FERNS

Close on one hundred varieties of ferns have made their home in this country, but most of them are rare, never being seen outside the limits of their own particular locality. We have con- fined our notes to the few likely to be found in the course of the ordinary ramble.

Bladder Fern.

The shape of each entire frond is a long, graceful triangle, and each side sta’k is clothed with triangular 2nd indented leaflets. The side-growth occurs along the main stem in pairs, one on each side, except the individual one at the apex. They are not quite opposite each other, but very nearly so. The veins on each leaflet are distinctly noticeable. The brown sori or seeds are plentifully sprinkled over the back surface of the frond, almost covering it in some cases.

Bracken.

The commonest of all ferns. Fronds triangular, frequently branched, but as this fern is generally found growing in poor soils, it is frequently deformed. The stems brownish below, green above, and very tough. Lobes harsh and alternatively disposed on the main stem.

Female Fern.

The shape of each entire frond is a graceful triangle, and each side stalk is clothed with leaflets, also triangular. The side leaflets are, however, closer than in the Bladder Fern, and, consequently the frond has a fuller appearance. The seeds on the back are numerous.

Hard Fern.

Each frond is strap-shaped, and each side-stalk clothed with lobes, which are triangular. The edges of these are not indented. The side growth occurs in pairs, but they are alternate.

Hart’s Tongue Fern.

Each frond is strap-shaped, pointed at the tip, and curled at the base. The seeds on the backs of the fronds occur in straight-rows.

Holly Fern.

The general outline of the frond is strap-shaped, but it is much indented, and thus forms numerous lobes with curved and indented sides. These appear to be fringed. The lobes occur alternately on the main stem.

Maiden-hair.

Follows the general plan of the better known cultivated variety. Fronds are triangular; stalks very apparent and brown. Each small lobe is

G an inverted triangle, with the base indented. They occur alternately on the stems.

Male Fern.

The frond is triangular in shape, composed of numerous side leaflets which occur alternately on the main stalk. Each lobe of the leaflet is only very slightly indented along the edges, and the tips all point towards the apex of the leaflet.

Polypody.

Often seen growing on the forks of trees, as well as on old walls, thatched roofs, etc. Each frond is roughly strap-shaped, but the outline is deeply indented, and the lobes look like numerous fingers. Each bears a pronounced vein.

Royal Fern.

Each frond grows 3 or 4 feet high, often more. It is lance-shaped, while the individual lobes are more or less leart-shaped. In addition to the leafy fronds, there are others which produce the seeds. These are brownish and almost completely covered with sori or seeds.

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