia which emboss their lower surfaces. Over the rocks near-by,
the quaint, though less unusual, Walking Leaf runs riot. Perhaps in
the crevices of the overhanging cliff the little Rue Spleenwort has
secured a foothold for its tiny fronds, their backs nearly covered
with confluent fruit-dots.

On the mountain-ledges of Northern New England we should look for
the Green Spleenwort, and for the Fragrant Shield Fern. Along rocky
mountain-streams Braun's Holly Fern may be found. In wet woods,
usually near the coast, the Net-veined Chain Fern is occasionally
conspicuous.

More southern localities must be visited if we wish to see in its
home the Hairy Lip Fern, whose most northern stations were on the
Hudson River (for I do not know if this plant can be found there at
present), and such rare Spleenworts as the Pinnatifid, Scott's and
Bradley's.

[Illustration: Ternate Grape Fern]

In September the fruit-clusters of the little Curly Grass ripen in the
low pine barrens of New Jersey. Over moist thickets, in rarely favored
retreats from Massachusetts southward, clamber the slender strands of
the Climbing Fern. Thoreau's diary of September 26th evidently refers
to this plant: "The tree-fern is in fruit now, with its delicate,
tendril-like fruit, climbing three or four feet over the asters,
golden-rod, etc., on the edge of the swamp."

In moist places now we find the triangular much dissected leaf and
branching fruit-cluster of the Ternate Grape Fern.

When October sets in, many of the ferns take their color-note from the
surroundings. Vying with the maples along the roadside the Osmundas
wear deep orange. Many of the fronds of the _Dicksonia_ are bleached
almost white, while others look fresh and green despite their delicate
texture. On October 4th Thoreau writes of this plant:

      "How interesting now, by wall-sides and on open springy
      hill-sides, the large straggling tufts of the Dicksonia
      fern above the leaf-strewn green sward, the cold,
      fall-green sward! They are unusually preserved about the
      Corner Spring, considering the earliness of this year.
      Long, handsome, lanceolate green fronds pointing in every
      direction, recurved and full of fruit, intermixed with
      yellowish and sere brown and shrivelled ones, the whole
      clump perchance strewn with fallen and withered maple
      leaves, and overtopped by now withered and unnoticed
      osmundas. Their lingering greenness is so much the more
      noticeable now that the leaves generally have changed. They
      affect us as if they were evergreen, such persistent life
      and greenness in the midst of decay. No matter how much
      they are strewn with withered leaves, moist and green they
      spire above them, not fearing the frosts, fragile as they
      are. Their greenness is so much the more interesting,
      because so many have already fallen, and we know that the
      first severe frost will cut off them too. In the summer
      greenness is cheap, now it is a thing comparatively rare,
      and is the emblem of life to us."

Oddly enough, with the first approach of winter the vigorous-looking
Brake turns brown and quickly withers, usually without passing through
any intermediate gradations of yellow.

In November we notice chiefly the evergreen ferns. The great round
fruit-dots of the Polypody show distinctly through the fronds as they
stand erect in the sunlight. A sober green, looking as though it were
warranted fast, is the winter dress of the Evergreen Wood Fern. The
Christmas Fern, bright and glossy, reminds one that the holiday season
is not distant. These three plants are especially conspicuous in our
late autumn woods. Their brave and cheerful endurance is always a
delight. Later in the season the curled pinnæ of the Polypody seem to
be making the best of cold weather. The fronds of the Christmas Fern
and the Evergreen Wood Fern, still fresh and green, lie prostrate on
the ground, their weakened stems apparently unable to support them
erect, but undoubtedly in this position they are the better protected
from the storm and stress of winter.

Many other ferns are more or less evergreen, but perhaps none are
so important to our fall rambles as this sturdy group. Several of
the Rock Spleenworts are evergreen, but their ordinarily diminutive
stature dwindles with the increasing cold, and we seldom encounter
them on our winter walks. The sterile fronds of a number of the Shield
Ferns endure till spring. The Purple Cliff Brake and the Walking Leaf
are also proof against ice and snow. Even in the middle of January
the keen-eyed fern hunter may hope to make some discovery of interest
regarding the haunts and habits of his favorites.

[Illustration: Evergreen Wood Fern]



EXPLANATION OF TERMS


A FERN is a flowerless plant growing from a _rootstock_
(_a_), with leaves or _fronds_ usually raised on a stalk, rolled up
(_b_) in the bud,[A] and bearing on their lower surfaces (_c_) the
_spores_, by means of which the plant reproduces.

[Illustration: Polypody]

A _rootstock_ is an underground, rooting stem. Ferns are propagated
by the growth and budding of the rootstock as well as by the ordinary
method of reproduction. The fronds spring from the rootstock in the
manner peculiar to the species to which they belong. The Osmundas, the
Evergreen Wood Fern, and others grow in a crown or circle, the younger
fronds always inside. The Mountain Spleenwort is one of a class which
has irregularly clustered fronds. The fronds of the Brake are more
or less solitary, rising from distinct and somewhat distant portions
of the rootstock. The Botrychiums usually give birth to a single
frond each season, the base of the stalk containing the bud for the
succeeding year.

[Illustration: Fig. 1, Fig. 2, Fig. 3]

A frond is _simple_ when it consists of an undivided leaf such as that
of the Hart's Tongue or of the Walking Leaf (Fig. 1).

A frond is _pinnatifid_ when cut so as to form lobes extending
half-way or more to the midvein (Fig. 2).

A frond is _once-pinnate_ when the incisions extend to the midvein
(Fig. 3). Under these conditions the midvein is called the _rachis_
(_a_), and the divisions are called the _pinnæ_ (_b_).

A frond is _twice-pinnate_ when the pinnæ are cut into divisions which
extend to their midveins (Fig. 4). These divisions of the pinnæ are
called _pinnules_ (_a_).

[Illustration: Fig. 4]

[Illustration: Fig. 5]

[Illustration: Fig. 6]

A frond that is only once-pinnate may seem at first glance
twice-pinnate, as its pinnæ may be so deeply lobed or pinnatifid as to
require a close examination to convince us that the lobes come short
of the midvein of the pinnæ. In a popular hand-book it is not thought
necessary to explain further modifications.

The veins of a fern are _free_ when, branching from the midvein, they
do not unite with other veins (Fig. 5).

Ferns produce _spores_ (Fig. 6) instead of seeds. These spores
are collected in spore-cases or _sporangia_ (Fig. 7). Usually the
sporangia are clustered in dots or lines on the back of a frond or
along its margins. These patches of sporangia are called _sori_ or
_fruit-dots_. They take various shapes in the different species.
They may be round or linear or oblong or kidney-shaped or curved. At
times they are naked, but more frequently they are covered by a minute
outgrowth of the frond or by its reflexed margin. This covering is
called the _indusium_. In systematic botanies the indusia play an
important part in determining genera. But as often they are so minute
as to be almost invisible to the naked eye, and, as frequently they
wither away early in the season, I place little dependence upon them
as a means of popular identification.

A _fertile_ frond is one which bears spores.

A _sterile_ frond is one without spores.

[Illustration: Fig. 7]


FOOTNOTE:

[Footnote A: _Ophioglossum_ and the Botrychiums, not being true ferns,
are exceptions.]



FERTILIZATION, DEVELOPMENT, AND FRUCTIFICATION OF FERNS


Until very recently the development of ferns, their methods of
fertilization and fructification have been shrouded in mystery. At
one period it was believed that "fern-seed," as the fern-spores were
called, possessed various miraculous powers. These were touched upon
frequently by the early poets. In Shakespeare's "Henry IV" Gadshill
exclaims:

      "We have the receipt of fern-seed, we walk invisible."

He is met with the rejoinder:

      "Nay, I think rather you are more beholden to the night
      than to fern-seed, for your walking invisible."

One of Ben Jonson's characters expresses the same idea in much the
same words:

      "I had no medicine, sir, to walk invisible,
      No fern-seed in my pocket."

In Butler's "Hudibras" reference is made to the anxieties we
needlessly create for ourselves:

      "That spring like fern, that infant weed,
      Equivocally without seed,
      And have no possible foundation
      But merely in th' imagination."

In view of the fact that many ferns bear their spores or "fern-seed"
somewhat conspicuously on the lower surfaces of their fronds, it
seems probable that the "fern" of early writers was our common
Brake, the fructification of which is more than usually obscure,
its sporangia or "fern-seed" being concealed till full maturity by
the reflexed margin of its frond. This plant is, perhaps, the most
abundant and conspicuous of English ferns. Miss Pratt believes it to
be the "fearn" of the Anglo-Saxons, and says that to its profusion in
their neighborhood many towns and hamlets, such as Fearnborough or
Farnborough, Farningham, Farnhow, and others owe their titles. The
plant is a noticeable and common one also on the Continent.

[Illustration: Fig. 8]

In 1848 the development of the fern was first satisfactorily
explained. It was then shown that these plants pass through what has
been called, not altogether happily the modern botanist thinks, an
"alternation of generations." One "generation," the "sexual," consists
of a tiny, green, plate-like object, termed the _prothallium_ (Fig.
8). This is connected with the soil by hair-like roots. On its lower
surface are borne usually both the reproductive organs of the fern,
the _antheridia_, corresponding to the stamens or fertilizing organs
of the flower, and the _archegonia_, performing the office of the
flower's pistils, inasmuch as their germ-cells receive the fertilizing
substance produced by the _antheridia_. But no seeds are formed as the
result of this fertilization. Instead of this seed-formation which we
note in the flowering plant, the germ-cell in the fern develops into a
fern-plant, which forms the "asexual" generation.

[Illustration: Fig. 9, Fig. 10, Fig. 11

First fronds of Maidenhair]

The first fronds of this little plant are very small and simple,
quite unlike the later ones. For a time the plant is nourished by the
prothallium, but as soon as it is sufficiently developed and vigorous
enough to shift for itself, the prothallium dies away, and the fern
maintains an independent existence. Eventually it produces fronds
which bear on their lower surfaces the sporangia containing the minute
spores from which spring the prothallia.

For our present purpose it is enough to say that spores differ from
seeds in that they are not the immediate result of the interaction of
reproductive organs. They resemble seeds in that they are expelled
from the parent-plant on attaining maturity, and germinate on contact
with the moist earth.

Thus it is seen that the life-cycle of a fern consists of two stages:

First, the prothallium, bearing the reproductive organs; second, the
fern-plant proper, developing the spores which produce the prothallium.

Along the moist, shaded banks of the wood road, or on decaying stumps,
keen eyes will discern frequently the tiny green prothallia, although
they are somewhat difficult to find except in the green-house where
one can see them in abundance either in the boxes used for growing
the young plants, or on the moist surfaces of flower-pots, where the
spores have fallen accidentally and have germinated.

As the fertilization of the germ-cell in the archegonium cannot take
place except under water, perhaps the fact is accounted for that ferns
are found chiefly in moist places. This water may be only a sufficient
amount of rain or dew to permit the antherozoids or fertilizing cells
of the antheridium to swim to the archegonium, which they enter for
the purpose of fertilizing the germ-cell.

It is interesting to examine with a good magnifying glass the
sporangia borne on the lower surface of a mature fertile frond. In
many species each sporangium or spore-case is surrounded with an
elastic ring, which at maturity contracts so suddenly as to rupture
the spore-case, and cause the expulsion of the numberless spores (Fig.
7).



NOTABLE FERN FAMILIES


OSMUNDA (Flowering Ferns)

Tall swamp ferns, growing in large crowns, with the fertile fronds or
portions _conspicuously unlike_ the sterile; sporangia opening by a
longitudinal cleft into two valves.


ONOCLEA

Coarse ferns, with the fertile fronds rolled up into necklace-like
or berry-like segments, and _entirely unlike_ the broad, pinnatifid
sterile ones. Fertile fronds unrolling at maturity, allowing the
spores to escape, and remaining long after the sterile fronds have
perished; sporangia stalked, ringed, bursting transversely.


WOODSIA

Small or medium-sized ferns, growing among rocks, with 1-2 pinnate
or pinnatifid fronds and round fruit-dots; indusium thin and often
evanescent, attached by its base under the sporangia, either small
and open, or else early bursting at the top into irregular pieces or
lobes; sporangia stalked, ringed, bursting transversely.


CYSTOPTERIS (Bladder Ferns)

Delicate rock or wood ferns, with 2-3 pinnate fronds and round
fruit-dots; indusium hood-like, attached by a broad base to the inner
side, soon thrown back or withering away; sporangia as above.


ASPIDIUM (Shield Ferns)

Ferns with 1-3 pinnate fronds and round fruit-dots; indusium more or
less flat, fixed by its depressed centre; sporangia as above.


PHEGOPTERIS (Beech Ferns)

Medium-sized or small ferns, with 2-3 pinnatifid or ternate leaves,
and small, round, uncovered fruit-dots; sporangia as above.


WOODWARDIA (Chain Ferns)

Large and rather coarse ferns of swamps or wet woods, fronds pinnate
or nearly twice-pinnate; fruit-dots oblong or linear, sunk in cavities
of the leaf and arranged in chain-like rows; indusium lid-like,
somewhat leathery, fixed by its outer margin to a veinlet; veins more
or less reticulated; sporangia as above.


ASPLENIUM (Spleenworts)

Large or small ferns, with varying fronds and linear or oblong
fruit-dots; indusium straight or curved; sporangia as above.


PELLÆA (Cliff Brakes)

Small or medium-sized rock ferns, with pinnate fronds and sporangia
borne beneath the reflexed margins of the pinnæ; sporangia as above.


BOTRYCHIUM (Moonworts)

(_Belonging to the Fern Allies_)

Fleshy plants, with fronds (usually solitary) divided into a sterile
and a fertile portion, the bud for the succeeding year embedded in the
base of the stem.



HOW TO USE THE BOOK


Before attempting to identify the ferns by means of the following
Guide it would be well to turn to the Explanation of Terms, and with
as many species as you can conveniently collect, on the table before
you, to master the few necessary technical terms, that you may be able
to distinguish a frond that is pinnatifid from one that is pinnate, a
pinna from a pinnule, a fertile from a sterile frond.

You should bear in mind that in some species the fertile fronds are so
unleaf-like in appearance that to the uninitiated they do not suggest
fronds at all. The fertile fronds of the Onocleas, for example, are
so contracted as to conceal any resemblance to the sterile ones.
They appear to be mere clusters of fruit. The fertile fronds of the
Cinnamon Fern are equally unleaf-like, as are the fertile portions of
the other Osmundas and of several other species.

In your rambles through the fields and woods your eyes will soon learn
to detect hitherto unnoticed species. In gathering specimens you will
take heed to break off the fern as near the ground as possible, and
you will not be satisfied till you have secured both a fertile and a
sterile frond. In carrying them home you will remember the necessity
of keeping together the fronds which belong to the same plant.

When sorting your finds you will group them according to the Guide.
The broad-leaved Sensitive Fern, with its separate, dark-green fruit
cluster, makes its way necessarily to Group I. To Group II goes your
pale-fronded Royal Fern, tipped with brown sporangia. As a matter of
course you lay in Group III the leaf-like but dissimilar sterile and
fertile fronds of the Slender Cliff Brake. The spreading Brake, its
reflexed margin covering the sporangia, identifies itself with Group
IV. The oblong fruit-dots of the little Mountain Spleenwort carry it
to Group V, while the round ones, like pin-heads, of the Evergreen
Wood Fern announce it a member of Group VI.

The different ferns sorted, it will be a simple matter to run quickly
through the brief descriptions under the different Groups till you are
referred to the descriptions in the body of the book of the species
under investigation.



GUIDE


For the purpose of identification the ferns described are arranged in
six groups, according to their manner of fruiting.


GROUP I

STERILE AND FERTILE FRONDS TOTALLY UNLIKE; FERTILE FRONDS NOT
LEAF-LIKE IN APPEARANCE


1. SENSITIVE FERN

_Onoclea sensibilis_

Sterile fronds usually large; broadly triangular, deeply pinnatifid.
Fertile fronds much contracted, with berry-like pinnules. In wet
meadows. P. 54.


2. OSTRICH FERN

_Onoclea Struthiopteris_

Large. Sterile fronds once-pinnate, pinnæ pinnatifid. Fertile fronds
contracted, with necklace-like pinnæ. Along streams and in moist
woods. P. 56.


3. CINNAMON FERN

_Osmunda cinnamomea_

Large. Sterile fronds once-pinnate, pinnæ pinnatifid. Fertile fronds
composed of cinnamon-brown fruit-clusters. In wet places. P. 60.


4. CURLY GRASS

_Schizæa pusilla_

Very small. Sterile fronds linear, grass-like. Fertile fronds taller,
with a terminal fruit-cluster. In pine barrens of New Jersey. P. 63.


GROUP II

FERTILE FRONDS PARTIALLY LEAF-LIKE, THE FERTILE PORTION UNLIKE THE
REST OF THE FROND

[The species coming under the genera _Botrychium_ and _Ophioglossum_
may appear to belong to Group I, as the fertile and the sterile
portions of their fronds may seem to the uninitiated like separate
fronds, but in reality they belong to the one frond.]


5. ROYAL FERN

_Osmunda regalis_

Large. Sterile fronds twice-pinnate, pinnules oblong. Fertile fronds
leaf-like below, sporangia in clusters at their summits. In wet
places. P. 67.


6. INTERRUPTED FERN

_Osmunda Claytoniana_

Large. Sterile fronds once-pinnate, pinnæ pinnatifid. Fertile fronds
leaf-like above and below, contracted in the middle with brown
fruit-clusters. In wet places. P. 72.


7. CLIMBING FERN

_Lygodium palmatum_

Climbing, with lobed, palmate pinnæ and terminal fruit-clusters. Moist
thickets and open woods. Rare. P. 75.


8. ADDER'S TONGUE

_Ophioglossum vulgatum_

Small. Sterile portion an ovate leaf. Fertile portion a slender spike.
In moist meadows. P. 77.


9. RATTLESNAKE FERN

_Botrychium Virginianum_

Rather large. Sterile portion a thin, spreading, ternately divided
leaf with three primary divisions; 1-2 pinnate. Fertile portion a
branching fruit-cluster. In rich woods. P. 80.


10. TERNATE GRAPE FERN

_Botrychium ternatum or dissectum_

Of varying size, very fleshy. Sterile portion a broadly triangular,
ternate, finely dissected leaf, long-stalked from near the base of the
stem. Fertile portion a branching fruit-cluster. In moist meadows. P.
81.


11. LITTLE GRAPE FERN

_Botrychium simplex_

A very small fleshy plant. Sterile portion an oblong leaf more or less
lobed. Fertile portion a simple or slightly branching spike. In moist
woods and in fields. P. 82.


12. MOONWORT

_Botrychium Lunaria_

Usually small, very fleshy. Sterile portion divided into several
fan-shaped lobes. Fertile portion a branching fruit-cluster. Mostly in
fields. P. 84.


13. MATRICARY GRAPE FERN

_Botrychium matricariæfolium_

Small, more or less fleshy. Sterile portion ovate or oblong, once or
twice pinnatifid. Fertile portion a branching fruit-cluster. In grassy
woods and wet meadows. P. 86.


14. LANCE-LEAVED GRAPE FERN

_Botrychium lanceolatum_

Small, scarcely fleshy. Sterile portion triangular, twice-pinnatifid.
Fertile portion a branching fruit-cluster. In woods and meadows. P.
86.


GROUP III

FERTILE FRONDS UNIFORMLY SOMEWHAT LEAF-LIKE IN APPEARANCE, YET
DIFFERING NOTICEABLY FROM STERILE FRONDS


15. SLENDER CLIFF BRAKE

_Pellæa gracilis_

A small fern, 1-3 pinnate. Very delicate. Fertile fronds taller, more
contracted and simpler than the sterile, sporangia bordering the
pinnæ. Usually on sheltered rocks, preferring limestone. P. 87.


16. PURPLE CLIFF BRAKE

_Pellæa atropurpurea_

Medium sized, 1-2 pinnate, leathery. Fertile fronds taller and more
contracted than the sterile, sporangia bordering the pinnæ. Usually on
exposed rocks, preferring limestone. P. 90.


17. CHRISTMAS FERN

_Aspidium acrostichoides_

Rather large, smooth and glossy, once-pinnate. Fertile fronds
contracted at the summit where the fruit appears. In rocky woods. P.
96.


18. NARROW-LEAVED SPLEENWORT

_Asplenium angustifolium_

Tall and delicate, once-pinnate. Fertile fronds taller and narrower
than the sterile. In moist woods in late summer. P. 98.


19. NET-VEINED CHAIN FERN

_Woodwardia angustifolia_

Large, fronds deeply pinnatifid, the fertile taller and more
contracted than the sterile. In wet woods near the coast. P. 102.


GROUP IV

FERTILE AND STERILE FRONDS LEAF-LIKE AND SIMILAR; SPORANGIA ON OR
BENEATH A REFLEXED PORTION OF THE MARGIN

[The first clause bars out _P. gracilis_ and _P. atropurpurea_, which
otherwise would belong to Group IV as well as to Group III.]


20. BRAKE

_Pteris aquilina_

Large and coarse, frond 3-branched, spreading, each branch 2-pinnate,
sporangia in a continuous line beneath the reflexed margin of the
frond. In dry, somewhat open places. P. 105.


21. MAIDENHAIR

_Adiantum pedatum_

Graceful and delicate, frond forked at the summit of the stem,
2-pinnate, the pinnæ springing from the upper sides of the branches,
pinnules one-sided, their upper margins lobed, bearing on their
undersides the short fruit-dots. In rich woods. P. 108.


22. HAIRY LIP FERN

_Cheilanthes vestita_

Rather small, fronds 2-pinnate, hairy, fruit-dots "covered by the
infolded ends of the rounded or oblong lobes." On rocks. P. 112.


23. HAY-SCENTED FERN

_Dicksonia pilosiuscula_

Rather large, pale, delicate and sweet-scented, fronds usually
2-pinnate, fruit-dots small, each on a recurved toothlet of the
pinnule, borne on an elevated, globular receptacle. In moist thickets
and in upland pastures. P. 114.


GROUP V

FERTILE AND STERILE FRONDS LEAF-LIKE AND SIMILAR; SPORANGIA IN LINEAR
OR OBLONG FRUIT-DOTS


24. LADY FERN

_Asplenium Filix-fœmina_

Rather large, fronds 2-pinnate, fruit-dots curved, often horseshoe
shaped, finally confluent. In moist woods and along roadsides. P. 120.


25. SILVERY SPLEENWORT

_Asplenium thelypteroides_

Large, fronds once-pinnate, pinnæ deeply pinnatifid, lobes oblong and
obtuse, fruit-dots oblong, silvery when young. In rich woods. P. 124.


26. RUE SPLEENWORT

_Asplenium Ruta-muraria_

Very small, fronds loosely 2-3 pinnate at base, pinnatifid above,
fruit-dots linear-oblong, confluent when mature. On limestone cliffs.
Rare. P. 126.


27. MOUNTAIN SPLEENWORT

_Asplenium montanum_

Small, fronds 1-2 pinnate, fruit-dots linear-oblong, often confluent.
On rocks. P. 130.


28. EBONY SPLEENWORT

_Asplenium ebeneum_

Fronds slender and erect, once-pinnate, pinnæ eared on the upper or on
both sides, stalk and rachis blackish and shining, fruit-dots oblong.
On rocks and hill-sides. P. 134.


29. MAIDENHAIR SPLEENWORT

_Asplenium Trichomanes_

Small, fronds once-pinnate, pinnæ roundish, stalk and rachis
purplish-brown and shining, fruit-dots short. In crevices of rocks. P.
136.


30. GREEN SPLEENWORT

_Asplenium viride_

Small, fronds linear, once-pinnate, brownish stalk passing into a
green rachis. On shaded cliffs northward. P. 138.


31. SCOTT'S SPLEENWORT

_Asplenium ebenoides_

Small, fronds pinnate below, pinnatifid above, apex slender and
prolonged, stalk and rachis blackish, fruit-dots straight or slightly
curved. On limestone. Very rare. P. 140.


32. PINNATIFID SPLEENWORT

_Asplenium pinnatifidum_

Small, fronds pinnatifid, or the lower part pinnate, tapering above
into a slender prolongation, stalk blackish, passing into a green
rachis, fruit-dots straight or slightly curved. On rocks. Rare. P. 142.


33. BRADLEY'S SPLEENWORT

_Asplenium Bradleyi_

Small, once-pinnate, pinnæ lobed or toothed, stalk and rachis
chestnut-brown, fruit-dots short. On rocks, preferring limestone. Very
rare. P. 144.


34. WALKING FERN

_Camptosorus rhizophyllus_

Small, fronds undivided, heart-shaped at the base or sometimes with
prolonged basal ears, tapering above to a prolonged point which
roots, forming a new plant, fruit-dots oblong or linear, irregularly
scattered. On shaded rocks, preferring limestone. P. 146.


35. HART'S TONGUE

_Scolopendrium vulgare_

Fronds a few inches to nearly two feet long, undivided,
oblong-lanceolate, heart-shaped at base, fruit-dots linear, elongated.
Growing among the fragments of limestone cliffs. Very rare. P. 150.


36. VIRGINIA CHAIN FERN

_Woodwardia Virginica_

Large, fronds once-pinnate, pinnæ pinnatifid, fruit-dots oblong, in
chain-like rows parallel and near to the midrib, confluent when ripe.
In swamps. P. 156.


GROUP VI

FERTILE AND STERILE FRONDS LEAF-LIKE AND USUALLY SIMILAR, FRUIT-DOTS
ROUND


37. NEW YORK FERN

_Aspidium Noveboracense_

Usually rather tall, fronds once-pinnate, with deeply pinnatifid
pinnæ, tapering both ways from the middle, margins of fertile fronds
not revolute. In woods and open meadows. P. 159.


38. MARSH FERN

_Aspidium Thelypteris_

Usually rather tall, fronds once-pinnate, with pinnæ deeply
pinnatifid, scarcely narrower at the base than at the middle, veins
forked, fertile fronds noticeable from their _strongly revolute_
margins. In wet woods and open swamps. P. 160.


39. MASSACHUSETTS FERN

_Aspidium simulatum_

Close to preceding species, rather tall, fronds once-pinnate, with
pinnatifid pinnæ little or not at all narrowed at base, veins not
forked, margin of fertile frond slightly revolute. In wooded swamps.
P. 164.


CHRISTMAS FERN

_Aspidium acrostichoides_

[See No. 17]


40. SPINULOSE WOOD FERN

_Aspidium spinulosum var. intermedium_

Very common, usually but not always large, fronds oblong-ovate, 2-3
pinnate, lowest pinnæ unequally triangular-ovate, lobes of pinnæ
thorny-toothed. In woods everywhere. P. 166.


41. BOOTT'S SHIELD FERN

_Aspidium Boottii_

From one and a half to more than three feet high. Sterile fronds
smaller and simpler than the fertile, nearly or quite twice-pinnate,
the lowest pinnæ triangular-ovate, upper longer and narrower, pinnules
oblong-ovate, sharply thorny-toothed. In moist woods. P. 168.


42. CRESTED SHIELD FERN

_Aspidium cristatum_

Usually rather large, fronds linear-oblong or lanceolate, once pinnate
with pinnatifid pinnæ, linear-oblong, fruit-dots between midvein and
margin. In swamps. P. 170.


43. CLINTON'S WOOD FERN

_Aspidium cristatum, var. Clintonianum_

In every way larger than preceding species, fronds usually
twice-pinnate, pinnæ _broadest at base_, fruit-dots near the midvein.
In swampy woods. P. 172.


44. GOLDIE'S FERN

_Aspidium Goldianum_

Large, fronds broadly ovate or the fertile ovate-oblong, once-pinnate
with pinnatifid pinnæ, pinnæ _broadest in the middle_, fruit-dots very
near the midvein. In rich woods. P. 175.


45. EVERGREEN WOOD FERN

_Aspidium marginale_

Very common, usually rather large, smooth, somewhat leathery, fronds
ovate oblong, 1-2 pinnate, fruit-dots large, distinct, close to the
margin. In rocky woods. P. 176.


46. FRAGRANT SHIELD FERN

_Aspidium fragrans_

Small, fragrant, fronds once-pinnate, with pinnatifid pinnæ, stalk and
rachis chaffy, fruit-dots large. On rocks northward, especially near
waterfalls. P. 178.


47. BRAUN'S HOLLY FERN

_Aspidium aculeatum var. Braunii_

Rather large, fronds oblong-lanceolate, twice-pinnate, pinnules
sharply toothed, covered with long, soft hairs, fruit-dots small. In
deep, rocky woods. P. 182.


48. COMMON POLYPODY

_Polypodium vulgare_

Usually small, fronds somewhat leathery, narrowly oblong, fruit-dots
large, round, uncovered, half-way between midvein and margin. On
rocks. P. 184.


HAY-SCENTED FERN

_Dicksonia pilosiuscula_

[See No. 23]


49. LONG BEECH FERN

_Phegopteris polypodioides_

Medium-sized, fronds downy, triangular, longer than broad,
once-pinnate, pinnæ pinnatifid; lowest pair deflexed and standing
forward. In moist woods and on the banks of streams. P. 187.


50. BROAD BEECH FERN

_Phegopteris hexagonoptera_

Larger than the preceding species, fronds triangular, as broad or
broader than long, once-pinnate, pinnæ pinnatifid, lowest pair very
large, basal segments of pinnæ forming a continuous, many-angled wing
along the rachis. In dry woods and on hill-sides. P. 188.


51. OAK FERN

_Phegopteris Dryopteris_

Medium-sized, fronds thin and delicate, broadly triangular, spreading,
ternate, the three divisions stalked, each division pinnate, pinnæ
pinnatifid. In moist woods. P. 190.


52. BULBLET BLADDER FERN

_Cystopteris bulbifera_

Fronds delicate, elongated, tapering above from a broad base, 2-3
pinnate or pinnatifid, bearing fleshy bulblets beneath. On wet rocks,
preferring limestone. P. 194.


53. COMMON BLADDER FERN

_Cystopteris fragilis_

Medium-sized, fronds thin, oblong-lanceolate, 2-3 pinnate or
pinnatifid. On rocks and in moist woods. P. 198.


54. RUSTY WOODSIA

_Woodsia Ilvensis_

Small, more or less covered with rusty hairs, fronds lanceolate,
once-pinnate, pinnæ pinnatifid. On exposed rocks. P. 200.


55. BLUNT-LOBED WOODSIA

_Woodsia obtusa_

Small, slightly downy, fronds broadly lanceolate, nearly
twice-pinnate. On rocks. P. 202.


56. NORTHERN WOODSIA

_Woodsia hyperborea_

Very small, smooth or nearly so, fronds narrowly oblong-lanceolate,
once-pinnate, pinnæ cordate-ovate or triangular-ovate, 5-7 lobed. On
moist rocks. P. 203.


57. SMOOTH WOODSIA

_Woodsia glabella_

Very small, smooth throughout and delicate, fronds linear,
once-pinnate, pinnæ roundish ovate, lobed. On moist rocks. P. 206.



FERN DESCRIPTIONS

"Nature made a fern for pure leaves."--_Thoreau_



GROUP I

STERILE AND FERTILE FRONDS TOTALLY UNLIKE; FERTILE FRONDS NOT
LEAF-LIKE IN APPEARANCE


1. SENSITIVE FERN

_Onoclea sensibilis_

      Newfoundland to Florida, in wet meadows.

      _Sterile fronds._--One or two inches to three feet high,
      broadly triangular, deeply cut into somewhat oblong,
      wavy-toothed divisions, the lower ones almost reaching the
      midrib, the upper ones less deeply cut; _stalk_ long.

      _Fertile fronds._--Quite unlike the sterile fronds and
      shorter, erect, rigid, contracted; _pinnules_ rolled
      up into dark-green, berry-like bodies which hold the
      spore-cases; appearing in June or July.


This is one of our commonest ferns, growing in masses along the
roadside and in wet meadows. Perfectly formed sterile fronds are found
of the tiniest dimensions. Again the plant holds its own among the
largest and most effective ferns. From its creeping rootstock rise the
scattered fronds which at times wear very light and delicate shades
of green. There is nothing, however, specially fragile in the plant's
appearance, and one is struck by the inappropriateness of its title.
It is probable that this arose from its sensitiveness to early frosts.

[Illustration: Sensitive Fern]

Though one hesitates to differ from Dr. Eaton, who described the
fertile fronds as "nearly black in color" and said that they were "not
very common," and that a young botanist might "search in vain for them
for a long time," my own experience has been that the fresh ones are
very evidently green and neither scarce nor specially inconspicuous.

I have found these fertile fronds apparently full-grown in June,
though usually they are assigned to a much later date. They remain
standing, brown and dry, long after they have sown their spores, side
by side with the fresh fronds of the following summer.

Detail _a_ in Plate I represents the so-called _var. obtusilobata_.
This is a form midway between the fruiting and the non-fruiting
fronds. It may be looked for in situations where the fern has suffered
some injury or deprivation.


2. OSTRICH FERN

_Onoclea Struthiopteris_

      Nova Scotia to New Jersey, along streams and in moist
      woods. Growing in a crown, two to ten feet high.

      _Sterile fronds._--Broadly lance-shaped, once-pinnate;
      _pinnæ_ divided into narrowly oblong segments which do not
      reach the midvein; stalk short, deeply channelled in front.

      _Fertile fronds._--Quite unlike the sterile fronds, growing
      in the centre of the crown formed by the sterile fronds,
      shorter, erect, rigid, with green, necklace-like pinnæ
      which hold the spore-cases; appearing in July.


I first found this plant at its best on the shore of the Hoosick
River in Rensselaer County, N. Y. We had crossed a field dotted with
fragrant heaps of hay and blazing in the midsummer sun, and had
entered the cool shade of the trees which border the river, when
suddenly I saw before me a group of ferns of tropical beauty and
luxuriance. Great plume-like fronds of a rich green arched above
my head. From the midst of the circle which they formed sprang the
shorter, dark, rigid fruit-clusters. I was fairly startled by the
unexpected beauty and regal bearing of the Ostrich Fern.

[Illustration: PLATE I

SENSITIVE FERN

_a._ Var. obtusilobata]

This magnificent plant luxuriates especially in the low, rich soil
which is subject to an annual overflow from our northern rivers. Its
vase-like masses of foliage somewhat suggest the Cinnamon Fern, but
the fertile fronds of the Ostrich Fern mature in July, some weeks
later than those of its rival. They are dark-green, while those of the
Cinnamon Fern are golden-brown. Should there be no fruiting fronds
upon the plant, the Ostrich Fern can be distinguished by the free
veins with simple veinlets (Plate II, _a_) of its pinnæ, the veins of
the Cinnamon Fern being free and its veinlets forking (Pl. III, _a_),
and by the absence of the tuft of rusty wool at the base of the pinnæ
on the under side of the frond.

The Ostrich Fern does so well under cultivation that there is danger
lest it crowd out its less aggressive neighbors. It propagates chiefly
by means of underground runners. Mr. Robinson describes a specimen
which he had planted in his out-door fernery that crawled under a
tight board fence and reappeared in the garden of his neighbor, who
was greatly astonished and equally delighted so unexpectedly to become
the owner of the superb plant.

[Illustration: PLATE II

OSTRICH FERN

_a_ Portion of sterile frond
_b_ Fertile frond
_c_ Detail, showing free veins with simple veinlets]

The Ostrich Fern, like its kinsman the Sensitive Fern, occasionally
gives birth to fronds which are midway between its fruiting and its
non-fruiting forms. This is specially liable to occur when some
injury has befallen the plant.


3. CINNAMON FERN

_Osmunda cinnamomea_

      Nova Scotia to Florida, in swampy places. Growing in a
      crown, one to five feet high.

      _Sterile fronds._--Broadly lance-shaped, once-pinnate;
      _pinnæ_ cut into broadly oblong divisions that do not reach
      the midvein, each pinna with a tuft of rusty wool at its
      base beneath.

      _Fertile fronds._--Quite unlike the sterile fronds, growing
      in the centre of the crown formed by the sterile fronds and
      usually about the same height; erect, with cinnamon-colored
      spore-cases.

[Illustration: Cinnamon Fern]

In the form of little croziers, protected from the cold by wrappings
of rusty wool, the fertile fronds of the Cinnamon Fern appear
everywhere in our swamps and wet woods during the month of May. These
fertile fronds, first dark-green, later cinnamon-brown, are quickly
followed and encircled by the sterile ones, which grow in a tall,
graceful crown. The fertile fronds soon wither, and, during the
summer, may be found either clinging to the stalks of the sterile
fronds or lying on the ground.

[Illustration: PLATE III

CINNAMON FERN

_a_ Showing tuft of wool at base of pinna, also free veins with
forking veinlets]

The Cinnamon Fern is often confused with the Ostrich Fern. When
either plant is in fruit there is no excuse for this mistake, as the
cinnamon-colored spore-cases of the former appear in May, while the
dark-green fertile fronds of the latter do not ripen till July. When
the fruiting fronds are absent the forked veinlets (Plate III, _a_) of
the Cinnamon Fern contrast with the simple veinlets of the other plant
(Plate II, _a_). Then, too, the pinnæ of the Cinnamon Fern bear tufts
of rusty wool at the base beneath, the remnants of the woolly garments
worn by the young fronds.

The plant is a superb one when seen at its best. Its tall sterile
fronds curve gracefully outward, while the slender fruit-clusters
erect themselves in the centre of the rich crown. In unfavorable
conditions, when growing in dry meadows, for instance, like all the
Osmundas, and indeed like most growing things, it is quite a different
plant. Its green fronds become stiff and stunted, losing all their
graceful curves, and its fruit-clusters huddle among them as if
anxious to keep out of sight.

_Var. frondosa_ is an occasional form in which some of the fruiting
fronds have green, leaf-like pinnæ below. These abnormal fronds are
most abundant on land which has been burned over.

The Cinnamon Fern is a member of the group of Osmundas, or "flowering
ferns," as they are sometimes called, not of course because they
really flower, but because their fruiting fronds are somewhat
flower-like in appearance. There are three species of _Osmunda_:
the Cinnamon Fern, _O. cinnamomea_; the Royal Fern, _O. regalis_;
and the Interrupted Fern, _O. Claytoniana_. All three are beautiful
and striking plants, producing their spores in May or June, and
conspicuous by reason of their luxuriant growth and flower-like fruit
clusters.

The Osmundas are easily cultivated, and group themselves effectively
in shaded corners of the garden. They need plenty of water, and thrive
best in a mixture of swamp-muck and fine loam.


4. CURLY GRASS

_Schizæa pusilia_

Pine barrens of New Jersey.

      _Sterile fronds._--Hardly an inch long, linear, slender,
      flattened, curly.

      _Fertile fronds._--Taller than the sterile fronds (three
      or four inches in height), slender, with from four to six
      pairs of fruit-bearing pinnæ in September.

Save in the herbarium I have never seen this very local little plant,
which is found in certain parts of New Jersey. Gray assigns it to "low
grounds, pine barrens," while Dr. Eaton attributes it to the "drier
parts of sphagnous swamps among white cedars."

[Illustration: PLATE IV

CURLY GRASS]

In my lack of personal knowledge of _Schizæa_, I venture to quote from
that excellent little quarterly, the _Fern Bulletin_, the following
passage from an article by Mr. C. F. Saunders on _Schizæa pusilla_ at
home:

      "S. pusilla was first collected early in this century
      at Quaker Bridge, N. J., about thirty-five miles east
      of Philadelphia. The spot is a desolate-looking place
      in the wildest of the 'pine barrens,' where a branch of
      the Atsion River flows through marshy lowlands and cedar
      swamps. Here, amid sedge-grasses, mosses, Lycopodiums,
      Droseras, and wild cranberry vines, the little treasure
      has been collected; but, though I have hunted for it more
      than once, my eyes have never been sharp enough to detect
      its fronds in that locality. In October of last year,
      however, a friend guided me to another place in New Jersey
      where he knew it to be growing, and there we found it. It
      was a small open spot in the pine barrens, low and damp.
      In the white sand grew patches of low grasses, mosses,
      Lycopodium Carolinianum, L. inundatum, and Pyxidanthera
      barbulata, besides several smaller ericaceous plants and
      some larger shrubs, such as scrub-oaks, sumacs, etc.
      Close by was a little stream, and just beyond that a bog.
      Although we knew that the Schizæa grew within a few feet of
      the path in which we stood, it required the closest sort
      of a search, with eyes at the level of our knees, before
      a specimen was detected. The sterile fronds (curled like
      corkscrews) grew in little tufts, and were more readily
      visible than the fertile spikes, which were less numerous,
      and, together with the slender stipes, were of a brown
      color, hardly distinguishable from the capsules of the
      mosses, and the maturing stems of the grasses which grew
      all about. Lying flat on the earth, with face within a few
      inches of the ground, was found the most satisfactory plan
      of search. Down there all the individual plants looked
      bigger, and a sidelong glance brought the fertile clusters
      more prominently into view. When the sight got accustomed
      to the miniature jungle quite a number of specimens were
      found, but the fern could hardly be said to be plentiful,
      and all that we gathered were within a radius of a couple
      of yards. This seems, indeed, to be one of those plants
      whose whereabouts is oftenest revealed by what we are wont
      to term a 'happy accident,' as, for instance, when we are
      lying stretched on the ground resting, or as we stoop at
      lunch to crack an egg on the toe of our shoe. I know of
      one excellent collector who spent a whole day looking for
      it diligently in what he thought to be a likely spot,
      but without success, when finally, just before the time
      for return came, as he was half crouching on the ground,
      scarcely thinking now of Schizæa, its fronds suddenly
      flashed upon his sight, right at his feet. The sterile
      fronds of Schizæa pusilla are evergreen, so that the
      collector may, perhaps, most readily detect it in winter,
      selecting days for his search when the earth is pretty
      clear of snow. The surrounding vegetation being at that
      time dead, the little corkscrew-like fronds stand out more
      prominently."



GROUP II

FERTILE FRONDS PARTIALLY LEAF-LIKE, THE FERTILE PORTION UNLIKE THE
REST OF THE FROND


5. ROYAL FERN. FLOWERING FERN

_Osmunda regalis_

New Brunswick to Florida, in swampy places. Two to five feet high,
occasionally taller.

      _Sterile fronds._--Twice-pinnate, _pinnæ_ cut into oblong
      pinnules.

      _Fertile fronds._--Leaf-like below, _sporangia_ forming
      bright-brown clusters at their summits.

Perhaps this Royal or Flowering Fern is the most beautiful member of
a singularly beautiful group. When its smooth, pale-green sterile
fronds, grown to their full height, form a graceful crown which
encircles the fertile fronds, it is truly a regal-looking plant. These
fertile fronds are leaf-like below, and are tipped above with their
flower-like fruit-clusters.

[Illustration: Royal Fern]

Like its kinsmen, the Royal Fern appears in May in our wet woods and
fields. The delicate little croziers uncurl with dainty grace, the
plants which grow in the open among the yellow stars of the early
crow-foot, and the white clusters of the spring cress being so tinged
with red that they suffuse the meadows with warm color.

Though one of our tallest ferns, with us it never reaches the ten or
eleven feet with which it is credited in Great Britain. The tallest
plants I have found fall short of six feet. Occasionally we see
large tracts of land covered with mature plants that lack a foot or
more of the two feet given as the minimum height. This tendency to
depauperization one notices especially in dry marshes near the sea.

[Illustration: PLATE V

ROYAL FERN

_a_ Pinnule of Royal Fern
_b_ Showing veining]

To the Royal Fern the old herbalists attributed many valuable
qualities. One old writer, who calls it the "Water Fern," says:
"This hath all the virtues mentioned in other ferns, and is much
more effective than they both for inward and outward griefs, and is
accounted good for wounds, bruises, and the like."

The title "flowering fern" sometimes misleads those who are so
unfamiliar with the habits of ferns as to imagine that they ever
flower. That it really is descriptive was proved to me only a few
weeks ago when I received a pressed specimen of a fertile frond
accompanied by the request to inform the writer as to the name of the
flower inclosed, which seemed to him to belong to the Sumach family.

The origin of the generic name _Osmunda_ seems somewhat obscure. It
is said to be derived from Osmunder, the Saxon Thor. In his Herbal
Gerarde tells us that _Osmunda regalis_ was formerly called "Osmund,
the Waterman," in allusion, perhaps, to its liking for a home in the
marshes. One legend claims that a certain Osmund, living at Loch Tyne,
saved his wife and child from the inimical Danes by hiding them upon
an island among masses of flowering ferns, and that in after years the
child so shielded named the stately plants after her father.

The following lines from Wordsworth point to still another origin of
the generic name:

      "--often, trifling with a privilege
      Alike indulged to all, we paused, one now,
      And now the other, to point out, perchance
      To pluck, some flower, or water-weed, too fair
      Either to be divided from the place
      On which it grew, or to be left alone
      To its own beauty. Many such there are,
      Fair ferns and flowers, and chiefly that tall fern,
      So stately, of the Queen Osmunda named:
      Plant lovelier, in its own retired abode
      On Grasmere's beach, than Naiad by the side
      Of Grecian brook, or Lady of the Mere,
      Sole-sitting by the shores of old romance."

The Royal Fern may be cultivated easily in deep mounds of rich soil
shielded somewhat from the sun.


6. INTERRUPTED FERN

_Osmunda Claytoniana_

      Newfoundland to North Carolina, in swampy places. Two to
      four feet high.

      _Sterile fronds._--Oblong-lanceolate, once-pinnate, _pinnæ_
      cut into oblong, obtuse divisions, _without_ a tuft of wool
      at the base of each pinna.

      _Fertile fronds._--Taller than the sterile, leaf-like above
      and below, some of the middle pinnæ fruit-bearing.

The Interrupted Fern makes its appearance in the woods and meadows and
along the roadsides in May. It fruits as it unfolds.

At first the fruiting pinnæ are almost black. Later they become
golden-green, and after the spores are discharged they turn brown.
They are noticeable all summer, and serve to identify the plant at
once.

In the absence of the fertile fronds it is often difficult to
distinguish between the Cinnamon Fern and the Interrupted Fern.

The sterile fronds of the Interrupted Fern are usually less erect,
curving outward much more noticeably than those of the Cinnamon Fern.
Then, too, its pinnæ are cut into segments that are more obtuse, and
the whole effect of the frond is more stubby.

But the most distinguishing feature of all is the tuft of rusty wool
which clings to the base of each pinna of the sterile fronds of the
Cinnamon Fern. These tufts we do not find in the Interrupted Fern,
though both plants come into the world warmly wrapped in wool.

[Illustration: PLATE VI

INTERRUPTED FERN

_a_ Clusters of sporangia
_b_ Showing veining]

The Interrupted Fern is a peculiarly graceful plant. Its fertile
fronds, standing quite erect below but curving outward above the
fruiting pinnæ, are set in a somewhat shallow vase formed by the
sterile fronds, which fall away in every direction.

In the fall the fronds turn yellow, and at times are so brilliant that
they flood the woods with golden light.

Like the other Osmundas, the Interrupted Fern is easily cultivated.

[Illustration: Interrupted Fern]


[Illustration: Climbing Fern]

7. CLIMBING FERN. CREEPING FERN. HARTFORD FERN

_Lygodium palmatum_

      Massachusetts and southward, in moist thickets and open
      woods. Stalks slender and twining.

      _Fronds._--Climbing and twining, one to three feet long,
      divided into lobed, rounded, heart-shaped, short-stalked
      segments; _fruit-clusters_, growing at the summit of the
      frond, ripening in September.

The Climbing Fern is still found occasionally in moist thickets and
open woods from Massachusetts southward, but at one time it was picked
so recklessly for decorative purposes that it was almost exterminated.

In 1869 the legislature of Connecticut passed for its protection a
special law which was embodied in the revision of the statutes of
1875, "perhaps the only instance in statute law," Dr. Eaton remarks,
"where a plant has received special legal protection solely on account
of its beauty."

I have never seen the plant growing, but remember that when a child
my home in New York was abundantly decorated with the pressed fronds
which had been brought from Hartford for the purpose. Even in that
lifeless condition their grace and beauty made a deep impression on my
mind.

[Illustration: Part of fertile pinnule]

Mr. Saunders has described it as he found it growing in company with
_Schizæa_, in the New Jersey pine barrens:

      "Lygodium palmatum ... is one of the loveliest of American
      plants, with twining stem adorned with palmate leaflets,
      bearing small resemblance to the popular idea of a fern. It
      loves the shaded, mossy banks of the quiet streams whose
      cool, clear, amber waters, murmuring over beds of pure
      white sand, are so characteristic of the pine country.
      There the graceful fronds are to be found, sometimes
      clambering a yard high over the bushes and cat-briers;
      sometimes trailing down the bank until their tips touch the
      surface of the water.

      "The Lygodium is reckoned among the rare plants of the
      region--though often growing in good-sized patches when
      found at all--and is getting rarer. Many of the localities
      which knew it once now know it no more, both because of the
      depredations of ruthless collectors, and, to some extent,
      probably, the ravages of fire. The plant is in its prime in
      early fall, but may be looked for up to the time of killing
      frosts."


8. ADDER'S TONGUE

_Ophioglossum vulgatum_

      Canada to New Jersey and Kentucky, in moist meadows. Two
      inches to one foot high.

      _Sterile portion._--An ovate, fleshy leaf.

      _Fertile portion._--A simple spike, usually long-stalked.

The unprofessional fern collector is likely to agree with Gray
in considering the Adder's Tongue "not common." Many botanists,
however, believe the plant to be "overlooked rather than rare." In an
article on _O. vulgatum_, which appeared some years ago in the _Fern
Bulletin_, Mr. A. A. Eaton writes:

      "Previous to 1895 Ophioglossum vulgatum was unknown to
      me, and was considered very rare, only two localities
      being known in Essex County, Mass. Early in the year a
      friend gave me two specimens. From these I got an idea
      of how the thing looked. On the 11th of last July, while
      collecting Habenaria lacera in a 'bound-out' mowing field,
      I was delighted to notice a spike of fruit in the grass. A
      search revealed about sixty, just right to collect, with
      many unfruitful specimens. A few days later, while raking
      in a similar locality, I found several, within a stone's
      throw of the house, demonstrating again the well-known fact
      that a thing once seen is easily discovered again. On the
      23d of last August, while riding on my bicycle, I noticed
      a field that appeared to be the right locality, and an
      investigation showed an abundance of them. I subsequently
      found it in another place. This year, on May 28th, I found
      it in another locality just as it was coming up, and I have
      since found three others. I consider it abundant here, only
      appearing rare because growing hidden in fine grass in old
      mowing fields, after the red top and timothy have died out,
      and the finer species of Carex are coming in. A good index
      plant is the Habenaria quoted. I have never found it except
      when associated with this plant, on a cold, heavy soil. The
      leaf is usually hidden, or, if not, is easily passed by for
      Maianthemum or Pogonia."

In the "Grete Herbal" of Gerarde we read that "the leaves of Adder's
Tongue stamped in a stone mortar, and boiled in oyle olive unto the
consumption of the juice, and until the herbs be dried and parched
and then strained, will yeelde most excellent greene oyle or rather a
balsame for greene wounds comparable to oyle of St. John's-wort if it
do not farre surpasse it."

It is said that "Adder's Spear Ointment," made from the fresh fronds
of this plant is still used for wounds in English villages.

[Illustration: PLATE VII

ADDER'S TONGUE]

The Adder's Tongue was believed formerly to have poisonous
qualities, which not only injured the cattle that fed upon it, but
destroyed the grass in which it grew.


9. RATTLESNAKE FERN. VIRGINIA GRAPE FERN

_Botrychium Virginianum_

      Nova Scotia to Florida, in rich woods. One or two feet
      high, at times much smaller, when it becomes _B. gracile_.

      _Sterile portion._--Usually broader than long, spreading,
      with three main divisions which are cut into many smaller
      segments, thin, set close to the stem about half way up.

      _Fertile portion._--Long-stalked, more than once-pinnate.

[Illustration: Rattlesnake Fern]

On our rambles through the woods we are more likely to encounter the
Rattlesnake Fern than any other member of the _Botrychium_ group. It
fruits in early summer, but the withered fertile portion may be found
upon the plant much later in the year. Its frequent companions are the
Spinulose Shield Fern, the Christmas Fern, the Silvery Spleenwort, and
the Maidenhair.


10. TERNATE GRAPE FERN

_Botrychium ternatum_ or _dissectum_

      Nova Scotia to Florida, in moist meadows. A few inches to
      more than a foot high.

      _Sterile portion._--Broadly triangular, the three main
      divisions cut again into many segments, on a separate stalk
      from near the base of the plant, fleshy.

      _Fertile portion._--Erect, usually considerably taller than
      non-fruiting segment, more than once-pinnate.

[Illustration: Sporangia of Botrychium]

Of late some doubt has existed as to whether _B. ternatum_ has been
actually found in this country, although the standard Floras give no
evidence of this uncertainty. Dr. Underwood is convinced that the true
_B. ternatum_ is found only in Japan and China, and that our species
is really _B. dissectum_, a species, not a variety. He says that this
species is very common in the vicinity of New York City, and thence
southward and westward; that it is also found in various parts of New
England; that it reaches its fullest development in moist, shady
woods; that in mossy meadows of New England and Central New York the
plant assumes a more contracted habit. He believes its segments are
more apt to be divided in shady situations than in open, sunny ground.

The Ternate Grape Fern fruits in the fall.

[Illustration: Part of sterile portion of B. dissectum]

[Illustration: PLATE VIII

TERNATE GRAPE FERN]


11. LITTLE GRAPE FERN

_Botrychium simplex_

      Canada to Maryland, in moist woods and in fields. Two to
      four inches high, rarely a little taller.

      _Sterile portion._--Somewhat oblong, more or less lobed,
      occasionally 3-7 divided, usually short-stalked from near
      the middle of the plant, thick and fleshy.

      _Fertile portion._--Either simple or once or twice-pinnate,
      taller than the sterile portion.

This little plant is sufficiently rare to rejoice the heart of the
fern hunter who is so fortunate as to stumble upon it by chance or
to trace it to its chosen haunts.

It is generally considered an inhabitant of moist woods and meadows,
though Mr. Pringle describes it as "abundantly scattered over Vermont,
its habitat usually poor soil, especially knolls of hill pastures,"
and Mr. Dodge assigns it to "dry fields." It fruits in May or June.


12. MOONWORT

_Botrychium Lunaria_

      Newfoundland to Connecticut and Central New York, in dry
      pastures. Three inches to nearly one foot high. A very
      fleshy plant.

      _Sterile portion._--Oblong, cut into several fan-shaped
      fleshy divisions, growing close to the stem about the
      middle of the plant.

      _Fertile portion._--Branching, long-stalked, usually the
      same height as or taller than the sterile portion.

The Moonwort is another of our rare little plants. It grows usually in
dry pastures, fruiting in July.

Formerly it was accredited with various magic powers. Gathered by
moonlight, it was said to "do wonders." The English poet Drayton
refers to the Moonwort as "Lunary":

      "Then sprinkled she the juice of rue
      With nine drops of the midnight dew
      From Lunary distilling."

[Illustration: PLATE IX

MOONWORT

LANCE LEAVED GRAPE FERN]

Gerarde mentions its use by alchemists, who called it Martagon. In the
work of Coles, an early writer on plants, we read: "It is said, yea,
and believed by many that Moonwort will open the locks wherewith
dwelling-houses are made fast, if it be put into the keyhole; as also
that it will loosen ... shoes from those horses' feet that go on the
places where it grows."

It is to the Moonwort that Withers alludes in the following lines:

      "There is an herb, some say, whose vertue's such
      It in the pasture, only with a touch
      Unshoes the new-shod steed."


13. MATRICARY GRAPE FERN

_Botrychium matricariæfolium_

      Nova Scotia to New Jersey, in woods and wet meadows. Two
      inches to one foot high.

      _Sterile portion._--Once or twice divided, sometimes very
      fleshy, growing high up on the stem.

      _Fertile portion._--With several branched pinnæ.

This plant is found, often in the companionship of _B. Virginianum_,
in woods and wet meadows, not farther south than New Jersey. It fruits
in summer.


14. LANCE-LEAVED GRAPE FERN

_Botrychium lanceolatum_

      Nova Scotia to New Jersey, in woods and meadows. Two to
      nine inches high.

      _Sterile portion._--Triangular, twice-pinnatifid, with
      somewhat lance-shaped segments, hardly fleshy, set close to
      the top of the common stalk.

      _Fertile portion._--Branching.

Like the Matricary Grape Fern, this plant is found in the woods and
wet meadows from Nova Scotia to New Jersey. It fruits also in summer.



GROUP III

FERTILE FRONDS UNIFORMLY SOMEWHAT LEAF-LIKE IN APPEARANCE, YET
DIFFERING NOTICEABLY FROM STERILE FRONDS


15. SLENDER CLIFF BRAKE

_Pellæa gracilis (P. Stelleri)_

      Labrador to Pennsylvania, usually on sheltered rocks,
      preferring limestone. Two to five inches long, with
      straw-colored or pale-brown stalks, slightly chaffy below.

      _Fronds._--Delicate, with few pinnæ; _pinnæ_, the lower
      ones once or twice parted into 3-5 divisions, those of
      the fertile frond oblong or linear-oblong, sparingly
      incised, of the sterile frond ovate or obovate, toothed or
      incised; _sporangia_ bordering the pinnæ of the fertile
      frond, covered by a broad and usually continuous general
      _indusium_, formed by the reflexed margin of the _pinnule_.

The first time I found the Slender Cliff Brake was one July day in
Central New York, under the kind guidance of an enthusiastic fern
collector. A rather perilous climb along the sides of a thickly
wooded glen brought us to a spot where our only security lay in
clinging to the trees, which, like ourselves, had obtained doubtful
standing-room. In a pocket in the limestone just above us I was shown
a very brown and withered little plant which only the closest scrutiny
in combination with a certain amount of foreknowledge could identify
as the Slender Cliff Brake. The season had been a dry one and the
plant had perished, I fancy, for lack of water, in spite of the stream
which plunged from the top of the cliffs close by, almost near enough,
it seemed to me, to moisten with its spray our hot cheeks.

[Illustration: Portion of fertile frond]

Later in the season I found more promising though not altogether
satisfactory specimens of this plant growing in other rocky crevices
of the same deep glen, in the neighborhood of the Maidenhair
Spleenwort, the Walking Leaf, and the Bulblet Bladder Fern.

My sister tells me that late in August on the cliffs which border the
St. Lawrence River, refreshed by the myriad streams which leap or
trickle down their sides, under the hanging roots of trees, close to
clusters of quivering harebells and pale tufts of the Brittle Bladder
Fern, the Slender Cliff Brake grows in profusion, its delicate fronds
rippling over one another so closely that at times they give the
effect of a long, luxuriant moss. On most occasions, in these soft
beds of foliage, she found the fertile fronds, which are far more
slender and unusual looking than the sterile, largely predominating,
though at times a patch would be made up chiefly of the sterile
fronds. These somewhat resemble the Brittle Bladder Fern in whose
company they are seen so often.

[Illustration: Slender Cliff Brake]


16. PURPLE CLIFF BRAKE

_Pellæa atropurpurea_

      Canada to Georgia and westward, usually on limestone
      cliffs; with wiry purplish stalks.

      _Fertile fronds._--Six to twenty inches high, leathery,
      bluish-green, pale underneath, once, or below twice,
      pinnate; _pinnæ_, upper ones long and narrow, lower
      ones usually with one to four pairs of broadly linear
      _pinnules_; _sporangia_ bordering the pinnæ, bright brown
      at maturity; _indusium_ formed by the reflexed margin of
      the frond.

      _Sterile fronds._--Usually much smaller than the fertile
      and less abundant; _pinnæ_ oblong, entire, or slightly
      toothed.

The Purple Cliff Brake is one of the plants that rejoice in
un-get-at-able and perilous situations. Although its range is wider
than that of many ferns, this choice of inconvenient localities,
joined to the fact that it is not a common plant, renders it likely
that unless you pay it the compliment of a special expedition in its
honor you will never add it to the list of your fern acquaintances.

But when all is said we are inestimably in debt to the plants so rare
or so exclusive as to entice us out of our usual haunts into theirs.
Not only do they draw us away from our books, out of our houses, but
off the well-known road and the trodden path into unfamiliar woods
which stand ready to reveal fresh treasures, across distant pastures
where the fragrant wind blows away the memory of small anxieties, up
into the hills from whose summits we get new views.

[Illustration: PLATE X

PURPLE CLIFF BRAKE
_a_ Portion of fertile frond]

Although the Purple Cliff Brake grows, I believe within fifteen
miles of my home in Albany, I never saw the plant until this summer
some hundred miles nearer the centre of the State. During a morning
call I chanced to mention that I was anxious to find two or three
ferns which were said to grow in the neighborhood. My hostess told me
that twenty-five years before, on some limestone cliffs about eight
miles away, she had found two unknown ferns which had been classified
and labelled by a botanical friend. Excusing herself she left me and
soon returned with carefully pressed specimens of the Purple Cliff
Brake and the little Rue Spleenwort, the two ferns I was most eager to
find. Such moments as I experienced then of long-deferred but peculiar
satisfaction go far toward making one an apostle of hobbies. My
pleasure was increased by the kind offer to guide me to the spot which
had yielded the specimens.

One morning soon after we were set down at the little railway station
from which we purposed to walk to the already-mentioned cliffs. We
were not without misgivings as we followed an indefinite path across
some limestone quarries, for a plant may easily disappear from a
given station in the course of twenty-five years. In a few moments
the so-called path disappeared in a fringe of bushes which evidently
marked the beginning of a precipitous descent. Cautiously clinging
to whatever we could lay hold of, bushes, roots of trees or imbedded
rocks, we climbed over the cliff's side, still following the semblance
of a path. On our left a stream plunged nearly two hundred feet into
the ravine below. For some distance the eye could follow its silver
course, then it disappeared beneath the arching trees. On our right,
many miles beyond, through the blue haze which hung over the distant
valley, we could see the lake to which the stream was hurrying.

We could not surrender ourselves with comfort to the beauty of the
outlook, as our surroundings were not such as to put us altogether at
ease. Overhead hung great rocks, so cracked and seamed and shattered
as to threaten a complete downfall, while beneath our feet the path
which led along the face of the cliff crumbled away, so that it was
difficult in places to obtain any foothold. Having passed the more
perilous spots, however, we became accustomed to the situation and
turned our attention to the unpromising wall of rock which rose beside
us. From its crevices hung graceful festoons of Bulblet Bladder Fern,
and apparently nothing but Bulblet Bladder Fern. But soon one of the
party gave a cry and pointed in triumph to a bluish-green cluster
of foliage which sprang from a shallow pocket overhead. Even though
one had not seen the plant before, there was no mistaking the wiry
purplish stalks, the leathery, pinnately parted, blue-green fronds,
and, above all, the marginal rows of bright brown sporangia peculiar
to the Purple Cliff Brake. Soon after we found several other plants,
all of them decidedly scraggly in appearance, with but few green
fronds and many leafless stalks. Occasionally a small sterile frond,
with broader, more oblong pinnæ, could be seen, but these were in the
minority. A number of very young plants, with little, heart-shaped
leaves altogether unlike the mature fronds, were wedged in neighboring
crannies.

As our eyes grew more accustomed to the contour and coloring of
the cliffs, the success of the day was completed by the discovery
of several specimens of the little Rue Spleenwort with tiny fronds
flattened against the rock.

When next I saw the Purple Cliff Brake it seemed to me quite a
different fern from the rather awkward plant, the mere sight of which
I had welcomed so eagerly that any unfavorable criticism of its
appearance seems ungrateful.

[Illustration: "The unpromising wall of rock which rose beside us."]

Again it sprang from limestone cliffs, even more remote and
inaccessible though less dangerous than those where I saw it first.
These cliffs were so shattered in places that the broken fragments lay
in heaps at their base and on the projecting ledges. Here and there
a great shaft of rock had broken away and stood like the turret of a
castle or the bastion of a fort. Among the shattered fragments high
up on the cliff's side the Purple Cliff Brake grew in a luxuriant
profusion that was amazing in view of the surroundings. The rigid,
erect fronds formed large tufts of greenish-gray foliage that, at
a little distance, so blended with their rocky background as to be
almost indistinguishable. The fronds usually were much more compound
than those I had seen a few weeks before. The separate plants had a
vigorous, bushy appearance that did not suggest the same species.
Many of the pinnæ were so turned as to display the ripe sporangia,
which formed a bright-brown border to the pale, slender divisions.
Here, too, the small sterile fronds were very rare.

[Illustration: More compound frond of Purple Cliff Brake

Sterile frond]

Growing from the broken rocks in among the Purple Cliff Brake were
thrifty little tufts of the Maidenhair Spleenwort. This tiny plant
seemed to have forgotten its shyness and to have forsworn its love for
moist, shaded, mossy rocks. It ventured boldly out upon these barren
cliffs, exposing itself to the fierce glare of the sun and to every
blast of wind, and holding itself upright with a saucy self-assurance
that seemed strangely at variance with its nature.

Near by a single patch of the Walking Leaf climbed up the face of the
cliff while, perhaps strangest of all, from the decaying trunk of a
tree, which lay prostrate among the rocks, sprang a single small but
perfect plant of the Ebony Spleenwort, a fern which was a complete
stranger in this locality, so far as I could learn.


17. CHRISTMAS FERN


_Aspidium acrostichoides_ (_Dryopteris acrostichoides_)

      New Brunswick to Florida, in rocky woods. One to two and a
      half feet high, with very chaffy stalks.

      _Fronds._--Lance-shaped, once-pinnate, fertile fronds
      contracted toward the summit; _pinnæ_ narrowly
      lance-shaped, half halberd-shaped at the slightly stalked
      base, bristly-toothed, the upper ones on the fertile
      fronds contracted and smaller; _fruit-dots_ round, close,
      confluent with age, nearly covering the under surface of
      the fertile pinnæ; _indusium_ orbicular, fixed by the
      depressed centre.

Of our evergreen ferns this is the best fitted to serve as a
decoration in winter. No other fern has such deep-green, highly
polished fronds. They need only a mixture of red berries to become a
close rival to the holly at Christmas-time.

[Illustration: Portion of fertile frond]

Wrapped in a garment of brown scales, the young fronds of the
Christmas Fern are sent into the world early in the spring. When
we go to the woods in April to look for arbutus, or to listen to
the first songs of the robin and the bluebird, we notice that last
year's fronds are still fresh and green. Low down among them, curled
up like tawny caterpillars, are the young fronds. The arbutus will
have made way for pink and blue and white hepaticas, for starry
bloodroot, and for tremulous anemones; thrushes and orioles will
have joined the robins and the bluebirds before these new-comers
present much of an appearance. When the tender, delicately green
fronds are first unrolled they contrast strongly with their polished,
dark-green, leathery companions.

[Illustration: Christmas Fern]

In this plant the difference is quite conspicuous between the fertile
and the sterile fronds. The sterile ones are shorter and apparently
broader, while the fertile are tall, slender, and noticeably
contracted by the abundantly fruiting pinnæ near the apex.


[Illustration: Narrow-leaved Spleenwort]


18. NARROW-LEAVED SPLEENWORT


_Asplenium angustifolium_

Canada to Kentucky, in moist woods. Two to four feet high.

      _Sterile fronds._--Thin, smooth, lance-shaped, perishable,
      once-pinnate.

      _Fertile fronds._--Taller, narrower, longer-stalked;
      _pinnæ_ more narrowly lance-shaped than on sterile fronds;
      _fruit-dots_ linear, a row on each side the midvein;
      _indusium_ slightly convex.


If we make an expedition to the woods early in July we may, perhaps,
find some plants of the Narrow-leaved Spleenwort. At this season they
are specially attractive, with smooth, delicate, pale-green fronds, so
recently unfolded as to be full of little undulations, which they lose
more or less at maturity, and which are as indicative of youth as the
curves and dimples of a baby.

[Illustration: PLATE XI

NARROW-LEAVED SPLEENWORT

_a_ Magnified pinna of fertile frond]

Late in August the plant has reached a stately height, perhaps of
three or four feet. The fronds are still smooth and delicate to a
degree unusual even in ferns. But they wear a deeper green, and
their texture seems a trifle more substantial. Occasionally, though
rarely in the deeper woods, we find a frond which is conspicuously
longer-stalked, taller, narrower than the others, with pinnæ more
distant and more contracted. A glance at its lower surface discovers
double rows of brown, linear fruit-dots.

Though one of the largest of its tribe, the Narrow-leaved Spleenwort
suggests greater fragility, a keener sensitiveness to uncongenial
conditions, than any other of our native ferns. A storm which leaves
the other inhabitants of the forest almost untouched beats down its
fronds, tender and perishable even in maturity.

This very fragility, accompanied as it is with beauty of form and
color, in the midst of the somewhat coarse and hardy growth of the
August woods, lends the plant a peculiar charm.

I find it growing beneath great basswoods, lichen-spotted beeches, and
sugar maples with trunks branchless for fifty feet, soaring like huge
shipmasts into the blue above.

Almost the only flowers in its neighborhood, for in midsummer
wood-flowers are rare, are the tiny pink blossoms of the herb Robert,
that invincible little plant which never wearies in well-doing, but
persists in flowering from June till October, the violet-blue heads
of the almost equally untiring self-heal and the yellow pitchers of
the pale touch-me-not or jewel-weed. This plant, a close relative of
the more southern and better known spotted touch-me-not, grows in
great patches almost in the heart of the woods. The lack of flowers is
somewhat atoned for by the coral clusters of the red baneberry and the
black-spotted, china-like fruit of the white baneberry.

But ferns chiefly abound in these woods. Everywhere I notice the thin,
spreading frond and withered fruit-cluster of the Rattlesnake Fern, in
my experience the most ubiquitous member of the _Botrychium_ group.
More or less frequent are graceful crowns of the Spinulose Shield
Fern, slender shining fronds of Christmas Fern, dull-green groups of
Silvery Spleenwort and stately plumes of Goldie's Fern. As we draw
near the wood's border, where the yellow sunlit fields of grain shine
between the tall maple shafts, we push aside umbrella-like Brakes.
At the very limits of the woods, close against the rails, grows the
sweet-scented _Dicksonia_.


19. NET-VEINED CHAIN FERN


      _Woodwardia angustifolia_

      Swampy places from Maine to Florida, in wet woods near the
      coast.

      _Sterile fronds._--Twelve to eighteen inches high,
      pinnatifid with minutely toothed divisions united by a
      broad wing.

      _Fertile fronds._--Taller than the sterile, once-pinnate;
      _pinnæ_ much contracted; _fruit-dots_ in a single row each
      side of the secondary midribs; _indusium_ fixed by its
      outer margin, opening on the side next the midrib.

[Illustration: _a_]

The Woodwardias are associated in my mind with sea-air, pine-trees,
and the flat, sandy country near Buzzard's Bay, Mass. Both species
were met with in one walk not far from the shore.

[Illustration: _b_]

A little stream, scarcely more than a ditch, divided an open, sunny
meadow from a bit of evergreen wood, and on the steep banks of this
runlet grew the bright fronds of _Woodwardia angustifolia_, giving
at first glance somewhat the impression of _Onoclea sensibilis_. The
fronds of both are described as pinnatifid, and in this _Woodwardia_
we find the divisions minutely toothed (_a_), giving them a rough
outline which is wanting in _Onoclea sensibilis_. These are the
sterile fronds. Among them and taller than they are the fertile fronds
with very narrow divisions, covered on the lower side with the chains
of fruit-dots (_b_).

[Illustration: PLATE XII

NET-VEINED CHAIN FERN]

It is a handsome fern and very satisfactory to the novice in fern
hunting, because, taking fertile and sterile fronds together, it
cannot be confused with any other species.

Crossing the tiny stream, a path dim with the shade of low, dense
evergreens and soft and elastic underfoot from their fallen leaves,
leads through the woods. Here among the partridge-vine that runs over
the rocks, growing from the soft, spongy soil, are groups of the
sterile fronds only of this _Woodwardia_, charming little clumps of
fresh green that invite one to dig them up and plant them in boxes or
baskets for decorative purposes.



GROUP IV

FERTILE AND STERILE FRONDS LEAF-LIKE AND SIMILAR; SPORANGIA ON OR
BENEATH A REFLEXED PORTION OF THE MARGIN


20. BRAKE. BRACKEN. EAGLE FERN

      _Pteris aquilina_

      Almost throughout North America, in dry, somewhat open
      places. One to two feet high ordinarily, occasionally much
      higher.

      _Fronds._--Solitary, one to two feet wide, cut into three
      primary divisions which are twice-pinnate, widely spreading
      at the summit of an erect, stout stalk; _sporangia_ borne
      in a continuous line along the lower margin of the frond;
      _indusium_ formed by the reflexed edge of the frond.

Of all ferns the Brake is the most widely distributed. It occurs
in one form or another in all parts of the world. With us it grows
commonly from one to two feet high, occasionally higher. In Oregon it
attains a height of six or seven feet, in the Andes of fourteen feet.

It is a vigorous and often a beautiful and striking plant, growing
abundantly on sunny hill-sides and in open woods.

In the spring or early summer its solitary spreading frond,
light-green and delicate in color, might almost be confused with the
Oak Fern. Later its green takes on a dark, dull shade, and its general
aspect becomes more hardy than that of any other fern.

[Illustration: Brake]

The Brake is believed to be the "fearn" of the early Saxons and to
have given this prefix to many English towns and villages, such as
Fearnhow or Farnhow, Farningham, etc.

It is one of the few ferns mentioned by name in general literature.
In the "Lady of the Lake" it is alluded to in the song of the heir of
Armandave:

      "The heath this night must be my bed,
      The Bracken curtain for my head."

_Pteris esculenta_, a variety of our Brake, is said to have been
one of the chief articles of food in New Zealand. It was called
"fern-root," and in Dr. Thompson's "Story of New Zealand" is spoken
of as follows: "This food is celebrated in song, and the young women,
in laying before travellers baskets of cooked fern-root, chant: 'What
shall be our food? Shall shellfish and fern-root? That is the root
of the earth; that is the food to satisfy a man; the tongues grow by
reason of the licking, as if it were the tongue of a dog.'"

[Illustration: Pinnule of Brake showing reflexed edges]

The titles Brake and Bracken are not always confined to their lawful
owner. Frequently they are applied to any large ferns, such as the
Osmundas, or even to such superficially fern-like plants as _Myrica
asplenifolia_, the so-called sweet fern.

There is a difference of opinion as to the origin of the plant's
scientific name, which signifies eagle wing. Some suppose it to be
derived from the outline of the heraldic eagle which has been seen by
the imaginative in a cross-section of the young stalk. It seems more
likely that a resemblance has been fancied between the spreading frond
and the plumage of an eagle.

The Brake turns brown in autumn, but does not wither away till the
following year.


21. MAIDENHAIR

      _Adiantum pedatum_

      Nova Scotia to British Columbia, south to Georgia and
      Arkansas, in moist woods. Ten to eighteen inches high.

      _Fronds._--Forked at the summit of the slender black and
      polished stalk, the recurved branches bearing on one side
      several slender, spreading pinnate divisions; _pinnules_
      obliquely triangular-oblong; _sporangia_ in short
      fruit-dots on the under margin of a lobe of the frond;
      _indusium_ formed by the reflexed lobe or tooth of the
      frond.

For purposes of identification it would seem almost superfluous to
describe the Maidenhair, a plant which probably is more generally
appreciated than all the rest of the ferns together. Yet, strangely
enough, it is confused constantly with other plants and with plants
which are not ferns.

[Illustration: A pinna of Maidenhair]

Perhaps the early meadow rue is the plant most commonly mistaken for
the Maidenhair. While it does not suggest strikingly our eastern
fern, its lobed and rounded leaflets bear a likeness to certain
species native to other parts of the country, notably to _A.
Capillus-Veneris_, the Venus-hair Fern of the southern States.

[Illustration: A pinnule of Maidenhair]

But it is not easy to convince a friend that he has made a mistake
in this regard. You chance to be driving by a bank overgrown with
the early meadow rue when he calls your attention to the unusual
abundance of Maidenhair in the neighborhood. To his rather indignant
surprise you suggest that the plant he saw was not Maidenhair,
but the early meadow rue. If he have the least reverence for your
botanical attainments he grudgingly admits that possibly it was not
the ordinary Maidenhair, but maintains stoutly that it was a more
uncommon species which abounds in his especial neighborhood. If
truly diplomatic you hold your peace and change the subject, but
if possessed by a tormenting love of truth which is always getting
you into trouble, you state sadly but firmly that our northeastern
States have but one species of Maidenhair, and that it is more than
improbable that the favored neighborhood of his home (for it is
always an unusually rich locality) offers another. The result of this
discussion is that mentally you are pronounced both conceited and
pig-headed. For a few weeks the plants in question are passed without
comment, but by another summer the rich growth of Maidenhair is again
proudly exhibited. Only in one way can you save your reputation and
possibly convince your friend. When correcting him, if you glibly
remark that _Adiantum pedatum_, our northeastern Maidenhair, is the
only species which has been found in this part of the country, that
_A. Capillus-Veneris_, the Maidenhair which somewhat resembles the
early meadow rue, can hardly be found north of Virginia, while _A.
tenerum_ is found only in Florida, and _A. emarginatum_ is confined
to the Pacific coast, you will have redeemed yourself, not from the
stigma of conceit, far from it, but from that of error. The glib
utterance of Latin names is attended with a strange power of silencing
your opponent and filling him with a sort of grudging belief in your
scientific attainments.

The truth is that the average layman who takes an interest in
plants is as sensitive regarding the Maidenhair as he is about his
recognition of an orchid. By way of warning what more need be said?

Though the Maidenhair has a wide range and grows abundantly in many
localities, it possesses a quality of aloofness which adds to its
charm. Even in neighborhoods where it grows profusely, it rarely
crowds to the roadside or becomes the companion of your daily walks.
Its chosen haunts are dim, moist hollows in the woods or shaded
hill-sides sloping to the river. In such retreats you find the
feathery fronds tremulous on their black, glistening stalks, and in
their neighborhood you find also the very spirit of the woods.

Despite its apparent fragility, the Maidenhair is not difficult to
cultivate if provided with sufficient shade and moisture.

[Illustration: Maidenhair]


22. HAIRY LIP FERN

      _Cheilanthes vestita_ (_C. lanosa_)

      Growing on rocks, Southern New York to Georgia. Six to
      fifteen inches high, with brown and shining stalks.

      _Fronds._--Oblong-lance-shaped, rough with rusty hairs,
      twice-pinnate; _pinnæ_ rather distant, triangular-ovate,
      cut into oblong, more or less incised pinnules;
      _fruit-dots_ roundish; _indusium_ formed by the reflexed
      margins of the lobes which are pushed back by the matured
      sporangia.

Till a few years ago the most northern station for the Hairy Lip Fern
was supposed to be within the limits of New York City. The plant was
discovered, in 1866 or 1867, on Manhattan Island, near Fort Tryon,
growing on rocks with an eastern exposure. If one should visit this
station to-day he would find himself at 196th Street, in the city
of New York, some two hundred and thirty-three yards west of the
Kingsbridge road, and I fear there would be no trace of this to us
rare fern.

Since then the plant has been discovered close to the Hudson River at
Poughkeepsie.

Its narrowly oblong, dull-green fronds, more or less covered with
red-brown hairs, which give it a somewhat rusty appearance, spring
from the clefts and ledges of rocks.

[Illustration: PLATE XIII

HAIRY LIP FERN

_a_ A fruiting pinnule]


23. HAY-SCENTED FERN

      _Dicksonia pilosiuscula_ (_D. punctilobula_)

      Two to three feet high; hill-sides, meadows, and thickets
      from Canada to Tennessee.

      _Fronds._--Ovate-lance-shaped, long-tapering, pale-green,
      thin and very delicate in texture, slightly glandular and
      hairy, usually thrice-pinnatifid; _pinnæ_ lance-shaped,
      pointed, repeating in miniature outline of frond;
      _pinnules_ cut again into short and obtuse lobes or
      segments; _fruit-dots_ each on an elevated globular
      receptacle on a _recurved toothlet_; _indusium_ cup-shaped,
      open at the top.

In parts of the country, especially from Connecticut southward, the
Hay-scented Fern is one of the abundant plants. Though not essentially
a rock-loving plant, it rejoices in such rocky, upland pastures as
crown many of our lower mountain ranges, "great stretches of grayish
or sage-green fields in which every bowlder and outcrop of rock is
marked by masses of the bright-green fronds of _Dicksonia_, over
which the air moves lazily, heavy with the peculiar fragrance of this
interesting fern." Its singularly delicate, tapering, pale-green
fronds, curving gracefully in every direction, rank it among our most
beautiful and noticeable ferns. Often along the roadsides it forms
great masses of feathery foliage, tempting the weary pedestrian or
bicycler to fling himself upon a couch sufficiently soft and luxurious
in appearance to satisfy a sybarite. But I can testify that the
Hay-scented Fern does not make so good a bed as it promises.

[Illustration: PLATE XIV

HAY-SCENTED FERN

_a_ Early stage of fruiting pinnule]

Two years ago, during a memorably hot August, an afternoon drive
over an unused mountain road brought us to a picturesque spot where
the clear stream tumbled into a rock-paved basin, suggesting so
vividly the joy of

                  "---- the cool silver shock
      Of the plunge in a pool's living water,"

that then and there we resolved soon to pitch our tent upon its banks.
In all respects it was not a suitable camp site. There were no balsams
or evergreens of any kind available for bedding in the neighborhood,
so when, a few days later, we had taken up our quarters just above
the rock-paved pool, we went into our temporary back-yard where
the _Dicksonia_ grew abundantly with its usual soft and seductive
appearance, and gathered great armfuls for the night's rest. I must
frankly own that I never slept on so hard a bed. Since then I have
been more than ever inclined to believe that ferns inhabit the earth
chiefly for decorative ends. In the present age they do not lend
themselves as once they did to medicinal purposes. Usually they are
without culinary value. So far as I know animals refuse to eat them on
account of their acrid juices. And experience proves that when used as
a bed they do not

      "---- medicine thee to that sweet sleep
      Which thou owedst yesterday."

The Hay-scented Fern is very sensitive, withering with the early
frosts. Sometimes in the fall it bleaches almost white. Then its
slender fronds seem like beautiful wraiths of their former selves.

The _Dicksonia_, as he always calls it, is Thoreau's favorite among
the ferns. Its fronds are sweet-scented when crushed or in drying, and
to their fragrance he was peculiarly sensitive:

      "Going along this old Carlisle road ... road where all
      wild things and fruits abound, where there are countless
      rocks to jar those who venture in wagons; road which leads
      to and through a great but not famous garden, zoölogical
      and botanical, at whose gate you never arrive--as I was
      going along there, I perceived the grateful scent of the
      Dicksonia fern now partly decayed. It reminds me of all up
      country, with its springy mountain-sides and unexhausted
      vigor. Is there any essence of Dicksonia fern, I wonder?
      Surely that giant, who my neighbor expects is to bound up
      the Alleghenies, will have his handkerchief scented with
      that. The sweet fragrance of decay! When I wade through by
      narrow cow-paths, it is as if I had strayed into an ancient
      and decayed herb garden. Nature perfumes her garments with
      this essence now especially. She gives it to those who go
      a-barberrying and on dark autumnal walks. The very scent of
      it, if you have a decayed frond in your chamber, will take
      you far up country in a twinkling. You would think you had
      gone after the cows there, or were lost on the mountains."

Again:

      "Why can we not oftener refresh one another with original
      thoughts? If the fragrance of the Dicksonia fern is so
      grateful and suggestive to us, how much more refreshing
      and encouraging, recreating, would be fresh and fragrant
      thoughts communicated to us from a man's experience? I want
      none of his pity nor sympathy in the common sense, but
      that he should emit and communicate to me his essential
      fragrance ... going a-huckleberrying in the fields of
      thought, and enriching all the world with his vision and
      his joys."

In connection with this fern Thoreau indulges in one of those
whimsical, enchanting disquisitions with the spirit of which you are
in complete accord, even though you may seem to contradict the letter:

      "It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin
      to know. I do not get nearer by a hair's-breadth to any
      natural object, so long as I presume that I have an
      introduction to it from some learned man. To conceive of it
      with a total apprehension, I must for the thousandth time
      approach it as something totally strange. If you would make
      acquaintance with the ferns, you must forget your botany.
      Not a single scientific term or distinction is the least
      to the purpose. You would fain perceive something, and you
      must approach the object totally unprejudiced. You must
      be aware that nothing is what you have taken it to be. In
      what book is this world and its beauty described? Who has
      plotted the steps toward the discovery of beauty? You must
      be in a different state from common. Your greatest success
      will be simply to perceive that such things are, and you
      will have no communication to make to the Royal Society. If
      it were required to know the position of the fruit-dots or
      the character of the indusium, nothing could be easier than
      to ascertain it; but if it is required that you be affected
      by ferns, that they amount to anything, signify anything to
      you, that they be another sacred scripture and revelation
      to you, helping to redeem your life, this end is not so
      easily accomplished."



GROUP V

FERTILE AND STERILE FRONDS LEAF-LIKE AND SIMILAR; SPORANGIA IN LINEAR
OR OBLONG FRUIT-DOTS


24. LADY FERN

      _Asplenium Filix-fœmina_

      A wood and roadside fern, growing in all parts of the
      country and presenting many varying forms. One to three
      feet high, with tufted, straw-colored, reddish, or brownish
      stalks.

      _Fronds._--Broadly lance-shaped, tapering toward the
      apex, twice-pinnate; _pinnæ_ lance-shaped; _pinnules_
      oblong-lanceolate, toothed or incised; _fruit-dots_ short,
      curved; _indusium_ delicate, curved, sometimes shaped like
      a horseshoe.

The Lady Fern is found in all parts of the country. Sometimes it forms
a part of the tangle of wild, graceful things which grow close to the
roadside fence. Again, in company with the Silvery Spleenwort, the
Evergreen Wood Fern and the Spinulose Shield Fern, forming perhaps a
background for the brilliant scarlet clusters of the wild bergamot, it
fringes the banks of some amber-colored brook which surprises us with
its swift, noiseless flow as we stroll through the woods.

[Illustration: PLATE XV

LADY FERN

_a_ Fruiting pinnule
_b_ Portion of same]

The earliest fronds uncurl in May. In June the plant is very
graceful and pleasing. When growing in shaded places it is often
conspicuous by reason of its bright pink or reddish stalks, which
contrast effectively with the delicate green of the foliage. But in
later summer, judging by my own experience, the Lady Fern loses much
of its delicacy. Many of its fronds become disfigured and present a
rather blotched and coarse appearance.

This seems strange in view of the fact that the plant is called by
Lowe, a well-known English writer, the "Queen of Ferns," and that it
is one of the few ferns to which we find reference in literature.
Scott pays it the compliment, rarely bestowed upon ferns, of
mentioning it by name:

      "Where the copse wood is the greenest,
      Where the fountain glistens sheenest,
      Where the morning dew lies longest,
      There the Lady Fern grows strongest."

In English works devoted to ferns I find at least two poems, more
remarkable for enthusiasm than for poetic inspiration, in its honor.
I quote a portion of the one which occurs in Miss Pratt's "Ferns of
Great Britain and Their Allies":

      "But seek her not in early May,
        For a Sibyl then she looks,
      With wrinkled fronds that seem to say,
        'Shut up are my wizard books!'
      Then search for her in the summer woods,
        Where rills keep moist the ground,
      Where Foxgloves from their spotted hoods,
        Shake pilfering insects round;
      When up and clambering all about,
        The Traveller's Joy flings forth
      Its snowy awns, that in and out
        Like feathers strew the earth:
      Fair are the tufts of meadow-sweet
        That haply blossom nigh;
      Fair are the whirls of violet
        Prunella shows hard by;
      But nor by burn in wood, or vale,
        Grows anything so fair
      As the plumy crest of emerald pale,
      That waves in the wind, and soughs in the gale,
      Of the Lady Fern, when the sunbeams turn
        To gold her delicate hair."

The other, which I give in full, on account of its quaintness,
appeared in the _Botanical Looker-out_ of Edwin Lees:

      "When in splendor and beauty all nature is crown'd,
      The Fern is seen curling half hid in the ground,
      But of all the green brackens that rise by the burn,
      Commend me alone to the sweet Lady Fern.

      "Polypodium indented stands stiff on the rock,
      With his sori exposed to the tempest's rough shock;
      On the wide, chilly heath Aquilina stands stern,
      Not once to be named with the sweet Lady Fern.

      "Filix-mas in a circle lifts up his green fronds
      And the Heath Fern delights by the bogs and the ponds;
      Through their shadowy tufts though with pleasure I turn,
      The palm must still rest with the fair Lady Fern.

      "By the fountain I see her just spring into sight,
      Her texture as frail as though shivering with fright;
      To the water she shrinks--I can scarcely discern
      In the deep humid shadows the soft Lady Fern.

      "Where the water is pouring forever she sits,
      And beside her the Ouzel, the Kingfisher flits;
      There, supreme in her beauty, beside the full urn,
      In the shade of the rock stands the tall Lady Fern.

      "Noon burns up the mountain; but here by the fall
      The Lady Fern flourishes graceful and tall.
      Hours speed as thoughts rise, without any concern,
      And float like the spray gliding past the green Fern."


25. SILVERY SPLEENWORT

_Asplenium thelypteroides_ (_A. acrostichoides_)

      Canada to Alabama and westward, in rich woods. One to three
      feet high.

      _Fronds._--Lance-shaped, tapering both ways from the
      middle, once-pinnate; _pinnæ_ linear-lanceolate, deeply
      cut into obtuse segments; _fruit-dots_ oblong; _indusium_
      silvery when young.

[Illustration: Entire frond]

The Silvery Spleenwort grows in company with its kinsman, the
Narrow-leaved Spleenwort, and also with many of the Aspidiums, such
as the Spinulose Shield Fern, the Evergreen Wood Fern, the Christmas
and Goldie's Fern. I find it growing in large patches in the rich
woods, often near water, either in boggy ground or on the very edge
of the clear, brown brook. Sometimes it is difficult to detect a
single fertile frond in a group of plants covering many square feet
of ground. This is probably owing to the deeply shaded situations
which it favors, as in sunny exposures I have noticed an abundance of
fertile fronds.

[Illustration: PLATE XVI

_a_ Upper part of fertile frond of Silvery Spleenwort
_b_ Portion of fruiting pinna
_c_ Portion of pinna showing double fruit-dots]

Its color is a dull green, the silvery indusia on the lower surfaces
of the pinnæ giving the plant its English title. Although usually its
fronds are larger, their outline, tapering as it does both ways from
the middle, somewhat suggests that of the New York Fern. It is readily
identified, as the oblong or linear fruit-dots at once proclaim it a
Spleenwort, and no other member of this tribe has fronds of the same
shape.

Although it cannot be classed among the rare ferns, it is absent
from many promising localities, and is associated in my mind with
especially successful expeditions.


26. RUE SPLEENWORT. WALL RUE

_Asplenium Ruta-muraria_

      A small rock fern, growing on limestone, Vermont to
      Michigan and southward. Four to seven inches long, with
      green, slender, tufted stalks.

      _Fronds._--Triangular-ovate, smooth, evergreen, twice or
      thrice-pinnate below; _pinnæ_ cut into stalked pinnules;
      _fruit-dots_ confluent at maturity, covering nearly the
      whole lower surface of pinnules; _indusium_ delicate.

My first acquaintance with the little Rue Spleenwort in its own home
dates back to the memorable day when we discovered the new station for
the Hart's Tongue.

[Illustration: PLATE XVII

RUE SPLEENWORT]

As I have already mentioned in my description of the Purple Cliff
Brake, on a chance morning call I learned that twenty-five years
before the Rue Spleenwort and the Purple Cliff Brake had been found on
certain cliffs which overhung some neighboring falls.

On these very cliffs a quarter of a century later we found a few
specimens of each plant. The tiny fronds of the Rue Spleenwort grew
from small fissures in the cliffs, flattening themselves against their
rocky background.

About a month later we returned to the spot for the purpose of
securing photographs of the natural gallery where the plants grew. The
seamed, overhanging rocks, the neighboring stream plunging nearly two
hundred feet to the ravine below, the bold opposite cliffs showing
here and there through their cloak of trees, and above and beyond the
smiling upland pastures, the wood-crowned hills, and the haze-softened
valley, had left a picture in the mind that we hoped to reproduce,
however inadequately, by means of the camera.

This morning we had approached the cliffs from an opposite direction.
In climbing a gradual ascent from the bed of the stream, we found a
plant of the Rue Spleenwort which was more vigorous and thrifty than
any we had previously seen. In the single tuft, about as large as the
palm of one's hand, we counted forty-five green fronds. Their lower
surfaces, in many cases, were covered with confluent fruit-dots. The
plant had much the effect of a rather small specimen of the Mountain
Spleenwort. The short, broad fronds were somewhat leathery, with
only a few pinnæ. Considering its lack of size, the little cluster,
springing from the bare rock, made so definite and interesting a
picture that we tried to photograph it as it grew. But after some time
spent in striving to secure a foothold for the tripod, and at the same
time for the photographer, we gave up the attempt as hopeless.

In England the Rue Spleenwort is found growing on old walls, specially
on their northern sides, also on church-towers, bridges, and ruins. It
is said to be difficult to cultivate.

Formerly this fern yielded a decoction which was supposed to be
beneficial in attacks of pleurisy and of jaundice.


[Illustration: Mountain Spleenwort]

27. MOUNTAIN SPLEENWORT

      _Asplenium montanum_

      Connecticut and New York to Georgia. A small rock fern from
      two to eight inches long, with stalks brown at base.

      _Fronds._--Ovate-lanceolate in outline, somewhat leathery,
      cut into oblong pinnæ, the lower ones of which are cut
      again into more or less oblong, toothed divisions, the
      upper ones less and less divided; _rachis_ green, broad,
      flat; _fruit-dots_ linear, short; _indusium_ thin, hidden
      at length by the sporangia, which mature in July.

With us this plant is decidedly rare. New York and Connecticut are
given as its northern limits. I have found it only in one locality,
in the neighborhood of a mountain lake in Ulster County, N. Y. Though
growing here somewhat abundantly, the fern is so small that, unless
your eyes are trained to search every cranny in the hope of some new
find, you are not likely to notice it. Even with trained eyes you may
readily fancy that the narrow chinks in the cliffs which rise sheerly
from the lake are merely patched with moss. But when you have pulled
your boat close under the shelving rocks, and have secured a hold
that enables you to stand up and examine at leisure the suspicious
patches, your heart bounds with delight as you get a near view of
the fringe of blue-green, leathery fronds which flatten themselves
against the gray cliffs. Apparently only the plants that grow under
specially favorable conditions are able to develop fronds that attain
a length of five or six inches. Only in what must have been almost
constant shadow, under the shelving rocks, directly above the lake
and refreshed always by its moisture, did I find these really
attractive, thrifty-looking plants. The specimens, which were located
at some distance from the lake, growing in one instance on top of
a mountain, again in the shaded crevices of a cliff, were tiny,
indefinite-looking plants with nothing to recommend them to any eyes
save those of the fern collector. In every instance they grew from
fissures in the rocks, rooting apparently in a mere pinch of earth,
yet with such tenacity that it would have been very difficult to
extract a plant unharmed. In almost every case they were shielded much
of the time from exposure to the sun.

[Illustration: PLATE XVIII

MOUNTAIN SPLEENWORT

_a_ A fertile frond
_b_ A pinna of fertile frond]

[Illustration: Mountain Spleenwort]

The large plants in the immediate vicinity of the lake were noticeably
bluish-green in color.

It is to be hoped that the few known haunts of the Mountain Spleenwort
will be respected in order that this rare little plant may be
preserved.

[Illustration: "In the shaded crevices of a cliff"]


28. EBONY SPLEENWORT

      _Asplenium ebeneum_ (_A. platyneuron_)

      Maine to Florida and westward, on rocks and hill-sides.
      Nine to eighteen inches high, with blackish and shining
      stalks.

      _Fronds._--Upright, narrowly oblanceolate, fertile fronds
      much the taller, once-pinnate; _pinnæ_ usually alternate,
      oblong, finely toothed, the base auricled on the upper or
      on both sides; _fruit-dots_ many, oblong, nearer midvein
      than margin; _indusium_ silvery till maturity.

The slender fronds of the Ebony Spleenwort hold themselves with a sort
of rigid grace which suggests a combination of delicacy and endurance.

[Illustration: Portion of fertile frond]

[Illustration: Fertile pinna magnified]

It is an attractive plant with an elusiveness of habit which serves,
perhaps, to increase its charm. Its range is from Maine to Florida and
westward; it is said to prefer limestone soil, and my past experience
has proved it a fairly common plant, yet so far this summer, in many
expeditions in a part of the country rich in limestone, I have found
only one specimen, while last year along the roadsides of Long Island
I found its black-stemmed fronds standing erect and slim in crowded
ranks under groups of red cedars. In other years it has abounded in
localities of a different character, sometimes following its little
relative, the Maidenhair Spleenwort, into moist ravines or along the
shelves of shaded rocks, again climbing exposed hill-sides, where its
fresh beauty is always a surprise.

[Illustration: PLATE XIX

EBONY SPLEENWORT]

The fronds of the Ebony Spleenwort usually face the sun, even if so
doing necessitates the twisting of its stalk.


29. MAIDENHAIR SPLEENWORT

      _Asplenium Trichomanes_

      Almost throughout North America. A small rock fern, four
      to twelve inches long, with purplish-brown and shining,
      thread-like stalks.

      _Fronds._--Linear in outline, somewhat rigid, once-pinnate;
      _pinnæ_ roundish or oval, unequal-sided, attached to rachis
      by a narrow point, entire or toothed; _fruit-dots_ short,
      oblong, narrowed at the ends, three to six on each side of
      the midrib; _sporangia_ dark-brown when ripe; _indusium_
      delicate.

[Illustration: Fertile pinnæ]

In childhood the delicate little fronds and dark, glistening,
thread-like stalks of the Maidenhair Spleenwort seemed to me a token
of the mysterious, ecstatic presence of the deeper woods, of woods
where dark hemlocks arched across the rock-broken stream, where the
spongy ground was carpeted with low, nameless plants with white-veined
or shining leaves and coral-like berries, where precious red-cupped
mosses covered the fallen tree-trunks and strange birds sang unknown
songs.

Perhaps because in those days it was a rare plant to be met with
on rare occasions, in a spirit of breathless exultation, I almost
begrudge finding it now on shaded cliffs close to the highway.

[Illustration: Maidenhair Spleenwort]

Certainly it seems lovelier when it holds itself somewhat aloof
from the beaten paths. One of its favorite haunts is a mossy cliff
which forms part of a ravine of singular beauty. Along the base of
this cliff foams a rushing stream on its way to the valley. Overhead
stretch branches of hemlock, cedar, and basswood. On the broader
shelves the mountain maple, the silver birch, and the hobble-bush
secure a precarious foothold. Below rare sunbeams bring out rich
patches of color on the smooth, muscular trunks of the beeches. Close
to the water, perhaps, wheel a pair of spotted sand-pipers, now
lighting on the rocks in order to secure some insect, now tilting
backward and forward with the comical motion peculiar to them, now
gliding swiftly along the pebbly shore till their brown and gray and
white coats are lost in the brown and gray and white of shore, rock,
and water.

[Illustration: Lower pinnæ]

In such a retreat as this ravine the Maidenhair Spleenwort seems
peculiarly at home. Its tufted fronds have a fresh greenness that is a
delight to the eye as they spring from little pockets or crannies too
shallow, we would suppose, for the necessary moisture and nourishment.
Its near companions are the Walking Fern, whose tapering, leaf-like,
blue-green fronds leap along the shelving ledge above, and the Bulblet
Bladder Fern, which seems to gush from every crevice of the cliff.

[Illustration: Upper pinnæ]


30. GREEN SPLEENWORT

      _Asplenium viride_

      Northern New England, west and northward, on shaded rocks.
      A few inches to nearly a foot long, with tufted stalks,
      brownish below, green above.

      _Fronds._--Linear-lanceolate, once-pinnate, pale green;
      _pinnæ_ ovate, toothed, midvein indistinct and forking;
      _fruit-dots_ oblong; _indusium_ straight or curved.

[Illustration: PLATE XX

GREEN SPLEENWORT]

The Green Spleenwort in general appearance resembles the Maidenhair
Spleenwort. Perhaps its most distinguishing feature is its stalk,
which, though brown below, becomes green above, while that of its
little relative is dark and shining throughout. Its discovery on Mt.
Mansfield, Vt., by Mr. Pringle gave it a place in the flora of the
United States, as is shown in the following passage from Mr. Pringle's
address before the Vermont Botanical Club:

      "On this first visit to Mt. Mansfield my work was
      restricted to the crest of the great mountain. About the
      cool and shaded cliffs in front of the Summit House were
      then first brought to my view _Aspidium fragrans_ ... and
      _Asplenium viride_, ... for I was still on my fern hunt.
      The finding of the former added a species to the Vermont
      catalogue; the latter was an addition to the flora of the
      United States. Such little discoveries gave joy to the
      young collector."

[Illustration: Fertile pinnæ]


31. SCOTT'S SPLEENWORT

      _Asplenium ebenoides_

      Connecticut to the Mississippi and southward to Alabama, on
      limestone. Four to twelve inches long, with blackish and
      shining stalks.

      _Fronds._--Lanceolate, tapering to a long, narrow apex,
      generally pinnate below, pinnatifid above; _fruit-dots_
      straight or slightly curved; _indusium_ narrow.

[Illustration: PLATE XXI

SCOTT'S SPLEENWORT]

The known stations of this curious little plant are usually in the
immediate neighborhood of the Walking Leaf and the Ebony Spleenwort,
of which ferns it is supposed to be a hybrid. The long, narrow apex
occasionally forming a new plant, and the irregular fruit-dots remind
one of the Walking Leaf, while the lustrous black stalk, the free
veins, and the pinnate portions of the fronds suggest the Ebony
Spleenwort.

Scott's Spleenwort matures in August. It is rare and local, except
in Alabama. The fact, however, that it has been discovered in widely
distant localities east of the Mississippi should lend excitement to
fern expeditions in any of our limestone neighborhoods where we see
its chosen associates, the Walking Leaf and the Ebony Spleenwort.
To find a new station for this interesting little fern, even if it
consisted of one or two plants only, as is said to have been the case
at Canaan, Conn., would well repay the fatigue of the longest tramp.


32. PINNATIFID SPLEENWORT

      _Asplenium pinnatifidum_

      New Jersey and Pennsylvania to Illinois, and southward to
      Alabama and Arkansas, on rocks. Four to fourteen inches
      long, with polished stalks, blackish below, green above,
      when young somewhat chaffy below.

      _Fronds._--Broadly lance-shaped, tapering to a long,
      slender point, pinnatifid or pinnate below; _pinnæ_ rounded
      or the lowest tapering to a point, _fruit-dots_ straight or
      somewhat curved; _indusium_ straight or curved.

[Illustration: PLATE XXII

PINNATIFID SPLEENWORT]

This plant resembles the Walking Leaf to such an extent that formerly
it was not considered a separate species. The long, slender apex of
its frond, which, it is said, sometimes takes root, as in the Walking
Leaf, gave ground for its confusion with that fern. But the tapering
apex of the frond of the Pinnatifid Spleenwort is not so long and the
veins of the frond are free.

The Pinnatifid Spleenwort grows on rocks. Its usual companions are the
Mountain Spleenwort and the Maidenhair Spleenwort. Williamson tells
us that, though it is quite common in Kentucky, he has never found a
frond which rooted at the apex. Eaton, however, speaks of "one or two
instances of a slight enlargement of the apex, as if there were an
attempt to form a proliferous bud."


33. BRADLEY'S SPLEENWORT

      _Asplenium Bradleyi_

      New York to Georgia and Alabama, westward to Arkansas, on
      rocks preferring limestone. Six to ten inches long, with
      slender, chestnut-brown stalks.

      _Fronds._--Oblong-lanceolate or oblong, tapering to a
      point, pinnate; _pinnæ_ oblong-ovate, lobed or pinnatifid;
      _fruit-dots_ short, near the midrib; _indusium_ delicate.

To my knowledge the only place in the northeastern States where this
rare and local species has been collected is near Newburg, N. Y.,
where Dr. Eaton found a plant growing on lime rock in 1864.

[Illustration: PLATE XXIII

BRADLEY'S SPLEENWORT

_a_ Fertile pinna]


34. WALKING FERN. WALKING LEAF

      _Camptosorus rhizophyllus_

      Canada to North Carolina and westward, on shaded rocks,
      preferring limestone. Four to eighteen inches long, with
      light-green stalks.

      _Fronds._--Simple, lanceolate, long-tapering toward the
      apex, usually heart-shaped at base, the apex often rooting
      and forming a new plant; _fruit-dots_ oblong or linear,
      irregularly scattered on the lower surface of the frond;
      _indusium_ thin.

[Illustration: Walking Leaf]

To its unusual and suggestive title this plant undoubtedly owes much
of the interest which it seems to arouse in the minds of those who
do not profess to be fern-lovers. A friend tells me that as a child,
eagerly on the lookout for this apparently active little plant, he
was so much influenced by its title that he thought it might be
advantageous to secure a butterfly-net as an aid in its capture. I
find that older people as well are tempted to unwonted energy if
promised a glimpse of the Walking Fern. Then, too, the scarcity of
the plant in many localities, or, indeed, its entire absence from
certain parts of the country, gives it a reputation for rarity which
is one of the most certain roads to fame.

[Illustration: Portion of fertile frond]

For many years I was unable to track it to any of its haunts. During
a summer spent in Rensselaer County, N. Y., the Walking Leaf was the
object of various expeditions. I recall one drive of twenty-five
miles devoted to hunting up a rumored station. At the end of the day,
which turned out cold and rainy, and fruitless so far as its special
object was concerned, I felt inclined to believe that the plant had
justified its title and had walked out of the neighborhood. Yet,
after all, no such expedition, even with wind and weather against
one, as in this case, is really fruitless. The sharp watch along the
roadside, the many little expeditions into inviting pastures, up
promising cliffs, over moss-grown bowlders, down to the rocky border
of the brook, are sure to result in discoveries of value or in moments
of delight. A flower yet unnamed, a butterfly beautiful as a gem, an
unfamiliar bird-song traced to its source, a new, suggestive outlook
over the well-known valley, and, later, "a sleep pleasant with all the
influences of long hours in the open air"--any or all of these results
may be ours, and go to make the day count.

Finally, one September afternoon, shortly before leaving the
neighborhood, we resolved upon a last search, in quite a new
direction. Several miles from home, at a fork in the road, standing
in a partially wooded pasture, we noticed just such a large, shaded
rock, with mossy ledges, as had filled us with vain hopes many times.
J. suggested a closer examination, which I discouraged, remembering
previous disappointments. But something in the look of the great
bowlder provoked his curiosity, so over the fence and up the ledges
he scrambled. Almost his first resting-place was a projecting shelf
which was carpeted with a mat of bluish-green foliage. It needed only
a moment's investigation to identify the leathery, tapering fronds of
the Walking Fern. No one who has not spent hours in some such search
as this can sympathize with the delight of those moments. We fairly
gloated over the quaint little plants, following with our fingers the
slender tips of the fronds till they rooted in the moss, starting
another generation on its life journey, and earning for itself the
title of Walking Leaf or Walking Fern.

Although since then I have found the Walking Leaf frequently, and
in great abundance, I do not remember ever to have seen it make so
fine a display. The plants were unusually large and vigorous, and the
aspect of the matted tufts was uncommonly luxuriant. To be sure, some
allowance must be made for the glamour of a first meeting.

[Illustration: "We fairly gloated over the quaint little plants."]

The Walking Leaf grows usually on limestone rocks, though it has
been found on sandstone, shale, and conglomerate as well. I have
also seen it on the stumps of decaying trees near limestone cliffs
in Central New York, where it is a common plant, creeping along
the shaded, mossy ledges above star-like tufts of the Maidenhair
Spleenwort and fragile clusters of the Slender Cliff Brake, venturing
to the brook's edge with sprays of the Bulblet Bladder Fern, and
climbing the turreted summits of the hills close to the Purple Cliff
Brake.

Although without the grace of the Maidenhair, the delicacy of certain
of the Spleenworts, or the stately beauty of the Shield Ferns, the
oddity and sturdiness of this little plant are bound to make it a
favorite everywhere.

Occasionally a plant is found which will keep up its connection with
two or three generations; that is, a frond will root at the apex,
forming a new plant (the second generation). This will also send out a
rooting frond which gives birth to a new plant (the third generation)
before the two first fronds have decayed at their tips so as to sever
the connection.

At times forking fronds are found, these forks also rooting
occasionally at their tips.


35. HART'S TONGUE

      _Scolopendrium vulgare_ (_S. scolopendrium_)

      Shaded ravines under limestone cliffs in Central New York
      and near South Pittsburg, Tenn. A few inches to nearly two
      feet long, with stalks which are chaffy below and sometimes
      to the base of the leaf.

      _Fronds._--Narrowly oblong, undivided, from a somewhat
      heart-shaped base, bright-green; _fruit-dots_ linear,
      elongated, a row on either side of the midrib and at right
      angles to it; _indusium_ appearing to be double.

When Gray describes a fern as "very rare" and Dr. Britton limits it
to two small stations in neighboring counties in the whole northern
United States, the fern lover looks forward with a sense of eager
anticipation to seeing it for the first time.

[Illustration: Tip of fertile frond]

During a week spent at Cazenovia, N. Y., a few years ago, I learned
that the rare Hart's Tongue grew at Chittenango Falls, only four
miles away. But my time was limited, and on a single brief visit to
the picturesque spot where the broad Chittenango stream dashes over
cliffs one hundred and fifty feet high, losing itself in the wild,
wooded glen below on its journey to the distant valley, I did little
more than revel in the beauty of the foaming mass which for many days
"haunted me like a passion." I saw no signs of the plant which has
done almost as much as "the sounding cataract" to make the spot famous.

[Illustration: Hart's Tongue]

The combined recollection of the beautiful falls and the for me
undiscovered fern, joined to the fact that Madison and the adjoining
Onondaga County are favorite hunting grounds for the fern lover on
account of the many species which they harbor, drew us to Cazenovia
for the summer two years later.

Guided by the explicit directions of Mr. J. H. Ten Eyck Burr, a
fern enthusiast who is always ready to share with others, of whose
good faith he is assured, his enjoyment of the hiding-places of his
favorites, we found at last the Hart's Tongue in its own home.

If Mr. Burr's kindness in sending me some fine pressed specimens, and
the illustrations I had seen in various books, had not already made
me familiar with the general look of the plant, the long, undivided,
tongue-like fronds, so different from one's preconceived notion of
a fern, would have been a great surprise. Even now, although I have
visited many times its hidden retreats, and have noted with delight
every detail of its glossy, vigorous growth, it seems to me always as
rare and unusual as it did the first day I found it.

At Chittenango Falls the Hart's Tongue grows a few yards from the
base of bold, overhanging limestone cliffs, the tops of which are
fringed by pendent roots of the red cedar. Nearly always it is
caught beneath moss-grown fragments of the fallen limestone, the
bright-green, undulating, glossy leaves either standing almost erect
(curving outward slightly above) or else falling over toward the slope
of the land so as to present a nearly prostrate appearance. At times
these fronds are very numerous, as many as fifty to a plant, forming
great clumps of foliage. Again we find a plant with only half a dozen
or even fewer green fronds. At maturity the linear, bright-brown
fruit-dots, a row on either side the midrib, are conspicuous on the
lower surfaces of the fronds.

This haunt of the Hart's Tongue is shaded by a growth of tall
basswoods and maples, of sturdy oaks and hemlocks. The neighboring
cliffs are draped with the slender fronds of the Bulblet Bladder
Fern. On every side rise the tall crowns of the omnipresent Evergreen
Wood Fern. Lower down, close to the rushing stream which we see
mistily through the green branches, its roar always in our ears, grow
the Walking Leaf and the Maidenhair. The little Polypody climbs over
the rocks and perches contentedly on the spreading roots of trees,
while a few fragile plants of the Slender Cliff Brake, something of a
rarity in these parts, are fastened to the mossy ledges.

The other published northern station of the Hart's Tongue is at
Jamesville, some fifteen miles from Chittenango Falls, near a small
sheet of water known commonly as Green Pond, christened botanically
Scolopendrium Lake. Here also it grows among the talus at the foot of
limestone cliffs. The plants which I found in this locality were less
luxuriant than those at Chittenango Falls. They grow in more exposed,
less shaded spots.

Scolopendrium Lake has become somewhat famous in the world of fern
students by reason of Mr. Underwood's claim that in its immediate
vicinity, within a radius of fifty rods from the water's edge (the
lake being a mere pond), grow twenty-seven different kinds of
ferns, while within a circle whose diameter is not over three miles
thirty-four species have been found. During this one day we gave to
the neighborhood, we could not hope to find so great a number, the
result, perhaps, of many days' investigation, and were forced to
content ourselves with the twenty-one species we did find. In his
list Mr. Underwood marks the Purple Cliff Brake as found but once, so
I judge he did not discover the station on the turreted cliffs close
by where it grows in extravagant profusion, producing fronds not only
much longer and finer than I had seen elsewhere, but superior to those
pictured in the illustrated books.

During the same summer, on an expedition to Perryville Falls, which we
had planned for the express purpose of finding the Rue Spleenwort and
the Purple Cliff Brake, a new station was discovered for the Hart's
Tongue. To Miss Murray Ledyard, of Cazenovia, belongs the honor of
finding the first plants in this locality. We had been successful in
the original object of our journey, and had crossed the stream in
order to examine the opposite cliffs. J. and I, curious to study the
wet wall of rock close to the sheer white veil of water, which fell
more than one hundred feet, finally secured an unsubstantial foothold
among graceful tufts of the greenish, lily-like flowers, which ought
to receive a more homely and appropriate title than _Zygadenus
elegans_. Having satisfied ourselves that the mossy crevices harbored
no plants of the Slender Cliff Brake, now the immediate object of our
search, we followed the natural path beneath the overhanging rock
and above the sheer descent to the ravine, examining the cliffs as
we cautiously picked our way. Miss Ledyard had remained below, and
suddenly we heard her give a triumphant shout, followed by the joyful
announcement that she had found the Hart's Tongue. The station being
previously quite unknown, this was a most interesting discovery.
On entering the ravine we had discussed its possibility, but I had
fancied that any hope of it would be unfounded, as I supposed the
ground had been thoroughly canvassed by the many botanists who had
visited the neighborhood.

The plants were still young, but large and vigorous, growing in a
partial opening among the basswoods, maples, and beeches, on a steep
slope covered with fragments of limestone, some thirty or forty feet
from the base of the cliffs. We must have found from twenty to thirty
plants within a radius of as many feet.

Unfortunately, as it turned out, the discovery found its way to the
columns of the local paper, and on our return to the station, some
weeks later our eager expectation of seeing the young plants in the
splendor of maturity was crushed by finding that the spot had been
ruthlessly invaded and a number of the finest plants had disappeared.
Before long it will be necessary for botanists to form a secret
society, with vows of silence as to fern localities and some sort of
lynch law for the punishment of vandals.

This fern, so rare with us, is a common plant in Europe, its fronds
attaining at times a length of two or three feet. In Ireland and the
Channel Islands it is especially abundant. In Devonshire, England,
it is described as growing "on the tops and at the sides of walls;
hanging from old ruins ... dropping down its long, green fronds into
the cool and limpid water of roadside wells hewn out of the rock;
often exposed to the full blaze of the sun, but always in such cases
dwindled down to a tiny size" ("The Fern Paradise").

The Hart's Tongue has been known as the Caterpillar Fern and the
Seaweed Fern.


36. VIRGINIA CHAIN FERN

      _Woodwardia Virginica_

      Swampy places, often in deep water, from Maine to Florida.
      Two to more than three feet high.

      _Fronds._--Once-pinnate; _pinnæ_ pinnatifid, with oblong
      segments; _fruit-dots_ oblong, in chain-like rows along the
      midrib both of the pinnæ and of the lobes, confluent when
      ripe; _indusium_ fixed by its outer margin, opening on the
      side next the midrib.

Emerging from the shade and silence of a little wood upon the rolling
downs where one has glimpses of the blue bay, our attention is
attracted by a tall fern beside the path, growing among a tangle of
shrubs and vines. It does not grow in symmetrical crowns or tufts like
an _Osmunda_, but its fronds are almost as handsome, the divisions
being wider apart and more scattered. Turning over two or three of the
rather glossy fronds, we find a rusty-backed, fertile frond, covered
on one side with the regular chain-like rows of fruit-dots which make
its name of Chain Fern seem very appropriate and descriptive.

[Illustration: PLATE XXIV

UPPER PART OF FROND OF VIRGINIA CHAIN FERN

_a_ Portion of fertile pinna
_b_ Tip of fertile pinna]

In the low, damp ground near the coast one may expect to find this
fern; its haunts, where the narrow path winds between tall masses of
sweet-pepper bush and wet meadows where pogonia and calopogon delight
us in July, and the white-fringed orchids may be found in later
summer, are among the most beautiful of the many beautiful kinds of
country that the fern and flower lover knows, to which his feet stray
inevitably in the season of green things, and which are the solace of
his "inward eye" when that season is past.



GROUP VI

FERTILE AND STERILE FRONDS LEAF-LIKE AND USUALLY SIMILAR, FRUIT-DOTS
ROUND


37. NEW YORK FERN

      _Aspidium Noveboracense_ (_Dryopteris Noveboracensis_)

      Newfoundland to South Carolina, in woods and open meadows.
      One to more than two feet high, with stalks shorter than
      the fronds.

      _Fronds._--Lance-shaped, tapering both ways from the middle
      pinnate; _pinnæ_ lance-shaped, the lowest pairs shorter and
      deflexed, divided into flat, oblong lobes which are not
      reflexed over the fruit-dots; _fruit-dots_ round, distinct,
      near the margin; _indusium_ minute.

At times the pale-green fronds of the New York Fern throng to the
roadside, which is flanked by a tangled thicket of Osmundas, wild
roses, and elder bushes.

Again, they stay quietly at home in the open marsh or in the shadow
of the hemlocks and cedars, where they have fragrant pyrola and
pipsissewa for company, and where the long, melancholy note of the
peewee breaks the silence.

This plant is easily distinguished from the Marsh Fern by the
noticeable tapering at both ends of its frond, and by the flat instead
of reflexed margins to the lobes of the fertile pinnæ.

[Illustration: PLATE XXV

NEW YORK FERN

_a_ Portion of fertile pinna
_b_ Tip of pinna showing veining]


38. MARSH FERN

      _Aspidium Thelypteris_ (_Dryopteris Thelypteris_)

      New Brunswick to Florida, in wet woods and swamps. One to
      nearly three feet high.

      _Fronds._--Lance-shaped, slightly downy, once-pinnate,
      fertile fronds longer-stalked than the sterile; _pinnæ_,
      the lower ones hardly smaller than the others, cut into
      oblong, entire lobes, which are obtuse in the sterile
      fronds, but appear acute in the fertile ones from the
      strongly revolute margins; veins once or twice forked;
      _fruit-dots_ small, round, half-way between midvein and
      margin, or nearer margin, soon confluent; _indusium_ small.

In our wet woods and open swamps, and occasionally in dry pastures,
the erect, fresh-green fronds of the Marsh Fern grow abundantly. The
lowest pinnæ are set so high on the long slender stem as to give the
fern the appearance of trying to keep dry, daintily holding its skirts
out of the mud as it were.

The plant's range is wide. As I pick my way through marshy inland
woods, using as bridges the fallen trunks and interlacing roots of
trees, its bright fronds standing nearly three feet high, crowd about
me. Close by, securing, like myself, a firmer foothold by the aid
of the trees' roots, I notice the flat, mottled green and white
rosettes and the slender wands of flowers of the rattlesnake orchid.
In the open swamps beyond the fern's companion is another orchid,
the ladies' tresses, with braided spikes of white, and in this case
deliciously fragrant flowers.

[Illustration: Marsh Fern]

In open marshes near the sea I find this plant associating itself with
the violet-scented adder's mouth, with glistening sundew, and with
gaudy Turk's-cap lilies.

From the New York Fern it may be distinguished easily by the somewhat
abrupt instead of tapering base of the frond, by the strongly
revolute margins of the fertile frond, and by its long stalk.

[Illustration: PLATE XXVI

MARSH FERN

Fertile frond
Sterile frond]

From the Massachusetts Fern it may be distinguished by its forked
veins, the less revolute margins of the fertile frond, and by its
thicker texture and deeper green.


39. MASSACHUSETTS FERN

      _Aspidium simulatum_ (_Dryopteris simulata_)

      New Hampshire to the Indian Territory, in wooded swamps.
      One to more than three feet high.

      _Fronds._--Oblong-lance-shaped, little or not at all
      narrowed at the base, rather thin, pinnate; _pinnæ_
      lance-shaped, cut into oblong, obtuse segments, which are
      slightly reflexed in the fertile fronds, veins not forked;
      _fruit-dots_ rather large, somewhat distant; _indusium_
      "withering-persistent."

This species closely resembles the Marsh Fern. The less revolute
margins of the fertile frond, the simple veins, its thinner texture,
and its more distant fruit-dots aid in its identification. It is found
in woodland swamps from New Hampshire to the Indian Territory.

[Illustration: PLATE XXVII

SPINULOSE WOOD FERN

Aspidium spinulosum, var. intermedium

_a_ Portion of fertile pinnule]


40. SPINULOSE WOOD FERN

      _Aspidium spinulosum_ (_Dryopteris spinulosa_)

      Newfoundland to Kentucky. The common European type, rare in
      North America. One to two and a half feet high, with stalks
      having a few pale-brown deciduous scales.

      _Fronds._--Lance-ovate, twice-pinnate; _pinnæ_ oblique to
      the rachis, elongated-triangular, the lower ones broadly
      triangular; _pinnules_ oblique to the midrib, connected
      by a narrow wing, cut into thorny-toothed segments;
      _fruit-dots_ round; _indusium_ smooth, without marginal
      glands, soon withering.

To my knowledge I have only seen this fern in the herbarium, it being
rare in this country. It is found, I have been told, chiefly toward
the tops of mountains. Its pinnæ are noticeably ascending.

      _Var. intermedium_ (_D. spinulosa intermedia_)

      Labrador to North Carolina, in woods almost everywhere.
      Usually large, with somewhat chaffy stalks, having brown,
      dark-centred scales.

      _Fronds._--Oblong-ovate, 2-3 pinnate; _pinnæ_
      oblong-lance-shaped, spreading, rather distant, the lowest
      unequally triangular, the pinnules on the lower side longer
      than those on the upper side; _pinnules_ ovate-oblong,
      spreading, with oblong lobes thorny-toothed at the apex;
      _fruit-dots_ round; _indusium_ delicate, beset with tiny
      stalked glands.

This is the form of the species that abounds in our woods. Perhaps no
one plant does more for their beauty than this stately fern, whose
rich-green, outward-curving fronds spring in circles from fallen trees
and decaying stumps as well as from the ground.

[Illustration: PLATE XXVIII

BOOTT'S SHIELD FERN

_a_ Tip of fertile pinna]

The plant varies greatly in height, breadth, and way of holding
itself. Sometimes the fronds stand three feet high, and are broad and
spreading. Again, they are tall, slender, and somewhat erect. Again,
they are not more than a foot high.

At its best it grows with almost tropical luxuriance and is a plant
of rare beauty, its fronds having a certain featheriness of aspect
uncommon in the Aspidiums.

      _Var. dilatatum_ (_D. spinulosa dilatata_)

      Newfoundland to North Carolina, chiefly in the mountains.

      _Fronds._--Usually large, broader at base than in either of
      the preceding species, ovate or triangular-ovate, oftenest
      thrice-pinnate; _pinnules_ lance-oblong, the lowest often
      much elongated; _fruit-dots_ round; _indusium_ smooth.

This form of the Spinulose Wood Fern is distinguished chiefly by
its broader fronds and by the smooth indusia. As these indusia
can be seen satisfactorily only by the aid of a magnifying-glass,
there is frequently some difficulty in distinguishing this variety.
Occasionally it occurs in a dwarf state, fruiting when only a few
inches high.


41. BOOTT'S SHIELD FERN

      _Aspidium Boottii_ (_Dryopteris Boottii_)

      Nova Scotia to Maryland, about ponds and in wet places.
      One and a half to more than three feet high, with somewhat
      chaffy stalks which have pale-brown scales.

      _Fronds._--Long lance-shaped, somewhat narrowed at base,
      nearly or quite twice-pinnate; _pinnæ_, the lowest
      triangular-ovate, upper longer and narrower; _pinnules_
      oblong-ovate, sharply thorny-toothed, somewhat pinnatifid
      below; _fruit-dots_ round; _indusium_ slightly glandular.

[Illustration: PLATE XXIX

CRESTED SHIELD FERN

_a_ A pinna
_b_ Portion of fertile pinna]

Boott's Shield Fern is found in moist woods and near ponds. It is
distinguished by its long, narrow fronds and minutely glandular
indusium.


42. CRESTED SHIELD FERN

      _Aspidium cristatum_ (_Dryopteris cristata_)

      Newfoundland to Kentucky, in swamps. One to more than three
      feet high, with stalks which are chaffy, especially below,
      and which have light-brown scales, stalks of sterile fronds
      much shorter than those of fertile fronds.

      _Fronds._--Linear-oblong or lance-shaped, nearly
      twice-pinnate, fertile ones taller and longer stalked
      than the sterile; _pinnæ_ (of the fertile frond, turning
      their faces toward the apex of the frond) rather short,
      lance-shaped or triangular-oblong, deeply impressed with
      veins, cut deeply into oblong, obtuse, finely toothed
      divisions; _fruit-dots_ large, round, half-way between
      midvein and margin; _indusium_ large, flat.

In wet woods, growing either from the ground or from the trunks of
fallen trees, and also in open meadows, we notice the tall, slender,
dark-green, somewhat lustrous fronds of the Crested Shield Fern,
usually distinguished easily from its kinsmen by the noticeably
upward-turning pinnæ of the fertile fronds, and by the deep impression
made by the veins on their upper surfaces.

The sterile fronds are much shorter than the fertile ones. They are
evergreen, lasting through the winter after the fertile fronds have
perished.

Near the Crested Shield Fern we find often many of its kinsmen,
broad, feathery fronds of the Spinulose Wood Fern, more slender
ones of Boott's Shield Fern, great tufts made by the magnificent
bright-green fronds of Goldie's Fern, symmetrical circles of vigorous
Evergreen Wood Fern, and shining clusters of the Christmas Fern. All
these plants, belonging to the one tribe, seek the same moist, shaded
retreats, and form a group of singular beauty and vigor.

[Illustration: PLATE XXX

Part of CLINTON'S WOOD FERN

_a_ Portion of fertile pinna]


43. CLINTON'S WOOD FERN

      _Aspidium cristatum, var. Clintonianum_ (_Dryopteris
      cristata Clintoniana_)

      Maine to New Jersey and Pennsylvania, in swampy woods. Two
      and a half to four feet high.

      _Fronds._--Larger in every way than those of the Crested
      Shield Fern, nearly twice-pinnate; _pinnæ broadest
      at base_, cut into from eight to sixteen pairs of
      linear-oblong, obtuse, obscurely toothed divisions;
      _fruit-dots_ large, round, near the midvein; _indusium_
      orbicular, smooth.

This is a much larger and more showy plant than the Crested Shield
Fern. Its tall, broad, hardy-looking fronds are found in our moist
woods. While not rare it is exclusive in its habits, and cannot
be classed with such every-day finds as its kinsmen, the Marsh,
Spinulose, Evergreen, and Christmas Ferns.

[Illustration: PLATE XXXI

Part of fertile frond of Goldie's Fern

_a_ Portion of a fertile pinna]


44. GOLDIE'S FERN

      _Aspidium Goldianum_ (_Dryopteris Goldieana_)

      New Brunswick to North Carolina and Tennessee, in rich
      woods. Two to more than four feet high, with stalks which
      are chaffy near the base.

      _Fronds._--Broadly ovate, the early sterile ones much
      broader in proportion and smaller, usually a foot or more
      wide, once-pinnate; _pinnæ_ pinnatifid; _broadest in the
      middle_ (the distinction from Clinton's Wood Fern), the
      divisions, about twenty pairs, oblong-linear, slightly
      toothed; _fruit-dots_ very near the midvein; _indusium_
      very large, orbicular.

In the golden twilight of the deeper woods this stately plant unfurls
its tall, broad, bright-green fronds, studded on their backs with the
round fruit-dots which are so noticeable in this _Aspidium_, adding
much to their attractiveness by the suggestion of fertility.

This plant ranks with the Osmundas and with the Ostrich Fern in size
and vigorous beauty. Its retiring habits give it a reputation for
rarity or at least for exclusiveness.

[Illustration: PLATE XXXII

EVERGREEN WOOD FERN

_a_ Tip of fertile pinna
_b_ Magnified fruit-dot, showing indusium and sporangia]


45. EVERGREEN WOOD FERN. MARGINAL SHIELD FERN

      _Aspidium marginale_ (_Dryopteris marginalis_)

      Canada to Alabama, in rocky woods. A few inches to three
      feet high, with more or less chaffy stalks having shining
      scales.

      _Fronds._--Ovate-oblong, smooth, thick, somewhat
      leathery, once or twice-pinnate; _pinnæ_ lance-shaped or
      triangular-ovate, tapering at the end, cut into pinnules;
      _pinnules_ oblong, entire, or toothed; _fruit-dots_ large,
      round, close to the margin; _indusium_ large, convex,
      persistent.

Above the black leaf-mould in our rocky northern woods rise the firm,
graceful crowns formed by the blue-green fronds of the Evergreen Wood
Fern. The plant bears a family likeness to the Crested Shield Fern,
but its conspicuously marginal fruit-dots identify it at sight.

It is interesting to read that it comes "nearer being a tree-fern than
any other of our species, the caudex covered by the bases of fronds
of previous seasons, sometimes resting on bare rocks for four or five
inches without roots or fronds" (see Eaton, p. 70). This peculiarity
in the plant's growth is often striking and certainly suggests the
tree-ferns of the green-house.

Frequently in this species I notice what is more or less common to
nearly all ferns, the exquisite contrast in the different shades of
green worn by the younger and older fronds and the charming effect
produced when the deep green of the centre of a frond shades away in
the most delicate manner toward its apex and the tips of its pinnules.

As its English title signifies, the Evergreen Wood Fern flourishes
throughout the winter. In one of the October entries in his journal,
Thoreau records his satisfaction in the endurance of the hardy ferns:

      "Now they are conspicuous amid the withered leaves. You are
      inclined to approach and raise each frond in succession,
      moist, trembling, fragile greenness. They linger thus
      in all moist, clammy swamps under the bare maples and
      grapevines and witch hazels, and about each trickling
      spring that is half choked with fallen leaves. What means
      this persistent vitality? Why were these spared when the
      brakes and osmundas were stricken down? They stay as if
      to keep up the spirits of the cold-blooded frogs which
      have not yet gone into the mud, that the summer may die
      with decent and graceful moderation. Is not the water of
      the spring improved by their presence? They fall back and
      droop here and there like the plumes of departing summer,
      of the departing year. Even in them I feel an argument for
      immortality. Death is so far from being universal. The same
      destroyer does not destroy all. How valuable they are,
      with the lycopodiums, for cheerfulness. Greenness at the
      end of the year, after the fall of the leaf, a hale old
      age. To my eye they are tall and noble as palm-groves, and
      always some forest nobleness seems to have its haunt under
      their umbrage. All that was immortal in the swamp herbage
      seems here crowded into smaller compass, the concentrated
      greenness of the swamp. How dear they must be to the
      chickadee and the rabbit! the cool, slowly retreating
      rear-guard of the swamp army."


46. FRAGRANT SHIELD FERN

      _Aspidium fragrans_ (_Dryopteris fragrans_)

      Northern New England to Wisconsin and northward, on rocks.
      Five to sixteen inches long, with very chaffy stalks having
      brown, glossy scales.

      _Fronds._--Lance-shaped, tapering to a point, nearly
      twice-pinnate, fragrant; _pinnæ_ oblong-lanceolate,
      pinnatifid; _fruit-dots_ round, large; _indusium_ large and
      thin.

The Fragrant Shield Fern thrives in a colder climate than that chosen
by many of its kinsmen. Though found in the White Mountains, in the
Green Mountains (where it climbs to an elevation of four thousand
feet), in the Adirondacks, and in other special localities of about
the same latitude, yet it is rare till we journey farther north. It
loves the crevices of shaded cliffs or mossy rocks, often thriving
best in the neighborhood of rushing brooks and waterfalls. Frequently
it seems to seek the most inaccessible spots, as if anxious to evade
discovery. Mr. J. A. Bates, of Randolph, Vt., writes that he first saw
this little plant through a telescope from the piazza of the Summit
House on Mount Mansfield on an apparently inaccessible ledge, the
only instance in my experience when the fern student has sought this
method of observation, suggesting "Ferns Through a Spy-glass" as a
companion volume to "Birds Through an Opera-glass." But even the most
carefully chosen spots are not safe from invasion, as Mr. Bates tells
us, for some unprincipled persons, having felled neighboring trees and
constructed a rude ladder, have succeeded in uprooting every plant
from the Fragrant Shield Fern Cliff on Mount Mansfield.

[Illustration: "Like the plumes of departing summer"]

[Illustration: PLATE XXXIII

FRAGRANT SHIELD FERN

_a_ Portion of fertile pinna]

The fronds of the Fragrant Shield Fern grow in a crown and the fertile
ones fruit in great abundance.

Eaton writes as follows touching the fragrance of this fern and its
use as a beverage:

      "The pleasant odor of this plant remains many years in the
      herbarium. The early writers compare the fragrance to that
      of raspberries, and Milde repeats the observation. Hooker
      and Greville thought it 'not unlike that of the common
      primrose.' Maximowicz states that the odor is sometimes
      lacking. Milde quotes Redowsky as saying that the Yakoots
      of Siberia use the plant in place of tea; and, having tried
      the experiment myself, I can testify to the not unpleasant
      and very fragrant astringency of the infusion."

The following delightful description of the Fragrant Shield Fern was
written by Mr. C. G. Pringle, and is taken from Meehan's "Native
Flowers and Ferns":

      "In the several stations of _Aspidium fragrans_ among the
      Green Mountains which I have explored, the plant is always
      seen growing from the crevices or on the narrow shelves of
      dry cliffs--not often such cliffs as are exposed to the
      sunlight, unless it be on the summits of the mountains,
      but usually such cliffs as are shaded by firs, and notably
      such as overhang mountain-rivulets and waterfalls. When I
      visit such places in summer, the niches occupied by the
      plants are quite dry. I think it would be fatal to the
      plant if much spray should fall on it during the season of
      its active growth. When you enter the shade and solitude of
      the haunts of this fern, its presence is betrayed by its
      resinous odor; looking up the face of the cliff, usually
      mottled with lichens and moss, you see it often far above
      your reach hanging against the rock, masses of dead brown
      fronds, the accumulations of many years, preserved by the
      resinous principle which pervades them; for the fronds, as
      they disport regularly about the elongating caudex, fall
      right and left precisely like a woman's hair. Above the
      tuft of drooping dead fronds, which radiate from the centre
      of the plant, grow from six to twenty green fronds, which
      represent the growth of the season, those of the preceding
      year dying toward autumn."


47. BRAUN'S HOLLY FERN

      _Aspidium aculeatum, var. Braunii_ (_Dryopteris Braunii_)

      Canada to Maine, the mountains of Pennsylvania and
      westward, in deep rocky woods. One to more than two feet
      long, with chaffy stalks, having brown scales.

      _Fronds._--Thick, twice-pinnate; _pinnæ_ lanceolate,
      tapering both ways; _pinnules_ covered with hairs and
      scales, truncate, nearly rectangular at the base;
      _fruit-dots_ roundish, small, mostly near the midveins;
      _indusium_ orbicular, entire.

This fern is said to have been first discovered by Frederick Pursh in
1807 in Smuggler's Notch, Mount Mansfield, Vt. In the Green Mountains
and in the Catskills several stations have been established. It has
been found also in the Adirondacks and in Oswego County, N. Y., and it
is now reported as common in the rocky woods of northern Maine, and by
mountain brooks in northern New England.

Braun's Holly Fern is one of the numerous varieties of the Prickly
Shield Fern or _A. aculeatum_ (_D. aculeata_).

Though few of our fern-students will have an opportunity to follow
the Prickly Shield Fern through all the forms it assumes in different
parts of the world, yet undoubtedly many of them will have the
pleasure of seeing in one of its lonely and lovely haunts our own
variety, Braun's Holly Fern.

[Illustration: PLATE XXXIV

BRAUN'S HOLLY FERN

_a_ Portion of pinna
_b_ Fertile pinnule, indusia gone]


48. COMMON POLYPODY. SNAKE FERN

      _Polypodium vulgare_

      Almost throughout North America, on rocks. A few inches to
      more than a foot high.

      _Fronds._--Oblong, smooth, somewhat leathery, cut into
      narrowly oblong, usually obtuse divisions which almost
      reach the rachis; _fruit-dots_ large, round, half-way
      between the midrib and margin; _indusium_, none.

[Illustration: Polypody]

Strangely enough, the Polypody, one of our most abundant and
ubiquitous ferns, is not rightly named, if it is noticed at all,
by nine out of ten people who come across it in the woods or along
the roadside. Yet the plant has a charm peculiarly its own, a charm
arising partly from its vigor, from the freshness of its youth and the
endurance of its old age, partly from its odd outlines, and partly
from its usual environment, which entitles it to a more ready and
universal recognition.

"The cheerful community of the polypody," as Thoreau calls it, thrives
best on the flat surfaces of rocks. I recall the base of certain great
cliffs where the rocky fragments, looking as though hurled from above
by playful giants, are thickly covered with these plants, their rich
foliage softening into beauty otherwise rugged outlines. Usually the
plant is found in somewhat shaded places. Occasionally it grows on the
trunks of trees and on fallen logs, as well as on rocks and cliffs.

[Illustration: Tip of fertile frond]

A few weeks ago I found its fronds prettily curtaining the cleverly
hidden nest of a pair of black and white creepers. It is with good
reason that these birds are noted for their skill in concealing their
dwelling-place. This special afternoon, when persuaded by their
nervous chirps and flutterings about the rocky perch where I was
sitting that the young ones were close by, I began an investigation of
my precipitous and very slippery surroundings which was not rewarded
for an hour or more. Not till I had climbed several feet over the
side of the cliff to a narrow shelf below, broken through a thicket
of blueberries, and pushed aside the tufts of Polypody which hid the
entrance to the dark crevice in the rocks beyond, did I discover the
little nest holding the baby creepers.

Thoreau writes of the Polypody with peculiar sympathy:

      "It is very pleasant and cheerful nowadays, when the brown
      and withered leaves strew the ground and almost every plant
      is fallen withered, to come upon a patch of polypody ...
      on some rocky hill-side in the woods, where, in the midst
      of dry and rustling leaves, defying frost, it stands so
      freshly green and full of life. The mere greenness, which
      was not remarkable in the summer, is positively interesting
      now. My thoughts are with the polypody a long time after
      my body has passed.... Why is not this form copied by our
      sculptors instead of the foreign acanthus leaves and bays?
      How fit for a tuft about the base of a column! The sight
      of this unwithering green leaf excites me like red at some
      seasons. Are not wood-frogs the philosophers who frequent
      these groves? Methinks I imbibe a cool, composed, frog-like
      philosophy when I behold them. The form of the polypody is
      strangely interesting, it is even outlandish. Some forms,
      though common in our midst, are thus perennially foreign as
      the growth of other latitudes.... The bare outline of the
      polypody thrills me strangely. It only perplexes me. Simple
      as it is, it is as strange as an oriental character. It
      is quite independent of my race and of the Indian, and of
      all mankind. It is a fabulous, mythological form, such as
      prevailed when the earth and air and water were inhabited
      by those extinct fossil creatures that we find. It is
      contemporary with them, and affects us somewhat as the
      sight of them might do."


49. LONG BEECH FERN

      _Phegopteris polypodioides_ (_P. Phegopteris_)

      Newfoundland to Alaska, south to mountains of Virginia, wet
      woods and hill-sides. Six or eight inches to more than a
      foot high.

      _Fronds._--Triangular, usually longer than broad (4-9
      inches long, 3-6 inches broad), downy, especially beneath,
      thin, once-pinnate; _pinnæ_ lance-shaped, the lower pair
      noticeably standing forward and deflexed, cut into oblong,
      obtuse segments; _fruit-dots_ small, round, near the
      margin; _indusium_, none.

Of the three species of _Phegopteris_ native to the northeastern
States _P. polypodioides_, commonly called the Long Beech Fern, is the
one I happen to have encountered oftenest.

[Illustration: Long Beech Fern]

It is a less delicate plant than either of its sisters, the effect
of the larger and older specimens being rather hardy, yet its downy,
often light-green, triangular frond is exceedingly pretty, with
a certain oddity of aspect which it owes to the lowest pair of
pinnæ, these being conspicuously deflexed and turned forward. This
peculiarity gives it a decided individuality and renders it easy of
identification.

[Illustration: _a_ Portion of pinna

_b_ Tip of pinna]

The Long Beech Fern I have found growing alternately in company with
the Oak Fern and the Broad Beech Fern. It loves the damp woods,
clambering over the roots of trees or carpeting thickly the hollows
that lie between.


50. BROAD BEECH FERN. HEXAGON BEECH FERN

      _Phegopteris hexagonoptera_

      Quebec to Florida, in dry woods and on hill-sides, with
      stalks eight to eighteen inches long.

      _Fronds._--Triangular, as broad or broader than long,
      seven to twelve inches broad, thin, slightly hairy, often
      finely glandular beneath, fragrant, once-pinnate; _pinnæ_,
      the large, lowest ones broadest near the middle and cut
      nearly to the midrib into linear-oblong, obtuse segments,
      the middle ones lance-shaped, tapering, the upper ones
      oblong, obtuse, toothed or entire; _basal segments_ of the
      pinnæ forming a continuous, many-angled wing along the
      main rachis; _fruit-dots_ round, small, near the margin;
      _indusium_, none.

[Illustration: PLATE XXXV

BROAD BEECH FERN]

In many ways this plant resembles its sister, the Long Beech Fern, but
usually it is a larger plant, with more broadly triangular fronds,
which wear, to my mind, a brighter, fresher, more delicate green. In
the Long Beech Fern the two lower pairs of pinnæ differ little in
length and breadth, while in the Broad Beech Fern the lowest pair are
decidedly larger and broader than the next pair. The wing along the
rachis formed by the basal segments of the pinnæ seems to me more
conspicuous in the latter than in the former.

The range of the Broad Beech Fern extends farther south than does that
of its two kinsmen, neither of which are found, I believe, south of
Virginia. It seeks also more open and usually drier woods. Its leaves
are fragrant.

Williamson says that its fronds are easily decolorized and that they
form a "good object for double-staining, a process well known to
microscopists."


51. OAK FERN

      _Phegopteris Dryopteris_

      Northeastern United States to Virginia, west to Oregon
      and Alaska, usually in wet woods, with stalks six to nine
      inches long.

      _Fronds_.--Usually longer than broad, four to nine inches
      long, broadly triangular, the three primary divisions
      widely spreading, smooth, once or twice-pinnate;
      _fruit-dots_ small, round, near the margin; _indusium_,
      none.

[Illustration: PLATE XXXVI

OAK FERN]

So far as I remember, my first encounter with the Oak Fern was in
a cedar swamp, famous for its growth of showy lady's-slippers. One
July day in the hope of finding in flower some of these orchids, I
visited this swamp. It lay in a semi-twilight, caused by the dense
growth of cedars and hemlocks. Prostrate on the spongy sphagnum below
were hosts of uprooted trees, so overrun with trailing strands of
partridge-vine, twin-flower, gold-thread, and creeping snowberry,
and so soft and yielding to the feet that they seemed to have become
one with the earth. The stumps and far-reaching roots of the trees
that had been cut or broken off above ground, instead of having been
uprooted bodily, had also become gardens of many delicate woodland
growths. Some of these decaying stumps and outspreading roots were
thickly clothed with the clover-like leaflets of the wood-sorrel,
here and there nestling among them a pink-veined blossom. On others I
found side by side gleaming wild strawberries and dwarf raspberries,
feathery fronds of Maidenhair, tall Osmundas, the Crested and the
Spinulose Shield Ferns, the leaves of the violet, foam-flower,
mitrewort, and many others of the smaller, wood-loving plants. Among
these stumps were pools of water filled with the dark, polished,
rounded leaves of the wild calla, and bordered by beds of moss
which cushioned the equally shining but long and pointed leaves of
the _Clintonia_. Near one of these pools grew a patch of delicate,
low-spreading plants, evidently ferns. It needed only one searching
look at the broad, triangular, light-green fronds--suggesting somewhat
those of a small Brake--with roundish fruit-dots below to assure me
that I had found the Oak Fern.

Every lover of plants or of birds or of any natural objects will
appreciate the sense of something more exciting than satisfaction
which I experienced as I knelt above the little plantation and
gathered a few slender-stemmed fronds. One such find as this
compensates for many hours of fatigue and discomfort, or intensifies
the enjoyment of an already happy day. The expedition had justified
itself with the first full view of the solemn, beautiful depths of the
cedar forest. The discovery of the Oak Fern provided a tangible token
of what we had accomplished, and when finally we found the tall, leafy
plants of the showy lady's-slipper, without a single blossom left upon
them, our disappointment was so mild as to be almost imperceptible.

As is often the case, having once discovered the haunt of the Oak
Fern, it ceased to be a rarity. It joined the host of plants which
climbed over the mossy stumps and fallen logs, and at times it fairly
carpeted the ground beneath the cedars and hemlocks.



[Illustration: Bulblet Bladder Fern]

52. BULBLET BLADDER FERN

      _Cystopteris bulbifera_

      Canada to Tennessee, on wet rocks, preferring limestone.
      One to three feet long, with light-colored, somewhat
      brittle stalks.

      _Fronds._--Elongated, lance-shaped from a broad base, often
      bearing beneath large, fleshy bulbs, usually twice-pinnate;
      _pinnæ_ lance-oblong, pointed; _pinnules_ toothed or
      deeply lobed; _fruit-dots_ roundish, _indusium_ short,
      hood-like, attached by a broad base on the side toward the
      midrib, early thrown back and withering so that the mature
      fruit-dots appear arched.

The Bulblet Bladder Fern is never more at home than when it grows
close to falling water, clinging to rocks dark and wet with spray. It
seems to reflect the very spirit of the waterfall, all its life and
grace, as it springs from the dripping ledges, clothing them with a
diaphanous garment of delicate green which vies with their neighboring
veil of white, now pouring over some rocky shelf a solid but silent
mass of pale luxuriant foliage, now trailing down the cliff its long,
tapering fronds, side by side with silvery strands of water, close to
tufts of wind-blown, spray-tipped harebells.

[Illustration: PLATE XXXVII

BULBLET BLADDER FERN

_a_ Portion of fruiting pinna]

Although the plant is never seen at its best save in some such
neighborhood as this, its slender, feathery fronds are always
possessed of singular grace and charm, whether undulating along the
dried rocky bed of a mountain brook or bending till their slender tips
nearly touch the rushing stream or growing quite away from the rocks
which are their natural and usual companions among the moss-grown
trunks and fallen trees of the wet woods.

I know no other fern, save the climbing fern, which is so vine-like
and clinging. In reality its stalk and midrib are somewhat brittle,
yet this brittleness does not prevent its adapting itself with supple
and exquisite curves to whatever support it has chosen.

In its manner of growth, as well as in its slender, tapering outline,
the Bulblet Bladder Fern is so individual that there can be no
difficulty in identifying the full-sized fertile fronds, even in the
absence of the little bulbs which grow on the under side of the frond,
usually at the base of the pinnæ. The sterile fronds are shorter and
broader in proportion, and not so easily identified.

[Illustration: PLATE XXXVIII

FRAGILE BLADDER FERN

_a_ Portion of fertile pinna
_b_ Tip of fertile pinna
_c_ Magnified fruit-dot showing indusium]


53. FRAGILE BLADDER FERN. COMMON BLADDER FERN

      _Cystopteris fragilis_

      A rock and wood fern, found from Newfoundland to Georgia.
      Six to eighteen inches long, with slender and brittle
      stalks, green except at the base.

      _Fronds._--Oblong-lanceolate, thin, twice to thrice-pinnate
      or pinnatifid; _pinnæ_ lance-ovate, irregularly cut into
      toothed segments which at their base run along the midrib
      by a narrow margin; _fruit-dots_ roundish, often abundant;
      _indusium_ early withering and exposing the sporangia,
      which finally appear naked.

This plant may be ranked among the earliest ferns of the year. In May
or June, if we climb down to the brook where the columbine flings
out her brilliant, nodding blossoms, we find the delicate little
fronds, just uncurled, clinging to the steep, moist rocks, or perhaps
beyond, in the deeper woods, they nestle among the spreading roots of
some great forest tree. Their "fragile greenness" is very winning.
As the plant matures, attaining at times a height of nearly two
feet, it loses something of this first delicate charm. By the end
of July its fruit has ripened, its spores are discharged, and the
plant disappears. Frequently, if not always, a new crop springs up
in August. We are enchanted to discover tender young fronds making
patches of fresh green in every crevice of the rocks among which the
stream forces its precipitous way. Once more the woods are flavored
with the essence of spring. In our delight in this new promise we
forget for a moment to mourn the vanishing summer.

The outline of the Common Bladder Fern suggests that of the Obtuse
Woodsia. The two plants might be difficult to distinguish were it not
for the difference in their indusia. At maturity the indusium of the
Common Bladder Fern usually disappears, leaving the fruit-dot naked,
while that of the Obtuse Woodsia is fastened underneath the fruit-dot
and splits apart into jagged, spreading lobes.

The sterile fronds of the Slender Cliff Brake also have been thought
to resemble this fern, in whose company it often grows.

Williamson says that the Common Bladder Fern is easily cultivated
either in mounds or on rock-work.

[Illustration: PLATE XXXIX

RUSTY WOODSIA]


54. RUSTY WOODSIA

      _Woodsia Ilvensis_

      From Labrador and Greenland south to North Carolina and
      Kentucky, usually on exposed rocks in somewhat mountainous
      regions. A few inches to nearly one foot high.

      _Fronds._--Oblong-lance-shaped, rather smooth above, the
      stalk and under surface of the frond thickly clothed with
      rusty chaff, once-pinnate; _pinnæ_ oblong, obtuse, sessile,
      cut into oblong segments; _fruit-dots_ round, near the
      margin, often confluent at maturity; _indusium_ detached by
      its base under the sporangia, dividing into slender hairs
      which curl above them.

Last Decoration Day, while clambering over some rocky cliffs in the
Berkshire Hills, I found the Rusty Woodsia growing in masses so
luxuriant to the eye and so velvety to the touch that it hardly
suggested the bristly looking plant which one finds later in the
summer.

This fern reverses the usual order of things, being gray-haired in
youth and brown-haired in old age, with the result that in May its
effect is a soft, silvery green. But even in August, if you chance
upon a vigorous tuft springing from some rocky crevice, despite its
lack of delicacy and its bristle of red-brown hairs or chaff, the
plant is an attractive one.

Environment has much to do with the charm of ferns. The first plant of
this species I ever identified grew on a rocky shelf within a few feet
of a stream which flowed swift and cold from the near mountains. Close
by, from the forked branches of a crimson-fruited mountain maple, hung
the dainty, deserted nest of a vireo. Always the Rusty Woodsia seems
to bring me a message from that abode of solitude and silence.

[Illustration: PLATE XL

BLUNT-LOBED WOODSIA

_a_ Portion of pinna
_b_ Fruit-dot magnified, showing indusium]


55. BLUNT-LOBED WOODSIA

      _Woodsia obtusa_

      Canada to Georgia and Alabama and westward, on rocks. Eight
      to twenty inches high, with stalks not jointed, chaffy when
      young.

      _Fronds._--Broadly lanceolate, nearly twice-pinnate;
      _pinnæ_ rather remote, triangular-ovate or oblong,
      pinnately parted into obtuse, oblong, toothed segments;
      _veins_ forked; _fruit-dots_ on or near the minutely
      toothed lobes; _indusium_ conspicuous, splitting into
      several jagged lobes.

The Blunt-lobed Woodsia is not rare on rocks and stony hill-sides in
Maine and Northern New York. It is found frequently in the valley
of the Hudson. Though not related to the Common Bladder Fern (_C.
fragilis_), it has somewhat the same general appearance. Its fronds,
however, are usually both broader and longer, and its stalk and pinnæ
are slightly downy. Its range does not vary greatly from that of the
Common Bladder Fern, but usually it grows in more exposed spots and
sometimes basks in strong sunshine.

Meehan says the Blunt-lobed Woodsia is found along the Wissahickon
Creek, Penna., on dry walls in shady places. "One of its happiest
phases," he continues, "is toward the fall of the year, when the
short, barren fronds which form the outer circle bend downward,
forming a sort of rosette, in the centre of which the fertile fronds
somewhat erectly stand."

The sterile fronds remain fairly green till spring.


56. NORTHERN WOODSIA. ALPINE WOODSIA

      _Woodsia hyperborea_ (_W. alpina_)

      Northern New York and Vermont, and northward from Labrador
      to Alaska, on rocks. Two to six inches long, with stalks
      jointed near the base.

      _Fronds._--Narrowly oblong-lanceolate, nearly smooth,
      pinnate; _pinnæ_ triangular-ovate, obtuse, lobed; _lobes_
      few; _fruit-dots_ somewhat scattered; _indusium_ as in _W.
      Ilvensis_.

This rare little fern has been found by Dr. Peck in the Adirondacks
and by Horace Mann, jr., and Mr. Pringle in Vermont. In his delightful
"Reminiscences of Botanical Rambles in Vermont," published in the
Torrey _Bulletin_, July, 1897, Mr. Pringle describes his first
discovery of this species:

      "I was on the mountain [Willoughby] on the 4th of August
      and examined the entire length of the cliffs, climbing
      upon all their accessible shelves. Among the specimens
      of _Woodsia glabella_ brought away were a few which I
      judged to belong to a different species. Mr. Frost, to
      whom they were first submitted, pronounced them _Woodsia
      glabella_. Not satisfied with his report, I showed them to
      Dr. Gray. By him I was advised to send them to Professor
      Eaton, because, as he said, _Woodsia_ is a critical genus.
      Professor Eaton assured me that I had _Woodsia hyperborea_,
      ... another addition to the flora of the United States."

Later in the year Mr. Pringle made a visit to Smugglers' Notch on
Mount Mansfield, when he was "prepared to camp in the old Notch House
among hedgehogs, and botanize the region day by day." This visit was
rich in its results. The most notable finds were _Aspidium fragrans_,
_Asplenium viride_, _Woodsia glabella_, and _Woodsia hyperborea_.

[Illustration: PLATE XLI

NORTHERN WOODSIA]


57. SMOOTH WOODSIA

      _Woodsia glabella_

      Northern New York and Vermont, and northward from Labrador
      to Alaska, on moist rocks. Two to five inches long, with
      stalks jointed at base.

      _Fronds._--Very delicate, linear or narrowly lanceolate,
      smooth on both sides, pinnate; _pinnæ_ roundish ovate,
      obtuse, lobed, lobes few; _fruit-dots_ scattered;
      _indusium_ minute.

The Smooth Woodsia closely resembles the Northern Woodsia, and one may
expect to find it in much the same parts of the country. In texture it
is still more delicate; its fronds are almost perfectly smooth, its
outline is narrower, and its pinnæ are but slightly lobed.

[Illustration: PLATE XLII

SMOOTH WOODSIA

_a_ Fertile pinna]

Mr. Pringle tells us that a letter from Mr. George Davenport, asking
him to look for _Woodsia glabella_, awakened his first interest in
ferns. His own account of these early fern hunts is inspiring in its
enthusiasm:

      "In 1873 George Davenport was beginning his study of ferns.
      A letter from him, asking me to look for _Woodsia glabella_
      ... started me on a fern hunt. The species had been found
      on Willoughby Mountain, Vt., and at Little Falls, N. Y.;
      might it not be growing in many places in Vermont? When I
      set out I knew, as I must suppose, not a single fern, and
      it was near the close of the summer. You can imagine what
      delights awaited me in the autumn woodlands. I made the
      acquaintance of not a few ferns, though it was too late
      to prepare good specimens of them. In this first blind
      endeavor I got, of course, no clew to _Woodsia glabella_.
      The next summer the hunt was renewed and persistently
      followed up. I found pleasure in securing one by one nearly
      all our Vermont ferns. At the time I thought it worthy of
      remembrance that a single field of diversified pasture and
      woodland on an adjoining farm yielded me thirty species.
      Although the two common species of _Woodsia_ were near
      at hand, _Woodsia glabella_ was still eluding my search.
      I sent a friend to the summit of Jay Peak in a fruitless
      quest for it. Finally, on September 1st, I joined Mr.
      Congdon at its old station on Willoughby Mountain, and made
      myself familiar with its exquisite form.

      "During the first two years of my collecting in earnest,
      1874 and 1875, several visits were made to Camel's Hump,
      the peak most accessible to me. In this way some time
      was lost, because its subalpine area is limited, and
      consequently the number of rare plants to be found there
      is small. Yet, with such dogged persistence as sometimes
      prevents my making good progress, my last visit to that
      point was not made till the 20th of June, 1876. On that
      day I clambered, I believe, over every shelf of its great
      southern precipice and peered into every fissure among the
      rocks. At last, as I was climbing up the apex over the
      southeastern buttress, my perilous toil was rewarded by the
      discovery not only of _Woodsia glabella_, but of _Aspidium
      fragrans_.... There were only a few depauperate specimens
      of each which had not yet succumbed to the adverse
      conditions of their dry and exposed situation."

In the following passage Mr. Pringle describes his pleasure, some
years later, in the companionships fostered by a common interest in
his pet hobby:

      "... my delight in this preserve of boreal plants was
      shared with not a few genial botanists. Charles Faxon came
      before any of us suspected that he possessed undeveloped
      talent for a botanical artist of highest excellence.
      Edwin Faxon followed his young brother, and with me made
      the tedious ascent to Stirling Pond, a day of toil well
      rewarded. Thomas Morong came, before the hardships of his
      Paraguayan journey had broken him down.... Our honored
      President came.... In those days, as now, ... he was
      often my companion to add delight to my occupation and to
      reinforce my enthusiasm.... The gentle Davenport came at
      last to behold for the first time in their native haunts
      many of the objects of his first love and study. When I
      had found for him yet once more in a fifth Vermont station
      (this was under Checkerberry Ledge, near Bakersfield) the
      fern he at first desired, and, together with that, had
      discovered within our limits three or four others quite
      as rare and scarcely expected, I might feel that I had
      complied with the request of his letter. But that letter
      initiated a warm friendship between us and association
      in work upon American ferns, which has continued to the
      present time. During these twenty-three years of botanical
      travel on my part my hands have gathered all but thirty-six
      of the one hundred and sixty-five species of North American
      ferns, and from the more remote corners of our continent I
      have sent home to my friend for description and publication
      sixteen new ones. Yet I trust that the fern hunt upon which
      he started me in 1873 is still far from its close."

The above quotations illustrate fairly the enthusiasm aroused by a
pursuit which is full of peculiar fascination. Almost anyone who has
made a study of our native ferns will recall hours filled with delight
through their agency, companions made more companionable by means of a
common interest in their names, haunts, and habits.



INDEX TO LATIN NAMES


Adiantum Capillus-Veneris, 108

Adiantum emarginatum, 110

Adiantum pedatum, 108

Adiantum tenerum, 110

Aspidium acrostichoides, 96

Aspidium aculeatum, 182

Aspidium aculeatum var. Braunii, 182

Aspidium Boottii, 168

Aspidium Braunii, 182

Aspidium cristatum, 170

Aspidium cristatum, var. Clintonianum, 172

Aspidium fragrans, 178

Aspidium Goldianum, 174

Aspidium marginale, 176

Aspidium Noveboracense, 159

Aspidium spinulosum, 166

Aspidium spinulosum, var. dilatatum, 168

Aspidium spinulosum, var. intermedium, 166

Aspidium Thelypteris, 160

Asplenium acrostichoides, 124

Asplenium angustifolium, 98

Asplenium Bradleyi, 144

Asplenium ebeneum, 134

Asplenium ebenoides, 140

Asplenium Felix-fœmina, 120

Asplenium montanum, 130

Asplenium pinnatifidum, 142

Asplenium platyneuron, 134

Asplenium Ruta-muraria, 126

Asplenium thelypteroides, 124

Asplenium Trichomanes, 136

Asplenium viride, 138


Botrychium dissectum, 81

Botrychium gracile, 80

Botrychium lanceolatum, 86

Botrychium Lunaria, 84

Botrychium matricariæfolium, 86

Botrychium simplex, 81

Botrychium ternatum, 81

Botrychium Virginianum, 80


Camptosorus rhizophyllus, 146

Cheilanthes lanosa, 112

Cheilanthes vestita, 112

Cystopteris bulbifera, 194

Cystopteris fragilis, 198


Dicksonia pilosiuscula, 114

Dicksonia punctilobula, 114

Dryopteris acrostichoides, 96

Dryopteris aculeata, 182

Dryopteris Boottii, 168

Dryopteris Braunii, 182

Dryopteris cristata, 170

Dryopteris cristata Clintoniana, 172

Dryopteris fragrans, 178

Dryopteris Goldieana, 174

Dryopteris marginalis, 176

Dryopteris Noveboracensis, 159

Dryopteris simulata, 164

Dryopteris spinulosa, 166

Dryopteris spinulosa dilatata, 168

Dryopteris spinulosa intermedia, 166

Dryopteris Thelypteris, 160


Lygodium palmatum, 75


Onoclea sensibilis, 54

Onoclea sensibilis, var. obtusilobata, 56

Onoclea Struthiopteris, 56

Ophioglossum vulgatum, 77

Osmunda cinnamomea, 60

Osmunda cinnamomea, var. frondosa, 62

Osmunda Claytoniana, 72

Osmunda regalis, 67


Pellæa atropurpurea, 90

Pellæa gracilis, 87

Pellæa Stelleri, 87

Phegopteris Dryopteris, 190

Phegopteris hexagonoptera, 188

Phegopteris Phegopteris, 187

Phegopteris polypodioides, 187

Polypodium vulgare, 184

Pteris aquilina, 105

Pteris esculenta, 107


Schizæa pusilla, 63

Scolopendrium scolopendrium, 150

Scolopendrium vulgare, 150


Woodsia Alpina, 203

Woodsia glabella, 206

Woodsia hyperborea, 203

Woodsia Ilvensis, 200

Woodsia obtusa, 202

Woodwardia angustifolia, 102

Woodwardia Virginica, 156



INDEX TO ENGLISH NAMES


Adder's Tongue, 77

Alpine Woodsia, 203


Beech Fern, Broad, 188

Beech Fern, Long, 187

Bladder Fern, Bulblet, 194

Bladder Fern, Common, 198

Bladder Fern, Fragile, 198

Blunt-lobed Woodsia, 202

Boott's Shield Fern, 168

Bracken, 105

Bradley's Spleenwort, 144

Brake, 105

Braun's Holly Fern, 182


Caterpillar Fern, 156

Chain Fern, Net-veined, 102

Chain Fern, Virginia, 156

Christmas Fern, 96

Cinnamon Fern, 60

Cliff Brake, Purple, 90

Cliff Brake, Slender, 87

Clinton's Wood Fern, 172

Climbing Fern, 75

Common Polypody, 184

Creeping Fern, 75

Crested Shield Fern, 170

Curly Grass, 63


Eagle Fern, 105

Ebony Spleenwort, 134

Evergreen Wood Fern, 67


Flowering Fern, 67

Fragile Bladder Fern, 198

Fragrant Shield Fern, 178


Goldie's Fern, 174

Grape Fern, Lance-leaved, 86

Grape Fern, Little, 82

Grape Fern, Matricary, 86

Grape Fern, Ternate, 81

Grape Fern, Virginia, 80

Green Spleenwort, 138


Hairy Lip Fern, 112

Holly Fern, Braun's, 182

Hartford Fern, 75

Hart's Tongue, 150

Hay-scented Fern, 114


Interrupted Fern, 72


Lady Fern, 120

Lance-leaved Grape Fern, 86

Little Grape Fern, 82

Lip Fern, Hairy, 112

Long Beech Fern, 187


Maidenhair, 108

Maidenhair Spleenwort, 136

Marginal Shield Fern, 176

Marsh Fern, 160

Massachusetts Fern, 164

Matricary Grape Fern, 86

Moonwort, 84

Mountain Spleenwort, 130


Narrow-leaved Spleenwort, 98

Net-veined Chain Fern, 102

New York Fern, 159

Northern Woodsia, 203


Oak Fern, 190

Ostrich Fern, 56


Pinnatifid Spleenwort, 142

Polypody, Common, 184

Prickly Shield Fern, 182

Purple Cliff Brake, 90


Rattlesnake Fern, 80

Royal Fern, 67

Rue Spleenwort, 126

Rusty Woodsia, 200


Scott's Spleenwort, 140

Shield Fern, Boott's, 168

Shield Fern, Crested, 170

Shield Fern, Fragrant, 178

Shield Fern, Marginal, 176

Shield Fern, Prickly, 182

Seaweed Fern, 156

Sensitive Fern, 54

Silvery Spleenwort, 124

Slender Cliff Brake, 87

Smooth Woodsia, 206

Snake Fern, 184

Spinulose Wood Fern, 166

Spleenwort, Bradley's, 144

Spleenwort, Ebony, 134

Spleenwort, Green, 138

Spleenwort, Maidenhair, 136

Spleenwort, Mountain, 130

Spleenwort, Narrow-leaved, 98

Spleenwort, Pinnatifid, 142

Spleenwort, Rue, 126

Spleenwort, Silvery, 124

Spleenwort, Scotts', 140


Ternate Grape Fern, 81


Virginia Chain Fern, 156

Virginia Grape Fern, 80


Walking Fern, 146

Walking Leaf, 146

Wall Rue, 126

Wood Fern, Clinton's, 172

Wood Fern, Evergreen, 176

Wood Fern, Spinulose, 166

Woodsia, Alpine, 203

Woodsia, Blunt-lobed, 202

Woodsia, Northern, 203

Woodsia, Rusty, 200

Woodsia, Smooth, 206



INDEX TO TECHNICAL TERMS


Antheridia, 34

Archegonia, 34

Alternation of generations, 33

Asexual generation, 34


Frond, 28

Fertile frond, 3

Fertilization, 34


Indusium, 31


Once-pinnate frond, 30


Pinnatifid frond, 29

Pinnæ, 30

Pinnules, 30

Prothallium, 34


Rachis, 30

Rootstock, 28


Sexual generation, 33

Simple frond, 29

Sori, 30

Sporangia, 30

Spore, 30

Sterile frond, 31


Twice-pinnate frond, 30


Veins, free, 30



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Transcriber's Notes


Moved some illustrations to paragraph breaks.

Page ix: Corrected listing Preface to page v instead of vii.

Page xi: Corrected order of plate listings XX. and XXI.

Page 48: Corrected GOLDIE'S FERN reference page to 174 instead of 175.





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About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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