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The Fern Lover's Companion eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 72 pages of information about The Fern Lover's Companion.

(8) MOUNTAIN SPLEENWORT. Asplenium montanum

Fronds ovate-lanceolate from a broad base, two to eight inches long, somewhat leathery, pinnate.  Pinnae ovate-oblong, the lowest pinnately cleft into oblong or ovate cut-toothed lobes, the upper ones less and less divided.  Rachis green, broad, and flat.

[Illustration:  Mountain Spleenwort (From the “Fern Bulletin")]

Small evergreen ferns of a bluish-green color, growing in the crevices of rocks and cliffs.  Connecticut to Ohio, Kentucky, Arkansas and southwest.  July.  Rare.  Williams, in his “Ferns of Kentucky,” says of this species, “Common on all sandstone cliffs and specimens are large on sheltered rocks by the banks of streams.”

(9) RUE SPLEENWORT. Asplenium Ruta-muraria

Fronds evergreen, small, two to seven inches long, deltoid-ovate, two to three pinnate below, simply pinnate above, rather leathery in texture.  Divisions few, stalked, from cuneate to roundish-ovate, toothed or incised at the apex.  Veins forking.  Rachis and stipe green.  Sori few, soon confluent.

[Illustration:  The Rue Spleenwort. A.  Ruta-muraria (Top, Lake Huron—­Lower Left, Mt.  Toby, Mass.—­Lower Right, Vermont) (From Herbarium of Geo. E. Davenport)]

This tiny fern grows from small fissures in the limestone cliffs, and is rather rare in this country; but in Great Britain it is very common, growing everywhere on walls and ruins.  From Mt.  Toby, Mass., and Willoughby Mountain, Vt., to Michigan, Missouri, Kentucky and southward.

B. THE LARGE SPLEENWORTS. Athyrium

The following species, which are often two to three feet high and grow in rich soil, are quite different in appearance and habits from the small rock spleenworts just described.  Some botanists have kept them in the genus Asplenium because their sori are usually rather straight or only slightly curved, but others are inclined to follow the practice of the British botanists and put them into a separate group under Athyrium.  Nearly all agree that the lady fern, with its variously curved sori, should be placed here, and many others would place the silvery spleenwort in the same genus, partly because of its frequently doubled sori.  In regard to the last member of the group, the narrow-leaved spleenwort, there is more doubt.  The sori taken separately would place it with the Aspleniums, but considering its size, structure, habits of growth and all, it seems more closely allied to the two larger ferns than to the little rock species.  We shall group the three together as the large spleenworts, or for the sake of being more definite adopt Clute’s felicitous phrase.

THE LADY FERN AND ITS KIN

1.  THE LADY FERNS

Fronds one to three feet high, broadly lanceolate, or ovate-oblong, tapering towards the apex, bipinnate.  Pinnae lanceolate, numerous.  Pinnules oblong-lanceolate, cut-toothed or incised.  Fruit-dots short, variously curved.  Indusium delicate, often reniform, or shaped like a horseshoe, in some forms confluent at maturity.

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