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Cassells European Ferns 

| LOMARIA spicant. 



Vince at Brooks Bay & SoniitL 




Department of Botany , British Museum. 


{gotoured ^frustrations frcmt 'Stature 



Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co.: 










On Ferns in General i 

Structure iii 

Classification of Ferns ix 

Classification of the Genera of the Ferns of Europe xi 

Geographical Distribution of Ferns xiii 

The Cultivation of Ferns xvii 

Open Ground Culture ............... xviii 

Pot Culture xx 

Wardian- case Culture ............... xxi 

Propagation ................. xxiii 

Economic Properties xxiv 

The Fern Herbarium • . xxix 

The Bibliography of European Ferns xxxiii 

Geological Distribution of Ferns xli 


Onoclea Struthiopteris I 


Woods i a hyperborea ... . . 4 


Woodsia glabella . 6 


Dicksonia Culcita ... ... I I 




Hymenophyllum tunbridgense 1 6 

Hymenophyllum Wilsoni 17 


Davallia canariensis . 20 


Cystopteris fragilis 21 


Cystopteris sudetica 25 

Cystopteris Montana . , , . 2; 

iv European Ferns. 


F TER IS 2 7 

Pteris AQUILINA 2 7 

Pteris ARGUTA 38 

Pteris longifolia 39 

Pteris cretica 40 


Adiantum Capillus-veneris 44 


Cheilanthes fragrans 52 

Cheilanthes hispanica 54 

Cheilanthes Szovitsii 54 


Cryptogramme crispa 56 


Blechnum Spicant 69 




Asplenium Hemionitis 84 

Asplenium viride 88 

Asplenium Trichomanes 92 

Asplenium Heuffleri 97 

Asplenium Petrarchs 97 

Asplenium marinum 98 

Asplenium fontanum 100 

Asplenium lanceolatum 105 

Asplenium Adiantum-nigrum 106 

Asplenium Seelosii no 

Asplenium Ruta-muraria no 

Asplenium septentrionai.e 113 

Asplenium germanicum 115 

Asplenium fissum 116 


Athyrium Filix-fcemina 1 17 

Athyrium crenatum 124 


Ceterach officinarum ...... 125 




Scolopendrium vulgare 
Scolopendrium Hemionitis 








LA ST RE A 148 

Lastrea Thelypteris ‘48 

Lastrea Oreopteris . ‘ 5 ° 

Lastrea Filix-mas I 5 I 

Lastrea remota . *55 

Lastrea rigida *55 

Lastrea cristata 1 5 7 

Lastrea spinulosa ! 5 8 

Lastrea dilatata l6 o 

Lastrea 162 


Polypodium vulgare 163 

Polypodium Dryopteris 166 

Polypodium Robertianum 167 

Polypodium Phegopteris 168 

Polypodium alpestre 169 

Polypodium flexile 170 


NOTHOLjENA Maran'iye 17 I 

Nothol^na lanuginosa 172 


Gymnogramma leptophylla 173 

Gymnogramma Pozoi T 74 




Ophioglossum vulgatum 182 

Ophioglossum lusitanicum 184 


Botrychium Lunaria 185 

Botrychium matricarlefolium 187 

Botrychium ternatum 187 

Botrychium simplex 187 

Botrychium virginicum 188 


Lomaria Spicant 


Struthiopteris germanica 

To face page 1 


„ 5 

Dicksonia Culcita 

,, 9 

Trichomanes radicans, 


tunbridgense, Wilsoni 


Davallia canariensis . 




Pteris aquilina 


Pteris longifolia 

., 40 

Adiantum . 

,, 49 



Cryptogramme crispa 

„ 56 

Woodwardia radicans 


Asplenium and Ceterach 

,, 89 


„ 96 

Asplenium marinum 

To face page ioi 

Asplenium Adiantum-nigrum, Lanceolatum 
Asplenium Filix-foemina 
Scolopendrium vulgare, Hemionitis . 
Polystichum Lonchitis, aculeatum 
Aspidium Oreopteris, Thelypteris 
Nephrodium rigidum, Filix-mas 
Aspidium Foenisecii, cristatum . 
Polypodium vulgare, Phegopteris 
Polypodium Dryopteris, Robertianum 
Polypodium alpestre .... 
Notholaena lanuginosa, Marantae, Gymno 
gramma Leptophylla . 

Osmunda reralis .... 

1 13 






Ophioglossum vulgatum, lusitanicum . 
Botrychium ...... 





Tree-ferns ......... ii 

External surface of stem of Tree-fern . . . iii 

Transverse section of stem of Tree-fern . . iv 

Pinna of Maidenhair ....... v 

The Moonwort ( Botrychium Lunaria ) . . . vi 

Sporangia of Ferns, showing distribution of spores . vii 
Sporangia of Male Fern ...... vii 

Under-side of pinna of Male Fern .... vii 

Prothallium of Adiantum Capillus-veneris, seen from 

below, with the young fern attached to it . . ix 

Prothallium of Aspidium Filix-mas, and natural size 
enlarged ; antheridium before bursting, anthe- 
rozoid-cells escaping from antheridium, anthe- 
rozoid-cell, antherozoid, and archegonium— all 
much enlarged ix 


The Adder’s-tongue ( Ophioglossum vulgatuni) . . x 

Desmobryoid rhizome of Pteris aquilina . . xi 

Eremobryoid rhizome of Polypodium vulgare, show- 

ing scars of fallen fronds 


Ceratopteris thalictroides . 


A Fern Cabinet ..... 

. . xxxiii 

Woodsia alpina and Woodsia ilvensis 

. 7 

“ Scythian Lamb ” . . . . 

9, 10 

Pinnule (magnified) of Trichomanes 

radicans, and 

involucre showing varying length of receptacle 15 

Hymenophyllum tunbridgense . 

• 17 

Hymenophyllum Wilsoni . 

. 18 

Varieties of Cystopteris fragilis . 

22, 23 

Cystopteris montana .... 

. 26 

Pinnules of Bracken , , , 

. 28 

List of Woodcuts. 


Varieties of Pteris 41 

Adiantum pedatum ....... 43 

Fertile and barren pinnules of three different plants 
of Adiantum Capillus-veneris, showing the range 
of form ........ 45 

Adiantum Capillus-veneris, seedling . . .45 

Adiantum cuneatum 49 

Adiantum Capillus-veneris. ..... 50 

Cheilanthes argentea 55 

Conventional treatment of Cryptogramme . 58 

Variety of Cryptogramme crispa . . . -58 

Cryptogramme acrostichoides . . . .60 

Cryptogramme crispa 63 

Portions of Fronds of Blechnum and Lomaria, 

showing position of sori . . . . 64 

Camptosorus rhizophyllus 65 

Blechnum Lanceola ....... 67 

Forked variety of Hard Fern . . . . 71 

Varieties of Blechnum Spicant ...... 71 

Blechnum Spicant ....... 74 

Leaf of Arrowhead . . . . .75 

Portion of frond of Woodwardia orientalis . . 77 

Upper part of frond of Woodwardia radicans, show- 
ing young plant growing on the rachis . . 79 

Doodia caudata . . . . . . . .81 

Enlarged portions of fronds of Scolopendrium and 
Asplenium Hemionitis, showing the difference 
in the fructification of the two plants . . -85 

Leaf of Salisburia 86 

Leaf Forms ........ 87 

Asplenium Hemionitis 88 

Branched variety of Asplenium viride . . .89 

Asplenium viride yo 

Asplenium dolosum . . . . . . 91 

Asplenium Trichomanes ...... 94 

Enlarged pinnule, showing fructification . -95 

Large form of Asplenium Trichomanes . . -95 

Variety of Asplenium Trichomanes . . . -95 

Asplenium Trichomanes 96 

Frond and pinna of Asplenium marinum . . .98 

Irregular forms of Asplenium marinum . . -99 

Asplenium fontanum . . . . . . joi, '02 

Upper and under side of pinna of Asplenium fon- 
tanum . . . 104 

Pinna of variety of Asplenium Adiantum-Nigrum . 106 
Pinna of A. Adiantum-nigrum (under-side) . . 106 

Frond of Asplenium Adiantum-nigrum . . .107 

Asplenium acutum 108 



Forms of Asplenium Adiantum-nigrum . . . 109 

Seedling frond of Asplenium Adiantum-nigrum. . 109 
Asplenium Seelosii . . . . . . .110 

Asplenium Ruta-muraria . . . . 111,112,113 

Asplenium septentrionale . . . . . .114 

Asplenium germanicum . . . . 115 

Asplenium lepidum . . . . . . .116 

Varieties of Athyrium Filix-fcemina . 120, 121, 122, 123 

Athyrium crenatum . . . .124 

Ceterach . 1 27, 1 30 

Small fronds of Ceterach . . . .129 

Seedlings of Hart’s-tongue. ..... 132 

Scolopendrium vulgare . . . . . 1 34 

Branched variety of Hart’s tongue . . .136 

Scolopendrium hybridum . . . . . . 1 37 

Actiniopteris radiata . . . . . . .138 

Holly Fern . . . . . . . . .140 

Polystichum aculeatum 142, 145 

Pinna of Polystichum aculeatum . . . .143 

Young fronds of Polystichum aculeatum . . . 143 

Variety of Polystichum aculeatum . . . . 143 

Pinnae of varieties of Polystichum angulare . . 146 

Frond and under-side of fertile pinna of Lastrea 

Thelypteris ........ 148 

Pinnules of barren and fertile fronds . . . 149 

Frond of Lastrea Oreopteris 150 

Pinnule of fertile frond . . . .150 

Male Fern ..... ... 152 

“ St. John’s Hand ” , 153 

Frond of Lastrea erosa . . . . . 1 54. 

Frond of Lastrea rigida . . . . . .156 

Lastrea cristata . . . . . . . • 157 

Frond of Lastrea spinulosa . . . . .158 

Pinna and seedling of Lastrea spinulosa . . . 159 

Frond of variety of Lastrea dilatata . . .160 

Frond of Lastrea foenisecii 16 1 

Polypodium vulgare . . . . -163 

Portions of frond of Polypodium cornubiense . . 164 

Portion of frond of Polypodium cambricum . .165 

Poly podium Dryopteris 166 

Frond of Polypodium Robertianum .... 16 7 

Polypodium alpestre 169 

Frond and under-side of pinna of Notholasna 

Marantm . 172 

Frond and under-side of pinna of Gymnogramma 

leptophylla . . . . . . • • 1 74 

Young plants of Flowering Fern . . .176,177 

Upper portion of frond of Osmunda . . . . 179 

The present Work aims at giving a plain and intelligible account of European Ferns. In the 

introductory portion I have had the assistance of my former colleague, Dr. Trimen (now of the 

Royal Botanic Gardens, Ceylon), and for the portion relating to the geological aspect of the 

subject, I have to thank W. Carruthers, Esq., F.R.S., of the British Museum. 


European Ferns. 



^HERE is probably no group of plants which has more numerous or 
more enthusiastic admirers than the fern tribe. This, at first sight, 
appears somewhat remarkable, for their flowerless state deprives them 
to a great extent of that wonderful variety of form and hue which 
other plants can boast ; but their ever-fresh green, and the graceful 
outlines of their delicate plume-like fronds, constitute strong claims to 
admiration, and in some measure account for the popularity which 
ferns have attained. Then, some of the commonest species are also 
some of the most beautiful ; moreover, they can be grown with the 
greatest ease even in the back garden of a London house ; they 
require little or no care, and once established, will go on, year by 
year, unfolding their graceful crosier-like fronds, and in this very 
point betraying their position in the vegetable kingdom. For this 
rolling up of the young fronds in watch-spring fashion, which in 
scientific language is termed circinate vernation , is characteristic of 
the fern tribe ; although there are exceptions to the rule — as in the 
Adder’s-tongue and Moonwort, in which the vernation is straight ; 
while on the other hand, in some flowering plants, such as the 
Sundews, it is circinate. 

We have said that ferns do not produce flowers ; we might almost go farther, and say that 
they are equally destitute of leaves ! Without putting the case so strongly, however, we shall 
readily perceive that the fronds of ferns differ essentially from true leaves, inasmuch as upon 
their under-side, or less frequently upon their margin, they bear the fructification, which a true 
leaf among flowering plants never does. This may at first sight seem surprising, as Cactuses 
and other plants, notably a pretty species of Phyllanthus often seen in hot-houses, and the 
familiar Butcher’s Broom ( Ruscus aculeatus), appear to bear flowers upon their leaves ; but these 
seeming leaves are really stems or branches. The leafy portion of a fern is certainly not, 
however, a stem, but a modified leaf, and is usually known by the term frond. If we bear 
in mind that these fronds are circinate in vernation, and bear upon their backs or edges the 
cases containing the spores — which spores are, in some respects, analogous to the seed in flowering 
plants — we shall have gone some way towards seeing how Ferns differ from Phanerogams, as 
flowering plants are called in scientific parlance. 

The absence of flowers determines the position of ferns, then, to be in the great lower division 
of the vegetable kingdom — the Cryptogamia, or Flowerless Plants. What are called “flowering” 


European Ferns. 

ferns we shall see presently to be merely cases in which the fructification is restricted to the upper 
portion of a few of the fronds, and so crowded together over the surface as to conceal it. The 
immense number of cryptogamic plants is further divided into two great groups, founded upon 
the degree of complexity of their organisation. In the lower of these — called Thallophytes, or 


Cellular Cryptogams — there is no separation of the vegetative organs into stem, root, and leaves, 
but the plant consists of a cellular structure ( thalliis ) of homogeneous character. Fungi, Seaweeds, 
and Lichens, are examples of these Thallophytes. The higher group, on the contrary, has a 
differentiation of stem and leaf in nearly all cases, and the plants contained in it are called 
Cormophytes, or Vascular Cryptogams. The Mosses are the humblest of these Vascular 



Cryptogams, whilst the Ferns present us with the most highly developed and conspicuous 
living representatives of the group (for we do not now speak of extinct plants). The scientific 
name for the family of Ferns is Filices or Filicince. 


Let us now bring before our notice the different parts or organs of which ferns are made 
up, and briefly examine their various modifications and structure. 

By far the great majority are perennial, one of the few annual species being Gymnogramme 
Icptophylla , fully described in the following pages. In appearance, as well as in what the botanist 
calls habit, they present infinite variety, some being very small, delicate, creeping, and moss-like, 
others rigid and leathery, whilst others, attaining the height and appearance of palms, are called 
Tree-Ferns. The main cause of this variety is due to modifications of the stem, which we 
proceed to describe. 

Stem. — The stem of a fern is either erect or creeping, and either subterranean or above 
ground. When under ground it usually receives the erroneous name of root, but its structure 
is the same whether above or beneath the surface of the ground. Good examples of the erect 
form of stem, called the caudex, are seen in our British Male Fern ( Nephrodium Filix-mas ), or 
Lady Fern ( Athyrium Filix-fcemina), or in the Royal Fern ( Osmunda regalis), when they have 
attained to a considerable age ; but here the caudex rises at the best but a few inches above the 
ground. To see the erect stem in its highest development we must look at the tree-ferns of hot 
countries, none of which occur in Europe in a wild state, although they may be seen in the 
hot-houses of any of our large gardens, some very beautiful examples being noticeable in 
the tropical fern-house of the Royal Gardens, Kevv. These show us an erect, slender or 
thick, column-like trunk, without branches, and with all its fronds borne upon its summit, and 
usually forming a beautiful spreading and drooping crown. The older part of the stem is either 
covered with the dry bases of the fronds of past years, or its surface is marked by their scars, 
and in all erect stems these are placed close together, and the scars form a diagonal pattern, 
as shown in the accompanying figure. Not unfrequently, the real stem is of small 
size, the bulk being composed of these persistent bases of the leaves, as is the case 
in our Male Fern. The true roots, which are long, tough, slender, and fibrous, 
and usually dark in colour, are given off on all sides of the caudex at the bases 
of the fronds, and often in the tree-ferns form a pyramidal or conical mass round 
the stem down to the ground ; this is well seen in the Dicksonia antarctica of our 
conservatories. These roots may become welded together so as to form a solid 
wood-like mass, as in Cyathea medullaris of New Zealand, where it is called 
“ weki,” and cut into slabs by the Maoris. The caudex of this fern reaches a height 
of over a hundred feet, but the ordinary height of tree-ferns is from twenty to fifty 
feet, and some are much smaller : thus, Todea Wilkesiana of the Fiji Islands has 
an erect stem about seven feet high, and only as thick as a walking-stick. It is 
very uncommon for these erect stems of ferns to branch or divide. 

In some creeping caudices which are above ground, and anchor themselves to 
it by roots, the fronds are also crowded, and form a tufted crown ; but much more usually such stems 
or rhizomes bear the fronds at intervals (or, as botanists would say, the internodes are developed). 
The intervals between the origin of fronds are longer or shorter in different cases. Our common 
Polypody ( Polypodium vulgare ), or, still better, the Hare’s-foot Fern ( Davallia cananensis), are 



European Ferns. 

examples of this mode of growth, in which the growing end of the rhizome will be seen to be 
always in advance of the last leaf. This is still more the case in the Filmy Ferns ( Hyinniophyllum ) 
where the long, slender, prostrate rhizome develops several internodes beyond and before the 
youngest leaf. Most of such stems in our ferns are subterranean, as the common Bracken, the 
Marsh Fern (Nephrodium Thelypteris), in both of which they are considerably branched, or 
bifurcated, and either smooth or covered with a fine coating of hairs. When above the ground 
they are generally, when young at all events, set with close scaly bodies, usually brownish in 
colour, dry, membranous, and lightly attached ; these are called palecz or rcnnentci , and are con- 
spicuous in the Hare’s-foot Fern. The roots in these creeping species are not connected with 
the bases of the fronds, but come off irregularly from the rhizome ; some Hymenophyllums have 
no roots, but the stems are then covered with absorbent hairs, which perform the same function. 

The internal structure of Fern-stems, though of great interest to the botanist, is not to be 
understood without a long technical description, which would be here quite out of place. The 
accompanying woodcut will show that, even in a large tree-fern with a thick stem, no wood is 

formed, the hard tissues, forming what are known as the fibro-vascular 
bundles, being few in number, large, and separate, and forming a regular 
circle in the soft substance of the stem, but not consolidated into a mass 
of wood. There is also no pith in these stems, nor any separable bark, 
though the outer layers of tissue are sometimes hardened and brown. 

Fronds, or Leaves. — It is to these organs that the name Fern is 
generally given in popular language, and in them a very great diversity 
in form, size, and mode of division is found. There are a few points 
common to all fronds which must, however, be here mentioned. The 
stalk, or petiole, or stipes, is the part which connects the frond with the 
stem, and it is like the foot-stalk of a leaf, either articulated with its 
support or continuous with it : articulated and therefore deciduous fronds 
are rare ; they have been called ereinobryoid, whilst the ordinary non-articulated adherent ones are 
termed desmobryoid. The Hare’s-foot and the common Polypody are examples of the first group ; 
and the veteran pteridologist, Mr. John Smith, of Kew, who first noted this distinction, states that 
ferns of the eremobryoid group are endowed with much greater tenacity of life, and are more 
readily grown from spores than those belonging to the desmobryoid section. The frond-stalk 
(stipes) is usually stiff and erect, and is very often covered, especially at the base, with palese similar 
to those on the caudex ; it is circular or flattened, and on a section it exhibits the fibro-vascular 
bundles* continuous with those in the stem — for each frond is always given off from opposite 
an opening in the meshes of the fibro-vascular cylinder in the stem, and its bundles are con- 
nected with those forming the margin of the opening. The base is often thickened or dilated, 
and, in the species with closely-placed fronds, gives off two or three roots. 

The continuation or upper part of the. stipes bearing the blade of the frond is called the 
rachis ; in much-divided ferns the stipes has rather the appearance of a stem, and this is especially 
the case in the Climbing Fern (Lygodium), where the rachis is of indefinite length and completely 
simulates a stem. Mr. Darwin + states that these Climbing Ferns do not differ in their habits from 
other twining plants. In Lygodiuni articulation the two internodes of the rachis which are first 


* The structure of the stipes of most of the European species is fully described and well figured by M. Duval- 
Jouve, in Billot’s “Annotations h la Flore de France” (1855 — 62). 
t “ Climbing Plants,” p. 38. 

Introduction . 


formed above the root-stock do not move ; the third from the ground revolves, but at first very 
slowly. This species is a slow revolver : but Lygodium scandens made five revolutions, each at the 
average rate of 5I1. 45m. ; and this represents fairly well the usual rate, taking quick and slow movers, 
amongst flowering plants. The movement is in the usual direction — namely, in opposition to 
the course of the sun ; and when the stem twines round a thin stick it becomes twisted on its 
own axis in the same direction. In Gleichenia and other tropical ferns the rachis is dichotomous, 
or forked. When, as in the Hart’s-tongue, the frond is undivided, the rachis forms its mid-rib: 
but more usually the frond is more or less broken up into separate portions, and as in describing 
ferns it is necessary to use some terms expressing the nature of such division, we must here 
explain them. If the division does not extend down to the rachis, the frond still remains in a 
single piece, and the term segment is applied to the lobes, the frond being said to be pinnatifid 
or pinnatisect ; and should these lobes be again partially cut into segments, the frond is called 
bipinnatifid or bipinnatisect. More generally, the division is more complete, and the frond is 
separated down to the rachis : the separate portions are then termed pinnee, and the frond said to 
be pinnate ; each pinna may be divided again into segments (pinnatisect), or cut into separate 
pinnules — when the frond is bipinnate. A further division results in a tripinnate fern, where the 
pinnules are divided into tertiary divisions. It is rare for fronds to be more compound than 
this, but the ultimate divisions are always described, and may be lobed, or toothed, or quite entire. 

Another important point to be observed is the venation , or the arrangement of the little 
veins or nerves which run in the substance of the frond. These are easily observed, and will be 
found very varied in character. Of course the simplest form is that where a single vein (; mid-rib 
or costa) runs down the centre of the segments, and this is seen in the filmy Hymenophyllece. 
More frequently there are secondary veins (veinlets) coming off in a pinnate manner from the 
central one, and running parallel to one another to the edge, or these may be forked, the 
branches proceeding to the margin, and ending before they reach it. This latter is a very common 
form, and may be seen in the Male Fern and the Bracken. Another type is found in the Maiden- 
hair, where there is no mid-rib, but the veins radiate in a fan-like way from the 
base. All these are cases of free venation, the separate veins, even when 
branched, never uniting again ; but there are numerous cases of anastomosing 
venation, where the branches of separate veins unite with one another to form 
a network of various kinds. Mr. John Smith, of Kew, Mr. T. Moore, of 
Chelsea, and other writers on Ferns, have very carefully observed these differ- 
ences, and have reduced the kinds of anastomosing venation to about seven 
different types. These it is not necessary to define here, as they are not 
represented in the European species to any extent. Woodwardia, however, affords a good 
example of one of the forms of anastomosing venation, in which the veinlets are connected by 
little arched veins, and form thus many small spaces or areolce. 

By some writers a decided difference in venation is considered sufficient to make separate 
genera of ferns, whilst others pay little attention to this, and include in the large genera, such 
as Polypodium and Acrostichum , plants showing all the above varieties. It is this difference of 
treatment which causes the very great diversity in the estimate of the number of fern genera, 
and is one great reason of the numerous names (synonyms) which so embarrass the student. 

The growth of the fronds of ferns is very slow, much more so than that of the leaves of 
flowering plants. It takes two years to form a frond of the Male Fern, and others are probably 
longer in course of evolution before they commence to expand. When first noticeable they are 
closely curled up, the whole frond being rolled in on itself from sides and top, and forming a 
b 2 



European Ferns. 

crozier-like body. In botanical language, the vernation or prefoliation is circinate , and this is 
very characteristic of ferns and very rare in other plants. One order of ferns, however, does not 
have this kind of vernation, the Ophioglossace a, containing the Adder’s-tongue and Moonwort, and 
from this and other special characters the group is often separated from the true ferns. Another 

peculiarity of the development of fronds is that the base is first 
formed and first unrolled, as any one can see in watching the 
expansion of a large fern, the lower portion being quite spread out, 
whilst the upper part is still in process of evolution. In some cases 
the growth of the top continues for a long time, as in the Climbing 
Fern ( Lygodium ) ; this kind of growth is called basifugal. 

We shall presently see that the fructification is produced on the 
fronds. Usually all the fronds produce fructification, to a greater 
or less extent, according to accidental circumstances ; but in a con- 
siderable number of ferns there are always some fertile and some 
barren fronds, bearing definite relations to one another, and very 
generally the two kinds of fronds differ considerably in form, size, 
and often in shape. Our Hard Fern ( Blechnum boreale) and the 
Ostrich Fern ( Onoclea Struthiopteris ) are examples. This dnnorl 
phism, as it is called, in the two kinds of fronds, may be carried to 
an extraordinary extent, as in the Elk’s-horn ( Platy cerium alcicorne), 
familiar in our greenhouses, where the barren fronds are flat, small, 
and undivided, and spread out over the surface on which the fern 
grows, while the fertile ones are erect, large, and branched like a 
stag’s antlers. Another very striking example is found in Tri- 
chomanes (. Hymenostachys ) elegans, where the sterile fronds are 
numerous and deeply pinnatifid, much as in the common Polypody, 
whilst the fertile ones are only two or three in number, and simply 
linear with the numerous receptacles crowded along the edge. Or 
we may instance Polypodmm (Drynaria) which well deserves its 
specific name ( diversifolium ) since the two kinds of fronds are so 
different that they would be supposed to belong to quite distinct plants ; the sterile ones are 
a few inches long, sessile, oblong-ovate, slightly lobed, and brown in colour like a dry oak-leaf ; 
the fertile are from two to four feet in length, on long stalks, with long distant, linear, bright 
green pinnae. We might give many other remarkable cases, but we must now pass on to 
consider the fructification itself. 

Fructification. — As above remarked, ferns have no flowers ; consequently, they have no seeds, 
for seeds can only be produced by flowers of some kind or another. The little bodies which 
reproduce — after some curious changes and developments, to be presently noticed — the Fern- 
plant are, as in the case of other Cryptogamic plants, called spores. They are excessively small, 
and contained in little capsules, called sporangia , of which we shall presently speak. These 
sporangia , or capsules, are variously arranged, but there are always several, often very many, 
together, and the group which they form is termed a sorus j the point at which they are attached 
being called the receptacle. The sori are the little patches, usually brown in colour, so noticeable 
on the under surface of fully-grown fronds, which distinguish them also so readily from true 
leaves. They vary very much in their position and arrangement, and upon these points the 
classification of ferns is very largely based. It will be found, on examination, that in most cases 




the sori have some definite relation to the veins of the frond, the receptacle being usually 
situated at the extremity or on the back of a vein ; but this is not always the case. The 
most familiar form of sorus is circular, as is seen in the Male Fern and Polypody ; frequently 
they are oval or oblong, as in many Aspleniums ; at other times elongated and linear, as in 

the Hart’s-tongue. When they occupy the margin of the frond 
or its under-surface, as in the Bracken, several sori are confluent 
to form the long line of fructification ; and in some foreign ferns 
( Acrostichum , Platy cerium) the sori occupy the whole under (and even 
upper) surface of the frond with a continuous layer. In the Filmy 
Ferns the sori are marginal and quite peculiar, the receptacle 
extending beyond the edge of the frond, and being, in fact, the 
end of a vein. In many Ferns which have 
special fertile fronds the fructification is often 
greatly crowded, so that the leafy portion 
becomes contracted and curled up so as to 
be scarcely observable, and this former seems to constitute by itself a spike 
or raceme of fruit ; this is noticeable in the Parsley Fern and the Royal 
Fern amongst European species, and is still more remarkable in some 
exotic ones. 

The sporangia, or capsules, are very characteristic in form, and of a 
remarkable constitution. They are delicate little sacks, with thin, semi- 
transparent walls, and are attached to the receptacle either by a slender 

stalk or are sessile. In shape they are usually 
oval, blunt, and a little lop-sided, in consequence 
of the existence of a ring, which runs vertically 

round one side and over the top, which is called the annulus. This 
is a provision of Nature for causing the bursting of the sporangium, 
which happens by the contraction (from drying up) of the ring, and 
the consequent rupture transversely of the wall on the opposite side, 
which allows the escape of the contained spores. In the Filmy Ferns, 
however, the ring is horizontal and extends round the whole sporangium, 
hence the splitting here is vertical : the splitting is also vertical in 
Osmunda, where the ring, however, is very faint and imperfect. In 
Ophioglossum and Botrychium, what are still called the sporangia are 
wholly different from those above described, and are modified portions 
of the frond, and the spores are formed from changes taking place in 
its inner tissue. All these points are considered by the botanist of 
fundamental importance. 

Another organ connected with the sori must also be examined, for 
though of less intrinsic value to the plant, it is principally employed in 
the classification of ferns generally adopted. This is the indusium, or 
involucre, which is a membranous body of various form, which covers to 
a greater or less extent the sorus. It is very readily observed in most ferns, as our Male 
Fern, and as a rule is of much the same form as the sorus, with which it is connected. In a 
number of species, however, it does not exist at all, as may be seen in the Polypody, in which 
the sori are naked at all periods of their existence. In some cases the involucre is difficult to 




European Ferns. 

observe, either from its small size or from becoming torn and withered, or being concealed by 
the numerous full-grown sporangia. It is quite necessary always carefully to examine into this 
point. In the case of the covering found in several marginal sori, in which the edge of the 
frond is turned back and partially covers the sporangia, it is not always easy to say whether 
there is an indusium present or not. Thus, in the Parsley Fern we have the reflexed portion 
of the edge of the frond scarcely altered at all, whilst in Pteris cretica, Adiantum , and other 
ferns, there is a distinct membrane extending from the margin, and more or less covering 
the line of sori. In the uncertainty as to the true nature of this organ it is convenient to call 
it a false indusium. Our common Bracken shows, besides this false indusium, a true indusium 
also, which is situated beneath the sori. And this leads us to notice that the indusium may 
be either inferior — i.e., forming a cup or a scale below the sporangia — or (more usually) superior, 
when it covers them. Examples of the former kind are seen in the Ostrich Fern, and very 
beautifully in the little Woodsias ; also in the species of Cystopteris and in the Filmy Ferns, all 
of which kinds present differences which are fully described in the succeeding pages. The 
superior indusia present less variety. They form, when young, a complete investment over 
the sporangia, but as the latter become ripe the indusium becomes detached at its edge. 
Their attachment is generally to the receptacle, either by their centre to its summit or at the 

Mode of Reproduction. — We have seen that the spores are liberated from the sporangia 
when ripe by the rupture of the latter ; we have now to examine in what way the new fern 
has its origin. When the spores fall in a suitable damp place, they, usually after some little 
period, germinate. But their germination is quite unlike that of a seed ; there is no young 
embryo plant in the spore, and no putting forth and unfolding of a delicate root and little 
fronds belonging to a young fern. A plant is produced, to be sure, but it is wholly unlike 
the parent. The germination of fern spores can readily be watched in any hot-house, and 
what is seen as the result is a very small, flat, membranous green body, which is attached 
to the soil by several delicate rootlets. Its outline varies, but is usually more or less circular 
or kidney-shaped ; its transparent, clear, green, and cellular texture gives it a great similarity 
to the little plants called Liverworts. To this structure the name prothallium is given. 
Though so delicate a structure, it is not always an evanescent one, and may even last several 

The prothallium seems to have been first clearly seen by Dr. Lindsay, whose observations 
are recorded in the “Transactions of the Linnean Society” for 1792 (vol. ii., p. 93). He well 
figures the commencement of the new fern, but it was not for many years after that the 
mode in which it originated from the prothallium was understood. It was in the year 1844 
that the mystery was cleared up by the discovery of the reproductive organs — which everybody 
had hitherto looked for upon the mature fern — on the minute prothallium. These organs are 
necessarily of two kinds, and may be roughly considered to be analogous to the stamens and 
pistils of flowering plants. They are, of course, very minute, and require the microscope for 
their examination, and are termed antheridia and archegonia. In the great majority of cases 
both kinds are found on the same prothallium ; their usual position is on the under-surface, 
the antheridia among the rootlets at one end, and the archegonia in the kidney-shaped 
prothallia, just behind the indented portion. The antheridia are minute cellular sacks, which 
burst, when mature, to liberate a number of microscopic, spirally-twisted, ciliated bodies 
endowed with movement, and called spermatozoids. The archegonia are larger and bottle- 
shaped, with a rather long neck, and contain at the base a minute central cell, which is the 



oosphere. It is this little oosphere which gives origin to the new fern. After the spermatozoids 
escape, some of them pass down the neck of the archegonium, and by their action on the 
oosphere fertilise it, and set up in it the series of changes resulting in the growth of a new 
plant. This new plant is at first, of course, very small, and draws its nourishment from the 
prothallium to which it remains attached, but it is soon evident that it is developing, not 
into a prothallium, but into a fern, like its grandparent. It soon becomes established with 
roots of its own, and the prothallium disappears. 

It will thus be seen that the reproduction of ferns is very different from that of flowering 
plants, though a more or less similar mode is very general in the Cryptogamia. Two 
generations are necessary to complete the cycle of life of the plant, and thus the alternate 
generations are different. It may be as well to mention, however, that occasionally the new 

Prothallium of Adiantum Capillus Veneris, 
seen from below, with the young fern 
attached to it. 

p p. Prothallium X about 30 times ; d. The 
young fern ; nl w" . Its first arid second 
roots; h. Root-hairs of the Prothallium. 
(After Sachs.) 

1. Prothallium of Aspidium Filix-mas, natural size ; 2. The same, 
much enlarged ; 3. An Antheridium before bursting ; 4. The 
Antherozoid-cells escaping from the Antheridium ; 5. An 
Antherozoid-cell ; 6. An Antherozoid ; 7. An Archegonium : 
all much enlarged. (After Berg and Schmidt.) 

fern arises from the prothallium by a process of budding, without the intervention of repro- 
ductive organs, as was first observed by Dr. Farlow, of Boston, U.S.A. 

Besides the true sexual reproduction above described, ferns, like other plants, are capable 
of increase by means of buds and offsets. Many species constantly viviparous in this way 
are in cultivation ; the buds are either scattered over the fronds or produced in the axils of 
the pinnse. Other species root at the end of the fronds, and so produce there new plants. 


It is not our intention here to exhibit the classification of the whole of the ferns, further 
than to point out the main divisions into which they fall. But it will be convenient to show the 
system upon which the European ferns are most readily arranged, although in the following 
pages this arrangement has not in every case been strictly followed, and to give the botanical 
characters of the different genera to which they respectively belong. 

The above account of the structure of ferns will have shown that there is not a very great 
amount of difference between the various kinds. We have not, as in flowering plants, organs 


European Ferns. 

like the calyx, corolla, stamens, and pistil, susceptible of almost infinite variety and modification, 
upon which the numerous genera are based. The minute reproductive organs on the prothallia 

of ferns have as yet been examined in comparatively few 
species, and even the prothallia themselves have not afforded 
any points of difference which can be used for classification, 
and the botanist accordingly does not take them into con- 
sideration. But the organs on the fully-developed fern con- 
nected with the production of the spores — that is, the sporangia 
both individually and as combined with sori and the indusium 
— present us with important modifications, and it is these which 
are principally used in the classification generally followed. It 
is therefore quite necessary, when determining the name of any 
fern, first of all to examine these parts, by which alone its 
position can. with certainty be ascertained. 

Before attempting to classify the bulk of our species, 
there are two genera which are so very different from all the 
rest as clearly to belong to a group of themselves : these are 
Ophioglossum and Botrychium. Their appearance is quite 
unlike that of the remainder of our species ; their fronds when 
young are not circinate, and the spike of fructification is given 
off from the base of the barren one ; the spores, too, are con- 
tained in cavities very unlike, and indeed quite different in 
origin from, the sporangia of other ferns. So fundamental 
are these points (and there are others), that the Ophioglossacece 
are by some botanists removed from the true ferns altogether, 
and constituted a distinct family. It contains one other genus, 
not European, called Helminthostachys. 

The great bulk of ferns remain, and they are found to 
fall under seven groups, of which the distinguishing marks are 
given below ; but only three of them have representatives 
in Europe — the Hynienophyllacece, the Polypodiacece, and the 
Osmundacece, and by far the greater part belong to the second 
of these, which contains, indeed, three or four times more 
species than all the other groups put together, and has to be 
divided into a number of tribes. Of our European Ferns, 
Trichomanes and Hymenophyllum fall under the Hyrnenophyl- 
lacece, and Osmundci under the Osmundacece ; all the remainder 
belong to the Polypodiacece. The above-named ferns are each 
so characteristic as to be readily recognised, and the difficulty 
of determining the genus to which any specimen belongs can 
scarcely occur with any of them. It is different with the 
Polypodiacece, and we must now say a few words on the classi- 
fication of this great sub-order. 

Many plans have been proposed for grouping this: the character of the rhizome — desmobryoid 
or eremobryoid (see above*) ; the venation, and the habit ; but the most convenient single 

* These two terms have been unfortunately transposed at p. iv. 

THE ADDER’ S-TONGUE ( Ophioglossum 
vulgatum. ) 



point for a primary division is found in the existence or absence of an indusium to the sori. 
This is the first thing to be looked for, and from what has been said above, in our description of 
the indusium, it will be seen that the necessary examination must be careful, or the indusium 

VULGARE ( half natural size), showing 


(After Sachs.) 

really present will be overlooked. Taking the whole 
world, there are recognised eleven distinct tribes of Poly- 
podiacece — eight with an indusium and three without it. 

Of these two (in each division, one) have no European 
representative. The differences are briefly given in the table 
of classification below, and will be seen to depend chiefly 

on the nature and form of the indusium (where present), and the form and position of the 
sori. Under each tribe we have given the genera (nineteen in all) of the European Fern-flora, 
with the distinguishing character of each, so that it is hoped that the reader will be able to 
ascertain the genus of an unknown species without much difficulty. For the description of 
the species themselves he must of course refer to the body of the work itself, to which this 
sketch is only intended as an introduction. The sub-order Hymenophyllcicece, which is here 
placed at the head of the list, follows the Dicksoniece in the body of the book. The classifi- 
cation involves the use of a number of technical terms which at first sight appear somewhat 
alarming ; but an explanation of all of them will be found in the preceding pages. 


Sub-Order I. HYMENOPHYLLACE^:. — Sporangia sessile, rounded but compressed, surrounded by 
a complete transverse ring, splitting vertically, and seated on a long, stalk-like receptacle, 
which is terminal or marginal, continued from the end of a vein. Indusium inferior, half- 
cup-shaped. Ferns with membranous filmy fronds, and a filiform, long, creeping caudex. 

Genus I. Trichomanes. — Sporangia occupying the base of the very long receptacle 
which is exserted beyond the truncate indusium. 

Genus 2 . Hymenophyllum. — Sporangia occupying the whole (or nearly so) of the 
shorter receptacle which is contained within the two-lipped indusium. 

[Sub-Order Gleicheniacece. — Sporangia sessile, surrounded by a complete transverse ring, 
splitting vertically, very few (from 2 to 10) combining to form dorsal sori, which have a 
short receptacle. No indusium. Ferns with a creeping caudex and rigid dichotomously- 
branched fronds. No European genus.] 

European Ferns. 

xi i 

[Sub-Order Cyatheacece. — Sporangia sessile or stalked, surrounded by a vertical or rather 
oblique incomplete ring, splitting transversely, very numerous, and seated on a barrel- 
shaped receptacle to form dorsal globose sori. Indusium inferior, or none. Usually 
tree-ferns. No European genus.] 

Sub-Order II. PoLYPODIACE^E. — Sporangia stalked, furnished with a usually incomplete vertical 
ring, splitting transversely, numerous, forming dorsal or marginal sori, with the receptacle 
not prominent. Indusium present or absent. 

* With an indusium, true or false. ( Involucratce .) Tribes I — 7. 

Tribe 1. Dicksoniece. — Sori globose, situated on the back or apex of a vein. Indusium 
inferior, either covering the whole sorus, and bursting irregularly, or cup-shaped. 
Venation free or anastomosing. 

Genus 3. Onoclea. — -Fronds dimorphic, the fertile ones contracted. Indusium 
semi-circular, becoming ragged and evanescent. Sori dorsal, confluent. 

Genus 4. Woodsia. — Fronds uniform. Indusium completely cup-shaped, with a 
fimbriated margin. Sori dorsal. 

Genus 5. Dicksonia.— Fronds uniform. Indusium forming with the segment a 
marginal two-lipped pouch. Sori terminal. 

Tribe 2. Davalliece. — Sori marginal or nearly roundish. Indusium scale-like, inferior, attached 
by a broad base, and free or attached to the frond at its sides. 

Genus 6. Davallia. — Indusium attached by a semi-circular base and sides, upper 
margin free. Sori marginal or terminal. 

Genus 7. Cystopteris. — Indusium attached by its base only. Sori dorsal. 

[Tribe Lindsay ece. — Sori in a line at edge of the frond, and covered with its margin. Indusium 
membranaceous, short. No European genus.] 

Tribe 3. Pteridece. — Sori marginal, oblong or linear. False indusium, formed from the 
inflexed margin of the segment, of the same shape as the sorus, opening inwardly. 

Genus 8. Pteris. — Sori occupying the intra-marginal arched nerve connecting the 
veins, and covered with a continuous false indusium ; a true indusium also 
present in one species. 

Genus 9. Adiantzim. — Sori occupying the upper part of the veins on separate lobules, 
and covered by distinct reflexed false indusiums. Fronds smooth, 

Genus 10. Cheilanthes. — Sori occupying the thickened apices of the veins, and 
covered by the reflexed false indusium. Fronds very hairy. 

Genus 11. Cryptogramme. — Sori occupying the unaltered apices of the veins, oblong, 
covered by the reflexed margin of the frond. Fronds dimorphic. 

Tribe 4. Blechnece. — Sori dorsal, parallel with the mid-rib and edge of the segments, but 
not close to the latter, oblong or linear. Indusium superior, opening towards the 


Genus 12. Blechnum. — Fronds dimorphic. Sori in a continuous line, on longitudinal 
anastomosing veins. 

Genus 13. Woodivardia. — Fronds uniform. Sori in an interrupted line. 

Tribe 5. Aspleniece. — Sori dorsal, attached to the veins, and oblique with respect to the 
mid-rib, linear or oblong. Indusium as in the last, sometimes double. 

Genus 14. Asplenium. — Sori linear, straight. Indusium nearly flat. Frond not 
scaly beneath. 

Genus 15. Athyrium. — Sori oblong-reniform. Indusium with a fringed margin 



Genus 1 6. Cetorach. — Sori linear. Indusium very narrow, erect. Frond covered on 
the back with chaffy scales. 

Tribe 6. Scolopendriccz. — Sori as in the Asplenieae, except that the indusia are arranged in 
pairs, and open towards each other. 

Genus 1 7. Scolopendrium. 

Tribe 7. Aspidiece. — Sori dorsal, round or nearly so. Indusium superior, attached by its 
centre or an indentation. 

Genus 18. Aspidium. 

** Without an indusium ( Exinvolucratce ). (Tribes 8 and 9.) 

Tribe 8. Polypodiece. — Sori dorsal, round or nearly so. 

Genus 19. Polypodium. 

Tribe 9. Grcimmitidece. — Sori dorsal, linear or long-oblong. 

Genus 20. Nothochlosna . — Fronds very densely clothed with paleae beneath. 

Genus 21. Gymnogramma. — Fronds without paleae. 

[Tribe Acrostichece. — Sori not confined to the veins, but spread over the under-surface (or 
both surfaces) of the frond. No European genus.] 

Sub-Order III. OSMUND ACE.®. — Sporangia stalked, furnished with a short horizontal bar or 
very incomplete ring, splitting vertically. 

Genus 22. Osniunda. 

[Sub-Order Schisceacecc. — Sporangia sessile, crowned by a small, complete, opercular ring, splitting 
vertically. No European genus.] 

[Sub-Order Marattiacece. — Sporangia without a ring, opening by a pore at the apex, and usually 
fused together into a concrete mass. Vernation circinate. No European genus.] 
Sub-Order IV. OPHIOGLOSSACE/E. — Sporangia without a ring, opening down the side nearly to 
the base. Vernation erect, not circinate. 

Genus 23. Ophioglossum. — Sporangia in two rows, connate, two-valved, forming a 
distichous spike. 

Genus 24. Botrychium. — Sporangia separate, two-valved, forming a branched panicle. 


Ferns are generally distributed over the globe, being least frequent in the polar regions, 
and most abundant in the tropics, where they attain their most magnificent proportions 
and fullest development in the form of the tree-ferns, which are confined to those regions, or 
extend but slightly beyond them, as in the case of a few species of Cyathea, Dicksonia, and 
Alsophila, which occur in the Cape and New Zealand. Mr. Baker has treated the subject at 
length in the twenty-sixth volume of the “Transactions of the Linnean Society,” and his paper, 
to which we acknowledge our obligations, should be consulted by those who wish to obtain 
a more complete view of the matter than can be attempted in a sketch like the present. 
He says that here, if anywhere, we may hope to find a large order, with distinctly marked 
and clearly definable climatic relations. “ Without a single prominent exception, we find 
that the whole order, of between two and three thousand clearly marked species, requires 
shade and a damp atmosphere, that everywhere within the tropics there are no ferns at all 
(or very few) in the dry countries and provinces, that, with the precision of an hygrometer, 
an increase in the fern vegetation (it may be in species, or it may be in the number and 
luxuriance of individuals, but usually in both) marks the wooded humid regions, and that, 


European Ferns. 

receding from the tropics, although with latitude, the species diminish in number, there is the 
same contrast between the two categories of climate — the dry continental type with a large, 
and the damp insular type with a small hiberno-aestival range.” 

The view taken of species in Mr. Baker’s comparative lists, like that in the “ Synopsis 
Filicum,” is somewhat larger than that adopted by most writers ; but following it for purposes of 
comparison, we learn that only twenty-six species are found in the Arctic zone, of which 
all but two, Athyrium crenatum, and Aspidium fragrans, are natives of Britain. Tropical 
America and tropical Asia — the latter including the Polynesian islands — are the two 
richest regions in ferns. In tropical Asia there are eight hundred and sixty-three species, 
of which four hundred and seventy-seven are peculiar to that region, while tropical America 
has nine hundred and forty-six species, seven hundred and eight of which do not occur 

elsewhere. Of course this estimate is slightly below the actual number of ferns at present 
known, more than ten years having elapsed since its publication ; but the numbers 
are relatively correct. One remarkable feature connected with the distribution of ferns 
is the large proportion they bear in the vegetation of some of the African islands. Thus 
in the Mascarene Archipelago — understanding by this term the islands of Madagascar, 
Mauritius, Bourbon, and the Comoros — there are more than two hundred species of ferns, 
more than double the number of the most fully represented order of flowering plants, i.e., 
the Orchidacese ; while there is reason to believe that, in Madagascar, at any rate, 

many ferns have yet to be discovered, as recent collectors have quite lately added several 
species to the list. In the little island of Tristan d’Acunha, the proportion of ferns to 
flowering plants is remarkably large, there being no less than twenty-three of the former 
to twenty-nine of the latter. St. Helena comes next of known floras to Tristan d’Acunha, 
in the proportion which ferns bear to phanerogamia, which is nearly as two to three, and 
it is very remarkable from the fact that half of them are peculiar to it. 

Among the European ferns there are some which do not extend beyond the continent ; 
these are, Hymenophyllum Wilsoni, Asplenium germanicum, A. Heuffleri, A. Petrarchas, 
A. fissum, A. Seelosii, Cystopteris alpina, C. sudetica, and Cheilanthes hispanica, the two 
first being British species. Aspidium semulum and Davallia canariensis are only a little less 

restricted in their range, the former (which in Europe is confined to Britain) occurring also 

in Madeira and the Azores, while the latter is confined to Spain and Portugal, and the islands 
of Madeira and Teneriffe. 

Ferns reach their maximum concentration in tropical America, “ amongst the dripping 
rocks of the higher level of the Andes, the forests of their slopes and ravines, and the 
dense humid flats that border the innumerable branches of the Amazon, where the sun’s 
rays and the wind never penetrate the recesses of the primeval jungles, and climbers and 
parasites contest with the leaves of bright flowering trees for the possession of the 
branches.” About nine hundred and fifty species are found in this region, constituting 
forty-two per cent, of all known ferns, and more than three out of four are quite peculiar 
to it. For tropical Asia and Polynesia, eight hundred and sixty-three species were on record 
at the date of Mr. Baker’s paper, of which four hundred and seventy-seven are peculiar 
to the district ; the Polynesian list containing three hundred and eighty species, of which a 
hundred and fifty are peculiar. In tropical Arabia we have a million square miles . “ almost 
a blank, so far as ferns are concerned.” The fern-flora of tropical Africa (including the 
islands of the Mascarene group) has three hundred and forty-six species, of which a hundred and 
twenty-seven are peculiar. South temperate America yields only a hundred and eighteen 



species, of which only thirty-two are peculiar ; while in temperate South Africa we have 
a hundred and fifty-three species, twenty-one of which are known only from Cape Colony. 
Temperate North America has only a hundred and fourteen species, thirty-seven of which 
are confined to that region ; while, on the other hand, in temperate Asia, where the fern- 
flora of the temperate regions attains its maximum, we have “ four hundred and thirteen 
species, eighteen per cent, of the total number, more than half the whole number of species 
that grow anywhere in temperate regions, twice as many as grow in any other temperate 
district, more than five times as many as we possess in Europe, and of these, one out of 
between every three and four is peculiar to it,” these being for the most part concentrated 
in Japan, East China, and the Himalayas. 

The accompanying table, which we have adapted from Mrs. Lyell’s “ Geographical 
Handbook of all known Ferns,” may be found useful as showing at a glance the distribution 
throughout the world of the European species. The division to which the figures correspond are 
as follow : — 

I. — Europe and North Africa. 

1. Europe proper. 

2. Algeria, Madeira, Canaries, Azores. 

II. — Asia. 

3. Northern, Central, and Western Asia, China, and Japan. 

4. Northern India, including Assam, and all north of the Deccan. 

5. Southern India, including Concan, Deccan, Orissa, Ceylon. 

6. Eastern Peninsula and Archipelago, Philippine Isles. 

III. — Australia and Polynesia. 

7. Tropical Australia, New Guinea, Caroline and Solomon Isles, New Hebrides, 
New Caledonia. 

8. Temperate Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, Auckland Isles, etc. 

9. Polynesia, Friendly, Society, Sandwich, Marquesas Isles, etc. 

IV. — Africa. 

10. Tropical Africa and Islands. 

11. Cape Colony and Natal, Tristan d’Acunha. 

V. — North America. 

12. Sub-arctic Greenland, Canada, and westerly to the Rocky Mountains. 

13. United States, Bermuda. 

14. California and New Mexico, British Columbia, covering the slope from the Rocky 
Mountains to the Pacific. 

VI. — South America. 

15. Mexico, Panama, West India Islands. 

16. Venezuela, New Granada, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Galapagos Isles. 

17. Guiana, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay. 

18. Chili, La Plata, Patagonia, Falkland Isles, Juan Fernandez. 


European Ferns. 



















I. Hymenophyllacete. 

Hymenophyllum tunbridgense . 










„ Wilsoni 


Trichomanes radicans .... 









1 7 



Tribe i. — Dicksoniece. 

Onoclea Struthiopteris .... 




1 3 

Woodsia ilvensis ..... 



I 2 


„ hyperborea 




„ glabella 


i 1 


Dicksonia Culcita 




Tribe 2. — Davalliece. 

Davallia canariensis 



Cystopteris fragilis 








1 1 




i -5 


„ alpina 


„ sudetica. .... 


„ montana .... 



I 2 


Tribe 3.- — Pteridece. 

Pteris aquilina ...... 











1 1 





1 7 

» arguta 




„ ensifolia 











1 1 




. .. 

„ cretica 






• • » 



1 1 




Adiantum Capillus-veneris 








1 1 






Cheilanthes fragrans ..... 





„ Szovitzii ..... 






„ hispanica .... 


Cryptogramme crispa .... 






Tribe 4. — Blechne<z. 

Blechnum Spicant 





14 . 

Woodwardia radicans .... 







Tribe 5. — Aspleniea. 

Asplenium Hemionitis .... 



„ viride 





„ Trichomanes .... 








1 1 






„ Heuffleri 


„ Petrarchae .... 



„ marinum ..... 




I 2 



„ fontanum 




„ lanceolatum .... 




,, Adiantum-nigrum . 








1 1 

„ Seelosii 


„ Ruta-muraria .... 





1 1 


,, septentrionale .... 





„ germanicum .... 


„ fissum ..... 


„ lepidum ..... 



Athyrium Filix-foemina .... 







1 1 






„ crenatum 



Ceterach officinarum ..... 






1 1 

„ Pozoi 

























Tribe 6 . — Scolopetidries. 

Scolopendrium vulgare 






„ Hemionitis . 



Tribe 7. — Asplcnies. 

Aspidium Lonchitis . 



1 3 


„ aculeatum . 










1 1 






1 7 


„ angulare . 





„ Thelypteris 






1 1 



„ montanum 


„ Filix-mas . 









1 1 






1 ? 

remotum . 



„ l'igidum 



,, cristatum . 


I 2 

I 3 

,, spinulosum 





1 1 

I 2 


„ dilatatum . 




I 2 


„ aemulum . . 



T ribe 8. — Polypodies. 

Polypodium vulgare . 





I 3 



„ Dryopteris 





I 2 

I 3 


,, Robertianum . 




I 3 

„ Phegopteris . 



I 2 


r 4 

,, rhasticum 



I 2 


,, flexile 


Tribe 9. — Grammitideee. 


Notholaena Marantae 





„ lanuginosa 





Gymnogramme leptophylla 







1 1 




• • • 


Osmunda regalis 







1 1 





IV. Ophioglossace.®. 

Ophioglossum vulgatum . 










1 1 


„ lusitanicum 




Botrychium Lunaria . 








„ boreale . 


I 2 

„ matricariasfolium 



„ lanceolatum . 




„ simplex . 



I 2 


„ ternatum 







,, virginicum 







i 5 



As we have already observed, few plants have gained so wide a popularity as ferns, on account 
of the extreme beauty and elegance of their fronds, and the great diversity of form found 
amongst them ; and the European species, to which these pages are devoted, will especially 
recommend themselves to dwellers in towns, where gardens are, as a rule, very restricted in 
area, and glass-houses are scarce. 

The majority of the ferns indigenous to Europe may be successfully grown in the open 
air in any part of Britain. Some few species from the most southern parts require protection 

xviii European Ferns. 

but even these thrive admirably and produce a beautiful appearance if they have the protection 
of a Ward’s or window case. Nevertheless, many mistakes are made in the cultivation of these 
plants, apparently for the reason that this, although not difficult, requires, like most other 
things, a certain amount of attention. For instance, it is a mistake to suppose that for the 
cultivation of ferns nothing is required but to give them plenty of water and keep them in 
the shade. Acting upon this advice, the poor ferns are kept drenched with water until the soil 
becomes a perfect bog, and they are carefully excluded from even a chance streak of sun- 
shine ; the result of such treatment naturally is, that after a short existence they miserably 
perish. Another mistake into which people fall is based on the theory that ferns require 
plenty of heat, shade, and moisture ; and this is acted upon without the slightest qualification, 
no matter whether the ferns in question are natives of California or Cochin China, Botany Bay 
or Bengal. To a certain extent these views are right enough, but they require modification 
and special application in particular cases, in order that they may be acted upon successfully. 

It may safely be laid down as a general principle that moisture in abundance is essential 
to the well-being of all ferns, but provision must always be made to carry it away quickly, 
for if allowed to become stagnant about their roots, sickness and death will speedily follow. 
Again, ferns enjoy shade, but it is quite erroneous to suppose that in a state of nature 
they grow only in sunless spots, for some of the most delicate kinds are found growing on 
the sunny side of mountain slopes, although some species do grow most luxuriantly on a 
northern aspect. 

In the matter of heat, even with the strictly tropical kinds, cultivators usually err on 
the side of excess, the consequences of which are weakly growth and a plague of thrips ; for 
it may be taken for granted that when these insect pests abound, the atmosphere is too hot 
or too dry, or in all probability both, and the subject of their attacks must at once be removed 
to a cooler temperature. European ferns generally are easy to cultivate, and yet there are 
amongst their numbers some few species which are quite as difficult to grow creditably as 
any in the known world. Amongst these we may enumerate Asplenium Seelosii, A. Petrachce , 
and A. septentrionale, Cheilanthes fragrans , N otholcena Marantce , and Cetcrach offic inarum, all 
of which require to be grown with a large admixture of limestone and a sunny exposure. On 
the other hand, many species grow in very varied situations : on barren spots fully exposed 
to the influence of the sun and all the winds that blow, or in some deep moist recess, almost 
hidden from the sun and scarcely ever disturbed by wind. Enough, however, has been said 
on generalities, and we shall now devote ourselves to a few specialities necessary to the successful 
cultivation of the ferns of Europe, and in doing so shall place our remarks under four heads, 
viz., Open Ground Culture, Pot Culture, Wardian Case Culture, and Propagation. 

Open Ground Culture. 

That ferns display the greatest beauty when thus treated none can deny, but many 
amateurs are deprived, through want of space, from indulging their tastes in this manner, and 
must perforce resort to pot culture. With many beginners in fern growing it is considered 
necessary to have a rockery to grow these plants upon, but why the majority of ferns should 
be considered to require rock-work it has never been our fate to discover. Such a situation 
is, we admit, absolutely necessary for the well-being of some few species, but too much weight 
is often given to the necessity of a good rockery for starting the cultivation of ferns and 
hardy plants. A well-made and properly planted rockery certainly adds greatly to the pleasure 



of a garden, but the majority of small rockeries which have come under our notice have 
been neither pretty to look at nor suitable for plant life. 

The best spot for the construction of an open-air fernery is one with a broken and uneven 
surface, where there exists a certain amount of shade, protection from wind, and partial 
exposure to the sun, and if there is a stream of water running through it, so much the 
better ; but there are few amateurs who have such a spot whereon to construct it. These 
conditions, therefore, cannot be laid down as necessary, but the best must be made of 
what exists. 

The most sheltered spot available should be selected, with partial shade, if possible, but 
not underneath large trees, as the drip from them is ruinous to the health of most ferns. 
An elevated site is preferable, because it ensures good drainage, and an uneven surface affords 
the greatest diversity, and admits of a more artistic arrangement than a flat surface. If 
such a spot does not exist naturally in the garden, a mound should be thrown up. The 
base of this should be formed with old bricks, rough stones, or any material that will 
readily carry away superfluous moisture ; over this the soil may be placed, the surface 
may be diversified, and the soil held in position by masses of stone or rock, if convenient, 
or by the use of rough burrs, logs, and butts of trees, which should be partially buried. 
The protruding ends of these may stand in such a manner as to afford some shade to the 
fronds of the more delicate species, whilst their bases will serve to keep the roots moist 
and cool during the hottest summer weather. Such a mound may thus be raised to any 
height, and the outline formed in any shape ; the less formality the greater will be the effect, 
and an unsightly corner may be thus converted into the most effective and pleasing part of 
the garden. In like manner a blank and unsightly wall may be clothed with verdure by 
fixing burrs with cement over its surface in the form of pockets, in which ferns when planted 
will thrive admirably: the only requisites in this operation are to make the pockets with a 
hole in the bottom to carry away water, and sufficiently large to receive soil for the maintenance 
of a plant. 

The mixture of soil for the fernery should consist of rough peat, loam, leaf-mould, and 
coarse sand, in about equal parts ; this will form a good compost for the ground-work, and in 
it the majority of the species will thrive, but in planting the most vigorous growing kinds a 
little extra loam should be placed round them, whilst the more delicate ones will require an 
addition of sandy peat. The limestone-loving ferns must be accommodated with that article, 
or the best substitute that can be found in the shape of old mortar or the like. 

In planting the fernery care must be taken to properly regulate the plants according to 
their heights ; the tall-growing species must be so disposed that their fronds do not hide the 
beauties of their dwarfer relatives and neighbours, and those particular kinds which carry their 
fronds through the winter months should so be distributed amongst the deciduous ones, that 
the whole may have a furnished and interesting appearance both winter and summer. Little 
more need be added with respect to the management of the open-air fernery. During the 
summer, if the weather is dry, the ferns must be kept well watered at their roots, but this 
should be done in a careful manner, avoiding the too common practice of pouring or dashing 
the water over the fronds, which is fatal to the uniformity of the plants, and serves no good 
purpose. In the autumn carefully extract all weeds, and instead of clearing away the fallen 
leaves, cover them neatly with a thin layer of mould ; this not only gives a neat and tidy 
appearance, but is in other ways preferable to the usual practice of forking between the plants, 
which we consider very detrimental to the roots. 


European Ferns. 

Pot Culture. 

The cultivation of ferns in pots enables many to indulge their taste for these plants where 
neither room nor convenience exists for constructing a fernery in the garden, or even where no 
garden is at their disposal. The size of the pots in which these plants should be grown must 
be determined by circumstances. If the space required for their accommodation is of no object, 
there need be no restriction ; but where space is limited, it becomes a matter for serious con- 
sideration, and every effort must be made to produce the best possible results from the means 
at command. Even those so restricted need not despair, as a very creditable and enjoyable 
collection of ferns may be grown in a comparatively small area. 

The soil necessary for growing ferns in pots must be the same as that previously 
recommended ; it will, however, require to be chopped or broken into much smaller pieces, for 
convenience sake, or it would be impossible to get it into small pots. A sieve should not be 
used to obtain fine soil, as, although some plant-growers evince a great partiality for sifted 
mould, it is undoubtedly a great mistake, and we object to its use for anything but seed sowing, 
and in transplanting young plants from the seed-pans. 

Hardy ferns cease to grow in early autumn, continue at rest during the winter months, and 
will not have commenced growing before the month of April. Early in March, just before the 
life begins to stir within the crown, will therefore be the best time to repot or top-dress them 
with new soil. It is sound practice to turn every plant out of its old pot carefully, and if it 
should not require transplanting into a pot of a larger size, renew or make perfect the old 
drainage, shake some of the old soil away, and replace with fresh. In this operation, or in 
repotting, carefully avoid breaking or cutting the roots. We are aware that many consider it 
quite consistent with good culture, but it is a fallacious argument, as the plant is thus deprived 
of its support just at the very time of bursting into growth, when all the nourishment its roots 
can supply is required for the proper development of the fronds. 

In repotting avoid giving much extra room, as where very large pots are used the quantity 
of soil is apt to become sour before the roots are able to occupy it, and when once it has got 
into this state, not only will the fern roots avoid it, but it extends its baneful influence to that 
portion already full of roots, and kills them — a fact which soon becomes apparent by the sickly 
colour of the fronds. The soil being ready, see that the fresh pots are clean and dry. The 
first operation is draining ; this requires a certain amount of care, as very much depends upon 
the manner in which it is done. Any rough material will answer for this purpose, but broken 
pots — technically known by the name of crocks and potsherds — are the most convenient and 
most frequently used. The hole in the bottom of the pot should be first covered with a 
large crock, with the hollow side downwards, as, placed in this position, the surplus water is 
most rapidly carried away ; above this, for pots of medium size, place about an inch of 
potsherds broken rather small, but for large pots, where there is a larger quantity of mould 
to drain, about two inches will be necessary, over the drainage some rough pieces of turf should 
be laid, to prevent the fine soil from being carried down with the water into the drainage 
material. After this sufficient of the prepared compost should be put into the pot to bring 
the crown of the plant up to within about an inch of the rim ; this space, or even a little 
more, should be left available for water. Fill the sides round with soil, pressing it moderately 
firm, until at last the plant is left with the crown in the centre, and erect; give 'a moderate 
watering to settle the new soil, and the operation is complete. 

Those ferns having creeping surface rhizomes, such as Davallia, Polypodium , Trichomanes , 



Hymenophyllum , &c., want very little repotting. They do, indeed, require from time to time 
additional surface to spread over, but after firmly establishing themselves upon a log of wood 
piece of sandstone, or other congenial surface, they become almost, or quite, independent of 
their base. As we have previously stated, ferns require an abundant supply of water ; in fact, 
at no season of the year must they be allowed to feel the effect of drought, if they are expected 
to keep in vigorous health and increase in size. In a state of nature many species may indeed, 
nay, certainly do, suffer considerably from this cause ; but the object of a cultivator should be 
to represent nature in her best form. This is the work the true gardener sets himself to 
do, and the success which attends these efforts is truly astounding, as our gardens and plant- 
houses amply testify. 

In taking leave of this portion of the subject, we shall simply add that during summer 
water must be freely given, and during the winter and resting season sufficient must be allowed 
them to keep the roots of the ferns from perishing. 

Those of our fern-loving readers who are the possessors of a frame or pit have it in 
their power to indulge their taste for the beautiful to a far greater extent than those not 
possessing such valuable accessories, because many ferns placed under glass retain their fronds 
through the winter months. When possible, winter the pot-plants in the frame, protecting them from 
frost until the spring, when they may be again placed in the open air. Those not possessed 
of a frame should remove the pots to a sheltered corner and plunge them up to their rims 
in order to prevent frost injuring the roots. The refuse from cocoa-fibre is perhaps the very 
best material to use ; it is light, warm, and very clean. During severe frosts and on sunny 
days the tops of the plants should be covered with some light material, such as dry bracken, 
or anything that is convenient. It may appear strange that we advise the covering of the 
plants on sunny days, but it is of the greatest importance to do this, in order to prevent undue 
excitement ; for plants may be excited into growth by warm sun during the end of February 
and beginning of March, which is long before all danger from frosts is over, and it is both 
better and easier to retard growth by excluding the sun’s rays, than to try to protect the plants 

Wardian Case Culture. 

We have already remarked that amongst the ferns of Europe there are some few species 
from the warm and sunny south which cannot withstand unprotected the severities of an 
English winter. This difficulty, however, may be easily overcome by the use of glass or War- 
dian cases, popularly so called in honour of their inventor, Mr. N. B. Ward, who many years 
ago began the culture of such plants as Trichomanes and Hymenophyllum in them. Great 
success attended these first efforts, which led to various improvements, until at the present 
day they may be obtained of any size or shape, and, when filled with a well grown collection, 
few objects are more attractive in a dwelling-house. 

Like many more important discoveries, the discovery of the Wardian case was due to 
what is often called an “ accident.” Mr. Ward had tried in vain to realise what he tells us 
was “the earliest object of [his] ambition — to possess an old wall covered with ferns and mosses.” 
His rockery, however, “surrounded by numerous manufactories and enveloped in their smoke,” 
was not a success, and the attempt was given up in despair. “ I was led, ’ he says, “ to reflect 
a little more deeply upon the subject in consequence of a simple incident which occurred in the 
summer of 1829. I had buried the chrysalis of a sphinx in some moist mould contained in 
a wide-mouthed glass bottle, covered with a lid. In watching the bottle from day to day, I 
/ 8 


European Ferns. 

observed that the moisture, which during the heat of the day arose from the mould, became 
condensed on the internal surface of the glass, and returned whence it came, thus keeping 
the mould always in the same degree of humidity. About a week prior to the final change 
of the insect, a seedling fern and a grass made their appearance on the surface of the mould. 
I could not but be struck with the circumstance of one of that very tribe of plants, which 
I had for years fruitlessly attempted to cultivate, coming up sponte sua in such a situation ; 
and asked myself seriously what were the conditions necessary for its growth. To this the 
answer was — firstly, an atmosphere free from soot; secondly, light; thirdly, heat; fourthly, 
moisture ; and lastly, change of air.” These conditions, with a little management, were found 
to be supplied by an adaptation of the simple bottle ; and from this the Wardian case, which 
has proved so important an adjunct to the transferring of plants from one country to another. 

Filmy Ferns, as the various species of Trichomanes, Hymenophyllum , and Leptopteris are 
called, require to be grown in a case by themselves, as their delicate, membranous, and pellucid 
fronds quickly suffer from the amount of air which is necessary for the well-being of a mixed 
collection of other kinds. The size of case, height of stand, and all such minor details, must 
be decided upon by the amateur, as so much will depend upon the situation it is to occupy, 
and the individual taste. The operation of filling the box should be performed in a manner 
exactly similar to that already recommended for potting ; first a layer of drainage, to the 
depth of about an inch, should be placed over the bottom, to be covered with some rough 
turfy peat, or what is better, where procurable, a thin layer of living Sphagnum or bog-moss, 
which does not rot like other mosses ; above this put the soil, which should be composed of 
peat, loam, broken sandstone, and sharp sand, in about equal parts : blocks of limestone and 
sandstone, in sizes proportionate to the case, should be partially imbedded in the soil, which 
will serve to diversify the surface, and at the same time afford suitable positions for those 
species with creeping surface rhizomes. 

After the soil is placed in the box the planting must commence. Limestone-loving ferns 
must be duly studied, and also those with surface rhizomes, whilst Selaginella Helvetica will 
form a green and dwarf covering to the whole groundwork ; but above all things avoid the 
too prevalent evil — overcrowding. The planting having been properly finished, the soil must 
be watered, sufficient being given to settle the whole without saturation, after which the case 
should be kept closed for a few days, or until the plants begin to show signs of growing and 
becoming established, when a moderate amount of air must be given every day. On excep- 
tionally hot and dry days the ventilators will be best kept nearly or quite closed until evening. 
Thus managed the ferns will not require a large quantity of water ; indeed, nothing is more 
detrimental to health than keeping them too wet, therefore the skill of the possessor must be 
exercised in preserving the happy medium. 

A west or north-west window affords a good position for the fern-case, and if the sun’s 
rays should at any time appear too powerful, some light shading material will readily obviate 
all danger from burning. 

It is the custom with many who grow ferns in Wardian cases to replant and renew the 
soil every spring. With this, however, we cannot agree ; we look upon it as destroying the 
happy arrangement which nature has brought about by the mixture of growth, and unless the 
soil has become sour, or the plants over-growing each other, we would advise them to be 
disturbed as little as possible. Therefore, in order to avoid the necessity of disturbing the 
case annually, it is necessary to observe two rules at starting: 1st, Water carefully; always 
give enough to well saturate the soil, but leaving no surplus to cause sourness ; this can only 



be obtained by practice. 2nd, Take into consideration the habit of each species in first planting, 
so that each may have sufficient space to develop its beauties without crowding out its neighbour 
in the struggle for life. 


This is an interesting operation with all plants, and with ferns especially so, as there are 
several ways of effecting an increase in numbers. Some species produce small plants upon the 
upper side of the fronds. In this case the frond must be pegged down upon the surface of 
the pot, or any other similarly prepared surface, when the little plants will soon take root, and 
become independent members of the fern world. Others produce bulbils at the apex of 
their fronds, and these, when detached and properly cared for, rapidly assume the proportions 
of handsome plants. Again, others have creeping rhizomes and tufted growths ; both forms 
are readily increased by divisions. It is, however, to raising these plants from spores that the 
greatest interest is attached, and that the greatest amount of trouble and care is necessary. 

In setting about this, the first necessity is a fertile frond ; this should be secured before 
the spore cases have opened. Wrap it carefully in a large envelope, and place in a warm 
position for a few days ; by this time the cases will have burst, and the spores should at once 
be sown. By this method the operator secures the spores ; but in many instances the fronds 
are left on the plant until the spores have all floated away, and only spore cases are sown, 
which are just as capable of producing a crop of ferns as empty pods of peas would be of 
producing a crop of that vegetable. 

The pots for sowing the spores in should be well drained, and filled to within about two 
inches of the rim with rather stiff loam, which has been previously baked, the whole pressed 
down firm, and thoroughly soaked with water. After the water has passed away the spores 
must be carefully dusted upon the surface, and a piece of glass or a bell-glass placed over 
them. Nothing more will be necessary but to keep the soil in as near the same state of 
moisture as possible until the spores germinate. 

Baked soil is preferable for raising ferns, on account of that process killing all seeds, 
worms, or anything obnoxious which would escape detection, small worms being specially 
troublesome amongst young ferns. It may be a matter of surprise that we recommend stiff 
loam for these plants in their most delicate stage or period of life ; this, however, is the teaching 
of experience. We have tried various soils for this purpose in the course of our practice, and 
have invariably had the greatest success and returns from pure loam. This probably arises 
from the fact of its preserving a more uniform degree of moisture than any lighter kinds ; 
but the young ferns do not like stiff loam long, and as soon as they begin to make little 
fronds they are best transplanted into the compost already recommended for the mature 

There is a great deal of uncertainty respecting the length of time the spores of different 
species take to germinate ; some commence to grow in a few days, others require weeks, whilst 
some will remain dormant for twelve months. It is best to arrange, if possible, that the spores 
do not begin to germinate late in the autumn, as they are very apt to damp off through the 
winter months. If the young plants are very much crowded, as in all probability they 
will be, remove them with a sharp-pointed stick in little clumps, and transplant them into 
other pots where they will have room to spread. If this is not done, the probability is that 
more than half their numbers will perish. This thinning should be repeated as occasion may 
require until they make fronds and are sufficiently large to be placed singly in small pots. Up 


European Ferns. 

to this time the young plants require great care and attention in the matter of water and 
air, but after a few fronds are developed, they will conform to the ordinary treatment. 

Fern spores germinate most rapidly in a close, moist, and warm atmosphere, and those 
wishing to raise them without such convenience will find a Wardian case or a close cool frame 
the next best resource. But under these conditions very few other than species from temperate 
regions will be likely to germinate, and they will remain dormant a much longer time than 
when sown in heat. 

The ferns of temperate regions appear to be well-nigh exempt from the insect pests 
their tropical relatives are subject to ; occasionally, however, they suffer from the attacks of 
thrips, which, feeding upon the cuticle, very soon render the plant unsightly ; this is a sure 
sign the plant is suffering in health, most probably from being in a situation both too hot 
and dry. Again, brown scale shows itself at times, but this is usually when the ferns are 
grown in a vinery with other plants to which the parasites really belong. In summer also 
the young fronds take the fancy of the green fly, but this is not of frequent occurrence. The 
scale must be carefully picked off when seen, and a little fumigation with tobacco will soon 
induce the other pests to desert. 

Besides insects, however, there are other enemies to hardy ferns, to which the genus Zonites 
contributes several members, Z. alliaria , Z. cellai'ia, and Z. punts being the most destructive. 
These small snails, combined with several of the slugs, such as Limax jlava, L. agrestis, 
L. variegatns, and some others, must be sharply looked after, in the open-ground fernery 
especially, or they will commit sad havoc amongst the choice and rare kinds. Hand-picking 
in the early morning and in the evening will materially assist in clearing out these marauders, 
whilst some tender lettuce leaves will entice others from their lurking-places, where otherwise 
they might elude the most vigilant observer. 


When we state that the economic properties of ferns are for the most part “ conspicuous 
by their absence,” we may seem to lay ourselves open to a charge of plagiarism ; as it may 
be thought that we are imitating the old author who, having headed a chapter “ Of the Snakes 
of Iceland,” began and ended it with the concise statement, “ There are no snakes in Iceland.” 
But although it cannot be asserted that the useful properties of this group of plants are of such 
importance as to entitle the ferns to consideration on this ground, and although no one species 
stands out prominently as of value to mankind either from its medical or economic qualities, we 
shall nevertheless find — as, indeed, is only to be expected in a group including so large a number 
of species — that some of them have attained at any rate a local reputation, and have been 
employed in various ways for the benefit of mankind. Like the peacock in the old fable, whose 
beauty compensated for the harshness of its voice, the elegance and gracefulness of ferns is 
quite sufficient to entitle them to a high place in our regard ; and it may be remarked that 
the members of one of the most popular groups of cultivated plants, the Oi'chidacece, with all 
their quaint variety of form and richness of colour, are equally remarkable for the absence of 
any markedly useful qualities. It would, indeed, demand no very great effort of the imagination, 
no very daring flight of fancy to suppose that the law of compensation works to some extent in the 
vegetable world ; at any rate it is certain that while such important groups of plants as the Cross- 
bearers ( Cmciferce ), Umbellifers ( UmbellifercB ), and Grasses ( Graminecd ), from which we obtain so 
many of our most important vegetables, and to the last-named of which we are indebted for all 



the various cereals which go to make up the staff of life — are, for the most part, in no way 
remarkable for the elegant form or beautiful colouring of their blossoms, we find, on the other 
hand, that some of the most handsome families— such as the Liliaccce, with all its wealth of 
lilies, hyacinths, and allied plants, the Bignoniacece, with its beautiful showy-flow'ered climbers, 
which form so prominent an object in the tropical forests of the Eastern Hemisphere, and the 
before-mentioned Orchidaccce — are comparatively destitute of economic properties. It would, of 
course, be easy to point out instances in which beauty of form was combined in the same 
family with great economic importance — as, for example, in the noble tribe of palms : but to 
descend from the general to the particular, from the vegetable world at large to the small 
section of it with which we are more especially concerned, we shall find that the uses to 
which ferns have been applied, if not of notable importance in any special case, are very 
varied. Our British species, indeed, include among their number many of those to 
which real or fancied qualities and uses have been attributed ; and when we come to con- 
sider each of these in the descriptive portion of our book, we shall find that numerous, 
if not important, qualities have been ascribed to them. In the case of the Bracken 
( Ptcris aquilina), for example, we shall find that it is, or has been, employed in all kinds 
of ways — economic, medicinal, and superstitious. The rhizome and the young fronds have 
been eaten ; alkali is obtained from its ashes ; it has been used in common with so many 
other ferns as an anthelmintic, and in many other ways more or less connected with 
medical practice ; while the “ receipt of fern-seed,” by which men were wont to “ walk 
invisible,” is or has been — for it must be confessed that such superstitious beliefs are be- 
coming very rapidly things of the past, although, like errors and fictions of greater moment, 
they certainly die hard — very generally believed in ; although nowadays most people would be 
found to agree with Chamberlain ( Henry IV., Part II., act ii., scene i) that “you are more 
indebted to the night than to fern-seed for walking invisible.” 

There is, indeed, a good deal of that kind of fiction for which the name “ folk-lore ” is 
nowadays found a convenient title, which is more or less intimately connected with ferns ; 
but as this is more especially the case with reference to some of the commonest European 
species, the discussion of the subject may for the most part be more suitably referred to 
under the plants with which the traditions are more especially concerned— notably the 
Bracken, the Male Fern, the Flowering Fern, and the Moonwort. 

We hardly know enough of the popular history of ferns in extra-European countries 
to say whether as much tradition or folk-lore attaches to them ; and records of this kind 
of popular fiction are somewhat rare. We learn, however, that in New Zealand a species of 
Asplcnium (A. lucidznn) is regarded by the natives with reverence, and considered by them as a 
sacred plant. Dr. George Bennett tells us that it is used by the Tohunga or priest when he 
is praying over a sick person and endeavouring to avert the anger of the gods, to whose 
influence the illness of the individual is attributed ; he waves a frond of this fern over 
the patient, and should it happen to break, it is regarded as a fatal omen. When the 
Tohunga consults the gods, previous to engaging in any war enterprise, he also waves a 
frond of this fern whilst he offers up prayers to the spirits ; if it breaks, it is supposed 
that the gods are adverse to their engaging in war, and the enterprise is abandoned. It 
is also used by the natives as a badge of mourning : when a wife mourns for her husband, 
she sits wailing in her hut, with a frond of this fern bound as a fillet round her head ; 
and a husband performs the same ceremony when he loses his wife. They are careful not 
to burn the plant. It is also employed when a chief has his hair cut : after the operation is 
£- 10 


European Ferns. 

performed, he holds a frond in his hand ; meanwhile the priest prays over him, taking the 
frond and shaking it ; after which it is dipped in water and shaken over the chief ; if it 
breaks, it is regarded as a sign that he will not live long; if one of the leaflets should 
break off, it is regarded as an omen that one of his family will soon die ; but should the 

frond remain entire during the ceremony, it is considered as an indication of health, success, 

and long life. 

Our common Male Fern (Aspid/um Filix-mas) has really some claims to be considered of 
importance from an economic point of view, inasmuch as it finds a place in the British 
Pharmacopoeia. There seems to be no doubt that this fern has been very efficaciously 
employed in the treatment of tape-worm, a use for which it has been in repute since the 

days of Dioscorides. From time to time the Male Fern has been the principal ingredient in 

certain important medicines which had attained great celebrity as vermifuges; and, as we 
shall see further on, the secret of these medicines has been purchased at a high price by 
more than one European sovereign, presumably with the intention of promulgating so 
wonderful a remedy among their subjects. The Polypody ( Polypodium vulgare ) was formerly 
employed as a purgative, and also in cases of coughs and pectoral affections ; and in 
country places is, or was until lately, used as a remedy in cases of whooping-cough. In the 
curious old names Miltwaste and Tentwort, for Ceterach officinaruni and Asplenium Ruta-muraria 
respectively, may be found indications of the disorders in which they were supposed to be 
efficacious. The former was thought to be a cure for the “ swelling of the spleen,” to 
which we also owe the common name Spleenwort, now usually applied to the Aspleniums : 
while the latter was so called from its employment in cases of rickets — a disease formerly 
known as “ the taint.” For this complaint the Royal Fern ( Osmunda regalis ) is still a 
popular remedy in some parts of Cumberland. In Westmeath the Hart’s Tongue 
( Scolopendrium vulgare ) is employed as a popular remedy for burns. The Adder’s Tongue 
( Ophioglossum vulgatuni) was collected until quite recently for use in making a healing 
ointment called Adder’s Spear Ointment — a practice which probably still lingers in country 
districts, where herbs are frequently employed as remedial agents, and it must be ad- 
mitted sometimes with signal success. Indeed, a little inquiry in a rural district will 
usually bring to light some herb-remedy which has been handed down from a remote 
period, and still holds its own among a rural population. We were much struck a few 
years since at finding an ointment made from the Clown’s Woundwort ( Stachys palustris ) 
employed by a village woman in Buckinghamshire with very satisfactory results. Gerard, 
who gave the plant its English name, tells us he did so because of “ a clownish answer” 
which he received from “ a very poore man,” who had cut his leg to the bone and healed 
it with this plant. Gerard tells us he “ offered to heale the same for charitie, which he 
refused, saying that I coulde not heale it so well as himselfe.” The Comfrey ( Symphytum 
officinale ) is another common British plant which undoubtedly possesses the healing and 
consolidating properties to which it owes its old names of Consound, Knitback, Bruisewort, and 
others. Gerard, indeed, says that the roots “ are so glutenative that they will sodder or glew 

together meat that is chopt in pieces seething in a pot ; ” but whether this be the case or not, 

it is certain that some fifty years since a Mr. Rootsey published an account of a workman who 
had broken his leg, and who, after four years’ confinement to his room, was healed by the 
application of Comfrey as a poultice ; splinters of bone were brought away, and in a few weeks 

he was able to walk. Mr. Oswald Cockayne, in the interesting preface to his “ Saxon Leechdoms,” 

gives another instance of the beneficial employment of Comfrey. He says, “ Perhaps herbs 


XXV 11 

are more really effectual than we shall easily believe. The locksman at Teddington told me 
that he had broken the bone of his little finger, and for two months it was grinding and grunding, 

so that he felt sometimes quite wrong in himself. One day he saw Dr. go by, and told 

him. He said, ‘You see that there Comfrey ; take a piece of the root, and clean it, and put it to 
your finger, and wrap it up.’ The man did so, and in four days his finger was well. This 
story struck me the more since the Comfrey is the confirma of the Middle Ages and the av^vrov 
of the Greeks, both which names seem to attribute to the plant the same consolidating virtue.” 
But it is time to return to our ferns, from which we seem somehow to have strayed. 

A few other properties of our ferns will be considered when each species is described at 
length ; but it must be admitted that when all is said that can be brought together regarding 
them, the useful qualities of the group are by no means conspicuous, and the same may be 
said of the extra-European species. 

Even when useful properties exist, they are 
by no means striking. Speaking generally, we 
may say that the fronds of ferns, when they 
possess any distinct properties, are mucilaginous 
and slightly astringent, while the rhizomes are 
in many cases bitter, astringent, and rather acrid ; 
both the rhizomes and stems of many species 
abound in starch. If active beneficial properties 
are absent in any marked degree, it is pleasant 
to find that there is an equal absence of noxious 
qualities ; so far as is known, we have no example 
of a poisonous fern. 

Besides the European species, we may enume- 
rate a few which are employed in some way either 
in medicine or commerce. Beginning with such 
as are used as food, the soft mucilaginous pith 
of Cyathea mcdullaris, one of the large tree-ferns 
of New Zealand, was formerly eaten by the 
natives ; it is of a reddish colour, and when 
baked acquires a pungent taste, somewhat re- 
sembling that of the radish. In New Caledonia another species of Cyathea ( C . Vicillardi) 
is similarly employed, the mucilaginous matter being obtained by means of incisions made 
in the stem or at the base of the fronds. In New Zealand, indeed, ferns seem to be in 
some repute for their edible properties ; the large, swollen, scaly rhizomes of Marattia 
fraxinea — a widely-distributed Old World fern of coarse habit, having large twice or three times 
pinnate fronds with fleshy stipes — are also eaten by the Maoris. The rhizomes of another New 
Zealand fern, Pteris escidenta — a fern nearly allied to, or perhaps only a form of, our common 
Bracken (P. aquilina), which, as we shall see, has itself been employed as food in more ways 
than one — serve as food to the natives, who roast them in ashes, peel them with their teeth, 
and eat them with meat as we do bread. This custom, however, like so many others of 
aboriginal growth, has become to a great extent obsolete. Forster speaks of the New 
Zealanders as pounding the previously roasted fern-roots between stones, in order to extract 
the nutritious matter, the woody portion being rejected as useless. In Nepaul the rhizomes 
of Nephrolepis tubcrosa are similarly employed. 


1. Ceratopteris t/ialictroides (£ nat. size). 

2. Under surface of barren pinna (f nat. size). 

3. Section of part of fertile pinna (4 times nat. size). 

4. Section of part of do. laid open (4 times nat. size). 

European Ferns. 


The succulent fronds of the curious little Water Fern ( Ceratopteris thalictroides ) are boiled 
and eaten as a vegetable by the poorer classes in the Indian Archipelago. This species, 
which is figured on the preceding page, is remarkable on account of its aquatic habit, in 
which respect it is quite exceptional among ferns. It is an annual species, found in wet 
places, or floating upon shallow, slowly-moving waters in the tropics of both hemispheres. It 
has much divided, succulent, membranous fronds, which are often proliferous ; the sterile ones 
are leafy and less divided, with reticulated veins, the fertile fronds being taller and divided 
into very narrow segments. It has been grown in the Victoria tanks at Kew. Small as it is, 
this little fern has had at least as many names as a Spanish grandee, having been described 
by no less than twelve authors under as many generic and specific names. 

The young shoots of a handsome tree-fern, Angiopteris evecta, are eaten in the Society 
Islands ; the large rhizome is in great part composed of a mucilaginous matter, from which, 
when dried, a kind of flour is prepared. In the same islands the young fronds of Helminthostachys 
zeylanica are prepared and eaten in the same way as asparagus. The young fronds of 
Alsophila lunulata , the “ Balabala ” of the Fiji Islands, are eaten in times of scarcity; and the 
soft scales covering the stipes of the fronds are used for stuffing pillows and cushions by the 
white settlers in preference to feathers, because they do not become so heated, and are thus 
a real luxury in a sultry tropical night. In New South Wales the thick rhizome of Blcchnum 
cartilagineum is much eaten by the natives ; it is first roasted, and then beaten so as to break 
away the woody fibre ; it is said to taste like a waxy potato. 

The syrup “ capillaire,” which is a popular French pectoral remedy, is prepared from the 
Maidenhair ( Adiantum capill us -veneris) ; the North American Adiantum pedatum possesses similar 
properties, which are less conspicuously displayed in the Wall Rue (Asplenium Ruta-murarid) 
and Black Maidenhair ( Asplenium Adiantum-nigruni). To these we shall refer more 
particularly when we come to speak of the genus Adiantum. In Peru the rhizomes of two 
Polypodies ( Polypodium Calaguala and Polypodium crassifolium), with those of Acrostichum 
Huascaro, are employed under the name of Calaguala as diaphoretics and astringents : febri- 
fugal and anti-rheumatic virtues are also ascribed to them. The drug has been brought to 
Europe, although but rarely ; and there is some doubt as to whether the ferns just mentioned have 
really produced the specimens imported under the name Calaguala. The fronds of Aspidium 
fragrans, which have a pleasant scent resembling that of raspberries, are much esteemed in 
Northern Asia as an anti-scorbutic, and in Mongolia are used as a substitute for tea. The 
hairs of a species of Dicksonia ( Cibotium ) — nearly allied to, and perhaps identical with, the 
Dicksonia Barometz which we have considered at some length when treating of the genus — 
have been employed as a styptic, and even find a place in the German Pharmacopoeia ; but 
their action seems to be purely mechanical, although some practitioners have tried the effect 
of an aqueous decoction of them in cases of internal haemorrhage, and in some instances favourable 
reports have been issued. The drug is exposed for sale in the markets of Java under the name of 
Penghawar-Djambi, and is occasionally met with at the public drug sales in London. It is 
imported in the form of straight pieces of the lower part of the stem of the fern, about a 
foot in length and an inch in width ; their most striking feature being the abundance of the 
long sparkling golden hairs with which they are thickly covered. It is chiefly sent to Java from 
Sumatra, but also from China, Borneo, and the Philippine Islands. This fern is not a native of 
Java, but the inner portion of the stems of an indigenous fern, Balantium chrysotrichum, are 
employed as a substitute for the true Penghawar-Djambi, under the name of Paku-Kidang. This 
substitution is said to have been first made by the Dutch in 1837, and it is this which has been 



usually brought to Europe as a styptic. The Pulu of the Sandwich Islands consists of similar 
hairs of Cibotium glaucum, and allied species. 

The bruised fronds of Angiopteris evecta are used in the Pacific Islands, with those of 
Polypodium phymatodes , for imparting an agreeable odour to cocoa-nut oil ; and the oil thus 
prepared forms the basis of a liniment which is largely employed by the natives against 
rheumatic pains. An elegant and fragrant South African fern, Mohria thurifraga , is somewhat 
similarly employed, being used in the manufacture of an ointment which is found useful in 
burns and similar cases. The densely clothed rhizomes of a species of Davallia are used in 
China in medical practice ; there are specimens in the herbarium of the British Museum from 
an apothecary’s stall at Ningpo. Nothochlcena piloselloides has been used in India to subdue 
sponginess in the gums. 

The trunks of some of the tree-ferns, such as the New Zealand Cyathea medidlaris, and 
Alsophila excclsa , in Norfolk Island, are used in building; while the fronds of Acrostichwn 
aureum are commonly employed for thatching in the coast districts of the Isthmus of 
Panama. In the Fiji Islands another Alsophila, A. lumdata, the “Balabala” of the natives, 
which attains the height of twenty-five feet, and forms an imposing feature in the landscape, 
is much used in building, the trunks being not only extremely durable, but also to a great 
extent fire-proof. Dr. Seemann states that the little sticks which the chiefs carry stuck under 
their turban, and with which they scratch their heads, are also made of Balabala. He says : 
“ The trunks make excellent posts, lasting an incredibly long time, and possessing moreover the 
advantage of being almost fire-proof. After a house has been burnt down, they are almost the 
only trace that remains. It is also customary to make the ridge-pole of houses and temples of 
this tree-fern, and to surround it with the YVa-Kalou (holy creeper), a species of that curious genus 
of climbing ferns, Lygodictyon — partially, no doubt, from some superstitious notions, but partially 
also to keep out the wet. The trunk of the Balabala, cut into ornamental forms, is frequently 
observed around tombs, temples, bures, and churches, presenting a pretty effect.” The tubes of 
the pipes of the Brazilian negroes are made from the stipes of Merteusia dichotoma , which they 
call “ Samanbaya.” 


A Fern herbarium is, perhaps, more easy to make, and more satisfactory when made, than 
that of any other class of plants, except possibly Mosses. Some groups, indeed, such as the 
Fungi, it is almost impossible to preserve in any even approximately satisfactory manner; others, 
such as the Lichens, are readily preserved — indeed, they may be said to preserve themselves — 
but it can hardly be said that they form an attractive-looking collection, and moreover they 
are somewhat cumbrous, as they are not always readily to be removed from the rocks or 
stones upon which they grow. Then as to flowering plants : it is true that the professed 
botanist troubles hinself very little about such trifles as colour, and even form is not greatly 
attended to by him, but the amateur may be pardoned if he regards a herbarium as partaking 
a little of the nature of a hay-stack, while the “ things of beauty ” of which it is composed 
can assuredly in no sense be regarded as “joys for ever.” In spite of all efforts to the 
contrary, and of all the means proposed to avert the evil, the colour will fly from blue 
flowers; yellow ones — such as Primroses, Bird’s-foot Trefoil, and the like — sooner or later 
assume a bright green hue, and such delicate pieces of colouring as the Spotted Orchis 
become of a uniform brown tint. Other objectionable peculiarities might be mentioned — 
h 11 


European Ferns. 

such, for instance, as the persistent growth of the Stonecrops in spite of the heaviest pressure, 

and the equally persistent shedding of their leaves if, as a last resource, boiling water is 

resorted to. Then there are plants with thick woody stems which are by no means elegant 
objects; and there are water plants which collapse when taken out of the water, and refuse 
to flatten themselves out again ; some plants dry very quickly, and rot if allowed to remain 
too long in the press, others seem as if they never intended to dry at all ; and so we might 
go on with a catalogue of grievances, all of which are more or less familiar to any one who 
has made a herbarium, especially if he has made up his mind that his herbarium should be 
not only useful, but also ornamental. 

With ferns many of these difficulties are entirely avoided. Not only their natural grace 
of form, but also their natural beauty of colour, is preserved, and that almost without an 
effort. It is no wonder, indeed, that the fronds are pressed into service for all kinds of 

ornamental work, of which the latest manifestation seems to be the invention of a series of 

Christmas and birthday cards, which are bordered or otherwise embellished with the pinnules 
of ferns. The fronds should be collected on a dry day ; some advocate drying them, as also 
other plants, in the field, but this method, although it has its advantages, always seemed to 
us open to criticism, for a very small amount of wind will effectually prevent any steady effort 
in this direction by the liberties which it takes with the drying-paper. But some ferns — 
notably the Lady Fern and the young stage of the Bracken, and indeed nearly all the species 
when young — will soon wither up if carried in the warm hand, so that it is best to take a 
tin box of some kind when going on a collecting expedition. It must be a long box, or 
the fronds will get bent, and once thus disfigured they will not soon recover their pristine 
elegance. When it is possible to exercise a choice in the matter, it is best to choose a dry 
bright day for collecting ; if the fronds are wet when gathered they will require much more 
drying ; and it should be remembered that, other things being equal, plants dried rapidly keep 
their colour better than others which are allowed to remain for any long time in the press. 
In the same way, it is best to take them straight from the collecting-box to the press, without 
first putting them in water — except, of course, when this is necessary to enable them to regain 
their shape. Plants can be left for two or three days, or even longer, in the box without 
taking any harm, if the box itself be kept in a cool place away from the light. A kind of 
thick, rough, bibulous paper is prepared for drying purposes, and is much used, especially 
by amateurs, but any old paper will do as well, such as newspapers — an old music-book 
makes a capital press ; and newspapers do not require drying so often as the drying-paper, 
which absorbs the moisture so rapidly that care must be taken (when plants are many and 
the stock of paper is but small) to prevent its becoming so saturated as to damage the 
specimens and encourage the growth of mould. Newspapers, too, are not only less expensive, 
but also less cumbrous to carry about ; and though old ones are preferable, even a recent 
newspaper may, on an emergency, be pressed into the service with satisfactory results. A 
press of the size of the paper is often used, consisting of two thin boards, between which the 
paper is placed, the whole being bound together by a couple of leather straps, and then put 
under a heavy weight, care being taken that the pressure is equal and not too great. There 
is, perhaps, less danger of injuring ferns by over-pressure than is the case with flowering 
plants, on account of the firmness of their texture ; but it is only by experience that we can 
attain the “happy mean,” and adjust our weight so that it shall be sufficient to insure a 
thorough even pressure throughout, neither so heavy as to run any risk of destroying the 
character of the frond, nor so light as to allow it to lie otherwise than completely flat. 



In the selection of specimens for the herbarium some care is required, as it is important 
that each plant, so far as possible, should be represented in all its parts and in its various 
stages. Of the smaller ferns, such as the Aspleniums, Moonworts, Adder’s-tongue, and the 
like, the whole plant should be shown ; by this means it will, in many cases, be easy to 
secure upon one and the same specimen fronds in different stages of growth, some being 
arranged so as to show the upper and others the under surface, the mature fructification 
being always represented. Of larger species, such as the Male Fern, it will not be possible 
to take the whole plant ; here a couple of representative and fully-developed fronds, showing 
the upper and under sides, must suffice. It will be impossible to show even a single entire 
frond of such ferns as the Bracken or Flowering Fern ; a pair of pinnae with the apex, or, 
in the latter case, the fertile portion of the frond, will however give a fair idea of the plant. 
Variations in the size and form of ferns, however caused, may well be represented in the 
herbarium ; the common Hart’s-tongue, for example, is strikingly different when it puts forth 
small, stunted, but mature fronds from the crevices of an old stone wall, from the same fern 
when it sends out long bright green fronds from some shady hedge-bank, or from the mossy 
border of some old well. Most ferns growing on or rather in walls are reduced to their very 
smallest proportions under such unfavourable circumstances ; indeed, it is often a marvel how 
they manage to exist at all in a position so unsuitable to their full development. Then we 
often find, as in the Hart’s-tongue, curiously curled, or forked, or variously divided fronds, 
some of which become permanent, and are reproduced from spores ; or variations in the 
toothing of the margins, such as are noticeable in some of the more striking forms of the 
common Polypody; these, too, must find a place in our collection, which will in this manner 
be made very instructive, and far more interesting than would be the case were we content 
with a solitary example of the ordinary typical state of the fern. When it is possible to 
secure a seedling, or very young state of a fern, it is quite worth while to do so; in the 

Bracken, for instance, as we shall see later on, the young state is so different in appearance 

from the mature plant that it has even been described as a distinct species. But 
undeveloped and barren specimens have led to many mistakes in identification ; any one who 
has had experience in naming collections of ferns knows only too well the kind of specimens 
with which well-meaning amateurs torture their friends — the small seedlings of Male Fern 
which they attempt to transform into Cystopteris, or the immature Shield Fern, which “ must 
surely be the true Holly Fern, it is so very like the pictures of that plant.” He who is wise 
will be careful before he commits himself to naming ferns of which the characteristic fructi- 
fication is not developed. “ By their fruits ye shall know them ” is a text which the 

botanist will do well to bear in mind when he is appealed to, to determine some doubtful 
flower or fern. The rhizome, or underground stem, of some species should be carefully dug 
up and represented in the herbarium — as, for example, in the case of the Marsh Fern 
( Aspidium Thelypteris), of which the long creeping rhizome is very characteristic. 

The size of the specimens we select for our fern collection must, of course, be regulated 
by that of the paper upon which we intend to mount them. In Continental herbaria, indeed, 
plants are less frequently mounted than placed loose in a folded sheet of paper, but our 
English custom is to mount them in some way upon sheets of stiff paper. In the British 
Museum Herbarium the great fern collection is laid down upon paper measuring twenty-one inches 
by thirteen, this being an especially large size, intended to allow of a more satisfactory repre- 
sentation of the larger species than is possible when smaller sheets are used ; but it will 
generally be found that sheets sixteen inches by eleven or so are amply sufficient for all 


European Ferns. 

practical purposes. We may, if vve please, either attach our specimen firmly to the paper 
by gumming it all over on the under side, as is done in the British Museum — the gum used 
being a mixture of tragacanth and gum arabic in equal proportions — or we may fasten it 
to the sheet by means of gummed strips of paper (which, by the way, will be needed in 
the former case for the ends of the stems) ; the advantage of this latter system is, of course, 
that the specimen so fastened can, when necessary, be transferred from one sheet to another 
without injury. Some have adopted the plan of sewing the fern to the paper ; the appearance 
of specimens so arranged is very neat, but the process is rather tedious, and not unattended 
with danger to the specimen, so that we do not recommend it for adoption. 

The sheets being thus duly prepared, the next question is — how to arrange them. First, 
however, the specimens must be labelled, each label supplying the name of the fern, with the 
locality where it was found and the date when it was collected, adding also the collector’s 
name and any other information relative to the specimen which may be of special interest. 
The plan which is adopted by many botanists of writing all necessary information upon the 
sheet itself is a very good one ; some, however, prefer a uniform series of labels, and the 
following form will be found simple and useful for the purpose : — 

Herb. John Smith. 

Pteris aquilina , L. 


LOC. — Hampstead Heath, Middlesex. 
Date. — June 12, 1876. 

COLL. — John Smith. 

For purposes of ready reference the sheets should be arranged in stiff covers of somewhat 
stouter paper than that upon which the specimens are mounted. The name of the genus 
may well be written in the bottom left-hand corner ; in the centre may be noted a reference 
to the manual or list by which the ferns are arranged, while the names of the species may 
be written in the right-hand corner. Should the ferns be represented by more than one sheet, 
it may be convenient to enclose each species in a cover of thinner paper, writing the name 
in the right-hand corner. The herbarium must, of course, be kept in a dry place, as damp 
favours the growth of mould. If there is any fear of the attacks of insects, it is well to wash 
the specimens over with a solution of corrosive sublimate ; the solution in use at the Kew 
Herbarium is composed of one pound of corrosive sublimate and the same quantity of 
carbolic acid to four gallons of methylated spirit ; this is found very efficacious, but its smell 
is somewhat unpleasant. At the British Museum it is found that camphor kept in each 
cabinet, and frequently renewed, is sufficient to prevent the appearance of insects in the 

Last of all comes the question — -Where and how shall we keep our ferns when they are 
in a condition to be consulted ; when collecting, and naming, and drying, and mounting are 

Introduction. xxxiii 

all happily past, and there is nothing more to be done save to have them ready to our hand 
in some easily accessible place ? Most people will prefer to keep the specimens in a cabinet 
which may form no unattractive object in a room ; and for this purpose nothing more suitable 
can be suggested than the kind in use in the Botanical Department of the British Museum, 
of which a figure is subjoined. Each shelf in these cabinets is a separate drawer, which, 
with its contents, can be taken out and replaced at will. If it is only intended to represent 
our British or European ferns, one such cabinet will be more than sufficient to contain all the 
specimens necessary. A half-cube, indeed, would suffice for the ordinary requirements of 
such a collection. Mahogany is a suitable and handsome material for the cabinets, but of 
course deal is much more economical. It is of this latter wood that the cabinets used in the 


Kew Herbarium are made ; in these the height is proportionately greater, and the shelves are 
not movable. 

Such are the principal points to be attended to in connection with the formation of the 
most satisfactory of all Herbaria — a collection of dried ferns. 


The literature especially devoted to ferns is both varied and extensive. The popularity of 
the tribe has caused a demand for plainly- written handbooks upon the subject, and it must 
be admitted that the supply has proved at least adequate to this demand. It would appear 
that it is almost exclusively in England, or, at any rate, among English-speaking races, that 
ferns have attracted popular attention, and that the cultivation of the hardy species more especially 
has become a “ hobby — at least, so we should judge from the number of books treating of 
British ferns exclusively. No parallel to this is found in either France or Germany, or in 
any Continental country ; indeed, so far as our knowledge of fern literature goes, such works are 
conspicuous by their absence. It would seem, however, that in the United States ferns are 


European Ferns. 

becoming, or have become, popular. A handy little book, by Mr. John Williamson, on 
the “ Ferns of Kentucky” was published in 1878, and claims to be the first popular handbook 
on the native ferns of America. From its preface we gather that fern-collecting has become 
an American institution, for Mr. Williamson says — “Who would think now 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 ? ” We are not aware of any descriptive work having 
exactly the same limits as that upon which we are now engaged ; there exists no complete 
descriptive catalogue of the plants of the whole of Europe. Indeed, it may be stated 
that we have not even a complete list of European plants, although this want is in a fair way 
to be supplied by the publication (commenced in 1878) of Prof. Nyman’s “ Conspectus Florae 
Europaeae,” which will contain a full enumeration, with synonymy and geographical distribution, 
of all the species occurring in Europe. With regard to ferns, however, the nearest approach 
to a volume confined to the European species is offered by Dr. Milde’s “ Filices Europae et 
Atlantidis, Asiae Minoris et Sibiriae,” published in 1867. This is in every respect an admirable 
book ; but — as will be seen from its title — it is more comprehensive than the present work, and 
that not only in the geographical range of which it takes cognisance, but also the plants which 
it includes ; for, besides the true ferns, it takes in the Horsetails ( Equiseta ) and Club-mosses 
( Lycopodiacece ). It is written entirely in Latin, and is purely technical in its phraseology and 
details, so that it would not be of practical value except to the scientific botanist ; but it is a 
most accurate and trustworthy work, the author having apparently had access to specimens 
gathered by the principal European collectors, as well as an extensive experience of the 
ferns themselves in a growing state. The synonymy is worked out with great care and 
completeness ; figures of each species are cited, while the geographical distribution has 
received special attention. A large number of forms and varieties are described for the first 
time in Dr. Milde’s pages, and the work is one which is absolutely essential to any one 
desiring to make a thorough acquaintance with the ferns of Europe. The following practical 
hint as to the examination of dried fronds we translate freely for the benefit of our readers : — 
“ I have used the following mode of examining dried ferns, which I would recommend to 
all who are beginning the study : I have placed a fragment of a pinna well furnished 
with sori in warm water until it became soft, and in a manner revived. The indusia as 
well as their covering, and also that of the blade can then be very readily perceived, as also 
the nervation.” 

It would obviously be impossible, even if it were desirable, to attempt to give in a 
work such as the present anything like an epitome of what has been written upon ferns 
in general ; but it may be worth while to glance briefly at a few of the more important of 
those which have been published in this country, and are thus readily accessible to English 
readers, as well as at the best of the books which have been written upon British ferns in 
particular ; and to give a feSv details regarding some of the authors upon the subject, especially 
as so large a proportion of the ferns of Europe is found in these islands. 

The first book specially devoted to British ferns was James Bolton’s handsomely printed 
“ Filices Britannicse : an History of the British Proper Ferns,” which appeared in two parts — the 
first, printed at Leeds, in 1785 ; the second, at Huddersfield, in 1790. These form a quarto 
volume, containing eighty-one pages of letterpress, and forty-six coloured plates, which are 
fairly accurate, although rather feeble and scarcely giving an adequate notion of the plants 
represented. One of the most interesting features of the book is the account which it gives of the 
discovery of the Killarncy Fern ( Trichomanes radicans ) at Bellbank, near Bingley, where Bolton 



“saw it in plenty in the year 1758,” and again, though sparingly, in 1782. His figure of 
“ this phenomenon of a plant,” as he calls it, is taken from one of these specimens collected 
in this locality, of which we shall have more to say in a description of the Killarney Fern. 

Coming to a more recent period, we may select for notice some of the works of Sir William 
Jackson Hooker. This illustrious botanist was not only one of the most voluminous writers 
on ferns in general, but he also published, in 1861, a very handsome work, entitled “The 
British Ferns,” devoted especially to the British species, with coloured plates by Fitch. As 
would have been expected from the attention which Sir William Hooker was known to have 
bestowed upon the Fern tribe, this is a thoroughly satisfactory work ; it is, however, less 
complete than many others in its mode of treatment — the variations of the different species 
being almost unnoticed. A beautiful quarto volume on exotic ferns, entitled “ Filices Exoticae,” 
had been issued by the same author and artist in 1859. Sir William Hooker’s name 
will be handed down to posterity as that of the founder of the Herbarium at Kew, while it 
was under his management that the Royal Gardens there attained their present position. He 
was a man of great energy and industry, as the catalogue of his published works amply 
demonstrates — especially when it is remembered that his duties in connection with the gardens 
must have left him but little time for private work. “ Rising early and going to bed late, and 
rarely going into society,” says one who knew him, “the whole of his mornings and evenings 
were devoted to botany.” We will not attempt a complete enumeration of Sir William’s 
works on Ferns, but three seem to demand a word of notice. The first of these, the “ Genera 
Filicum,” was published in 1842 ; it is illustrated by Francis Bauer and Walter Fitch, and 
is a magnificent work, although the plates hardly show the wonderful delicacy of handling 
manifest in the former artist’s original drawings, which, with many other treasures of botanical art 
from the same pencil, are now preserved in the Department of Botany in the British Museum. It 
contains a hundred and twenty plates showing portions of the fronds (both of the natural size 
and magnified) of a hundred and thirty-five genera, illustrating the technical characters upon 
which each is based. The second work to which we wish to refer is the “ Species Filicum.” 
This must always take rank as Sir William Hooker’s magnum opus ; it occupied him for 
nearly twenty years of his life, the first volume having appeared in 1846, and the fifth and 
concluding volume in 1864. It is a magnificent work, containing full and elaborate descriptions 
of all the ferns then known, with the exception of the Royal Ferns ( Osmundaceos ) and the 
Adder’s-tongues and Moonworts ( Ophioglossacea i) ; giving details as to their geographical range 
and distribution, and a copious synonomy. Two thousand four hundred species are thus 
described, more than five hundred of these being figured in the plates which accompany the 
volumes. At the conclusion of this work Sir William Hooker projected and commenced the 
publication of the “ Synopsis Filicum,” containing brief diagnoses of all the species known at 
the period of publication. Only the first part of this handbook had appeared when Sir 
William’s active career was terminated by his death, which took place in August, 1865, he 
having just. completed his eightieth year. A memorial tablet, enclosing a cast in Wedgwood 
ware of a medallion of Sir William Hooker, was erected in Kew Church near the grave of the 
famous botanist ; and the panels which surround the medallion are appropriately decorated with 
ferns, the ironds having been modelled with much grace and delicacy. 

The work ot the “Synopsis” was promptly taken in hand by Mr. John Gilbert 
Baker, of the Royal Herbarium, Kew, and carried out in a manner well worthy of its 
projector. Completed in 1868, it contained descriptions of two thousand two hundred and 
thirty-five species. In an Appendix to this work, published in 1874, about four hundred more 


European Ferns. 

were added, and the number has since been very materially increased by the exertions of 
recent collectors. Of course the view of species taken in the “ Synopsis ” is a very broad one, 
many forms which are regarded as distinct by other writers upon ferns being considered as varieties 
or synonyms of other species by Hooker and Baker — not always without a protest from those 
whose knowledge of the plants is derived rather from growing examples than herbarium 
specimens. Thus the veteran pteriologist, Mr. John Smith, speaking of Mr. Baker’s important 
memoir on the ferns of Brazil, published as part of the “'Flora Brasiliensis ” in 1870, says: 
“ On taking into consideration the extensive territory of Brazil, with its various climates 
favourable to the growth of ferns, from those growing at elevations that may be termed sub- 
arctic to others luxuriating in the lower hot valleys and rocky or forest ravines, the number 
of three hundred and eighty species [Mr. Baker enumerates three hundred and eighty-seven 
as Brazilian] may be considered small ; but here again comes the question, What is a species ? 
and judging from Mr. Baker’s view, it would appear that many plants, originally described as 
species, which successive authors have acknowledged to be distinct, are, nevertheless, in many cases 
regarded as synonyms ; thus ferns long accepted by previous pteriologists cease to be so. When 
I say long accepted, I go upon the evidence of Link, Kunze, Schott, Mettenius, and myself, 
who have had for many years under their observation living examples of species all well 
recognised as being different from one another in some important characters seen only in the 
living state ; but Mr. Baker, with herbarium specimens, makes no scruple of lumping many of 
such under one specific name. For instance, under Polypodium lycopodioides there are no less 
than twenty-two synonyms, and under P. brasiliensis eighteen.”* If we want an illustration 
of the widely differing views as to the limits of species, we may find it in the genera 
Hymenophyllum and Trichomanes. Dr. Van den Bosch, treating of the Hymenophyllece of Javaf 
alone, makes no less than twenty-four genera out of the two just named, under which he 
describes four hundred and fifty species ; while, on the other hand, Hooker and Baker, in the 
“Synopsis Filicum ” (1868), admit only a hundred and forty-nine species of these two genera 
as existing in the whole world. It must be allowed that botanists who take their descriptions 
from dried and often fragmentary specimens of plants have a natural tendency to the multi- 
plication of species ; this often, however, produces a reaction which leads to an opposite 
extreme, an over-caution against too low an estimate of what is required to constitute a 
species. There can be little doubt but that errors on both sides are frequent enough, especially 
among certain groups of flowering plants. The roses and brambles, for instance, afford a good 
illustration of what is termed in scientific slang “ splitting,” our common dog-rose (Rosa canina) 
being divided by “ critical ” botanists into very numerous species, while those into which our 
common blackberry ( Rnbus fruticosns) has been “split up” may be reckoned by hundreds. 
As in most other matters, a middle course is probably safest — and it is the one which we 
have adopted in the present work ; we have not, for example, been able to follow Hooker and 
Baker in uniting the two Filmy Ferns {Hymenophyllum tunbridgense and H. Wilsoni ) under one 
species, nor have we placed together the Oak Polypody {Polypodium Dryopteris ) and the 
Limestone Polypody {P. Robertianum). Although most writers on ferns would consider that 
Mr. Smith had too great a tendency to multiply genera, there is much force in his remark as 
to the differences between certain species being readily recognisable in living examples, 
although less apparent in herbarium specimens. Every practical field botanist is aware that 
there are certain points connected with the habit, mode of growth, and general appearance 
of some species of flowering plants which are at once observable in the field, although they 
* “ Historia Filicum,” pp. 59, 60. f “ Hymenophyllacese Javanicse.” 

Introduction . . 


are not noticeable when the specimens are dried and placed in the herbarium. But even if 
we take the lowest estimate of the species of ferns, it must be admitted that our knowledge 
of them has made gigantic strides since the time of Linnaeus ; only about one hundred and 
ninety species being known to that author, as contrasted with the two thousand six hundred 
and fifty described in the last edition of the “ Synopsis Filicum,” to which a considerable 
number may already be added. 

It would not be fair to conclude this notice of Sir William Hooker without referring rather 
more in detail to one whose name we have more than once had occasion to mention, and 
who was associated with him for very many years, and to whose energy and perseverance 
the living collections of ferns at Kew are largely indebted. We allude to Mr. John Smith, 
whose connection with Kew Gardens lasted nearly half a century, and whose devotion to 
pteriology equalled, if it did not exceed, that of his chief. Mr. Smith went to Kew in 
1822, at which time he found not more than forty species of ferns in cultivation there ; 
and when he left the Royal Gardens, in 1864, the collection boasted nearly a thousand 
species, from all parts of the world. In one of the works on ferns* which Mr. Smith has 
published since his retirement, he has given some interesting details as to the advance of 
fern cultivation in this country. With regard to the introduction of living ferns, only eighty- 
three were known to be in cultivation in England up to 1813, upwards of one-half of these 
being West Indian species. Adiantum pedatum was one of the earliest introduced, having been 
brought from Virginia, by John Tradescant the younger, about 1628. Francis Masson, one of 
the earliest collectors sent out from Kew, despatched home several species from the Cape and 
Madeira in 1775-9. The first introductions from Australia were made by Mr. George Caley, 
in 1808, among these being the now well-known Stag’s-horn Fern (P/aty cerium alcicornc), 
Doodia aspera, and Davallia pyxidata. The first colonial garden from which ferns were received 
at Kew was that of Ceylon, from which place Mr. Alexander Moon, when director, sent home 
a collection, among which was Niphobolus costatus. Jamaica has supplied more ferns to Kew 
than any other part of the western hemisphere, a fact largely due to the activity of 
Mr. Nathaniel Wilson, who was director of the botanic garden there. The West Indian 
islands have, indeed, contributed a very large proportion of the tropical ferns now in cultivation, 
comparatively few having been received from the American continent. The ferns of the Cape 
region are those least fully represented at Kew, although South Africa is extremely rich in 
plants of this order. Sir William Hooker makes ample acknowledgment of the assistance which 
Mr. Smith rendered in bringing the collection of living ferns at Kew to the high state of 
perfection which it has attained. In the preface to his “ Synopsis Filicum ” he says : “ The 
formation of this fine collection is mainly due to the exertions and ability of Mr. John Smith, 
who for forty-three years held an important position among the officers of the Royal Gardens. 
His knowledge of ferns, and his writings upon them, justly entitle him to rank among the 
most distinguished pteriologists of the present day.” Mr. Smith has written copiously upon 
ferns, the most useful of his books being the one already referred to, “ Ferns, British and 
Foreign,” which has passed into a second edition. This contains chapters upon the organo- 
graphy and classification of ferns, with an enumeration of the genera under which the species are 
grouped. The genera only are described, the species being arranged in groups marked by one 
or more distinctive features, with details of geographical distribution, and numerous references to 
figures and descriptions. There are a large number of figures illustrating the genera, and the 

* ‘‘ Ferns, British and Foreign ; their History, Organography, Classification, and Enumeration.” 
j 15 

xxxviii European Ferns. 

book is well suited to those who wish to gain some idea of the characters which distinguish the 
principal groups of ferns without going very deeply into the subject. His later work, “ Historia 
Filicum,” although more detailed, and exhibiting a vast amount of labour, is not likely to be so 
generally useful as the one already noticed : but the introductory chapters contain much 
instructive matter which will well repay perusal, embracing, as they do, sketches of the methods 
of classification adopted by the leading pteriologists, as well as much of personal reminiscence. 
Mr. Smith’s own arrangement he considers to be the most natural yet put forward ; and he 
bases his opinion on the not unreasonable ground that it is founded upon results of the daily 
study of living ferns, and is therefore more likely to be correct than those which are based 
mainly upon the examination of the specimens preserved in herbaria. He very truly remarks 
that it is impossible to ascertain the habit of ferns from herbarium specimens, as only small 
examples can be preserved. “ The great botanists of the present day,” he says, “ content 
themselves with describing plants from dried specimens, many of which are often small and 
imperfect, and fail to convey the true nature of the plant in its living state.”* Mr. Smith 
adds point to his remarks by stating that Sir William Hooker “made less use than might 
have been expected ” of the fine collection, then amounting to about one-half of the known 
species of ferns, which was then in cultivation in the Royal Gardens at Kew. It can hardly 
be necessary to point out the importance of describing plants from living specimens whenever 
this can be done ; but from the very nature of things this cannot always, or nearly always, be 
the case. For example, Mr. Bentham, the veteran English botanist, and Sir Joseph Hooker 
have been engaged for many years upon their great work, the “ Genera Plantarum,” which is 
now completed so far as the dicotyledonous plants are concerned, and of which the mono- 
cotyledonous are in a forward state of preparation. Of the many thousands of genera therein 
described comparatively few could ever have been seen by the authors in a living state, even 
had they desired so to study them. In the herbarium, dried specimens of plants from the 
ends of the world can be brought together and placed side by side, their affinities and 
relationships traced, and their differences ascertained ; and since such points as colour are of 
little or no scientific importance, comparatively speaking, the botanist can draw up his descriptions 
and identify his plants with perhaps less trouble and greater convenience than any other 
naturalist. If we take up one of the numerous colonial floras which have been issued or are 
in course of publication in connection with the Kew herbarium, at the expense of the government, 
we shall find that the descriptions are for by far the greater part based upon dried specimens — 
often very imperfect ones — which have been collected by travellers or explorers or missionaries, 
and have found a resting-place in one or other of the great centres of botanical work and 
research which are scattered throughout the countries of the world, two of the most important of 
which — the National Herbarium at the British Museum, now transferred to the new building at 
South Kensington, and the Herbarium of the Royal Gardens, Kew — belong to our own country. 
In those comparatively rare cases in which a traveller or explorer is also a botanist, it will be found 
that his collections are enriched by copious notes, taken probably at or just after the time 
when the specimens were collected ; and such notes as these render the work of description 
comparatively easy, supplementing the specimens, as they do, with details respecting the 
life-history of the plant which cannot be ascertained from dried and often fragmentary examples. 
A good illustration of what can be done in this way is offered by the splendid collections of 
the late Dr. Frederick Welwitsch, of which an extensive and fully representative set is in the 

* “ Historia Filicum,” p. 72. 



possession of the British Museum as the result of a lawsuit which some may remember to 

have taken place a few years back. Dr. Welwitsch’s notes, copies of which are attached 

to the British Museum specimens — the originals being in the possession of the Portuguese 
Government — show how much can be done by a botanical collector in the way of making work 
easy for those who elaborate the material which he has obtained. 

One of the most popular and useful works upon British ferns exclusively is the late 
Edward Newman’s “History of British Ferns,” of which the first edition appeared in 1844, 
while the fifth, or people’s edition — a most handy little volume — was published only two or 
three years since, not long before the death of its lamented author. No one probably has 

done more for the study or the cultivation of ferns than Edward Newman ; he not only 

induced people to go and collect the plants in a living state, but he did much to promulgate 
the use of the “ Wardian case,” which he was among the first to adopt. Of this method 
of cultivation, which has so greatly facilitated the growth of ferns, especially of certain genera — 
such as Trichomanes and Hymenophyllum — which are not easily grown, we have spoken more at 
length at page xxi. The preface to the first edition tells us that “ it was while wandering among the 
Welsh mountains, in the autumn of 1837,” that Mr. Newman “first felt any desire to know the 
names of ferns;” and the difficulty which he experienced in working out and naming the specimens 
he collected by the aid of Withering and Smith so surprised him, that he set to work upon a 
volume which should render the task lighter to others than he had found it for himself- 
It would be impossible to over-estimate the impulse given to the study and cultivation of 
ferns by Mr. Newman’s book, its descriptions and figures being possessed of a clearness 
and accuracy which have materially lessened the labours of his successors. The introduction 
to the “People’s Edition” is very interesting reading: and the work done by Newman in the 
matter was really so very great that we may excuse him if he seems a little over-conscious 
of the result of his labours. He says : “ It is a great satisfaction to me to believe that the 
study, originated by myself, has been a source of profit to others ... By introducing this 
new study, I have afforded pleasure to thousands and pain to none ; wherever I go there are 
ferneries in the open garden, in the greenhouse or the dwelling-house, and ‘ Newman’s Ferns,’ 
albeit sometimes under other names, has become a household book.” Mr. Newman died on 
the 1 2th of June, 1876, lamented by a large number of sympathetic friends. He may fairly 
claim to have originated the popular literature specially devoted to ferns, and his own con- 
tribution to it is, as we have already said, by no means one of the least important. 

The most comprehensive work upon British ferns — the usefulness of which is only 
limited by its expense, which is considerable — is the octavo edition of “ The Nature-printed 
British Ferns,” by Mr. Thomas Moore, curator of the Chelsea Botanic Garden. The plates 
are the same as those employed in the magnificent folio which preceded this work ; and 
the letterpress may be said to exhaust the subject. Beginning with a comprehensive intro- 
duction, the genera and species are described with a detail and fulness which are to be found 
in no other work upon the subject. The geographical distribution of each, both British and 
extra-British, is carefully worked out ; all the countries producing each fern being enumerated, 
with, in many instances, definite localities; so that up to the date of the volumes (1859) ^ may be 
said to be in every respect complete. The synonymy given is very copious, and contains references 
to all the authors by whom the ferns have been described. A special feature of the book is to be 
found in the prominence which it gives to the varieties which each fern presents ; these are often 
very numerous. Of the Hart’s Tongue ( Scolopendrimn vulgare) alone, as many as a hundred and 
fifty-five are enumerated and described. Many of these are represented in the plates (a hundred 


European Ferns. 

and fourteen in number) which accompany the work. These plates are executed by the 
process known as nature-printing — an invention which was first brought into use in 1853 by 
Alois Auer, an Austrian, state printer, although it is claimed by Denmark to have been 
invented more than twenty years previously by Peter Kyle, a goldsmith of Copenhagen. The 
process is simple enough : the object from which the impression is desired to be taken being 
placed between two smooth-polished plates, one of copper, the other of lead, these are then 
drawn through a pair of rollers, under great pressure, and, on being separated, it is found that 
a perfect impression of the object has been made on the leaden plate. When only a few 
impressions are required, this may be used as an engraved plate ; but, on account of its 
softness, it is usual to obtain a facsimile of it in copper by electrotype, which is used as the 
printing plate. In England the art was taken up by Mr. Henry Bradbury, who produced by 
it not only the illustrations to the work now under notice, but also “ The Nature-printed 
Seaweeds ” — a very beautiful book. It is obvious that no figures can be more strictly 
accurate than those thus obtained from the objects themselves; but it of course results 
that the representation is that of an individual, and thus does not convey that idea of a 
species as a whole which is given by the drawing of a botanical artist. There is a rigidity, 
too, about the ferns to which we are more especially referring in these remarks which is 
scarcely in harmony with subjects which owe so much to the grace and elegance of their 
general outline. We have to acknowledge much help and many useful suggestions which 
we have derived from the pages of “The Nature-printed Ferns,” especially with reference to 
some of the more interesting and distinct variations of certain species. 

But this is far from being Mr. Moore’s only contribution to the literature of British 
ferns ; indeed, he has written many separate works upon them, all being thoroughly good and 
trustworthy. The only one to which we will refer, however, on the present occasion, is the 
exceedingly compendious and handy little volume entitled “ British Ferns and their Allies,” 
which is an abridgment of another work by the same author — “ The Popular History of 
British Ferns.” It is intended as an introduction to the study, and contains full descriptions 
of all the species, with a figure of each, and references to the more important varieties. 
The exceedingly low price at which it is issued brings it within the reach of all ; other fern- 
books have been issued at the same charge (one shilling), but they are not to be compared 
with this for extent of information or practical utility. Mr. Moore’s most important contribution 
to the general literature of ferns unfortunately remains incomplete ; this is the “ Index Filicum,” 
of which the first part appeared in 1857. It contains a synopsis of the characters and arrange- 
ment of the tribes and genera, each genus being illustrated by a woodcut showing its 
characteristic features, and a list of the species known ; the synonymy is very copiously given, 
as is also the geographical distribution. Although, as has been said, imperfect, it is, so far as 
it goes, a most useful work, and it is much to be regretted that its publication has been sus- 
pended. Speaking of the geographical distribution of ferns reminds us of Fyell’s admirable 
little volume, “The Geographical Handbook of all known Ferns,” published in 1870, to which 
we have already referred at page xv. In this is brought together all the most recent information 
up to the date of publication regarding the geographical distribution and detailed localities of 
ferns, the localities being grouped primarily under the great divisions of the globe, and secondarily 
under divisions of somewhat less extent, as we have already shown at the page above cited. 
For British county distribution of ferns Mr. H. C. Watson’s works, especially his invaluable 
“ Compendium of the Cybele Britannica,” should be consulted ; more detailed localities will be 
found in Mr. Moore’s “Nature-printed Ferns” above mentioned. 



Miss Anne Pratt’s book, “ The Ferns of Great Britain,” deserves a reference, althou gh 
it is hardly as useful or thorough as the one just noticed. It contains good coloured figures 
of the species, with full and pleasantly-written descriptions, in which is brought together a good 
deal of information regarding ferns in general. 


The story of plant life on the globe, as far as materials have been discovered which can 
be referred to their place in the vegetable kingdom, begins with this group of plants. The 
presence of immense quantities of carbon in the oldest stratified rocks testify to the existence of 
plants long anterior to the period when the strata were deposited in which definite remains 
have been found. And, indeed, the active life of innumerable plants had been necessary from 
the time that animals appeared, in order to supply their necessary food, and to consume the 
poisonous carbonic acid gas which they continually give off. But no recognisable remains have 
been preserved to testify to the kind of plants that played this important part in the primeval 
economy of our planet. Doubtful impressions have been detected in Silurian rocks, and these, 
with the exception of some remarkable Algae, belong to the ferns, or their allies the club- 

It is in the Devonian rocks that the first fairly recognisable plant remains occur. And 
here the predominant forms are ferns. Associated with them are found some horse-tails, and 
several species of club-mosses. 

Some of the ferns have been preserved so completely that it is not difficult to determine 
with certainty their true place in the Order. The description of one species may be given at 
some length, as it is a typical Palaeozoic fern, and a characteristic fossil of the Devonian period. 
The plant referred to is found in considerable abundance in the yellow shales of Kiltorcan, in 
the- south of Ireland, and less frequently in beds of the same age in the south of Scotland. 
Edward Forbes, who first described it, gave it the name of Cyclopteris hibernica. It has been 
since separated, as the type of a new genus, and is called P alceopteris hibernica of Schimper. 
All the parts of the plant have been found. The frond is ovate-lanceolate in outline, some- 
what truncate at the base. The stipes was of considerable length, and clothed with a dense 
mass of thin scales at its somewhat enlarged base. The well-defined termination of the stipes 
indicates that it was articulated to the stem, and the root-like fossil found in the shales is, 
there can be little doubt, the creeping stem or rhizome. The frond is bipinnate, and the 
pinnae are linear, obtuse, and almost sessile. The pinnules are numerous, overlapping, and of 
an obovate or oblong-obovate form, somewhat cuneate at the base, which is decurrent on the 
rachis. The veins are numerous, uniform, and repeatedly dichotomous from the base : they run 
out to the margin forming a delicate venation. Single large pinnules of the same form occur on 
either side of the main rachis in the spaces between the pinnae. The fructification is borne on 
the altered pinnae of the lower part of the frond. The fertile pinnules are reduced to a central 
midrib, with short hair-like veins, which are the pedicels of the cup-shaped indusia. These are 
ovate, oblong cups, divided about a third down from the apex into two lips. The pedicel or 
vein passes into the cup as a free central receptacle, but does not extend beyond the lips of 
the cup. Occasionally the receptacle is found to be broad or thick, as if it were covered with 
sporangia, but the preservation of the fossils is not sufficiently perfect to exhibit the forms of 
the individual sporangia. There is nothing in these characters which would justify this fern 
being separated from the genus Hymenophyllum. The fronds attained no doubt to a much greatcr 



E ur ope a n Ferns. 

size and were of a firmer texture than the filmy ferns with which we are familiar ; but there is a 
New Zealand fern (Loxsoma) which hns large, much-divided, coriaceous fronds, not unlike the 
Devonian plant, and yet is a true hymenophyllaceous fern. The uniform flabellate veins of the 
fossil occur in some filmy ferns, especially among those with simple fronds ; and the reduction 
of the pinnule to pedicellate veins in the fertile part of the frond is precisely what is met with in 
the fertile frond of the genus Feea, from Central America, which is reduced to a slender rachis, with 
a series of short pedicels on either side, each supporting a trichomanoid cup. Several fossils 
belonging to the same genus have been observed in rocks of Devonian age in North America, 
and a few species pass up into our Coal measures. Associated with Palceopteris in the Devonian 
rocks are the remains of another hymenophyllaceous fern, with venation and cutting of the 
frond more closely resembling the majority of the existing species of this group. 

The rocks of the Carboniferous period contain the most abundant materials for determining 
the nature of the plants which, in these remote ages, lived on the surface of the earth. Beds of 
coal are found in all parts of the world. These are the remains of forests which grew on the 
localities where the coal is found. The plants had for their soil the clay on which the beds of coal 
now rest, and their dead remains were covered by the clay sediment brought down by rivers into 
great lakes which, through changes in the level of the land, had submerged the low level tracts 
on which the forests grew. The under- and over-clays have, so to speak, hermetically sealed 
the enclosed plant remains. Whatever metamorphic changes were taking place within the beds, 
nothing could escape through the investing clays. The hydro-carbons fixed by the living plants 
of the Coal period — the “bottled sunshine” — have been preserved intact, but the individuality of 
the plants has been lost in the compact substance into which they are now converted. Happily, 
however, there occur in some beds of coal rounded masses of crystallised carbonate of lime, 
which, though only a trouble to the miner, are of the greatest service to the botanist. The lime 
has crystallised in these incombustible masses before the plants forming the coal had lost their 
form and structure. When cut by the lapidary into slices, to permit of microscopic examination, 
these nodules supply materials for forming an accurate estimate of the plants which formed thdt' 
coal. In the under-clay the roots are still to be found, while leaves, branches, and fruits, floated 
down on the running water into the still lakes, are spread out on the old surfaces of the over-clay, 
and are there so preserved as to show the form and external markings with remarkable minute- 
ness of detail. The examination of these various materials have made it certain that coal is 
entirely composed of the altered remains of ferns, and their near allies the club-mosses and horse- 
tails. It is true that Gymnosperms, not far removed from our yew, were then important elements 
in the flora of the world ; their remains, however, do not occur in the coal itself, but are found 
under conditions which show that they have been carried from higher grounds. The club-mosses 
of the Palaeozoic period were represented by arborescent Sigillarias and Lepidodendrons, and 
the horse-tails by tree-like Calamites. Though differing greatly in size they agreed with living 
Lycopods and Equisetums in all essential characters. 

The ferns of the Carboniferous period are represented by some three hundred forms, so distinct 
that they have been described as separate species, and received technical names. Having only 
fragments of fronds to deal with, it is certain that the diversity of form, and the modifications in 
the venation in accommodation to their diverse forms, have led to the establishment of more 
species in our books than existed in connection with the known materials in nature. Yet, after 
the most liberal deductions have been made, there remains a great variety. They have been 
classified from the character of their venation, as the fructification has been observed in only a few 
cases. It is not possible, on account of the imperfect materials for classification, to give them 



definite places in the Order, seeing that the groups of living ferns depend upon the fructification, 
the venation being of very subordinate importance. Four leading types of venation have been 
recognised in the carboniferous ferns, and these constitute the four genera, or groups of genera, into 
which they are placed. These are — I. Neuropteris , containing the ferns in which there are numerous 
equal slender veins, dichotomously branching ; II. Sphenopteris, having a midrib at the base of 
the pinnule, which either disappears altogether in the upper part, or is divided into uniform 
slender veins ; III. Pecopteris , including the ferns which have a distinct midrib passing through 
the pinnule to its apex, and giving off on either side the secondary veins ; and IV. Dictyopteris, 
containing eight or ten specific forms in which the veins are reticulated. These main divisions 
are again subdivided, but the smaller groups, based on the outline of the frond or the size and 
number of its divisions, cannot be recognised of generic value. 

The affinities of some of the carboniferous ferns with living plants have been more accurately 
determined in a few cases where some trace of the fructification has been preserved. The 
fronds of Pecopteris arborescens (Brongn.) frequently exhibit the impressions of the masses of 
sporangia. These are borne on the secondary veins in a single row on each side of the midrib. 
They form small rounded masses like the sori of Alsophila, but as the individual sporangia are 
not distinguishable, they may have been covered with an indusium like that of Cyathea. In 
other ferns an arrangement of the sporangia like what we have in Gleichenia has been observed ; 
in others again, ovoid sporangia crowned with a complete cap-shaped ring have been found, almost 
identical with the sporangia of Anemia, and arranged on the supporting pinnule in the same 
manner. And lastly, the cup-shaped involucres of the Filmy Fern, like those already described 
in Palceopteris, have been noticed. An interesting confirmation of the presence of ferns belonging 
to the Hymenophyllece is obtained from the discovery of shed sporangia belonging to this group 
in the microscopic preparations made from nodules obtained from the coal at Oldham. These 
minute bodies are so well preserved that they exhibit the structure of the sporangium and 
its contents in as perfect condition as they are found in a recent plant. The elastic ring is 
oblique, and the pedicel is short and thick, as in the sporangia of the living species. 

The ferns are one of the least varying types of vegetable life. In the earliest ferns, 
where materials exist that enable an estimate to be made of their affinities, one is able to 
determine their places with such certainty and precision that they might be included in some 
existing genera. There existed, however, in the Carboniferous period, and survived through 
the newer Permian, a type of fern-stem which is now extinct. In the existing tree-ferns, 
as in some of the tree-ferns of the Coal period, the stem consists of a continuous vascular 
cylinder surrounding a pith or cellular axis, and pierced regularly with openings which connect 
the cellular tissue of the axis with that of the leaf, and give off from their everted margins the 
vascular bundles that go to the leaf. In the extinct type the vascular bundles which go 
to the leaves were formed free and complete in the cellular axis, and passed out entire, 
without touching the permanent tissues of the stem, through continuous longitudinal slits. 
These stems were generally surrounded with fleshy aerial roots, which have been well preserved 
in some specimens found in our English coal-fields, but more beautifully in silicified specimens 
from the Coal measures of Saxony and Bohemia. The stems of living tree-ferns, and those 
of the same type found in carboniferous rocks ( Caulopteris ), are analogous in the arrangement 
of their parts to what is found in the first year’s growth of a dicotyledon. In both there 
is a parenchymatous medulla, surrounded by a continuous vascular cylinder, which is 
perforated in a regular manner by meshes, for the passage out of the vascular elements to the 
appendages. The stems of the extinct group Stemmatoptcris have a structure analogous to 


E ur ope an Ferns. 

that which is found in the stems of Monocotyledons ; for in both we have the vascular bundles 
which go to the appendages existing in the parenchymatous axis, and passing out independently 
of any closed cylinder. The permanent vascular plates of the circumference of the stem in the 
extinct forms are without any analogue in the monocotyledonous stems. 

The proportion of ferns to the other groups of plants is very different in the 
Secondary rocks to what we have found in those of Palaeozoic age. The relative paucity 
of other plants in the older rocks may be due to the want of favourable conditions for their 
preservation. No phanerogamous plants have yet been discovered in the Coal measures in the 
localities where they grew. They are known either by stems or fruits which have been 
transported by running water. No foliage has yet been detected. In the Triassic rocks 
we find foliage as well as wood and fruits, and these evidences of Gymnosperms together 
with the remains of Monocotyledons increase, while the number of ferns decrease. About 
forty species have been described from the Trias, several of which were arborescent. Their 
arborescent allies of the Coal period belonging to Lycopods and Equisetums have given 
place to forms more nearly approaching those of the present day. 

In the Oolite the ferns increase in number, being represented by about one hundred 
and fifty species. Among these are found forms whose affinities with existing species 
cannot be determined, like the petiolate, flabelliform, and divided fronds from the Yorkshire 
Oolites, placed in the genus Baiera ; or the coriaceous cycad-like fronds of Nilssonia from 
the same beds, the position of which among ferns has been established by the discovery 
of fruiting specimens showing small round sori scattered over the back of the frond; or, 
still more, the Liassic group of plants placed in the genus Thinnfeldia, which Ettingshausen 
referred to Coniferce because of their resemblance to the Australian genus Phyllocladus, while 
Schenk considered them to be Cycadean and allied to the abnormal genus Stangeria, from 

The Cretaceous beds do not supply much evidence of the land flora of the period when 

they were being deposited. A dozen species of ferns have been described from Greenland 

in beds which are of Lower Cretaceous age, and about fifty species from the richly 

fossiliferous beds near Aix-la-Chapelle, that are considered to be on the horizon of the Upper 
Greensand. The ferns at least suggest a newer formation, being very closely related to, 
if they are not in many cases identical with, species found in the Eocene beds of the 
south of England. 

The ferns found in Tertiary strata agree very closely with existing generic types ; 
and though it may not be always possible to refer them with certainty to a particular 
genus, from the absence of the fructification, no characteristics have been observed which 
would justify their separation into distinct genera, at least on the grounds on which 
genera are established among recent ferns. The Tertiary strata of the south of England 
have yielded a considerable number of species. They have their affinities with ferns of 
subtropical regions, and testify like the other plants and animals of these rocks to a 

much warmer temperature than we now enjoy. The only form found in Tertiary rocks that 
is related to a species now living in Britain is the stem of a Royal fern found on the 
beach at Herne Bay, and derived no doubt from the Eocene beds there. The stem was 
beautifully preserved, exhibiting the most minute details of its structure, which agrees with 
the stem of Osvmnda. regalis, though the plant was most probably considerably larger. 

Cassells European Ferns 


( '/z NATURAL Size) 





IS is a small though handsome genus, containing only three species, natives 
of cold or temperate regions. O. sensibilis, the type of the genus, is a 
common North American fern, which is found also in Northern Asia, 
Mandschuria, and Japan ; it is frequently met with in cultivation, having 
been known in this country as long ago as 1699, when it was grown by 
Bobart in the Oxford Botanic Garden. It has been erroneously recorded as 
a British plant, being said to grow in North Yorkshire and near Warrington, 
Cheshire (see “ Phytologist,” i. 492). The note announcing its discovery 
stated that in the latter locality it grew plentifully and very luxuriantly in 
an old stone quarry, having been first found there about 1839. There is a 
Warrington specimen in the British Herbarium of the Botanical Department of the British 
Museum, communicated by the late Mr. Borrer, but it is there described — no doubt with 
greater accuracy — as “ naturalised in boggy ground, near the site of a former garden.” This 
attempt to raise the number of our indigenous species has been paralleled, as our readers 
will remember, by the pseudo-discovery of the Elk’s-horn Fern ( Platycerium alcicorne) upon 
Cader Idris. 0. sensibilis, the “ Sensitive Fern ” of American authors, is a handsome plant, 
the leafy, pinnate, barren fronds being much taller than the fertile ones, the latter being 
twice pinnate. The barren fronds vary from four inches to three feet in height, and are so 
thin and delicate in texture that it is said that they will wither even while growing if drawn 
once or twice through the hand ; hence the specific name sensibilis. With this plant are 
now associated two other species, better known under the name of Struthiopteris, and differing 
chiefly from it in the simply pinnate fertile fronds, and in having the veins of the barren 
fronds all free. One of these, 0 . orientalis, is a native of Sikkim, Assam, and Japan; the 
second, 0. germanica, we shall now proceed to consider somewhat at length. 


This is the largest and handsomest of the ferns of Europe, and, indeed, has some pretensions 
to be considered a tree-fern. This results from the caudex forming an upright thick trunk, 
which, however, never attains to any height, reaching at most to three-quarters of a foot : still, 



European Ferns. 

in nature and construction it is precisely like the large stems of the tree-ferns of tropical and 
sub-tropical countries. From beneath the surface of the ground the caudex gives off stolons, 
which run for seven or eight feet, and propagate the plant. 

The fronds are of two kinds — barren and fertile, the latter bearing the sori. The 
barren fronds are very numerous, and form a magnificent vase-shaped crown of foliage of 
very regular arrangement. They are of large size, sometimes attaining a length of as much 
as five feet, though usually about three feet, and are elegantly curved outwards. The petiole 
is short, and is dilated at the base, where it joins the stem, and there covered with nearly 
black scales, which are not torn or lacerated ; on section, the petiole presents two oblong curved 
vascular bundles. 

The general form of the frond is broadly oblong, gradually diminishing in width at the 
base, and abruptly narrowed at the apex ; it is divided into very numerous pinnae. These are 
all sessile ; the lower ones are small and distant, usually turned downwards, and at the very 
base of the petiole become brown and scale-like ; the main pinnae are four or five inches long, 
narrow, slightly curved towards the apex of the frond, and tapering to the point ; they are very 
numerous, and vary considerably in proximity to one another, being usually just in contact 
but not unfrequently so closely placed that they overlap. Each pinna is simply cut into 
numerous, simple, oblong, blunt segments, which are not again divided or toothed. The general 
appearance of the whole frond is not unlike that of the common Male Fern, but it is a paler 
and brighter green. The venation of the segments of the pinna is remarkable in being quite 
simple, not forked or reticulated. 

The fertile or sporiferous fronds are few in number, usually from three to six; they 
appear in the centre of the tuft in the autumn, and are not mature till September and 
October. Their height is not more than eighteen inches or two feet, and they are erect and 
straight, with a stout, stiff rachis, broader and flatter than in the barren fronds, deeply 
channelled in the lower portion. The pinnae are very numerous, and crowded closely together ; 
in fact, the whole frond is a much contracted form of the barren ones. The large pinnae are 
about one-and-a-half to two inches long, but the upper and lower ones much shorter ; all 
are sessile and directed upwards, and are dark brown in colour. In outline they are narrow 
linear, obtuse at the apex, and with a rather knotted appearance, each knot corresponding with 
a segment ; in substance they are nearly cylindrical, the margin being rolled in underneath and 
covering over the sori. The venation is simple, the central vein of each segment giving off 
several undivided veinlets on each side, and upon the middle of every one of these is borne 
a sorus. The sori are round and confluent into a mass, the receptacles very thick and cylin- 
drical. It was long considered that no indusium was present ; but this integument is now 
known to occur as an exceedingly delicate membrane over each sorus, separating it from its 
neighbour. The spores are oval and yellow. Occasionally fronds are met with intermediate 
between the barren and fertile condition, bearing a few sori as contracted though still herbaceous 

There is little variation in this fine fern, and no forms are sufficiently distinct to have 
received separate names. The plant itself has, however, been very unfortunate in this respect. 
It is the Osmuuda Struthiopteris of Linnaeus, who thus placed it in a genus where it is 
impossible to retain it. The German botanist, Hoffmann, transferred it to the genus Onoclea 
as O. Struthiopteris ; in cultivation it is generally known by Wildenow’s name for it, Struthiopteris 
gennanica. The separate genus Struthiopteris is distinguished from Onoclea by the simple 
venation of the barren fronds. The plant has several more names. 



This species has an extensive range in the northern hemisphere, extending round the 
globe in the cold latitudes of Europe, Asia, and America. It grows in shady places, moist 
meadows, and the sides of streams. In Europe the preference of this species for cold climates 
is very evident. It grows in Lapland within the Arctic circle, in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, 
Prussia, the Baltic provinces, Northern and Central Russia abundantly, and Poland. In Central 
and Southern Europe it is much less frequent, though it occurs in Baden, the Vosges, Piedmont, 
North Italy, South Tyrol, Bohemia, and some other places. In Western Europe it is unknown, 
and it is not found in France, the British Isles, or the Spanish Peninsula. In the East it 
extends as far south as the Crimea and the Caucasus. In Asia it is found in Siberia, the 
Ural and Altai and Baikal regions, and in Kamptschatka ; whilst in America its range extends 
throughout Canada and the Northern United States. The American plant has been called 
S. pennsylvanica, Willd., but it differs in no respect from the Old World species. 

The Ostrich Fern — the name by which this species is often called in books, being a mere 
translation of the scientific name Struthiopteris — was introduced to cultivation in this country 
in 1760, by Peter Collinson, who had it in his garden at Mill Hill; but it is much less frequently 
met with in our gardens than its merits deserve. It is very easily grown, as it will do well 
either in shady or exposed situations, preferring a deep, moist, sandy soil. It may be 
effectively employed on the borders of streams or waterfalls. This species is readily propagated 
by means of its creeping stolons, and is quite hardy. Onoclea sensibilis, to which reference has 
already been made in our notice of the genus, is also a very hardy plant, and one which is 
equally worthy of cultivation with the European species. It is indeed somewhat remarkable, 
considering how popular ferns have become, that more prominence has not been given to the 
hardy out-door species. Such plants as those now under consideration are easy to establish, 
and when once settled, require scarcely any further attention ; and there seems no reason why 
they should not be met with in our gardens as frequently as the common Male Fern. 


European Ferns. 


E genus Woodsia, although not a large one, about fourteen species being 
enumerated, is of wide distribution. Besides the three natives of Europe, 
of which we have to speak at length, one species is confined to Natal, two 
are peculiar to Northern India, one is limited to the Caucasus, and the re- 
mainder are for the most part South American. They are in the main 
small plants, similar in habit to the European species, but the fronds 
of W. guatemalensis are sometimes as much as a foot-and-a-half in length. 
The genus was established by Robert Brown in 1813, and was named by 
him in compliment to Joseph Woods, a well-known British botanist. 


This is one of the smallest rock species. It possesses a densely-tufted caudex, or stock, 
very short, thickly set with the brown, persistent, erect bases of the fallen fronds, and giving 
off many long filamentous black roots. The fronds are few and of small size, varying in 
length from one-and-a-half inches to as much as five inches in luxuriant specimens ; the 
stipes is rather stout for the size of the frond, stiff, reddish, and shining, and sparsely 
provided with small, scattered, elongated or hair-like yellowish-brown paleae. At a point 
rather more than half an inch from the base is a joint in the stipes, at which point the frond 
when withered breaks away, leaving the lower part of the stipes attached to the caudex ; 
this remains for a long period, and the numerous stiff, abruptly-broken-off stumps give a 
characteristic appearance to the plant. The frond is narrow and oblong, sometimes almost 
linear, in outline, and somewhat suddenly narrows into the rather blunt point ; the pinnae are 
few in number, small, one-fourth to three-eighths of an inch in length, sessile, often distantly 
placed and never overlapping, generally somewhat bluntly ovate-triangular in outline, but 
deeply cut into a few short, obtuse, rounded lobes or segments, which are in the lowest 
pinnae faintly crenate at the base. In colour the fronds are pale bright green, often with 
a rusty or yellowish tint. There are usually some scattered hairs on the back and margins. 

The sori are copiously produced, and are at first quite distinct from one another, but they 
often become afterwards confluent, and then appear to cover the whole back of the frond. 
Under a lens the sporangia appear to be mixed up with, and partially covered by, long 
curved hairs, and it is not until the former are carefully removed that a close examination 
can show that the origin of the hairs is really the margin of the indusium. This membrane 
occupies here the unusual position of being quite beneath the sorus ; it is small and completely 
concealed by the sporangia, but its margin is produced into numerous long, pointed, faintly- 
partitioned hair-like processes, which spread out ail round and curve up round the margin 
of the sorus overlapping the sporangia. These capillary processes are so like the ordinary 
hairs on the surface of the frond that their different nature was for a long while un- 
suspected, and only made clear by the lucid exposition of Brown and the beautiful drawings 
of Francis Bauer.* The sporangia themselves are shortly stalked, and are not supported on 
any common receptacle ; they present no special peculiarity. 

* “Transactions of the Linnean Society ” for 1816 (vol. xi.). 

Vincent Brooks Day# San -lith.. 






L S I Z EC. I 



This little fern, as its specific name hyperborea expresses, is truly northern in its range. 
This is, however, very wide, extending round the boreal world in Europe, Asia, and America. 
In Europe it is especially found in the highest latitudes, and when it occurs further south 
it is only at lofty elevations. It is frequent throughout Norway, the northern part of Sweden, 
Lapland, Finland, and North Russia, growing in the crevices of exposed granitic and basaltic 
rocks. It does not occur in calcareous districts. In the mountain ranges of Europe the 
Woodsia is a scarce species, though locally abundant in a few spots. In the Alps it occurs 
in several places, as on Mont Cenis, Mont St. Gothard, Zermatt, the Upper Engadine, &c. ; 
in the Tyrol it is found in abundance at the Seiser Alp and in the Oetzthal ; and in the 
Pyrenees in two spots, one on the Maladetta. There are also isolated localities in Carinthia 
and Silesia, and the plant also grows in the mountains of Corsica and Sardinia. 

In the British Isles this is one of our rarest species, and there are but three localities. 
One of these was known so long ago as about 1680 — the moist rocks of Clogwyn y Garnedd, 
facing the east on one of the highest points of Snowdon, North Wales. There it was first 

discovered by Mr. Lhwyd (from whom there is a specimen in Buddle^s herbarium in the 

British Museum), and it still grows there. Mr. Newman refers Lhwyd’s plant to the next 
species ; but so far as can be judged from the specimen just alluded to, which is imperfect, it 
is W. hyperborea. The other two localities are in Scotland — on Ben Lawers, Perthshire, and 
in Glen Isla, in the Clova Mountains of Forfarshire. The similarity of the fronds to the leaves 
of the common Red-Rattle ( Pedicularis sylvatica ) has often been noticed, and the resemblance 
is embodied in the original name given to the Snowdon plant by Lhwyd. 

Beyond the boundaries of Europe, W. hyperborea grows in the Ural Mountains, in the 

Songarian district, the Amur and Manschuria, and extends as far as Mongolia and Northern 
China. These Asiatic forms have been named as distinct species by Russian botanists ( W. 
pilosella , Rupr., W. asplenioides, Rupr., and W. subcordata, Turcz). There is also a southward 
extension of the range of the plant in the Himalaya Mountains. In America the species is 
confined to high northern latitudes, only occurring in Canada as far as the Saskatchawan, 
and not reaching southwards into the United States. It has been doubtfully recorded for 
Iceland, but does not occur in Greenland. 


Whether there are sufficient grounds to justify the position of this as a distinct species 
from W. hyperborea is a question upon which the best authorities are not in accord. It is 
certainly difficult at times to decide to which a given specimen may belong, and intermediates 
seem to occur, but usually the two are readily separable. Brown, who founded the genus, 
though he followed the general opinion in keeping the two species, expresses himself as more 
inclined to consider them varieties of one ; Milde combines them, and calls W. hyperborea 
(Brown) by the name var. arvonica, whilst W. ilvensis (Brown) is called var. rufidula , these 
being old specific names restored. On the other hand, Sir J. E. Smith thought them quite 
distinct species, and they are retained as such in Hooker and Baker's “ Synopsis Filicum.” 
Mr. H. C. Watson reports a circumstance which, if correct, would settle the question — that a 
portion of a plant of true W. hyperborea, sent from the Botanic Garden at Edinburgh to Professor 
Arnott, ultimately turned out to be W. ilvensis. 

The present species is, on the whole, a decidedly larger plant than W. hyperborea (some 
of the American specimens are very much so), the fronds frequently measuring eight inches 



European Ferns. 

in length, or even more; the stipes and fronds are usually more densely provided with paleas, 
and are indeed sometimes quite shaggy from their abundance. In outline, the fronds are 
broader in the middle and lower part (more lanceolate) than in the last species, and the 
pinnae are usually considerably longer and divided into oblong or oval longer segments. In 
other respects the two species are similar. 

The localities of this fern are quite similar to those of W. hyperborea , but it is more 
frequently met with, and has a wider distribution. In Great Britain, for instance, we have 
seven or eight stations for it. Besides the three given under the last species — all of which 
produce this also — the plant occurs in several places near Moffat, Dumfriesshire, and on the 
border of that county and Peebles ; it also extends into England, being found on the rocks 
at Falcon Clints, in Teesdale, Durham (a locality remarkable for its Alpine flora at a low 
elevation), and in Westmoreland. In Wales, it was recently discovered on Cader Idris, by 
Mr. James Backhouse. 

In Northern Europe this fern is frequent through the Scandinavian peninsula, and extends 
into the Arctic regions, reaching Nova Zemlia and Iceland. It belts the polar regions, occur- 
ring in Greenland and Labrador, the northern parts of Canada, reaching to Unalashka, Alaska, 
and, crossing into Kamptschatka, extends through Siberia and Russia. In more temperate 
regions it has a wide distribution in the mountain districts of Europe, Asia, and America. 
It does not seem to occur, however, in the Swiss Alps, nor in the Pyrenees, but is found in 
Tyrol and Hungary ; and there are stations for it in Bohemia, Silesia, Hesse, and other 
parts of Germany. Eastward it reaches the Crimea, Southern Russia and the Caucasus, and 
further into the central Asiatic regions of Siberia and Dahuria, and reaches Japan. On the 
American continent it is frequent in Canada and the United States as far south as Carolina, 
especially along the chain of the Rocky Mountains. 


This elegant little species was first distinguished from its congeners in 1823, the specimens 
originally examined being collected by Dr. Richardson in North-Western Canada, near the 
Great Bear Lake, in Captain Franklin’s expedition. It is well distinguished from the species 
already described by its smaller size, the completely smooth fronds, without hairs or palese, 
and the shape of the pinnae, as described below. The stipes is bare to the base, where, however, 
are many orange-coloured paleae — very long, and cut into a few long filiform teeth at the 
margin. The length of the fronds varies from one and a-half to four inches, being usually 
about three inches; their outline is narrow, decidedly linear-oblong or slightly lanceolate, and 
tapering to the apex ; the pinnae are small — scarcely over a quarter of an inch in length — 
sessile, and distantly placed, especially in the lower portion ; their form varies, the lower 
ones are as broad as long, rounded in their circumference, and deeply and irregularly cut 
into a few wedge-shaped segments, dentate at the top ; those in the remainder of the frond 
are ovate or oblong-ovate, more or less acute, and have their segments oblong or oval. The 
sori are abundantly produced, and are quite similar to those described in the other species, 
the hair-processes of the indusium, however, being not quite so long. 

W. glabella is a very rare species in Europe, and its few localities are widely scattered. 
We have seen specimens from the Alten Valley, in Lapland, and from several localities in 
Southern Tyrol. In this latter region it is found chiefly on dolomitic rock, as on the Seiser 



Alp, at Windisch-matrei, and at Weisenstein, near Sexten. Another locality in Carinthia 
completes the short list of European stations for this scarce little fern. 

Out of Europe the plant is found to extend eastward through the Ural and Baikal 
districts of Siberia, and as far as Kamptschatka ; whilst on the American continent there are 
several localities known in Canada, in the Rocky Mountains, and the plant is recorded from 
Labrador, and from Disco, Greenland. 

The species of Woodsia are not very frequently met with in cultivation, although they 
are grown with little difficulty if properly treated. The drainage of the pots must be fully 
provided for, the soil being a mixture of fibrous peat and silver sand, with a small portion of 
loam. They succeed best in a northern aspect, and require plenty of water during the growing 



European Ferns. 


genus Dicksonia is most fully represented in tropical America and 
Polynesia ; one species ( D . punctilobuld), however, extends as far north as the 
United States and Canada, several others being abundantly scattered through 
the warm southern parts of the temperate zone. There are from thirty to 
thirty-five .species, varying greatly in size and in the cutting of the fronds, 
some — such as D. antarctica, a native of New Zealand and Australia, fre- 
quently seen in our greenhouses — being tree-like in habit, having stems from 
ten to forty feet in height, while others have creeping rootstocks. One of 
the tree species, D. arbor escens, was introduced to English cultivation in 1786 
from St. Helena, to which island it is peculiar ; like many other of the indi- 
genous plants of that island, however, it is now dying out there. The genus is 
technically distinguished by having the sori situated at or just within the margin of the pinnule, 
at the apex of a vein ; in about half the species the involucre is distinctly two-valved, while 
in the remainder it is cup-shaped or but very indistinctly two-valved : the stalked sporangia 
split transversely, and have an incomplete vertical ring. 

The fronds are, in some of the larger species, such as D. antarctica , as much as two or 
three yards in length and two feet or more across ; but their more usual dimensions are from 
one to two feet long and from six inches to a foot broad. In some species, such as D. moluccana, 
from Java, the stems are thickly furnished with strong hooked prickles; in others they are 
densely clothed at the base with a thick coat of yellow-brown, often shining, hairs ; the stems 
of D. Sellowiana, from tropical America, are so densely clad with long fulvous hairs, changing 
to brown or blackish, that Mr. Spruce says they “precisely resemble the thighs of the howling 

The so-called “ Tartarian ” or “ Scythian lamb,” about which strange stories were told by 
early travellers, is the long caudex of a plant of this genus ( D . Barometz) : this is covered 
with long silky hairs, which look like wool when old ; and by judicious manipulation the 
natives of Southern China (where the fern grows) convert it into a rough resemblance to a 
lamb, the caudex being inverted, and supported on the bases of four of the lower fronds. The 
true history of the “lamb” was not known until 1725, when Dr. Breyne, of Dantzig, published 
a description of it as it really existed. In a curious folio volume, published in 1791, entitled 
“ Museum Britannicum, or a display in thirty-two plates, in antiquities and natural curiosities, 
in that noble and magnificent cabinet the British Museum,” by John and Andrew von Rymsdyk, 
there is a striking figure of a specimen which is still to be seen in the public gallery of the 
Department of Botany in that institution. The authors, although speaking of it as a “ zoophye,” 
state, accurately enough, that “ it is nothing but the root of a plant much like fern but they 
quote, as “very singular and amusing,” the following description of it from “ Les Voyages de 
Jean Struys,” which, as it shows the notions which were formerly entertained concerning this 
“strange plant-animal,” we here quote. “This surprising fruit has the figure of a lamb, with 
the feet, head, and tail of this animal distinctly formed : whence it is called, in the language , 
of the country, Bonnarez or Boraner : each of which Muscovite names signifies little lamb. 
His skin is covered with a down very white, and as fine as silk ; the Tartars and Muscovites 

Cassells European Ferns 









esteem it very much, and the greater part keep it carefully in their houses, where this author 
has seen many. It grows on a stalk of about three feet in height ; the place by which it 
holds is a sort of navel, on which it turns and bows itself towards the herbs which serve it for 
nourishment, dying and withering away as soon as these herbs fail. Wolves love it and 
greedily devour it, because of its resemblance to a lamb. All this description contains 
nothing hitherto incredible ; but what the author adds, that this plant has really bones, blood, 


The three figures on the left of the cut are adapted from old representations of the “Lamb”; 
while the actual rhizome with fronds springing from it is shown on the right. 

and flesh, whence it is called in the country by a Greek name Zophyte, that is, a plant- 

Those who are interested in learning further particulars of the history of the “ Scythian 
Lamb,” and of the fictions and traditions which were associated with it, will find abundant 
material in Breyn’s “ Dissertatiuncula de Agno Vegetabili Scythico, Borametz vulgo dicto, 
published in the “Philosophical Transactions” (vol. xxxiii., pp. 353 — 360). The treatise is 
accompanied by a striking representation of the object described, of which the upper figure 


European Ferns. 

in the accompanying cut is a much reduced copy. The plant was introduced into cultivation 
in England about fifty years ago by the late Mr. John Reeves ; the living specimens trans- 
mitted by him bore fruit in the Birmingham Botanic Garden, and were shortly afterwards 
described by Mr. John Smith under the name of Cibotium Barometz — the genus Cibotium 
being now more usually united with Dicksonia. 

It is not surprising that so remarkable a plant should have received the honours of 
poetical treatment. Darwin, in the “ Botanic Garden,” thus summarises its traditional history : — 

“ Cradled in snow and fann’d by arctic air, 

Shines, gentle Barometz ! thy golden hair ; 

Rooted in earth each cloven hoof descends, 

And round and round her flexile neck she bends ; 

Crops the gray coral moss and hoary thyme, 

Or laps with rosy tongue the melting rime ; 

Eyes with mute tenderness her distant dam, 

Or seems to bleat, a vegetable lamb.” 

The Sieur du Bartas, at an earlier period, likewise honoured the plant with a description 

in which its paradoxical nature is forcibly brought out. 
Having depicted the amazement of our first parents 
when such a prodigy of nature first presented itself to 
their astonished gaze, he piously continues : — 

“ O merveilleux effect de la dextre divine ! 

La plante a chair et sang, l’animal a racine ; 

La plante comme en rond, de soy mesmes se meust ; 

L’animal a des pieds, et si marcher ne peut ; 

La plante est sans rameaux, sans fruit, et sans feuillage ; 

La plante a belles dents, payst son ventre affame 
Du fourrage voysin ; l’animal est s^me.” 

Judging from specimens brought to this country, it is 
difficult to imagine that the resemblance can ever have 
been considered a striking one. 

The silky hairs covering the base of the stem of this, 
or of a closely allied species, have been used as a styptic 
in Germany, being imported from Sumatra. The similar 
hairs of other species of Dicksonia, natives of the Sand- 
wich Islands, are exported, to the extent of many thou- 
sands of pounds annually, under the name of Pulu, and 
are employed in the stuffing of mattresses, cushions, &c. : 
and the hairs of D. Culci!a are used in like manner in 
Madeira. Not more than two or three ounces of hair are 
yielded by each plant, and it is reckoned that about four years must elapse before another 
gathering can be obtained. 

Scythian I.AMB ( copied from the title-page of 
Parkinson' s “ Paradisus,” 1629). 


1 1 


This is a large and handsome fern, though, compared with some other species of the genus, 
it is quite of humble stature. The caudex, indeed, is small, only three or four inches high, 
rooting, with the end deflexed, and thus gives none of the tree-like character so characteristic 
of some of the congeners of the plant. It is, however, remarkable in being quite without the 
ordinary palese or scales, but instead is very thickly and densely cushioned, especially at the 
apex, with a mass of long, golden-orange, shining hairs, which are over an inch long, and under 
the microscope are seen to be jointed. The fronds are of large size, attaining a length of four to 
six feet, and arching outwards, they are supported on a long stipes, which is perfectly smooth 
and devoid of pales or hairs, shining and pale brown ; in form the stipes is bluntly angular, and 
so much channelled along the upper surface as to be thin and crescent-shaped in section, when 
a single curved bundle of vessels is seen. The form of the frond is rather broadly triangular, 
but drawn out at the apex ; it is much divided, quadri-pinnate, coriaceous, dark green, and 
perfectly smooth. The primary pinnae are wide-spreading and ovate-acuminate in outline, the 
secondary ones rather ovate-oblong, and frequently much attenuated at the point ; whilst the 
ultimate divisions are oblong, rather obtuse, oblique, and deeply pinnatisect ; the segments (at 
least, the lower ones and those without sori) bluntly dentate, with a few thick teeth. The 
venation is simply forked. 

It is, however, the sori that are particularly noticeable, as they are usually produced 
in great abundance. They are large, nearly one-quarter of an inch in diameter, sub-globose, 
and each one occupies nearly the whole segment, which then, instead of being toothed, is 
dilated, and with a rounded deflexed margin. Their structure is peculiar, and differs from 
that of all the other European ferns. The very large, thick, brown indusium is attached by 
a semi-lunar base below the sorus, and at first is united by its upper edge to the deflexed 
margin of the segment, so that the whole forms a thick marginal case, rounded, but flattened on 
the top. Afterwards this separates, and the indusium exhibits an entire semi-circular free 
margin, or lip, whilst an upper lip is formed by the margin of the segment ; at length the 
lower lip becomes separated also at the sides and deflexed. The sporangia are small, very 
numerous, on long stalks, bright yellow, and mixed with many brown barren filaments 
(paraphyses) ; they open by a transverse chink, and possess a complete oblique annulus. 

A special interest attaches to this fern from its being the only member of the great 
tropical group of the Cyatheacece which reaches Europe. Its footing, indeed, on this continent 
is but slight, consisting of, as far as known, but a single locality in Southern Spain, discovered 
in 1869. This is near Algeciras, the little town which faces Gibraltar across the bay. 

The head-quarters of D. Cnlcita are, apparently, in the Azores Islands, where it is very 
abundant in the woods, especially at an elevation of from 2,000 to 3,000 feet. There are specimens 
in the British Museum from S. Miguel, collected by Masson so far back as 1778. In Madeira 
the plant is not now common, being chiefly found near S. Vincent and on the north-west side 
of the island. When we add Teneriffe to its localities, we have traced the whole range of this 
species, which will be thus seen to be a marked member of that peculiar Atlantic flora of which 
a few species reach our western shores. The fern does not occur in the Canary Isles ; and 
the species from the mountains Oi Central America and the West Indies, often referred to 
D. Culcita, is an allied species — D. comifolia, Hook. 

Another name for this fern is Balatitium Culcita , Kaulf. 


European Ferns. 


possess but a single species of this genus ; but it is one of the most interesting, 
as well as one of the most beautiful of our British ferns, forming the solitary 
European representative of a large group of from eighty to a hundred species 
which are abundant in the moist, shady, tropical woods of the Eastern and 
Western hemispheres. Like the Filmy Ferns, to which they are closely 
allied, the Bristle Ferns vary a good deal in habit, the fronds being simple, 
pinnate, or decompound, but agreeing in their membranous pellucid texture. 
One of the most remarkable of the entire-fronded species is T. reniforme, a 
plant confined to New Zealand ; in this the fronds are rigid and erect, two 
to four inches broad, and somewhat kidney-shaped, the numerous involucres 
being crowded along their edges. Another singular species belonging to this 
section has been discovered by Hildebrandt in the Comoro Islands, and 
named T. Hildebrandtii ; in this the circular fronds, about the size of a florin, are closely 
pressed to the trunks of the trees on which it grows, and resemble a liver-moss on a large scale. 
In a few species, natives of tropical and South America, the sterile and fertile fronds are very 
different in appearance, the latter consisting of a narrow distichous spike ; but they are usually 
uniform, varying in length from two or three lines to eighteen inches or more. T. Bdrklianum, 
a Mauritian species, is the smallest known fern, with the exception of the Malayan Hymenophyllum 
parvifolium , which is about the same size ; it is calculated that it would take upwards of fifty 
fronds of these species to cover a square inch. Another Mauritian species, T. giganteum, is 
among the largest of the genus, having quadri-pinnatifid fronds from a foot to a foot-and-a-half or 
more in length, and about half as broad. T. pinnatum, a tropical American species, is a 
dimorphic plant, the fronds in the normal state being pinnate, and often rooting and 
proliferous at the apex ; in other specimens, however, they are long and narrow, about an 
inch broad throughout, and fringed with the fructification. T. membranaceum , which is also 
tropical American, has scarcely stalked, roundish, broad, irregular membranous fronds, which 
are fringed at the margin with a double row of peltate scales ; in habit it resembles the 
Peacock’s-tail Seaweed ( Padina pavonia). In several species the fronds are so finely divided 
as to present a feather-like appearance ; while in T. lucens and its allies the rachis is densely 
covered with brown hairs. 


This is known as the Killarney Fern. It has a long, black, tough, branched, wiry rhizome, 
having a tomentose or woolly appearance, which is due to the presence of very small-jointed 
brown bristly paleae, and in large and old specimens extending several yards in length. From 
this arise, at very long intervals, the pendulous fronds ; these are of a pellucid membranous, 
but firm, texture, which, as Mr. Newman observes, “particularly resembles some of the marine 
Algae they are supported on a long, round, smooth stipes, with a narrow membranous wing 
running down each side. The leafy portion of the frond is usually about four to six inches in 
length, but may be smaller, or even reach a foot long ; in outline it is usually ovate-oblong 
and acute, and it is elegantly bi- or tri-pinnatisect. The pinnae are alternate, the lower being 


J 3 

from one to three inches long, somewhat ovoid in shape, the upper ones becoming gradually 
smaller ; they are deeply cut into oval or oblong pinnules, which are themselves cut into linear 
bluntish teeth. A dark firm vein runs through each of these divisions, and is the more con- 
spicuous on account of the pale transparent green of the foliaceous portion of the frond ; so 
striking indeed is it, that the frond has been described as consisting of a series of three or 
four times branched rigid veins, bordered throughout by a thin pellucid wing. These veins 
end at the apex of the segments, when the fronds are barren ; but in fruit-bearing specimens 
they are produced beyond it into a bristle-like point, to the appearance of which the name 

“ Bristle-fern ” is due. This forms a receptacle, upon the base of which is situated the small 

roundish cluster of sporangia ; this is surrounded by a cup-shaped involucre, formed by the 
indusium and frond-segment, which are very similar in texture ; the cup is open at the top, 
which is very slightly two-lobed. The bristle-like receptacle projects a variable distance beyond 
the edges of the cup, as shown in the figure at the end of this article. The sporangia 

are sessile, pear-shaped, and provided with a complete transverse ring. The spores are pale, 

somewhat greenish in the centre, and very minutely granulated. The fronds in the Irish 
plant are three years in arriving at maturity ; when growing in a moist situation, they 
will remain beautifully green for many years, provided that the fruit be not matured ; in 
the latter case, however, the fronds change colour and begin to wither away as soon as 
the spores have been shed. Mr. Andrews, who studied the plant in its native Irish localities, 
is of opinion that the fructification is only matured in warm dry seasons, and that even 
then it is comparatively rare, the sporangia being duly formed, but failing to attain 
sufficient ripeness and elasticity to discharge the spores. In Madeira the fronds are stated 
to be fertile in their second year, and in Mexico they bear fruit the first year of their 

It was at one time thought that we possessed in Ireland a second species of Trichomanes, 
for which the name T. Andrewsii was proposed by Mr. Newman, in commemoration of its 
discoverer, Mr. Andrews ; this, in its most characteristic state, differs from T. radicans in having 
narrower and proportionately longer fronds, a scarcely tomentose rhizome, and receptacles 
produced very much beyond the involucres. But however different in extreme examples, it 
has been found that these characters are not of permanent value, intermediate specimens 
between the two forms being readily found. T. Andrewsii was originally found at Glouin 
Caragh, Co. Kerry, and subsequently at Killarney. 

The Killarney Fern has been reported of late years from various localities in England. 
Whether it is to be regarded as an introduced plant is perhaps open to question, but there 
can be no doubt that it grew in Yorkshire less than a century ago, and that it had then been 
known to grow there more than fifty years. In the third edition of Ray’s “Synopsis” (1724), 
this fern is mentioned as having been found by Dr. Richardson “at Belbank, scarce half a 
mile from Bingley, at the head of a remarkable spring, and nowhere else that he knows of.” 
There is no ground for the supposition that some other plant was mistaken for the Trichomanes, 
inasmuch as there is a specimen in one of the volumes of the Sloane Herbarium (vol. cccii., 
p. 66), in the British Museum, with a ticket appended in Dr. Richardson’s handwriting : — 
“ This beautyfull capilary I lately found in the moist and shady rocks nigh Bingley.” In the 
large herbarium of British plants contained in the collection of the British Museum there is 
also another specimen from the same locality collected by Hudson; and the following detailed 
account of the occurrence of the plant at Bingley is given in Bolton’s “Filices”: — “First 
discovered by Dr. Richardson in a little dark cavern under a dripping rock, a little below the 



European Ferns. 

spring of Elm Cragg Well, in Bell Bank, scarce half a mile from Bingley. In this place 
I saw it in plenty in the year 1758: afterwards, some alterations being made about the well, 
for the convenience of the proprietor, the cavern was destroyed, the plant perished, and was 

lost to Great Britain till the year 1782, at which time being engaged in this work, and 

passionately desirous to see the plant again in its growing state, after several researches in 
Bell Bank, I found a root under a dripping rock, to the left side of the current, and about 
fifteen yards above the cistern. From this root I have sent specimens to one or two of my 
friends, and have in my possession the best of them, from which this figure and description 

were taken.” In the same year (1782) the Trichomanes was found at Bell Bank by Mr. 

Teesdale ;* since which time it does not appear to have been observed there, although 
there is a specimen in the British Museum which is said to have been collected in Yorkshire 
in 1871. In 1867, the Trichomanes was found by Mr. Everard im Thurm, on a rock over- 
hanging the water about a quarter of a mile below the fall at St. Knighton’s Kieve, on the 

northern coast of Cornwall, about two miles from Tintagel Castle, and the same distance 

from Boscastle ; only one patch was seen, and the fronds were of small size, not much over 

two inches in height. The possibility of its introduction to this locality is suggested ; and 

the same suspicion attaches to the Rydal district of Westmoreland, where it was found on 
wet rocks in one of the fells by Mr. Walter Crouch about 1863. About this period it was 
recorded from the Snowdon district of Caernarvonshire, where it was found by two or three 
botanists, who prudently abstained from describing the exact spot. It has been stated that 
the fern was introduced into this district from Ireland by a Snowdon guide ; but there seems 
no doubt whatever that it had been known to occur there about thirty years before this 
date, in two distinct localities, and that the original discoverers of it, who carefully concealed 
their knowledge, were satisfied as to its genuine nativity. The Killarney Fern was also found 
in the Isle of Arran by a local fern-collector ; and it has been recorded, but apparently in 
error, from Derbyshire and Caermarthenshire. 

Although generally known as the Killarney Fern, the Trichomanes extends through a 
considerable portion of the south and south-west of Ireland, occurring on wet shady rocks in 
several localities in Kerry and Cork, as well as in the counties of Waterford, Limerick, 
Wicklow, and Tipperary : it was discovered at the Turk Waterfall, Killarney, in October, 
1805, by Mr. J. T. Mackay ; but in this locality it is almost, if not quite, extinct. The 
natives of the Killarney district are in the habit of offering to tourists specimens of Hymeno- 
pliyllinn IVilsoni as the “Killarney Fern;” and the superficial resemblance is sufficient to 
mislead those who are not acquainted with the true plant. It ranges in elevation from the 
sea-level to about 1,000 feet on Carrigeena, on the northern border of county Cork. Its 
distribution on the continent of Europe is extremely limited ; indeed, it is only known to occur 
in the shady woods of Gallecia, in Spain : Willkomm and Lange indicate it as found also in 
Portugal, but we find no other reference to it as occurring there. Its strongly “Atlantic” type 
is shown in this distribution, and by its occurrence in the Azores, Madeira, and Teneriffe. 
But if we take the somewhat broad view of the species adopted in the “ Synopsis Filicum,” we 
find it has a further very wide distribution : in Africa it is recorded from Angola and Fernando 
Po, as well as from Johanna Island; in Asia it occurs in the Himalayas, Japan, and Polynesia; 
and in tropical America it extends from Alabama, Mexico, and the West Indian Islands south- 
ward to Rio Janeiro. 

The plant is more correctly called T. speciosum , Willd. It has also been named T. ala Him, 

* See “Transactions of the Linnean Society,” v. 75. 



Hook; and T. brroisetum , Brown. It was regarded as merely a variety of the Tunbridge 
Fern by the older English botanists, who knew only the small Yorkshire specimens. 

This species has been very popular in cultivation since the introduction of the Wardian 
case ; a moist atmosphere, with shade and warmth, seem to satisfy all its requirements ; and 
it will grow and flourish in a common earthen pot, if this is covered with a bell-glass and 
allowed to stand in water. It was formerly, however, extremely difficult to grow successfully ; 
and Mr. Ward tells us that Fischer, the superintendent of the Petersburg Botanic Gardens, 
“ when he saw the plant growing in one of my cases, took off his hat, made a low bow to it, 
and said, ‘You have been my master all the days of my life.’” It will grow well in rough 
peat and sphagnum moss, or on a lump of sandstone, and is apparently capable of enduring 
a very low temperature. Mr. Backhouse says that, with him, “ though frozen into a mass of 
ice, which encrusted and buried it many inches deep for many weeks, it thawed out as fresh 
and fine as any one could desire.” The late Dr. Moore, of the Glasnevin Botanic Gardens, 
Dublin, was remarkably successful in growing the Killarney Fern, as well as the British species 
of Hymenophyllum ; the walls of a small greenhouse were literally carpeted with these plants, 
and their appearance was extremely beautiful. 

The name Trichomanes was not originally applied to the ferns with which it is now 
associated, but to an Asplenium , which is still known as Asplenium Trichomanes , so that 
the name and its meaning may be more appropriately considered when we come to speak of 
the last-named plant. 




European Ferns. 


'S is a large genus of ferns, including about eighty species of delicate plants, 
two only of which are found in Europe, the remainder being distributed 
through the temperate and tropical portions of the globe. They grow 
usually in moist places, upon rocks, or on the trunks of trees, often forming 
dense masses netted together by the branched thread-like rhizomes. They 
vary a good deal in size : some, such as H. parvifolium , a native of Moulmein, 
being minute plants, with stems only a line long, and tiny fronds scarcely 
more than twice that length ; others, as H. sericeum, from tropical America, 
have long narrow fronds, which are sometimes as much as two feet long, 
although a foot is their more general size. The fronds are occasionally simple, 
as in the case of the very distinct H. cruentum , a Chilian plant with reddish 
fronds three or four inches long and an inch or more broad in their lower portion ; 
but they are more usually either simply or twice or thrice pinnatifid. About half the species 
are smooth and free from hairs, the remainder being more or less ciliated, or hairy upon the 
surface. Seme beautiful species are in cultivation, such as H. sericeum already mentioned ; 
H. caudiculatum , a Brazilian species with broad fronds, the ends of which are lengthened out 
into tail-like points ; H. multifidum , from New Zealand and the islands of the Pacific, having 
finely-divided fronds about six inches long and nearly as broad ; and many more, chiefly from 
New Zealand and the West Indies. The Filmy Ferns are somewhat difficult to cultivate ; a 
very damp atmosphere is absolutely essential to them, and the amateur will find the Wardian 
case the most suitable treatment. Some succeed best upon logs of wood or tree-ferns, while 
others will grow well in a mixture of bog-moss and fibrous peat, with lumps of sandstone, 
the drainage being carefully attended to, as the water must not be allowed to stagnate. 

A very natural group (the Hymenophyllece ) is formed by the two genera Hyinenophyllum 
and Trichomanes , the species resembling each other greatly in form and habit, as well as in 
the pellucid membranous texture of the fronds. They are technically distinguished from all 
other ferns by the sori being borne at the margin instead of at the back of the fronds, 
the spore-cases being contained in deep urn-shaped cavities, and clustered round hair-like 
receptacles, which are the ends of the veins of the fronds. In Hyuicnophyllum the indusium is 
more or less deeply two-lipped or two-valved, while in Trichomanes it is entire; and this 
constitutes one principal technical difference between the two genera, the other being that 
the receptacles in Hymenophyllum are short, and included within the indusium ; while in 
Trichomanes they are continued beyond it, being often elongated and filiform, or bristle-like, 
in appearance. 


This and the next species are the smallest of our British ferns, and from their incon- 
spicuous olive-green hue and insignificant size, are frequently overlooked. They grow in dense 
masses, the slender black wiry filiform creeping rhizomes forming a matted network, from which 
arise the short membranous fronds. In the present species these are about one and a half to 
three inches long, and have a delicate cylindrical stipes ; they are ovate-lanceolate in outline, 
acuminate, deeply pinnatisect, a narrow wing of membrane connecting the pinnae into one 

Cassells European Ferns. 

Vincent Brocks I>Egr& Son , -iith. . 






frond ; each segment is short and pinnatifid, and spreads vertically ; the alternate segments 
are narrow, obtuse, and distantly but conspicuously serrate. No stomata occur on the fronds 
of this or the other species. The fructification is usually produced in the upper half of the 
frond, the sori, which have two nearly round short compressed valves or segments conspicuously 
serrate on their upper margin (indusium), being borne usually at the apex of the first vein on 
the upper side at the base of each pinna. The fronds are all annual, and more elegant than 
those of H. unilaterale. 

The Tunbridge Fern likes shade, warmth, and shelter; it may be grown readily under a 
bell glass, especially if two small apertures be provided towards the top. It occurs naturally 
on moist rocks or old tree-trunks amongst mosses, which it much resembles ; when growing on 
the perpendicular surfaces of shaded rocks, the fronds are often nearly pendulous, which is 
also the case with the next species. 

H. tunbridgense , as understood by English authors, is a fern of limited range, occurring in 
Britain, France, Belgium, the Pyrenees, Saxony, the Tyrol, Italy, and Corsica ; but the authors 
of the “Synopsis Filicum” include under the same name several 
plants which have been regarded as distinct by various authors, 
and the range is thus extended to South Africa, Mauritius, 

Madeira, the Azores, the Auckland Islands, New South Wales, 

Jamaica, Venezuela, Chili, and New Zealand, and this without 
including H. Wilsoni, which is regarded in the “ Synopsis ” as a 
variety of H. tunbridgense. In Britain it occurs, or has occurred, 
in the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Sussex, Kent, 

Glamorgan, Merioneth, Westmoreland, Cumberland, Northumber- 
land, Dumfries, Renfrew, Peebles, Stirling, Argyle, and Dumbarton, 
finding its north limit in Mull and the islands of the Clyde, and 
ascending to twelve hundred feet. In Ireland it is abundant in 
some of the western districts, especially in Kerry and Cork, but 
rare in the east centre and north of the island. From the greater 
part of central Europe, and all the north and east of the Continent 
and Asia, it is quite absent. 

The name tunbridgense commemorates the original discovery 
of the species near Tunbridge Wells, in Kent, some years before 1682, in which latter year 
it was found by Ray in Westmoreland : it is not now to be found in the neighbourhood of 


This has a general resemblance in appearance and habit to the last species, with which it 
was for a long time confounded : the two are certainly nearly allied, but there are differences 
between them which a practised eye can readily detect, and which seem sufficiently constant, at 
any rate so far as British plants are concerned. H. Wilsoni is a larger and less elegant plant than 
H. tunbridgense , and is also more rigid and more coarsely reticulated. The fronds are not annual, 
but grow on year after year for several seasons, reaching, it is stated, as much as ten inches in 
length, though this must be of rare occurrence, but about six inches is a not unfrequent size. 
They differ in colour from those of H. tunbridgense, being of a darker green ; Mr. Wilson describes 
the hue of the last-named species as “ glossy green.” The pinnee have a strongly recurved 
habit. The sporangia, which are more or less stalked, are usually solitary on each pinna, but 


European Ferns. 

occupy the same position as in the last species ; next the rachis they are more conspicuous 
than those of H. ; the valves or segments are ovate, and their margins are quite 
entire. The habit of H. Wilsoni is more erect ; it affects somewhat different situations, and 
often occurs on bleak and exposed rocks. 

In geographical range it is a more northern plant than H. twibridgense, but the two 

species are sometimes found growing intermixed. In England it is recorded for Cornwall 

and Devon, Stafford, Salop, and most of the Welsh counties, Lancashire, Yorkshire, and the 
northern counties ; it is pretty generally distributed through Scotland, finding its north limit 
in the Orkney and Shetland Isles. In Ireland it is much more frequent than the last, occurring 

in hilly districts in all parts of the country. Its Continental distribution is much more restricted 

than that of H. twibridgense, the Faroe Islands and Norway being the only extra-British 
localities in Europe for the plant. Beyond the continent of Europe, however, it is recorded by 
different writers under different names from South Africa, the island of Bourbon, Madeira, and 
the Azores, the Fiji group, New Zealand and Australia, Chili, Guatemala, the Andes of Peru, 
and Brazil. Like the last it is absent from Asia. 

The plant is more generally known under the name of H. unilateralc, Bory. Its name, 
Wilsoni, was given it by the late Sir William J. Hooker, in compliment to the late William 
Wilson, of Warrington, an assiduous British botanist, who added several species to the British 
flora, and whose “ Bryologia Britannica” will long remain the standard work upon British 
mosses. He died in 1871, and his unequalled collection of mosses now forms part of the 

treasures of the Botanical Department of the British Museum. 
In the Supplement to “English Botany” (Tab. 2686), the 
plant is figured and described by Mr. Wilson, who says : 
“ So very different in aspect is this truly distinct species from 
the far more elegant H. twibridgense, that no botanist who has 
had the good fortune to see them luxuriantly growing in com- 
pany in the rocky woods which border the wildly-sequestered 
Upper Lake of Killarney, would hesitate to pronounce them 
two species. It was there that, in the summer of 1829, I first 
became acquainted with the true H. twibridgense, and had at 
once the gratification of clearing up any doubts concerning 
the spurious kind, with which, as the common Hyinenophyllum 
of North Wales, Cumberland, and Perthshire, I had long been 
imperfectly familiar, and also of unexpectedly adding another 
fern to the British flora. Hudson, who. probably had seen and 
gathered both kinds, does not notice this species as a variety ; 
but various botanists of modern times have suspected, though 
they did not ascertain nor promulgate, the existence of two British species. ... So 
constantly has this species been confounded with H. twibridgense, that it is perhaps impos- 
sible to fix any certain reference to the works of Ray, or of any later author : it appears 
also to have been wholly unobserved on the Continent.” 


Cassells European Ferns 

Vincent- Br - :te Day& San Mi . 




3. OLD SORUS UNDER SURFACE (s.times natural size) 4.0LD SORUS UPPER SURFACE. /s times natu p. al size) 

Da vallia. 



is a large and handsome genus, having its head-quarters in the tropics of 
the Old World, and containing about a hundred species. As might be 
expected among so many, we find a great diversity in form and size — some 
of the species, indeed, differing so extensively from each other in habit, that 
were it not for the technical character, it would be impossible to trace the 
connection between them. A large number resemble the Hare’s-foot Fern 
( D . canariensis), which is the solitary European representative of the genus, in 
general appearance. One small group contains species remarkable on account 
of their climbing habits, the fronds being several feet long, and the rachis in 
two West Indian species ( D . aculeata and D. uncinella ) being clothed with 
scattered prickles, and somewhat bramble-like in habit. The former of these 
attracted the attention of Plunder, who, writing in 1703, speaks of it as having a stem no larger 
than a writing-pen, but extending in every direction by means of long branches, which are as 
hard as wood and quite black and woolly. The whole plant resembles a bramble rather than 
a fern, in consequence of its spiny character. It occupies considerable space, climbing over the 
forest-trees near which it grows. In Hispaniola, Plumier speaks of having seen a whole field 
entirely covered with it, “ in a place which the buccaneers call ‘ spiny bottom.’ The same 
buccaneers call the plant the French Fern.” 

Another section, which is often regarded as a separate genus under the name Humata, and 
is very distinct in habit, is dimorphic, that is to say, the fronds are of two kinds, barren and 
fertile, and very different in appearance, the barren ones being sometimes entire ; D. parallcla 
at first sight almost exactly resembles the common Polypody (. Polypodium vulgare ) ; these 
are natives for the most part of the Malay Peninsula. D. elegans has long pinnate fronds, 
which are sometimes two feet in length, the sori being borne upon the edges of the pinnae ; 
D. parvula , on the other hand, is, as its name implies, of very small size, the fronds being less 
than an inch in length — produced at short intervals along the slender rhizome ; in cultivation 
it will do well upon a block of wood, or upon the stem of a tree fern. Some species have 
fronds so finely divided that when mounted on paper they resemble most delicate lace ; of 
these, a Fijian species, D. fceniculacea, having, as its name implies, fennel-like leaves, is perhaps 
the most striking. 

The species of Davallia are not difficult to cultivate ; they grow well in a compost of 
fitrous peat and sand, to which about one-fifth of fresh turfy loam may be added ; they require 
to be thoroughly well-drained, although they like plenty of water when growing. Besides D. 
canariensis, another species, D. pyxidata, which much resembles it, has long been in cultivation in 
England, having been introduced from Australia by George Caley in 1808. Many Davallias are 
now grown, the genus having lately been very popular ; one of the handsomest is D. Mooreana, 
a native of Borneo, which has gracefully arching and much divided pale green fronds about four 
feet in length, and nearly as broad at the base ; a specimen, recently described, produced 
at the same time about 150 fully developed fronds, having a spread of 8£ feet. 
Another recent introduction, D. Tyermani, is a native of West Tropical Africa, and is readily 
distinguished by its silvery rhizome and dark glossy fronds. One species ( D . Novce-Z elan dud) 


European Ferns. 

is, as its name denotes, a native of New Zealand, and is interesting as having secured a 
temporary footing among British plants. It was found, in 1874, growing on the lower 
stonework of a bridge over the river Swale, near Thirsk, Yorkshire, having probably been 
washed from some garden by a flood. (See “Journal of Botany, 1875,” p. 78.) 


This pretty species is now familiar as a cultivated plant, under the name of the Hare’s-foot 
Fern ; it has long been an inhabitant of our greenhouses, having been introduced to the Royal 
Gardens at Hampton Court before 1699. It is readily known by its remarkable rhizome or 
caudex, which is quite above ground, creeping for a considerable distance, and climbing on or 
over rocks, walls, and trees, and when grown in pots speedily extending over their edges. This 
creeping aerial caudex is not of great diameter, not exceeding indeed half an inch, and produces 
many short branches ; it is cylindrical, and sends off roots from its under side ; and owes its pecu- 
liar appearance to the very dense covering of scales or paleae with which it is completely enveloped. 
These scales are of considerable length and closely overlap one another ; they are lanceolate-linear, 
broad at the base but tapering to a long point, and delicate greyish orange in colour, paler at 
the edges ; at the extremities of the rhizome they form a blunt rounded cushion, from which the 
plant gets its name. The fronds are given off singly at considerable intervals on the elongated 
caudex, the growing point of which is always much in advance of the youngest frond ; they vary 
from 6 to 18 inches in height, of which the stipes occupies fully one-third. This latter is erect, 
stiff, rounded beneath, but deeply channelled along its upper surface, and articulated with the 
rhizome ; the base is surrounded with the paleae of the caudex, but no scales or hairs of any kind 
occur on itself. The general outline of the frond is triangular or deltoid, not much longer than 
broad, with the wide-spreading pinnae gradually diminishing in length upwards, few in number 
and placed alternately. It is tri- or quadri-pinnatisect in division ; the pinnules are deltoid- 
lanceolate, and the ultimate divisions are lanceolate or oval, and deeply cut into narrow segments; 
the texture is coriaceous, and the colour bright green. The sori are terminal, each being borne 
at the summit of a vein which is thickened below its origin, and divides into two branches which 
run along the margins of the sorus, and are carried out beyond it into the two teeth of the fertile 
segments which project one on either side of the sorus ; the indusium is attached at the base and 
sides so as to form half a cup, the semi-circular upper margin being free. The spores are yellow, 
oblong, and worty. 

This Fern, like Dicksonia Culcita, is one of that type of plants to which the name Atlantic is 
applied, and has very much the same area as that species. It is in Europe confined to Portugal 
and south-western Spain, occurring in the former country frequently about Lisbon, the Serra de 
Cintra, &c., and in the latter in Gallicia and Andalusia ; in the latter province being particularly 
abundant about S. Roque, Algeciras, and the southernmost part of Spain — Tarifa. It grows 
especially over old stems of cork-oaks and olives, and shows a special liking for the neighbourhood 
of the sea. Beyond European bounds this species of Davallia has but a few localities. It is found 
in a few places on the opposite side of the Straits of Gibraltar, in Morocco near Tangiers ; and it is 
a well-known fern in Madeira, the Cape Verde Islands, and Teneriffe. It does not grow in the 
Azorean group. 

Linnaeus called this fern by two names ; it is his Potypodium lusitanicum, and also 
T richomanes canariense. 


2 I 


ITH only one exception, the members of this small but elegant genus are 
reckoned among the ferns of Europe, and will therefore be considered in detail. 
The geographical distribution of the genus is thus exceptional among ferns, 
its head-quarters being found in the temperate zones of both hemispheres. 
C. fragilis is one of the most widely-distributed plants of the order ; the 
others are more limited in their range. The extra-European species alluded to 
above is Cystopteris bulbifera, a very distinct plant, native of North America, 
extending from Canada southward to Virginia and North Carolina. It is 
the largest of the genus, the fronds being sometimes as much as a foot in 
length, and much narrowed at the apex ; but its most characteristic feature, 
to which it owes its name, is to be found in the large fleshy bulblets 
which are formed beneath the frond in the axils of the upper pinnae. These fall to the 
ground, and form new plants, which are about two years in coming to maturity ; and the 
propagation of the species takes place to a great extent in this manner. 

All the species of Cystopteris are well worthy of cultivation. They succeed best in rather 
stiff soil, care being taken that water is allowed to rest upon the crowns during the period of 
rest. They grow well also in cocoa-nut refuse mixed with a little loam, the pot — if grown 
as pot-plants — being about half filled with loose stones, so as to secure thorough drainage. 
As a rule, they do best in shady situations. 

The name Cystopteris is formed of two Greek words, and signifies Bladder Fern, by 
which title the plants of the genus are often referred to in books ; the allusion is to the 
hood-shaped indusium, which will be fully described hereafter. 


This is a pretty fern, of no great size, but rather remarkable for the great variability in 
the form of its pinnae. It possesses a small, short, prostrate caudex, bright-brown in colour, 
with numerous long roots, and set at the growing end with many thin ovate, acute orange 
scales toothed at the edges. The fronds are numerous, and are given off in close proximity, 
so as to appear to grow in tufts. The stipites are slender and remarkably brittle, to which 
peculiarity the plant owes its specific name, fragilis ; they are brown, and nearly bare of 
palese, except at the very base, and are nearly as long as the leafy part of the frond ; the 
whole is usually under one foot in length, and generally only about six inches. The light- 
green delicate fronds are oblong-lanceolate or elongated, the pinnae being largest about the 
middle of the frond, and decreasing in length towards both ends. They are usually bi- 
pinnate, with the pinnae ovate in outline, and consisting of oblong-ovate pinnules, which are 
again cut into oblong obtuse segments or teeth. The sori are dorsal, small and circular, 
arranged in a row along either side on the lateral veins of the pinnule, often, however, becoming 
confluent, and covering much of the frond ; they possess a peculiar indusium, which, though it 
covers the whole sorus at first, afterwards becomes an ovate bract-like, somewhat hooded mem- 
brane attached beneath one side of it, and is at length torn and reflexed, and may even wholly 


European Ferns. 

disappear. The sporangia are at first pale, but become brownish-black and shining : the spores 
are round or oblong, and covered with small prickly protuberances. 

Such, at least, is the usual form of this 
plant, but any one who has examined many 

examples of it in a living state must be 

aware of its great variability. 
Hence has arisen the distinguish- 
ing of a great many varieties, 
several of which are described 
as species, and to this we owe 
the very formidable list of sy- 
nonyms which we find in the 
“Nature-Printed British Ferns,” 
and elsewhere. In this magnifi- 
cent work, Mr. Moore groups the 
numerous named varieties in two divisions, excluding the typical form, and also the very distinct 
variety Dickicana, to which we shall refer later on. In the first group', Angiistatoe, are placed 
the narrower pinnuled, often large and inciso-dentate forms, and of these he takes as the 





type the var. angustata of Smith, who considers this the same as the Polypodium rhceticuin of 
Dickson and Bolton, though not of Linnaeus. This form is apparently confined to Europe 
and is nowhere very common; the “ Index Filicum ” records it only from Scotland, Germany, 
and Italy. Our figure shows this plant (the 
upper specimen), and with it another narrow- 
pinnuled form, which has been called C. anthris- 
cifolia, in which the lobes of the pinnules are 
notched at the apex ; this, however, Mr. Moore 
does not distinguish from typical fragilis. In 
the second group, Dentatce, are placed the 
blunter-pinnuled, less-toothed, or blunt-toothed 
forms, of which C. dentata, Sm.— a plant of wide 
distribution— may be taken as the type. This 
has small fronds, four to eight inches in length 
which are sometimes simply pinnatisect, the 
segments being bluntly toothed, broadly evate, 
and less divided, having the sori near the edge. 

This is given in our upper figure below ; the 
lower one representing a form which has been 
called C. cynapifolia , but which Mr. Moore does 
not separate from C. fragilis. A curious per- 
manent monstrosity (var. interrupta ) is figured in 
“Nature-Printed Ferns;” it was found in West- 
moreland, by Mr. F. Clowes, and is remarkable for 
the long intervals between the pinnae, the fronds 
thus gaining a curiously-elongated appearance. 

Two varieties are so distinct as to require 
special notice. The first of these, called by Mr. 

Moore var. sempervirens , is a native of Madeira, 
which is said to have been found both in Devon- 
shire and Kent, some uncertainty, however, 
attaching to its claims to rank as a British plant. 

The striking differences presented by this form, 
which Mr. Moore thinks may be entitled to 
specific rank, are — its evergreen character, the 
plant continuing to grow, in a cool greenhouse, 
throughout the winter, all the other species being 
quite dormant : the toughness of the stipes as 
opposed to the brittleness noticeable in all the other forms, from which, as has been already 
remarked, the species takes its name; “the greater size of the anterior basal pinnules, and 
“ the glandular hairy vestiture of the indusium, which is conspicuous in the fresh plant. 
This is the only form of C. fragdis — if, indeed, it be not a distinct species — which occurs 
in the Canary Islands ; it is also recorded from Malaga. The other variety, a very remaikable 
form, is C. Dickieana , Sim, which has very broad, blunt pinnules, with rounded overlapping 
segments, and the general form of the frond oblong. This variety was discovered by Dr. 
Dickie in a damp cave near the sea near Aberdeen, and has not been gathered elsewhere in 


European Ferns. 

Britain or abroad ; it must be therefore regarded as an accidental, or extreme form of C. 
dentata. Milde refers it to the following species (C. alpina ) as a variety. 

The distribution of Cystopteris fragilis under one or the other of its forms is a very wide one, 
as it extends into the extreme arctic regions and up to great elevations, whilst it also grows in 
temperate climates almost down to the sea-level. It is found especially in the interstices of 
rocks and stones, and on the sides and tops of the rough walls of hilly districts, and in Great 
Britain and Ireland is very common in the north, fairly so in the west, and rarer or nearly absent 
in the southern and eastern counties of England. Throughout northern Europe it is very common, 
and its range extends north to Iceland and Nova Zembla. It is found in all European countries, 
but in the south and Mediterranean region it is restricted to mountainous districts; thus in the 
Sierra Nevada of Spain it attains 10,000 feet, and in Sicily it grows on Mount Etna at an 
elevation of 9,000 feet. The Fern is found in Cyprus, in the Lebanon, the Caucasus, Persia, 
most parts of the Russian Empire, Kamtschatka, North China to the Himalayas (where it ascends 
to 16,000 feet), and other parts of Asia. In South Africa it is frequent, extending north into Natal 
and Abyssinia. In the New World it extends over the greater part of the North American 
Continent, where it is very common, reaching far into the Arctic regions, and extending south to 
California and Mexico. In South America it grows along the whole length of the Andean 
chain, also in the West India islands, and it is found as far south as Chili. It also grows in 
Tasmania; and is thus as nearly cosmopolitan as any plant can well be. 


By many good botanists this is not considered specifically different from the last, C. 
fragilis ; even Prof. Babington, in the last edition of his “Manual of British Botany,” places it, 
“with much doubt ” certainly, under that species. We, however, rather follow the opinion of Sir 
W. J. Hooker, who considered it a good species, and maintained it as such in the “ Synopsis.” 

The caudex and form of the fronds do not differ much from the last, but the stipes is less 
brittle and juicy. The fronds are bipinnate or almost tripinnate ; the ultimate divisions being 
deeply cut, very fine, narrow and linear, obtuse and slightly notched or cloven at the end, and 
from their number and close arrangement they give a crisped appearance, reminding one of the 
Parsley-Fern. A character requiring, however, minute examination, is relied upon by some 
botanists to distinguish this species from the last in the veinlet of the segments, which in this 
terminates in the notch just alluded to, whilst in C. fragilis the veins run to the termination of the 

This species is a rare one, and has a distribution of limited extent, chiefly in Southern 
Europe and Asia Minor. It is found in the Pyrenees, near Gavarni, and is not unfrequent in 
the Swiss Alps; it also occurs in the Jura. There are several localities in Spain and in Italy, 
also in Styria and Dalmatia, and this range extends to Greece, the Cilician Taurus mountains 
and Syria. The Greek plant of Mount Taygetus at 5,000 feet, called Aspidium taygetense , 
appears to be referable to this species. Britain seems to lie rather beyond the natural boundary 
of this beautiful Alpine Fern, but C. alpina has had a place in our Floras. It grew for many 
years on one or more garden walls in the village of Low Leyton, Essex, where it seems to 
have been first recorded about 1788. In the early part of the century it was abundant there, 
and was certainly gathered there so recently as 1840 or 1841. In 1861 it was searched for in 
vain, and is probably now extinct in the locality where it could not have had any claim to be 
considered native, but had been no doubt introduced. The other British localities are all doubtful, 

Cassells European Ferns. 



(natural size , . 



2 5 

but Professor Babington gives “Teesdale, Mr. J. Backhouse” with certainty, which locality, so rich 
in rare plants, should be carefully examined for the plant. Mr. Backhouse is said to have 
gathered it there in 1872. 

C. alpina is not, as here understood, very variable, and may always be readily known by 
its long narrow segments as described above. 


This species of Bladder-Fern was only made known to botanists in 1855, and has been 

found as yet in but few localities. The frond is larger than that of C. fragilis, and though 

like it in texture, in form it more approaches the next, C. montana. Its rhizome is creeping and 
branched, set at the end with short ovate palese, which have the margins entire. The fronds 
are from twelve to fifteen inches in length, more than half of which length is occupied by the 
slender, smooth, delicate stipes, which has scarcely any scales upon it. The frond itself is 
triangular, the lowest pinnae being the longest ; it is about six inches in length and the same 

wide ; the pinnae are distant and wide-spreading, oblong-lanceolate, acute, and tapering to a 

slender point, and are divided into ovate distant pinnules, which are very deeply cut into 
oblong blunt or wedge-shaped segments with several small teeth at the end. The sori are 
small, few, and distant, close to the edge of the segments, and the indusium is densely 
glandular. The spores are minutely tubercled. 

This species is a native of mountain woods at 6,000 feet elevation and lower, in several 
places in the Sudetes mountains of Moravia; it has also occurred in Transylvania, Galicia, 
and several parts of the Carpathian chain, and has been found in Eastern Siberia near Yakutzk. 
The plant varies like the rest of the genus in the width of the segments of the pinnules. 


This rare and beautiful species is quite distinct from the rest of the genus to which it belongs, 
and indeed presents a strong similarity to Polypodium Robertianum. Its rhizome is long and 
creeping, nearly black, and covered with large yellowish paleae in the younger portions, the 
fronds being given off at longish intervals. The stipites are slender, erect, rather wavy, longer 
than the fronds, and provided very sparingly, chiefly below, with scattered lax ovate acute 
scales. The fronds are distinctly triangular in outline, about four to six inches in length, and 
about the same in breadth at the base, the two lowest pinnae are very much the longest, all are 
wide-spreading, and the frond rapidly tapers to an acute point ; the pinnules are ovate-oblong, 
spreading, acute, or tapering, markedly alternate, and those on the lower side of the pinnae, 
especially of the two basal pinnae, are very much larger than those on the upper, so that the 
pinnae are strongly lop-sided ; the pinnules are again divided into tertiary leaflets, which are 
ovate and very deeply cleft nearly to the base into broadish pinnatifid segments, with two or 
three acute teeth at the end of each division. The sori are small, and arranged in two lines, one 
on either side of the tertiary divisions ; the indusium is ovate acute, sometimes toothed near 
the top, and smooth, but in old specimens it often becomes shrivelled and reflexed, and requires 
careful examination for its detection. 

There is not much variability in this beautiful species, the chief difference in plants from 
various localities being in their size. This is noticeable in the English, or rather Scotch specimens, 



European Ferns. 

which seldom attain the dimensions given above, the frond being usually nearer three than four 
inches in diameter, and similar small specimens occur from other localities. 

C. alpina is one of our rarest alpine species, and has only occurred in a few localities in 
the highest of our Scotch mountains. It was discovered on Ben Lawers, in 1836, by Mr. W. 
Wilson, and has been since collected in Glen Lyon, Glen Lochay, and a few other spots in the 
Breadalbane Mountains. We have also seen specimens from the head of Glen Callater, Braemar, 
in Aberdeenshire, and from Glen Islay in the Clova mountains in Forfarshire. Tracing the 
distribution abroad, we find this fern fairly abundant in the mountainous parts of Scandinavia, 
extending into Finmark ; and it occurs in most of the mountain chains of Europe, the Pyrenees, 
the Swiss Alps, the Tyrol, the Carpathians, and the Apennines. It has also been found in 
France, in Dauphine, and in the Jura, and shows a special predilection for calcareous rocks. In 
Eastern Europe it does not occur, nor is it met with in the whole Asiatic Continent, with the 
exception of Kamtschatka. It, however, puts in an appearance in North America in the Rocky 
Mountains, especially their eastern side, and is also found in Labrador. In all its localities C. 
montana may be considered to be a rare species. 



2 7 


CCORDING to the authors of the “ Synopsis Filicum,” this very large genus 
contains 100 species, and is represented more or less fully in almost every part 
of the world. They are for the most part large ferns, varying a good deal 
in habit and in the divisions of the frond, the rhizome being creeping or 
partly erect. Several representatives of the genus have long been inhabitants 
of our greenhouses, but some of these are natives of Europe, which will be 
considered at length further on. It is remarkable that nearly all the 
variegated ferns in cultivation belong to this genus ; the best known and 
most popular of them is the variety of Pteris crctica which is known in 
gardens as albo-lineata, in which a broad and strongly marked band of white 
runs up the centre of each pinna. A species of wide distribution in both 
hemispheres — P. quadriaurita — produces two very striking varieties, which have been figured 
and described as species : the first, P. argyrcea, like the variety of P. cretica mentioned above, 
has a more or less distinctly marked band of white running down the centre of the frond ; 
this is an East Indian plant : the other, P. tricolor, is one of the most striking of variegated 
plants, whether ferns or otherwise ; the centre of each pinna is of a bright rosy-red, with a 
margin of white, both being set off by the bright shining green of the other portion of the 
frond ; like the last, this is a native of the East Indies. 

One of the most common extra-European garden species is Pteris serrulata, a common plant 
in China which has recently been detected in Japan and Natal. It was introduced in 1770 by Mr. 
James Gordon. It is from a foot and a half to two feet high, with ovate pellucid bipinnate 
fronds, the pinnae (especially the terminal ones) being much elongated. This peculiarity is 
remarkably developed in a recently introduced variety known as P. serndata Leyi, in which all the 
pinnae are contracted into slender serrate tails. This is the species which has been already alluded 
to in our introduction as affording an example of non-sexual reproduction from the prothallium. 


This is the commonest and most familiar of all Ferns, and attracts but little attention even 
from the lover of these plants, though its large size, remarkable structure, and bright fresh colour 
render it a very notable species. 

The Bracken has a subterranean branching rhizome or caudex creeping for a long distance, 
and giving off irregularly numerous slender dark-coloured root fibres ; it attains a diameter 
of nearly half an inch, is white within but externally brown, being densely covered with a fine 
close, velvety coat of short dark hairs ; there are no scales or paleae. The depth beneath the 
surface of the soil at which the rhizome runs is usually 3 or 4 inches, but it is said sometimes to 
“dip deeply and almost perpendicularly” to a depth of as many as 15 feet, and it grows with 
great rapidity. The fronds come off either rather closely or at longer intervals ; when first 
appearing above ground they are remarkable in having the whole leafy portion bent over and 
pressed closely to the stipes. This latter is about half the length of the frond, and quite erect ; it 
shows a remarkable difference between the portion beneath the ground connected with the caudex 

European Ferns. 

and that in the air ; the former is considerably swollen, rounded, and covered like the caudex 
with th ' same dark brown fine felt, but it tapers again at the very base ; the upper part is quite 
smooth and shining, yellowish green or pale orange, flat above but much rounded beneath, and 
when mature rather sharply angular. The stipes is not articulated with the caudex, but after 
withering the lowest part remains attached to it. 

On a section through the stipes, especially through the thickened lower portion, the familiar 
“ eagle ” or “ oak-tree ” is brought into view. This is formed by the fibro-vascular bundles, which 
are ten to twenty in number, being arranged in a singular way round the central dark mucilaginous 
portion. The fronds are among the largest of our native species, and, with the stipes, attain under 
favourable circumstances, 8 or over io ft. in height ; 3 or 4 ft. is a more usual height, and when 
grown on very poor or rocky soil the whole frond is sometimes but a few inches high. The 

general form of the leafy portion is nearly triangular, especially in small specimens ; in large ones 
the triangle is drawn out so as to be somewhat oblong, the two lowest pinnae are, however, 
always much the longest ; the composition is either bipinnate or tripinnate, and the rachis 
stiff, hard, shining, and deeply channelled on the upper surface. The pinnae are very large, 
always opposite, ovate or oblong-ovate in outline, and distantly placed ; their pinnules are 
alternate, closely placed, linear-oblong, but gradually tapering from the broad base, acute or 
drawn out into a long point. Each pinnule is divided into sessile, spreading, triangular-ovate, 
or oblong, or nearly linear segments, blunt at the end, and either quite entire at the edge, 
more or less wavy, or, the lower ones especially, further divided into blunt, oblong, or 
triangular lobes : these variations are shown in the above figures. The frond is smooth 
above, but covered beneath with fine white hairs ; its texture is thick and leathery, and the 
colour bright pale green. The central vein in each segment is strongly marked ; the lateral 
ones are faint and fine, and usually twice forked before reaching the margin, where they fall 
into a fine marginal vein which extends round the w r hole segment. 




T natural size 




When the frond is fertile the margin of the segments is strongly and stiffly recurved, and 
the doubling back is continued by a delicate membranous curtain continuous with the edge of the 
segment ; this is by some authors considered an indusium, by others as a portion of the frond, 
and it may be termed a false indusium. It covers the sporangia, which are arranged in a 
continuous line of sori along the whole length of the marginal vein above noticed, and it is worthy 
of particular remark that there is beneath the line of fructification a second membrane similar 
to, but shorter than, the first, and concealed by the sporangia ; both membranes have a delicate 
fringe of hair-like processes. The lower one must be considered as a true indusium, and its 
presence distinguishes P. aquilina from the other species of the genus here described ; it is said, 
however, to be sometimes absent. The spores are yellow, slightly granular, and tetrahedral- 
globose in shape. The peculiar double indusial membrane has led some botanists to make 
a separate genus of this plant, and it has been named Eupteris by Newman, and Ornithopteris 
by Agardh. 

It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that the Bracken is found all over the world, for, with 
the exception of the extreme north and south, this is almost strictly the case. The Fern, 
however, puts on a rather different appearance in different parts of the globe, and the list of 
names which it has consequently received is very formidable ; most of them are given in 
Hooker’s “ Species Filicum yet, considering the very great extent of its distribution, it cannot 
be considered a very variable species. The following are the varieties recognised by Hooker in 
the work above referred to : — 1. glabra, with the fronds smooth or but slightly downy beneath. 
This is abundant in Europe, North America, and North Asia, and extends into South Africa, 
South China, Java, the Pacific Isles, and Brazil. 2. lanuginosa , with the fronds silky-tomentose 
beneath, and the pinnules more regularly pinnatifid : this is even more widely distributed, and 
is especially common in hot countries, as throughout tropical Africa, India, Penang, Sandwich 
Islands, Mauritius, Jamaica. 3. caudata, a West Indian and Central American form, with narrow 
linear segments, with the false involucres nearly meeting across the smooth back. 4. esculenta, 
which also has remote linear pinnules often running together, and decurrent, narrow, coriaceous, 
and smooth ; the decurrent base usually forms a rounded lobe or short wing to the rachis ; 
this is the common form in the Southern Hemisphere, and is often reckoned a separate species ; 
it is abundant in Australia, New Zealand, and Norfolk Island, and is found in the Feejees, 
tropical America, the West Indies, and rarely in India. 

In this country P. aquilina grows abundantly in all suitable spots, and forms a familiar 
feature of English scenery. For its due growth in luxuriance a fairly deep and light soil is 
necessary, and hence, probably, it is a rarer plant on chalky and limestone formations than in 
other districts. Heaths, borders of fields, and especially open places in woods or forest lands, are 
the favourite habitats of the Bracken. The range in altitude in this country has been found to 
agree very closely with corn cultivation, and Pteris is thus never an alpine plant. In no parts 
of the Scotch Highlands does it reach higher than 1,900 or 2,000 ft., and it has been employed 
by geographical botanists as a convenient test of elevation and boundary line between alpine 
and non-alpine vegetation. 

Passing by slight varieties, a few words must be said about a puzzling little fern frequently 
met with in wet seasons in the chinks of brick walls and similar places, which has been mistaken 
for Maidenhair more than once. It is usually but a few inches high, very delicate in texture, with 
the frond slightly divided into wide segments, and never produces any fructification. This 
is nothing but the young “ seedling ” state of the Bracken, the spores of which have germinated 
in an unsuitable position ; such little ferns are often seen on walls in cities ; thus on the Tower 



European Ferns. 

of London a few years back it was abundant, as recorded in the “ Flora of Middlesex.” The 
same form comes up frequently in hot-houses. Occasionally it develops into a large plant, while 
still retaining its juvenile characters, and then presents a very singular appearance ; in this form 
it is sometimes met with in woods, where it attracts attention by its delicate texture. Specimens 
in the Herbarium of the British Museum, collected by Mr. T. Kirk at Coventry, grew profusely 
over the floor (composed of mortar) of a deep pit excavated for a swimming bath ; in this 
situation the fronds attained four feet and upwards in length, but were unable to bear their own 
weight ; they were barren and very delicate, transparent and pale green, with broad segments : 
the rhizomes were from six to ten inches long. It is certain that the recently published new 
Scotch species, P. gracile , Paterson,* is nothing but this, and its author has unfortunately added 
but one more to the already almost innumerable names for this species. 

The only part of Europe where the Bracken is not found is the extreme north ; in Lapland 
it does not extend beyond quite the southern part, and is there very rare. 

The Bracken has, perhaps, more claims to be considered of economic value than any other 
species of Fern, and it has certainly been employed in a variety of ways. It has been proposed 
as an article of food ; and the rhizomes of the closely-allied species or variety (P. esculenta ) were 
formerly largely employed in New Zealand by the natives. The Rev. M. J. Berkeley obtained by 
peeling and scraping some of the rhizomes of our common Bracken a pulp, which, after careful 
washing and drying, was kneaded into a cake and baked, the result being a coarse but palatable 
food, somewhat resembling cassava - bread. In Siberia and Lapland — some say also in 
Normandy — it is sometimes mixed with bread or brewed in ale, one-third of the rhizomes 
going to two-thirds of malt in the latter case ; and in the Canary Islands also a kind of bread 
is made from the rhizome. The green fronds in the young unexpanded state are in some parts 
of England used as food for pigs, and in some parts of Wales the dry fronds are chopped up 
in winter with straw and hay and given to horses. Mr. Benjamin Clarke suggests the employment 
of the very young fronds as a substitute for asparagus. They should be cut as soon as they 
first begin to appear above the ground, and as low down as may be ; when quite blanched 
they must be boiled for an hour, or rather longer if at all tinged v/ith green, the leafy part, 
if any be present, being in all cases rejected. A sufficient quantity of salt must be added to 
the water, so that the vegetable may gain a slightly saline taste. When at all green, the cooked 
fronds retain a somewhat harsh and herbaceous flavour, not unlike that of tea ; but this is 
hardly perceptible in the blanched fronds. They are slightly astringent, and the proposition for 
thus employing them does not appear to have been at all generally taken up. Thunberg tells 
us that in Japan the young fronds form an article of diet, and that bundles of them are exposed 
for sale in the shops during the months of April and May. The rhizome is bruised, soaked 
in water, and boiled, and though quite black, is or was formerly eaten by the poorer Japanese. 

In many parts of Great Britain the Bracken is in great request for litter for horses ; and 
in some parts of Wales it is chopped up when dry and mixed with hay or straw, and then 
given to them as food. In Scotland it is often used for thatch, the stalks being the part most 
frequently employed, being bound down with ropes of heath or birch-bark. Its use in this 
manner in England dates very far back ; in a statute of Edward the Third, dated 1349, it is 
enacted that every tiler or coverer with straw or fern shall receive threepence a day, their 
servants or knaves twopence a day, and their boys three-halfpence a day. 

The ashes of the Bracken contain a large amount of alkali, which has been turned to 
useful account in the Western Isles of Scotland, and in some of the mountainous districts of 

# “ Clydesdale Flora,” ed. 2, 



Wales. The dried fern is burned in large heaps, and, sufficient water having been sprinkled on 
the ashes to make them adhere together, they are rolled into round balls about two inches in 
diameter. When quite dry, they are sold at from threepence to eightpence a dozen, being used 
in wash-houses to save soap. Having been heated to a red heat, they are taken out of the fire 
and thrown into a tub of water, which soon becomes a strong lye, and is then fit for use. 
This method of employing the Bracken is of considerable antiquity. Parkinson, writing in 1640, 
says, “ They use in Warwickshire, above any other country in this land, insteed of sope to wash 
their clothes, to gather the female feme (for that is most frequent with them) about midsomer, 
and to make it up into good big balls, which when they will use them they burne them in the 
fire, untill it become blewish, which being then layd by, will dissolve into powder of itselfe, like 
unto lime : foure of these balls being dissolved in warme water is sufficient to wash a whole 
bucke full of cloathes.” The Bracken was called by the older writers the Female Fern, in Latin 
Filix fcemina , the Male Fern being that which still retains the title ( Aspidium Filix-mas ). The 
two are contrasted by Lyte, who says, “ There be two kindes of femes (as Dioscorides writeth) 
the male and the female.” 

The ashes of the Bracken have also been used by glassmakers. In some parts of Swit- 
zerland the alkali is obtained for commercial purposes. The fronds are cut about the end of 
June, when they have arrived at about half of their full development, as it is then that they contain 
most potash. They are allowed to become half dry, and a pit is then dug into which the fern is 
cast ; it is then burnt very slowly, care being taken to prevent a flame. A good deal of attention 
is requisite to obtain satisfactory results, but this is a point upon which experience is needed, as 
no definite rules can be laid down. When the whole is burnt, the ashes are collected, and are sold 
either in that state, or after a further preparation by which the pure salt is obtained. The plant is 
also employed in various parts of the country for thatching or as fuel, and especially in packing 
fruit for the markets, a purpose for which it seems peculiarly suited. We find mention in 
Machyn’s Diary (1552) of a man who was convicted of selling “potts of straberries, the whych the 
pott was not alff fulle, but fylled with forne,” and one of its French names is foughe a cerises, 
in allusion to its use in packing cherries for the market ; so that the employment of Bracken 
in this capacity is both ancient and extended. The rhizomes are said to be eaten in winter by 
swine in the New Forest ; but they are considered poisonous to cattle in general, and in some 
parts of Scotland are suspected to be the cause of a disease in sheep known as the “ trembles.” 

The Bracken was in old times extensively used in medical practice, although this is scarcely 
remarkable, as every plant was accredited with numerous “vertues ” two hundred years or so 
since. Besides its use, in common with almost all other ferns, as an anthelmintic, it was con- 
sidered to possess healing qualities ; “ the rootes,” says Parkinson, “ being bruised and boyled 
in oyle or hogs grease, maketh an oyntment very profitable to heale woundes, punctures, or 
prickles in any part.” The following “vertue,” from the same author, is somewhat amusing: — 
“The fume of feme being burned driveth away serpents, gnats, and other noisome creatures, 
that in the fenny countries much molest both strangers and inhabitants that lye in bed in the 
night time with their faces uncovered.” Langham, in his “Garden of Health” (1633) gives 
nineteen distinct “ vertues ” pertaining to fern, from which we select the following, as showing the 
varied uses to which our predecessors applied the plant : — “ Nose bleeding, the roots staunch bloud, 
and heale the wound .... Chop a basket full of fearn and seeth it in a bag in the third 
part of a tun of water, and bathe therein to restore the strength of the sinews .... The 
leaves of both fearns put into bedstraw, driveth away punises [fleas], and all other such wormes 
. . . . The powder of brakes doth heale dangerous sores both of men, kine, swine, &c.” 


European Ferns. 

From an entry in the household book of the Earl of Northumberland (15 n), it appears that 
“ water of braks ” was distilled every year for domestic use. At a much later period even, 
the odour of fern was considered beneficial ; in a MS. upon the Natural History of Wiltshire, 
by John Aubrey, in the possession of the Royal Society, we read that “Dr. Theodore Mayern 
did prescribe to his patients that had hecticke feavers, to lay a stratum of feme on their under- 
blanket, by which they found much benefit ; the frescheur of the feme was moderately cooling, 
and the sent of it is very gratefull to the braine.” Gerard says that “ it is reported That the 
roote of feme cast into an hogshead of wine keepeth the same from sowring.” 

The Bracken is the plant usually intended under the name of “ fern ” in poetical works, as 
when Cowper speaks of 

“ The common overgrown with fern, and rough 
With prickly gorse 

and Burns refers to it by its other common name when he says, 

“ Far dearer to me yon lone glen o’ green breckan, 

Wi’ the burn stealin’ under the lang yellow broom.” 

Breckan would seem, however, to be a Scotch name for ferns in general : it scarcely applies 
to P ter is aquilina in Tannahill’s lines 

“ Round the sylvan fairy nooks 
Feathery breckans fringe the rocks.” 

The Bracken is also the fern with the seed of which the gift of invisibility, referred to by 
Shakespeare and other old writers, was especially connected. It seems likely that the notion 
arose in an application of the “ doctrine of signatures,” according to which plants were 
supposed to bear some resemblance to the disease or purpose for which they might be 
beneficially employed. As far back as the time of Pliny, it was thought that the fern 
produced neither flower nor seed ; but as, in spite of this, it grew and multiplied, it was 
inferred that seed must be produced, although invisibly, and hence it came to be associated 
with the gift of invisibility. Locally, however, there are legends which suppose that the Bracken, 
in olden time, did produce blossoms ; thus, in Lincolnshire, it is said that until the Nativity it 
bloomed like other plants, and that it formed part of the cattle-bedding in the stable at 
Bethlehem, associated with the Lady’s Bedstraw. The latter plant put forth its blossoms in 
honour of the miraculous event, while the Bracken withheld them, and was hence condemned 
to lose them. In some parts of Shropshire it is said that the Bracken puts forth a small blue 
flower on Midsummer eve, which disappears with the first dawn of day ; and the Russian peasants 
also believe that it blossoms at this time, and that the finding of the flowers brings luck. It was 
formerly believed in Scotland that this fern blossomed on St. John’s eve, and that whoever got 
possession of the flower would be protected from all evil influences, and would obtain a revelation 
of hidden treasure. 

Midsummer eve was the period at which it was generally supposed the mystic fern-seed 
could be collected, and the accompanying gift of invisibility ensured. 

“ On St. John’s mysterious night, 

Sacred to many a wizard spell, 

The time when first to human sight 
Confest the mystic fern-seed fell : 

Beside the sloe’s black knotted thorn, 

Wliat hour the Baptist stem was born — 



That hour when heaven’s breath is still — 

I’ll seek the shaggy fern-clad hill, 

Where time has delved a dreary dell, 

Befitting best a hermit’s cell ; 

And watch, ’mid murmurs muttering stern, 

The seed departing from the fern, 

Ere wakeful demons can convey 
The wonder-working charm away, 

And tempt the blows from arm unseen, 

Should thoughts unholy intervene.” 

Occasionally, however, though rarely, another date was selected ; Mr. Kelly* tells us that in 
Swabia they say that fern-seed brought by the devil between eleven and twelve o’clock on 
Christmas night enables a man to do as much work as twenty or thirty ordinary men. 
In France it was formerly believed that internal disorders of all kinds would be cured if 
the patient wore on his person a girdle of ferns, gathered at midnight on St. John’s eve, and so 
arranged as to form the mystic letters HVTY. The use of this girdle was condemned by a 
Synod held at Bordeaux in 1600; and a similar assembly at Ferrara in 1612 censured any one 
who should collect either ferns or fern-seed on the night preceding the day of St. John Baptist. 

Turner, our earliest writer upon English plants, gives the evidence of a German contemporary 
to show that ferns really did produce seed on Midsummer eve, but there is an amusing air of 
mystery about his account. Premising that a “ Christen Phisicion, named Hieronymus Tragus, 
doth not onlye saye that Feme hath sede, but wrytith that he founde upon mydsomer even 
sede upon Brakes,” he proceeds to translate his words as follows 

“ Although that all they that have writen of herbes have affyrmed and holden that the Brake hath nether sede 
nor frute : yet have I dyvers tymes proved the contrarye whiche thinge I will testefye here in this place for there 
sakes that be studentes in the knowledge of herbes. I have foure yeres together one after an other upon the vigill 
of saynt John the Baptiste (whiche we call in Englishe mydsomer even) soughte for this sede of Brakes upon the 
nyghte, and indede I founde it earlye in the mornynge before the daye brake; the sede was small blacke and lyke unto 
poppye. I gatherid it after this maner : I laide shetes and mollen leaves underneth the brakes whiche receyved the 
sede that was by shakynge and beatynge broughte oute of the branches and leaves. Manye brakes in some places 
had no sede at all, but in other places agayne a man shall fynde sede in everye brake, so that a man maye gather 
a hundred oute of one brake alone, but I went aboute this busynes, all figures, conjurynges, saunters, charmes, 

wytchcrafte, and sorseryes sett a syde, takynge wyth me two or three honest men to bere me companye 

Sometyme when I soughte the sede I founde it and sometyme I founde it not. Sometyme I founde muche and 
sometyme ly tie ; but what shoulde be the cause of this diversyte or what nature meaneth in this thinge, surelye I 
can not tel.” 

That “ figures, conjurynges,” and the like, were associated with the gathering of fern-seed 
we gather from a very explicit account of the modus operandi formerly pursued in Staffordshire. 
Having arrived at a suitable spot, a circle was drawn round the would-be gatherer, in which 
the twelve signs of the zodiac were inscribed ; twelve pewter plates, one within another, were then 
to be placed under the fern, and the following distich recited : — 

“ In the holy name of Jesus may I be freed 
From every harm while gathering Fern-seed.” 

After this, silence was to be observed until one o’clock, nor must the circle be quitted ; the seed 
will then be found in the twelfth plate, having passed through the eleven others. 

In Surflet’s “ Countrie Farme” (1600) there is a passage which shows that fern-seed could 
be collected at home, without the necessity of exposure to the perils which sometimes attacked 

* “ Curiosities of Indo-European Tradition and Folk-lore,” p. 193. 


European Ferns. 

its would-be possessor. Surflet says it is ripe “in the end of July,” and adds: “For to gather 
it you must cut the leafe neere unto the roote, and then hang them up in your house, spreading 
a linnen cloath under them, or else some faire, cleane white paper : I knowe well that the 
common sort doe verily thinke and averre, that this seede cannot be gathered but on the 
night of the wake of S. John in sommer, and that more is, not without great ceremonies and 
mumbling and muttering of many words betweene the teethe, which have power to drive away 
divels, which have the custodie of the same seede : but all this is nothing but fables.” 

In Russia the belief in the midsummer flowering of the fern is in full force, as may be 
seen in Prof. De Gubernatis’s “ Mythologie des Plantes.” It is said that the man who finds 
the flower will acquire boundless wisdom ; but the flower is only to be found for a single 
instant at midnight, and it is necessary to conquer the evil one himself before the blossom 
can be seen. This must be done in the following manner : on the appointed night he who 
dares to attempt the enterprise must select the particular fern which he desires to see flower, 
and must place near it the towel which he used on Easter-day. He must then, with a knife 
which he used on the same feast, trace a circle round the fern and round himself. At nine 
o’clock in the evening the devil will attempt to terrify the Christian, throwing at him stones, 
wood, and other heavy missiles ; but the watcher is exhorted to remain calm and to show 
no symptom of terror, as the evil one has no power to enter the magic circle traced by the 
knife. At the hour of midnight, the fern blossoms, and the flower falls upon the towel, which 
the Christian must instantly seize and conceal in his bosom. The fortunate possessor, thanks 
to this possession, will know things present and things to come, and will be able to discover 
hidden treasures or lost cattle. In illustration of this belief a story is told in Russia of a 
countryman who had lost his oxen upon the eve of St. John. In prosecuting his search for 
them, he crossed a wood, and passed close to a fern at the very moment of its flowering, and 
the blossom fell into his shoes. He immediately became acquainted with the place where 
the cattle were hidden, and, going to it, recovered them, and took them with him. The fern- 
blossom still remaining in his shoes, he became aware of a certain place where a treasure was 
hidden, and told his wife that he would go and find it. “ Change your shoes,’'’ said the good 
woman, seeing that his stockings were damp ; he unfortunately followed this advice and 
took off his shoes ; at the same moment the flower of the fern fell to the ground, and he 
forgot all about the discovery of the treasure ! In another version of the same story it is 
stated that the devil, in order to deceive the peasant, offered to give his boots in exchange 
for the wretched shoes of the countryman ; the latter consented to the bargain, and, giving 
up his shoes, lost all knowledge of the treasure he was about to seek. 

It would be interesting to ascertain whether the gathering of fern-seed is still observed in any 
part of England. Brand says that at Launceston, in 1790, some rites connected with it were still 
in use, and also in Heston, in Middlesex, towards the close of the last century. The connection of 
fern-seed with Midsummer-day is to be found in the fact that June 24th is the day set apart by 
the Catholic Church for the commemoration of St. John the Baptist ; a passage in Dr. Jackson’s 
“Works” (1673) states, on the authority of “an ignorant soul,” who “had been seduced by a 
teacher of unhallowed arts, to make a dangerous experiment,” that “the angel did foretell John 
Baptist should be born at that very instant in which the fern-seed, at other times invisible, did 
fall.” The danger of engaging in the collection of fern-seed was not trifling, if we accept as 
accurate the account of a person who went out for that purpose, and was assailed by the 
spirits, who “whisked by his ears like bullets,” and struck him on his hat and on various parts 
of his body; while, worse than all, he found the box, in which he thought he had secured the 



coveted treasure, quite empty on his return home. The gift of invisibility was sometimes con- 
ferred upon those who came into possession of fern-seed without any desire of their own. Thus 
Grimm tells as current in Westphalia a tale of a man who went out on Midsummer night to 
search for a foal which he had lost, and who, on his way, passed through a meadow just as 
the fern-seed was ripening, some of which fell into his shoes. When he went home and sat 
down, neither his wife nor any of his family noticed him, which he thought strange, and pro- 
ceeded to say “ I have not found the foal.” On this, all those in the room started, for they 
heard the voice, but saw no one. His wife, thinking he had hidden himself, called to him, 
whereupon he placed himself in the middle of the room, saying “ Here I am, right before 
you; what do you want?” This frightened them still more, for they had heard him stand 
up and walk, and yet saw nothing. At last, becoming aware that he was invisible, the 
thought struck him that he might have fern-seed in his shoes, and on taking them off he at 
once became visible to those around him. 

Various traditions connected with ferns and fern-seed are to be found in different parts 
of Europe. Thus in Poland it is said that a thunder-storm will follow if ferns be gathered ; 
in Thuringia it is said that whoever treads on it unawares will lose his senses, and be unable 
to tell where he is, and also that anyone carrying fern about with him will be pursued by 
serpents until he throws it away. In the north of Hungary it is supposed that whoever comes 
too near the flowers of fern will be overcome with sleep, and that spirits repulse all who 
dare to lay hands upon the plant. So much for the unfavourable aspect of ferns, to which 
we may add the opinion of the natives of our own “ Black Country,” who think it unlucky 
to gather or even to touch ferns, and call them the devil’s brushes. A quaint letter to 
the High Sheriff of Staffordshire, from a British Museum MS. which was published in an 
early volume of “Notes and Queries,” is worth reprinting here, as illustrating a curious 
seventeenth century belief, from which Charles I. was not free. It runs as follows : — 

“ Sir, — His Majesty taking notice of an opinion entertained in Staffordshire, that the burning of Feme 
doth draw downe rain, and being desirous that the country and himself may enjoy fair weather as long as he 
remains in those parts, His Majesty hath commanded me to write unto you, to cause all burning of Feme to bee 
forborne, until his Majesty be passed the country. Wherein not doubting but the consideration of their own 
interest, as well as that of his Ma t!es , will invite the country to a ready observance of this his Ma ties com- 
mand, I rest, 

“Your very loving friend, 

“Pembroke and Montgomery. 

“Belvoir, ist. August, 1636.” 

It seems that in some parts of Scotland there is a generally received opinion that 
burning the heather will bring rain. 

On the other hand there are some local beliefs in which the fern figures as a lucky 
plant. Mr. M. D. Conway says that in Bohemia the traveller will take fern-seed 
along with him for good luck ; and here, as in the Tyrol, the seed is said to shine like 
fiery gold upon Midsummer night. In early times fern-seed was called “ wish-seed,” and he 
who held it would find hidden treasures which, where the seeds were scattered, would reveal 
themselves in veins of bluish flame in the earth. In Bohemia a cloth used in administering 
the Holy Communion should be laid under the fern, on which the seed will fall before sun- 
rise. Other superstitions connected with the Male Fern and the Flowering Fern will be found 
in their place. 

One or two proverbial sayings are associated with the Bracken in different parts of 
England, of which the following is perhaps the best known : — - 

European Ferns. 

3 6 

“When the fern is as high as a spoon, 

You may sleep for an hour at noon : 

When the fern is as high as a ladle, 

You may sleep as long as you’re able: 

When the fern begins to look red, 

Then milk is good with brown bread.” 

If the rhizome of the Bracken be cut across, it will be seen to display dark irregular 
markings, which have been very differently interpreted. They have been supposed to represent 
a double-headed eagle, an interpretation which seems to have originated in Germany, and is 
of considerable antiquity ; for we find in “ The Pilgrimage of Pure Devotion,” one of the 
colloquies of Erasmus, a reference to an imaginary likeness of a toad in the Crapaudine, or 
Toadstone, “ even as we suppose when we cutte the fearne stalke there to be an eagle.” 
Our old herbalists also mention the resemblance. It was in allusion to this likeness that 
Linnaeus bestowed the name aquilina (from aquila, an eagle) upon the plant. Others detect 
in the markings a branching oak, which, according to some, commemorates the concealment 
of Charles II. in the oak after the battle of Worcester. A perfect representation was 
considered lucky; at least, so says a correspondent of “Notes and Queries” (ist series, vii. 
152), who gives as a piece of Surrey folklore, “Cut a fern-root slant-wise, and you’ll see a 
picture of an oak-tree : the more perfect the luckier chance for you.” A more pious, though 
equally fanciful, tradition discovers the initials “J. C.,” standing for Jesus Christ; an idea far- 
fetched and strange enough to the minds of the nineteenth century folks, but not unreason- 
able to those who in bygone times loved to trace such analogies between the kingdom of 
grace and the kingdom of nature. The letters were, however, sometimes interpreted as 
possessing a very different signification ; in Sussex it is said that the initials of the name 
of a future husband or wife may be ascertained in this manner. In some parts of Scotland 
it is said to be the mark of “the deil’s foot/’ 

It is not often that the muse has honoured any member of the fern tribe with more 
than a passing reference ; we have, therefore, no hesitation in including in our notice of the 
Bracken the following graceful lines, addressed to it by Miss Mary Isabella Tomkins : — 

“ As a coming screen grows the Bracken green, 

Up springeth it fair and free, 

Where in many a fold, grotesque and old, 

Twineth the hawthorn tree ; 

A covert meet from the noontide heat, 

For should you steal anear, 

You may chance discern, ’neath the spreading fern, 

The antlers of the deer. 

It boasteth a name of mystic fame, 

For who findeth its magic seed 
A witching and weirdly gift may claim 
To help him at his need : 

Unseen, unknown, he may pass alone 
Who owneth the fern-seed spell ; 

Like the viewless blast, he sweepeth past, 

And walks invisible ! 

Have ye to learn, how the Eagle fern 
Doth in its heart enshrine 
An oak-tree like that which the hunter Herne 
Haunted in days ‘ lang syne ? 5 



An oak-tree small is repeated all 
Complete in branch and root, 

Like the tree whereunto King Charles did flee, 

When press’d by hot pursuit. 

To his son its shade gave but traitor aid 
When, striving to be conceal’d, 

On foot he fled, in fear and dread, 

From Sedgemoor’s fatal field ; 

In doubt mean was a peasant seen, 

Wearing a priceless ring — 

He whom the voice of the people’s choice 
So late had hailed their King. 

O Eagle fern ! when I thee discern, 

When thy withered leaf I meet, 

In places the careless foot might spurn, 

The crowded mart or street, 

Thou takest me back to thy birth-place fair, 

Where thou wavest in thy pride, 

And the form of the hare and the deer’s close lair 
Doth ’mid thy stems abide.” 

In reclaiming forest land, it is often necessary to destroy Bracken, and this may be effica- 
ciously done by repeated mowings. Tusser(“Five Hundred Pointes of Good Husbandrie ”), 
under “August’s Husbandrie/’ writes: — 

“ Get downe with thy brakes, er an showers doo come, 

That cattle the better may pasture have some. 

In June and in August, as well doth appeere, 

Is best to mowe brakes, of all times in the yeere.” 

When the early settlers established themselves in New Zealand, cultivation was much 
hindered by the great abundance of Pteris esculent a, which had been cherished by the natives 
for centuries as an article of food ; it was found, however, that by sending cattle to browse 
upon the young leaves, the plants were trodden down and quickly perished, being succeeded 
by rich, wholesome grass. If mown down two or three times in the course of a summer, 
while the fronds are still young, the fern will soon be eradicated. If, on the other hand, 
it is desired to establish the Bracken in any locality, the rhizome should be taken up in 
lengths of two feet, or thereabouts, care being taken not to injure the roots, as the fibres are 
brittle and readily break off ; the beginning of October is a good time for performing the 

Although so common a plant, Pteris aquilina has not an extensive popular nomenclature. 
It is most generally known as Brake or Bracken — the latter name varying to Breckon or 
Braikin — although, as we have already seen, this is sometimes used for ferns in general. 
Dr. Prior derives the word Brakes from the German word brache or brach-fcld, uncultivated 
land, a term which was used “to replace the mediaeval Latin fractitius or ruptitius ager, land 
that is breakable, or again open to tillage after a term of years, land that is not pre- 
served as forest. The fern so called is named from its place of growth in the same way as 
whin, heath, bent, and brier.” Bracken he considers a word introduced from Scandinavia, and 
identical with the Swedish brdken, which Rietz derives from bracka (break). It is called the 
Eagle Brake, which was an Anglo-Saxon form of the name ; and Mr. Cockayne quotes “ wylde 
brake” as occurring in a MS. of the I2th century. This may be the plant intended in the 



European Ferns. 

Anglo-Saxon “ Herbarium Apuleii,” under the name of fern : “ For wounds, take a root of this 
wort, which is named filex, and by another name fern, pounded, lay it to the wound”; and 
again, in the “Leech-book” (i. 23), also edited by Mr. Cockayne: “For thigh ache, smoke 
the thighs thoroughly with fern.” 

The Bracken is called the Eagle Fern in books, with reference to the markings in the 
rhizome already described, and the Scotch name Ern-fern has a similar meaning, era being a 
Scotch word for eagle. In Norfolk it is sometimes called the Oak Fern, again in allusion 
to the form which the markings of the rhizome have been supposed to exhibit. We have 
already pointed out the meaning of the name Female Fern as applied to the Bracken. 
Jamieson gives Shady-bracken as one of its Scotch titles. In Sussex it is sometimes called 
Adder-spit. It is known in French as fougere porte-aigle, grande foughe femelle, and fonghe 
a cerises. 


We have here another fine species, which only reaches the south-western shores of Europe, 
and is unknown in the rest of the continent. P. arguta (which is sometimes called P. palustris, 
Poir.) is a fern with a creeping rhizome, covered at the end with copious, very narrow, long, shin- 
ing, dark-brown paleae. The stipites are stout, hard, and erect ; quite smooth, cylindrical, without 
any scales or hairs, and of a bright orange-brown : they attain a length of one or two feet, 
and support a frond of about the same or rather greater length. This is of a thin almost 
membranous texture, and has a somewhat drooping habit ; its outline is ovate, narrower or 
broader in different specimens, and very acute. The pinnae are large, not very numerous, 
rather distant, nearly opposite, and directed forward ; their usual form is lanceolate-oblong, 
drawn out and tapering at the point ; they are sessile on the main rachis, or very nearly so, 
the lowest pair being sometimes shortly stalked. These pinnae are simply pinnate, or perhaps 
we should rather say pinnatisect, the pinnules or segments being very broad-based, oblong- 
lanceolate, somewhat curved forward or falcate, acute at the end, and finely but sharply 
toothed along the edge ; they are decurrent at the base, as is specially observable in the lowest 
one next the rachis, which usually runs down the latter for a short distance. The colour is a bright, 
clear, dark-green, the surface is quite smooth, and the lateral veins are simply forked, a branch 
running into each tooth. The lowest pinnae are not unfrequently further divided, the pinnules, 
on the lower side especially, being large and long, and divided into tertiary divisions of similar 
form to those above described. The sori are placed on the edge of the segments, in a line of 
variable length, and never occupying the whole of the margin ; it is usually the lower part 
that is soriferous, the upper portion being barren ; at the parts where there is fructification the 
marginal teeth are absent. The sporangia are very numerous, and nearly covered by the mem- 
branous, greyish-brown false indusium, which has no teeth or hairs at the edge ; there is no 
true inferior indusium, but numerous minute thread-like bodies mixed with the sporangia are 
supposed to represent it. 

The head-quarters of this beautiful species are in the Atlantic Islands, especially Madeira, 
where it is abundant in wet shady ravines from nearly the sea-level up to 3,000 feet ; in the 
Azorean Islands it is also common, and it grows in Teneriffe. As above remarked, the only 
certainly known locality on the Continent of Europe is in Portugal, where, in the Serra de 
Cintra, near Lisbon, it has long been known to occur rarely. The late Dr. Welwitsch collected 
specimens in this locality in 1848, but it has not been met with in other parts of the Spanish 



Peninsula. We have met with a record of “ Corfu ” for this Fern, but do not know on whose 
authority it rests. Beyond Europe, it grows in Arabia and in many parts of tropical Africa 
(Abyssinia, Angola), and also reaching the Cape of Good Hope ( P . flaamlata , Thunb.). What 
is probably the same species also occurs in the West Indies, so that, though so rare in Europe, 
this species occurs over a wide extent of the globe. 

P. arguta has long been met with in our greenhouses ; it was introduced to cultivation in 
England in 1778, by Francis Masson. 


In this species the caudex is short and tufted, and the fronds come off in close proximity; 
its extremity is covered with elongated, narrow, pale-brown scales, which also extend up the 
stipites of the fronds, though in no great number. The stipes is rather short, sometimes 
very remarkably so, and is channelled along its upper surface and sides ; when young it is 
covered with narrow pale-coloured scales, but afterwards becomes nearly smooth. The whole 
length of the fronds varies considerably, but in European specimens does not much exceed two feet ; 
their form is lanceolate, much tapered towards the base, and they are simply pinnate. The pinnae 
are remarkably long and narrow, quite undivided, usually opposite or nearly so, sessile, and placed 
at a distance from one another; they are four to six inches long and much drawn out, their 
form being linear, but widest at the base, which is abruptly truncate or frequently cordate or eared ; 
the frond ends in a single terminal pinna, which is usually longer than the rest. The veins 
are closely placed and free, terminating at the margin of the pinnae, which is finely but 
sharply senate, with minute hard teeth. The sori are marginal, copiously produced, extending 
along nearly the whole border of the pinnae, and covered with the quite entire reflexed false 

This is a southern Fern, and its European localities are all in the Mediterranean 
basin. There are several in the south of Spain, as near Malaga and Granada, but it does not 
grow in other parts of Spain or in Portugal. In Italy, P. longifolia is found in Calabria and 
near Naples, and in Sicily there are several well-known localities. An outlying station is the 
island of Ischia, off the Neapolitan coast, where the Fern grows on the hot tufaceous rock 
of an extinct volcano, from which place there are specimens in the British Museum herbarium. 
Passing eastward, we find it in Dalmatia, Zante, and the Morea, and it further extends in this 
direction, out of Europe, to Lycia and Syria. Returning along the south shore of the Mediter- 
ranean, Egypt and Algeria produce the plant, and it is also found in the Canary Islands and 
the Cape Verdes, but does not reach the Azores. It grows in shady wet places on rocks and 
old walls. 

Beyond these regions, however, P. longifolia is found in most of the hot countries of the 
world. It is abundant in tropical Asia, as throughout peninsular India (ascending to 4,000 feet 
in the Himalayas), Java, the Malay Archipelago, &c., and reaches to the Pacific Islands. In 
tropical Africa it has a wide distribution also, and grows in Madagascar and in Mauritius. It 
is less common in America, though abundant in the West Indian Islands ; Mexico and Vene- 
zuela appear to be the only localities on the continent. 

Out of the very numerous names — about twenty in number — which have been bestowed upon 
this species, we may mention two by which it is frequently known : P. ensifolia, Sw. and 
P. vittata, Linn. It is very frequently met with in cultivation, and is most easily grown; 


European Ferns. 

indeed, its spores develope in such abundance, and so rapidly, that the plant sometimes 
becomes a positive nuisance in hothouses. It was introduced to English gardens in 1770, 
having been brought from the West Indies by Mr. James Gordon. There is an admirable 
folio plate of the European plant in a little known work by MM. Chaubard and Bory de 
St. Vincent, published in 1838, and entitled, “ Nouvelle Flora du Peloponnese et des 


This is well known in cultivation, and is not a very variable plant. Its caudex is very 
short, so that the fronds are closely set and have a tufted appearance, and is sparingly 
clothed with small dark brown palem. The fronds are of no great size, varying from one to 
two feet, of which the stipes occupies about half ; this is stiff, erect, and perfectly smooth, 
somewhat three-sided above, but rather dilated at the base, where it is darker in colour. The 
frond itself is wider than in the last species, P. longifolia, its outline being distinctly ovate, 
or even broader than long, abrupt at the base, and more or less acuminate at the apex. It 
is pinnate, but not so simply as the last, the lowest pair or pairs being again divided. In 
texture this Fern is thick and firm, and in colour a glossy bright green. The pinnae are few 
in number, being, indeed, sometimes reduced to three — that is, one pair and the terminal one ; 
but more often there are six to ten pairs ; in form they are not unlike those of the last species, 
being distantly placed on the rachis, sessile, and very long, and tapering to a slender, much 
attenuated point; their base is also tapering, not truncate, and sometimes even decunent down 
the rachis. As above noted, the lower pinnae are compound, but they are so in a some- 
what peculiar manner, appearing rather as if two or three pinnae had coalesced ; the separate 
segment or segments being usually nearly as large as the primary pinna, and similar to it in 
form and venation ; this latter is free, the veinlets being branched close to their base. Though 
it can be scarcely said that the fertile and barren fronds of this species are always distinct, yet 
there are frequently fronds which produce no fructification. These possess broader pinnae, 
more lanceolate in shape and shorter. In all the fronds the margin of the pinnae is set with 
very sharp spinous teeth, especially developed towards the ends of the pinnae, but where the 
margins are occupied by sori these teeth are not found. The line of sori is broad and con- 
tinuous along the margin of the fertile pinnae for about three-quarters of their length, the 
upper part only being without them. The reflexed false indusium is much narrower than in 
the last species, and covers but little of the sori ; there is no rudiment of a true indusium. 

Like the last species, this is a South European Fern, and is rather widely spread through 
the Mediterranean region. We have seen specimens from Corsica, where it seems abundant ; 
but it does not appear to reach westwards to the Spanish Peninsula, nor does it grow in 
Southern France, though there is a locality at Mentone, close to the frontier of that country. In 
several parts of North Italy it is met with, the most northern locality being near Como, and in 
South Italy and Sicily it is more frequent. Sardinia and Crete (whence it takes its name) 
also produce this Fern, which extends its range to the Caucasus, Persia, and Arabia. It has 
been collected, too, further north, in the Ural district near Baku. 

In Africa, P. cretica grows in Abyssinia and in the Cape Colony, and has been found in 
Bourbon. It is a frequent Fern in India, extending up to 6,000 feet in the Himalayas, and 
occurs in the Malayan Islands frequently, and in the Pacific ones also. It also reaches the 
southern part of North America and Mexico, and in South America it is found in Guatemala, 

Cassell’s European Ferns 



(To natural size) 





Entre Rios, &c. Considering its very wide dispersion, it does not present us with much varia- 
bility. Its sharp spinous teeth are alluded to in several of the synonyms which it possesses : 
for instance, it is the P. serraria of Swartz, a very good name. 

Although now so commonly met with, Pteris cretica was not introduced to our gardens at 
a very early period. The exact date of its introduction does not seem to be known, but there 
is a note attached to some of Mr. John Smith’s specimens in the British Museum herbarium, 
stating that it was in Kew Gardens as early as 1822. Like the species last described, it 

increases very rapidly ; it has grown spontaneously for a long time on the damp walls of 

the botanical houses at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, and springs up in similar situations 
at Kew. 

The variety albo-lincata, to which we have already alluded, is an extremely elegant 
plant, well characterised by the whole length of the centre of the frond being more or less 
irregularly taken up by a white streak, the remainder of the frond being dark green. Although 
now so frequently met with in cultivation, it is of comparatively recent introduction ; it is 
figured in the “Botanical Magazine” for August, i860, and is there stated to have been 
previously unrecorded. The variety is interesting as being one of those which is met with 

in a wild state, being found in Java and also, more recently, in Brazil. Like the typical 

form of the species, it increases readily from spores, and preserves its character. It is 
deservedly in request for bouquets, as it retains its freshness for a long time. 




European Ferns. 


E have now arrived at one of the most beautiful of the genera of European 
ferns — one which from its graceful habit is deservedly amongst the most 
popular in cultivation, and which is, therefore, very familiar even to those 
least acquainted with ferns in general. The head-quarters of the Maiden- 
Y hair Ferns — of which about eighty or a hundred species are enumerated 
'jj*% — is Tropical America ; but they are widely spread over the tropical and 

temperate regions of both the Old and New Worlds, some of them being 
of very extended distribution, as, for instance, our European A. Capillus- 
veneris and also A. cethiopicum , of which we shall have occasion to speak 
more at length further on. Our common Maidenhair may be taken as 
the type of the genus, the elegantly-divided fronds, and the dark, slender, 
shining stipes being characteristic of many of the species ; but a few of very different 

habit require a passing notice. Most distinct of these, so far as general appearance goes, 
are A. reniforme and A. Parishii, which differ from all the other species in having simple 
fronds. These are small, densely-tufted plants, the former about six inches high, the 

latter much shorter, with dark brown stipes and nearly round fronds, which are from two 
to four inches broad in A. reniforme and smaller in A. Parishii. The former is a native of 
Madeira and the Canaries, a. form sometimes called A. asarifolium occurring in Mauritius 
and at Natal, while A. Parishii is a native of Moulmein and the Malay peninsula. 

A. reniforme was in cultivation in England so long ago as 1699, when it was grown at 

Oxford by Bobart. 

A second well-marked group is that styled in the “ Synopsis Filicum ” radicantes, the 

plants of which are characterised by having a simply pinnate frond, the rachis of 
which is often elongated to some distance beyond the segments, and takes root at the 

apex. Of this group we have two in cultivation, A. lunulatum and A. candatum. 

The former is a plant of wide distribution, extending from Hongkong and the Himalayas 

to the Polynesian Islands and Tropical Australia, and found in Madagascar and various 
parts of the African continent, as well as in Tropical America, from Mexico to Brazil ; 
A. candatum being confined to the Old World, where it extends through the Tropics and 
occurs in the Himalayas and Hongkong. 

Yet another type of Maidenhair is that presented by A. pedatum , the most graceful of 

all North American ferns, which occurs also in Japan, Mandschuria, and in North Hindostan, 

where it ascends to an elevation of nine thousand feet. Specimens from Nootka Sound 

are in the British Museum Herbarium. In this and allied species we have a distinct 

stipes, which is dichotomously forked, the spreading gracefully recurved branches bearing 
on the outer side several slender pinnate divisions. This, as we shall see farther on, 

is one of the few ferns which have been employed in medicine, although it can hardly 

be said to manifest properties of great importance. One point connected with it is in- 
teresting to English fern-growers— it is the most hardy of all the Adiantums. Mr. E. J. 
Lowe says it will withstand a degree of cold which would be certain death to our 

indigenous Maidenhair; and adds that in 1854 he found that plants “lived out of doors 

with the temperature six degrees below zero of Fahrenheit’s thermometer, whilst near them 



the same cold killed all the plants of A. Capillus-veneris. The young fronds are 
delicate, and, coming up early, those first appearing are not unfrequently cut' with spring 
frosts.” It has been in cultivation in this country for a long period, having been introduced 
by the younger Tradescaut before 1640. From an old specimen in the British Museum 
Herbarium, collected in the “Cherokee country” in 1769, we learn that its Indian name 
is Outoanaka, which means “ black stalk.” 

In the section of which our British Maidenhair may be taken as the type, there is one 
plant which has of late years attracted much attention, and which indeed is at the present 
time perhaps the most popular form in cultivation. This is the very beautiful A. Farley case, 

which Mr. Moore, who first described it, well calls “one of the most graceful species yet 
known of perhaps the most lovely genus of the pre-eminently lovely family of ferns.” It 
was first exhibited at a show of the Royal Horticultural Society in 1865, and at once 
attracted great attention. Its origin is a little obscure, and its claims to specific rank are 
not admitted by the best authorities on ferns, in spite of its extremely distinct appear- 
ance. The first example came up among some ferns sent from the West Indies by 
Mr. T. G. Briggs, of Barbadoes, the name of whose residence in that island (Farley Hill) is 
commemorated in the specific title of the plant. So far as we are aware, the fern has 
not been met with in a wild state ; and Mr. Moore regards it as a well-marked “ sport ” of 
A. tenerum , or possibly a hybrid between that species and A. trapeziforme. It has, how- 
ever, since been stated that seedlings of A. Farleyense have produced another species, 


European Ferns. 

A. scutum, and this, if correct, would show it to be a form of that species. The dense 
masses and gracefully-pendant habit of the fronds, their large size and bright light green 
colour (the young ones being at first of a delicate pinkish hue), and the elegantly-fringed 
pinnules of the sterile fronds, combine to render A. Farleyense an object of intense admira- 
tion wherever seen. 

Another species belonging to this group is A. fragile , a native of Jamaica, which has the 
disagreeable peculiarity (from a herbarium point of view) of shedding all its pinnules when 
dried. Sir W. J. Hooker says: — “I have received specimens from Jamaica from five dif- 
ferent persons of this singular plant, all exhibiting the same unfortunate character of 
shedding every leaflet in the act of drying : so that the specimens have come home showing 
the tufted root, a perfect skeleton of wiry stipites (growing in tufts), with the exceedingly 
slender and equally wiry rachis very much branched, and the pinnules all lying apart from the 
plant. Not a specimen is fit for the herbarium nor fit for making a drawing.” 

Besides the above, there are many other very distinct and ornamental species of 
Adianturn, as, for instance, A. macrophyllum, a Tropical and Central American species, 
with long, simply pinnate fronds, which when young are often beautifully tinged with red, 
and equal-sided serrate pinnae. Two other species from the same region — A. digitatum and 
A. Feei — are of climbing habit, having stems several feet in length. Indeed, whether we 

consider the beauty or the variety of form presented by the plants belonging to this genus, 
we shall find it entitled to an equally high position in the order to which it belongs. 

The genus Adianturn is botanically distinguished by the peculiar position of the sori. 

In Pteris, as we have already seen, the sori are placed upon the margins of the pinnae and 

covered over by the indusium ; but in Adianturn the opposite is the case, inasmuch as the 

sori are attached, not to the frond, but to the under surface of the indusium, which con- 
sists, as Mr. Moore has said, “ as it were of a portion of the apex of the lobe, reflexed 

and changed in texture into a thin, bleached, veiny membrane, the veins being the re- 

ceptacles,” and are, therefore, as the same author puts it, “turned upside down on to 
the surface of the frond.” By this peculiarity plants of this genus may be at once dis- 
tinguished from all other ferns. The free venation of the Adiantums is also noteworthy and 

characteristic; with the exception of four species, which, on account of their netted veins, 

have been placed by some authors in a separate genus ( Hezvardia ), all the species have 

the veins quite free and separate. The black shining stipes is, as has already been said, 
also characteristic of the genus. 


It is hardly necessary to describe at very great length so well-known and popular a fern 
as this ; for, although several species of Adianturn are somewhat closely related, there is 
no European fern with which it can be confounded. The black or dark chestnut, 
shining, slender stems, entirely devoid of scales or hairs, with their thread-like branchlets, 
and the more or less fan-shaped pinnules, at once distinguish it from any other European 
species. It is a plant of perennial duration ; the fronds which are persistent, are produced 
annually from a slowly creeping caudex, which is black and scaly, about as thick as a quill. 
These fronds droop considerably, are of a bright, cheerful green colour, and of membranous 
texture, are irregular in shape, and vary a good deal in size and in ramification ; when first 



produced, in spring, three or five pinnae only appear, which shortly become divided into 
pinnules. The mature fronds themselves vary from four or six inches to a foot and a half, or 
even more, in length (including the stipes), their usual length being about midway between these 
extremes ; their general outline is more or less ovate, or sometimes somewhat triangular. The 
pinnae are alternate, as are also the pinnules ; the latter vary a good deal in form, those on the 
fertile fronds being fanshaped or wedgeshaped below, and divided above into a number of lobes, 
the terminal portion of which is reflexed and changed into a thin bleached membrane, upon the 
inner surface of which the sori are borne in clusters. In the barren fronds, which are less frequent, 


the terminal lobes are not thus reflexed, but are carried onward, the outline of the pinnule then 
presenting a sharply cut or serrated, instead of a rounded, appearance. The pinnules are beauti- 
fully lined in a delicate fan-like manner, with numerous closely-placed forked veins radiating 
from the base, the veins remaining distinct from each other, and not forming a network. Mr. 
Newman says that when grown in a Wardian case the lobes of the pinnules 
sometimes become viviparous at the extremities, the spores actually vegetating 
while in sit A, and the young plants taking root, like parasites, in the substance 
of the old one. 

In Europe the Maidenhair is dispersed over the central and southern 
portions, being most abundant in the Mediterranean region. It is frequently 
met with in most parts of Spain and Portugal, on rocks and in caverns, and 
about wells and fountains, ascending in the Sierra Nevada to about four 
thousand feet. France, Italy, Switzerland, Hungary, Germany, Dalmatia, 

Belgium, and Holland all produce it ; it abounds in Sicily, and it is also found 


in Turkey and Greece, in great quantity. One of its best known and most seedling. 
classical localities in Italy is that of the Fountain of Egeria, where it occurs in great beauty 
and luxuriance. 

“ The mosses of the fountain still are sprinkled 
With thine Elysian water-drops ; the face 
Of the cave-guarded spring, with years unwrinkled, 

Reflects the meek-eyed genius of the place, 

W 7 hose green, wild margin now no more erase 
Art’s works ; nor must the delicate waters sleep 
’Prisoned in marble ; bubbling from the base 
Of the cleft statue, with a gentle leap 

The rill runs o’er ; and, round, ferns, flowers, and ivy creep 
Fantastically tangled.” 


Bory and Chaubard, in their “ Flore de la Peloponnese,” state that in that region 
under favourable circumstances its fronds attain the length of two feet or more, and are 


European Ferns. 

proportionately large in all their parts. These authors refer also to a very remarkable 
variety collected by them in the fountain of Callirhoe, at Athens. This plant, although fully 
developed, was not more than two or three inches in height ; the pinnules were small and hardly 
emarginate; and the variety greatly resembled A. cethiopicum in general appearance. Its extra- 
European distribution extends throughout the temperate and subtropical regions of the globe, 
especially in the northern hemisphere, it being less abundant within the Tropics. In Asia, we 
find the Maidenhair occurring in Siberia and in the Caucasus, in Arabia and Syria (Jerusalem, 
Sinai, and Galilee), in China and Japan, and throughout the damp hilly districts of India. It 
is very abundant in the African islands, occurring in Madagascar and Mauritius, the Azores, the 
Cape de Verde Islands, in Madeira and the Canaries ; in the two last it is exceedingly common, 
growing wherever water trickles through the rocks, and affecting especially the vertical surface 
of walls, which are sometimes entirely covered with it. In the Canaries large porous vases, for 
the purpose of cooling and filtering the water supplied by the aqueducts, are almost indispensable 
to every household ; and these vases are often entirely covered with Maidenhair, presenting a 
very beautiful appearance. So readily is the fern established in this situation that the inha- 
bitants, wishing to encourage its growth upon new vases, find it sufficient to rub them over with 
the mature spore-bearing fronds, after which young plants are not long in making their appear- 
ance. On the African continent it occurs in Algiers, Abyssinia, and Egypt, and also in South 
Africa — in Natal and at Algoa Bay. In Australasia the plant is found in Queensland, and also 
in New Caledonia and the Sandwich Islands. In the New World it occurs in Mexico and 
other parts of Central America, in Chili, and in the West Indies ; and also in the southern 
United States — Florida, Alabama, and westward. 

In the British Islands, the distribution of the Maidenhair is distinctly of a western 
type. In England its headquarters are in the counties of Devon and Cornwall, in which 
it occurs in many localities, affecting low sea caves and the clefts of coast rocks ; it was 
formerly abundant in the neighbourhood of Ilfracombe, but of late years has become very 
scarce there, and can only be obtained if the collector is sufficiently enthusiastic to allow 
himself to be let down over the cliffs by a rope. We do not think it advisable to 
give detailed descriptions of the localities recorded for this beautiful fern, which is already in 
danger of becoming exterminated, owing to the ravages of collectors, if, indeed, it has not 
already disappeared from some of its localities. It has also occurred in Dorset, and is recorded 
for North Somerset, although this is doubtful, as it is said that the leaves of a flowering plant, 
Thalictrum saxatile , have been mistaken for it at Cheddar. On the coast of Glamorganshire, it 
is, or was, abundant ; there is a specimen in the British Museum Herbarium, collected in 
June, 1773, at Cardiff, from “a cliff called Nine-acre Cliff, half a mile from Porth Kerrig 
Church, in the face next the sea, where a petrifying water falls down, generally in places not 
accessible without much difficulty.” On some parts of the Glamorganshire coast it grows very 
luxuriously, forming a green tapestry on the face of the cliff, and sometimes within reach of the 
spray. It has long been known as growing in the Isle of Man : other English counties have 
been recorded for it, but its occurrence in them has not been authenticated, and it is stated 
that in more than one instance young plants of the Bracken have been mistaken for the 
Maidenhair ! It is, apparently, absent from Scotland, although it has been recorded from one 
or two stations in that country. In Ireland it is very local, occurring chiefly, if not entirely, 
in the West ; the Isle of Arran and the Burren mountains are its oldest and best known 
localities, it having been recorded from Arran by Lhwyd previous to 1699. It has also occurred 
in various places of the county Clare, from Connemara, and Sligo ; and it is reported to have 



been found in a cave near the Giants’ Causeway, Antrim. The Maidenhair of Burren and 
Arran is very luxuriant, and often has the pinnules more deeply cut than in the ordinary form 
of the species; the figure in “English Botany” (/. 1564) is from an Arran specimen. 

In his “ Nature-printed Ferns,” Mr. T. Moore distinguishes three varieties of the Maiden- 
hair as occurring in the United Kingdom. The first, ramulosum, has the main rachis divided 
two or three times near the top, so that the apex of the frond is formed of a spreading tuft 
of short pinnate branches. The second, incisum , has both the barren and fertile pinnules 
throughout the frond somewhat regularly split down into long, narrow, wedge-shaped lobes. 
The third, rotundatum, is marked by the outline of the basal pinnules being rounder than 
usual, with a truncate base ; the fronds are narrow, and the pinnae more spreading. There is 
a specimen in the British Museum Herbarium, descended from a plant collected at Boscastle, 
North Cornwall, which is apparently to be referred to the last-named variety ; in this the 
pinnules are broader than long, and the whole aspect is very luxuriant— a circumstance probably 
owing to cultivation, at any rate in some degree. 

O11 the faith of a statement in the “ Synopsis Filicum,” we had originally included in a list 
of European ferns A. cethiopicum, Finn., of which a figure will be found on plate 6. There 
is a specimen in the Kew Herbarium labelled “Spain, G. McFeay, i860;” and this caused the 
insertion of the species in the “Synopsis” as a European plant ; but it is not included in 
Willkomm and Fange’s “ Prodromus Florae Hispanicae,” and there is thus reason to suppose 
some mistake in the matter. A. cethiopicwn is a plant resembling A. Capillus-vcneris in its wide 
extra-European distribution, and also resembling it very strongly in general appearance. Sir 
W. J. Hooker, however, says it is “truly and constantly distinct: firstly, in the more orbicular 
and less sharply and gradually attenuated base of the pinnules ; and, secondly, in the fructi- 
fication, the sori here being placed in the sinus of a notch in the lobe, and the involucres 
quite broad, lunate, or veniform, not occupying the whole apex of the lobe.” As has been 
mentioned above, with regard to the plant collected by Chaubard and Bory at Athens, 
A. Capillus-veneris sometimes approaches A. cetluopicum very closely ; but the two species are 
usually considered distinct by the best authorities on the subject. 

The Maidenhair has in France acquired some little importance from its employment in the 
manufacture of a syrup known, from the Latin name of the plant, as capillaire , which has been 
supposed to possess pectoral qualities, and, when diluted with water, forms a very refreshing 
drink. It was formerly prepared by adding sugar and orange-flower water to an infusion of the 
fern ; but as the Maidenhair was found to serve no essential purpose, it is frequently omitted 
and, according to Pereira, the syrup sold in the shops under the name of capillaire is nothing but 
clarified syrup flavoured with orange-flower water. The Prussian and Hamburgh Pharmacopeias 
authorise this substitution by giving formulae for a sympus florce aurantii, to be used “ in loco 
sympi capillorum veneris.” A recipe for making capillaire runs thus : Take of Maidenhair leaves 
five ounces ; liquorice-root, peeled and sliced, two ounces ; boiling water, five pints : let them 
remain for six hours ; strain, and then add thirteen pounds of the finest loaf sugar, and one 
pint of orange-flower water. The simple infusion of the plant in water, sweetened in the manner 
of tea, has been recommended for the same purposes as the syrup. 

From some of the earlier Irish floras it would appear that the collecting of Maidenhair for 
the preparation of capillaire was at one time very extensively carried on. Thus Keogh, in his 
“ Botanologia Universalis Hibernica” (1735), says of it: “The best in this kingdom is brought 
from the rocky mountains of Burren, in the county of Clare, where it grows plentifully ; from 
thence it is brought in sacks to Dublin, and sold there:” and he goes on to narrate its virtues, 

4 8 

European Ferns. 

which are both numerous and varied : “ it is pulmonic, lithontriptic . . . wonderfully helps those 
afflicted with asthmas, shortness of breath, and coughs ... It is also good against jaundice, 
dropsy, and the bitings of mad dogs.” It is stated that the fern was exported in large quantities 
to London from Ireland in the middle of the last century : and it is on record that two hogsheads 
were so sent by one person from the Isles of Arran, where the fern is very abundant in the deep 
clefts of the rocks, being known to the natives as dubh-chosach , or “black-footed.” 

In North America the beautiful Adiantum pedatum, to which reference has already been 
made, is employed more extensively in a similar manner, and is often substituted for the true 
Maidenhair. Its chief use is as a refrigerant drink in febrile diseases and in erysipelas ; and its 
expectorant and subastringent properties render it also useful in coughs and asthma. The plant 
is highly valued by some American practitioners, and its properties are at any rate of sufficient 
importance to demand further investigation. It is said that its substitution in France for the 
true Maidenhair arose from the circumstance that the French Canadians sent over large quantities 
to France as a package for goods: its similarity to the true Maidenhair arrested attention, and 
it was ultimately used instead of it. According to Kalm, A. pedatum has been employed from 
time immemorial by the North American Indians in cases of difficulty of breathing. In some 
parts of Brazil another species, A. dolabriforme, bearing the vernacular name of Venca , is used in 
pectoral complaints. The fronds of A. melanocaulon are believed to be tonic in India. 

The “vertues” of Maidenhair, according to old writers, were both numerous and varied. 
Many are set forward in Langham’s “ Guide of Health” — a black-letter seventeenth-century volume 
— and of these the following are samples: — “ Seethe it in wine, and drinke it for shortnesse and 
straitnesse of breath, the hard and uneasie cough, and to cause easie spitting. . . . Bitings 

of mad dogges and venomous beasts, stampe it greene and apply it. It restoreth haire, dispatcheth 
the strume or swellings in children’s throats. . . . Headach, weare a garland of it, or a 
quilted cap of it about the head. . . . Given in meat to quails, it maketh them to fight well : ” 
and so on. The property last referred to is similar to one mentioned by Pliny as belonging to his 
“ adiantum,” which, as we have already said, is peril ips an altogether different plant. He says: 
“ It is a general belief that partridges and cocks are rendered more pugnacious if this plant is 
mixed with their food.” Langham’s list of “ vertues,” however, pales before that set forward by 
one Peter Formius in a small French treatise devoted to the plant, which was published in 1644. 
Our illustrious countryman, John Ray, condenses his account in the “Historia Plantarum,” and 
remarks that, if all these virtues existed in the Maidenhair, it might indeed be looked upon as 
a panacea for every disease, being in itself sufficient to cure any disorder, no matter of what kind, 
and regardless of the part of the body affected. He, however, proposes a drink to be made from 
it, which he suggests might be efficaciously employed in fevers and similar cases. For this 
about three handfuls of the recently collected leaves- should be placed in warm or gently boiling 
water, and allowed to remain for the space of one night. It is said that a strong decoc- 
tion will act as an emetic. Ray also tells us that in the neighbourhood of Narbonne the 
growth of Maidenhair about the wells and fountains is looked upon as a sure sign of the purity 
and sweetness of the water yielded by them. According to Pereira, other ferns, besides 
those already named, have been employed under the name of Maidenhair, especially the 
Black Maidenhair Spleen wort (. Asplenium Adicvnium-nigruvi), the Wall Rue (A. R uta-muraria ) , 
the Scaly Spleenwort ( Ceterach officinarum ), and the Hart’s-tongue ( Scolopendrium vulgare). 

The name Adiantum is derived, as Pliny tells us, from the Greek a (not) and hiaLvw (to wet), 
because, he says, “ when sprinkled with water or dipped in it, it has all the appearance of having 
been dried, so great is its antipathy to moisture.” His description, however, is hardly appropriate 

Cassells European Ferns. 

Vincei-t £a-7& Savlith . 


I. A D I A N T U M CAPILLUS VENERIS. 2 ADIANTUM /ETHI 0 PICU M (two thirds natural size 



to our Maidenhair, although he speaks of a use of the plant which accords well with that to 
which our species is supposed to owe its name. He says that a decoction of it was made in 
wine with parsley-seed for the purpose of imparting colour to the hair, large quantities of oil 
being added if it is desired to make the hair thick and curly as well ; and he also attributes to 
it the property of preventing the hair from coming off. The black, hair-like stalks of our British 

plant probably suggested its name Capillus-veneris, as well as its English equivalent ; and its 

supposed efficacy in restoring the hair is likely enough to have been suggested, on the “ doctrine 

of signatures,” by the same circumstance. Coles, writing in 1657, says : “ The lye wherein 

Maidenhaire is sodden or infused is good to bathe the head, and make the haire come thicker in 
those places which are more thin and bare.” The subject of our present description is here referred 
to ; but various other plants have been called Maidenhair from time to time, among them the 
pretty yellow Bog Asphodel ( Narthecium ossifragum ). of which Johnson writes in 1636: “In 
Lancashire [it] is used by women to die their haire of a yellowish colour, and therefore by them 
it is termed Maiden-haire ; ” while the pretty Lady’s Bedstraw ( Galium verum ) was also called 
Maidenhair — according to Coles, “ from the fineness of the leaves.” 

Gerard seems to look upon the Maidenhair fern as one of the plants formerly named in 
commemoration of the Blessed Virgin, and says “ it maybe called Our Lady’s Hair;” but the Latin 
name suggests that it was rather dedi- 
cated to Venus. As we shall see when 
we come to speak of Asplenium Tricho - 
manes, that species has also been termed 
Maidenhair ; and it is with this that 
Mrs. Chanter (in “ Lerny Combes”) as- 
sociates a German legend which she 
does not definitely localise, and which 
has rather a modern sound. She says : 

“ A lady was keeping tryst with her 
lover, when he was suddenly, after the 
fashion of Germany in those days, trans- 
formed into a wolf. The lady fled before 
him, and in her haste fell over a preci- 
pice, her black hair tangling in the 
bushes as she descended. On the spot 
where she fell a clear spring welled up, 
and round about her hair took root. The well is called ‘the Wolf’s Spring,’ and the little 
custodian of the glen, after telling you the story, hands you a bunch of the ‘ Maiden’s Hair.’ ” 

Reference has already been made to Adiantum amentum , and it may be well to say a 
word or two more about it, inasmuch as it is probably this species which is considered by most 
people as being the true Maidenhair. It is certainly the plant usually grown in greenhouses 
under that name, and this is natural enough, as it is very much more easy to grow, and its 
fronds last longer when cut, so that it is more suitable for use in bouquets and for other decorative 
purposes. Notwithstanding its general cultivation at the present day, it is not an old inhabitant 
of our stoves, having been first introduced to this country in a living state in 1841, when 
plants were sent from the Botanic Gardens at Berlin to the Royal Gardens at Kew. The 
fronds are about a foot (sometimes more) in length, gracefully spreading, and ovate in form ; 
they are very numerous, rising from a tufted rhizome, forming in large plants a dense mass ; 



European Ferns. 

the pinnules are smaller than those of A. capillus-veneris, and more deeply cut, resembling rather 
those of A. cethiopicum. The fern, indeed, is closely allied to that species, but the pinnules 
are always wedge-shaped and more deeply lobed. The footstalks are black and thread-like, 
as in the true Maidenhair ; the green of the fern is of a different shade, and the general appearance 
of the plant is more slender and lax, owing to the smaller size of the pinnules. Our figure 
shows the appearance of a portion of a frond. 

A. cuneatum is very easily cultivated; indeed, when once established it will propagate 
itself by self-sown spores, which will readily spring up in neighbouring pots. But care must 
be taken to preserve the fronds from the drip of water, as, owing to their extreme delicacy, 
they will not stand this ; a certain amount of moisture, plenty of room, and thorough 
drainage are essential to its successful cultivation. The species is a native of various parts 
of Brazil; other species of the genus from different regions are sometimes called A. cuneatum, 
but incorrectly. 

a. Pinnule enlarged. 

Cheilanthes . 



£ have here a genus of ferns comprising about sixty or seventy species, for the 
most part natives of dry rocky places in tropical regions, but extending 
into temperate countries, three species being European and four or more 
natives of the United States. They are for the most part small ferns, but 
present a very considerable variation in size and form ; the European re- 
presentatives of the genus are, as we shall see, small plants, but many have 
fronds a foot or a foot and a half in length. The genus is characterised 
by having the sporangia borne on the thickened ends of free veinlets, bearing 
small roundish sori close to the margin of the frond : they are covered 
by a usually whitish and membranous indusium, which is formed of the 
reflexed margin of the frond. It is to this peculiarity that the name Cheilanthes (which 
is formed of two Greek words — yfiXos, a lip, and avOos, a flower) alludes ; and the name Lip-fern 
is sometimes given as an English equivalent for the genus. The more or less compound fronds 
are often densely hairy or chaffy, with dark glossy stipites ; though to this rule there are 
exceptions — as, for instance, in C. multifida , a native of Africa and Java, the fronds of which are 
nearly smooth, and triangular or somewhat deltoid in outline. The genus can hardly be con- 
sidered well defined ; Sir W. J. Hooker says, “ Vain is the attempt to form any definite character 
which shall decide its proper limits.” It is undoubtedly very near Pteris, scarcely differing from 
it in the greater distinctness of the sori. 

One of the most popular species is C. argentea, which is often met with in cultivation. Its 
specific name refers to the appearance of the under side of the frond, which is covered with a 
white flour-like powder, as is the case with some species of Gymnogramma ; the upper surface 
is of a bright dark green. C. farinosa is another species which is similarly silvered beneath ; 
the two species are closely allied, their most obvious difference being in size and geographical 
distribution. C. argentea usually — although Milde speaks of Mandschurian specimens more than 
a foot long — has fronds from two to four inches high, and is a native of Siberia, China, Japan, 
the Malay Peninsula, and Khasia, from which last-named region we have a variety ( chrysophylla ) 
which is golden, not silvery, beneath. The fronds of C. farinosa are from half a foot to a foot 
and a half in length, and in cultivation have been known to occur as long as two feet ; this is 
of more southern distribution, beginning in the Himalayas and extending throughout tropical 
India, Malaya, Ceylon, Arabia, and Abyssinia, and found also in Central America, where it 
ascends, in Mexico, to. 8,000 feet. This species varies very much in cultivation, as is shown by 
Mr. John Smith’s very fine range of specimens in the Herbarium of the British Museum. The 
author just mentioned did not look upon it as really distinct from C. argentea, and a note from 
him attached to a specimen in the Herbarium says : “ Stunted, starved plants of C. fai'inosa 
assume the appearance of C. argentea; and I have no doubt that living plants, or plants raised 
from genuine spores of C. argentea, could, under cultivation, be made to assume the appearance 
of C. farinosa. Difference in size appears to me the only specific difference between them — the 
first being small, not exceeding two to four inches in height, while the second sometimes attains 
the height of nearly two feet.” C. argentea was introduced to cultivation in England in 1823 ; 
C. farinosa was first grown in this country at the Royal Gardens, Kew, in 1827. 


European Ferns. 

Besides these two well-known plants, many other species of Cheilanthes are or have been 
in cultivation in this country. Mr. E. J. Lowe, in his “Ferns, British and Exotic,” figures 
eighteen species which were then known in English gardens, but two or three of these are 
referred to other genera by more recent writers. C. viscosa is a very pretty species, with deltoid 
or triangular, finely-cut, bright green, tripinnate fronds ; it is an American plant, extending 
from New Mexico to Venezuela, and has been in cultivation in England since 1841. The 
specific name refers to a characteristic feature of the fronds, which are covered throughout with 
sticky glandular hairs, the viscidity of which is so powerful that, as noted by Mr. John Smith 
on a specimen in the British Museum Herbarium, the plant adheres to the paper without the 
aid of gum or paste. C. radiata is a very pretty plant, resembling an Adiantum in habit, and 
originally placed in that genus by Linnaeus ; it has long stipites, which are terminated by from 
five to ten pinnae, all starting from a common centre like the spokes of a wheel, thus imparting 
a star-like appearance to the frond. This is a native of tropical America, and was cultivated 
at Kew in 1827: it is a very variable plant, some specimens not exceeding four inches, while 
others are as much as three feet in height. C. pteroides is a very handsome and distinct species, 
resembling a Platyloma in habit, and also approaching Pteris, as is suggested by its specific name. 
It is an old inhabitant of our greenhouses, having been introduced to the Royal Gardens at Kew 
from the Cape of Good Hope by Francis Masson in 1775 ; but is not commonly met with at 
the present day, although it well deserves attention, being one of the handsomest and finest 
species of the genus, as well as one of the most distinct. It has a thick, creeping, scaly 

rhizome, from which rise the large, smooth, tripinnate fronds, these being (including the stipes) 

from a foot to two feet and a half in length. The brown involucres extend over the whole 

margin of the pinnae of the fertile fronds, and the contrast between them and the pale green 

of the fronds is very striking. It is a native of the Cape, at an elevation of from 1,000 to 3,000 
feet, and is also found in Java at the top of Mount Gede. C. tenuifolia is a pretty, slenderly- 
divided species, reminding us of a Cystopteris in habit ; it is a species of wide distribution, 
extending over the hilly districts of Eastern India, throughout Eastern Asia and the Malay 
Archipelago, and being very abundant in most parts of Australia : this was introduced to Kew 
Gardens in 1824. C. Matthewsii, a Peruvian species, is remarkable for its long, narrow, linear- 
lanceolate fronds ; C. micropteris, a native of tropical America, has them similar in shape, but 
much smaller, seldom exceeding three inches in length. C. speciosissima is, as its name implies, 
a very beautiful species, a native of Central America, which ascends to 12,000 feet on the Peak 
of Orizaba, Mexico. The fronds are sometimes two feet or more in length ; the rachis is 
covered throughout with brown, chaffy scales or hairs, and the general aspect at first sight 
reminds us of an Aspidium rather than a Cheilanthes. 


This pretty little fern is familiar to travellers in the Mediterranean region, being a general 
favourite on account of its delicately fragrant fronds. The fern tribe is not at all remarkable 
for fragrance, although many ferns have a peculiar odour which is by no means unpleasant ; 
but here and there we come across species with a well-marked and distinct scent. Among our 
British ferns, for example, we have Aspidium montanum, with a pleasant smell of new-mown 
hay, which is more strongly developed in A. cemulum ; while A. fragrans, a native of the 
Caucasus, Siberia, and Northern Asia, smells strongly of raspberries, the odour remaining even 
in the dried fronds, and becoming very obvious when these are soaked -in water. A tropical 

Cassells European Ferns 

Vincent Brooks Day &5on.L:th 


C. FRAGRANSV Hook.) C. SZOVITZl'i ( F. & M.) 


a' PINNULES ENLARGED ( b) PINNULES ENLARGED 4' 2 t,mes natoRal.size..) 



and Central American fern, Anemia tomentosa , has an odour like that of myrrh ; Mohria 
thurifraga, a Cape species, smells of benzoin ; the bruised fronds of Angiopteris evecta are 
used in the Pacific Islands for imparting an agreeable scent to cocoa-nut oil ; while in North 
America a Dicksonia ( D . punctilobula ) is sometimes called the Sweet-scented Fern, on account 
of the pleasant fragrance of its fronds. It is perhaps hardly necessary to say that the odour 
in these cases is due to the presence of a large number of very small glands, more especially 
on the under surface of the frond : when the plant is gathered these are crushed, and the odour 
is then given out. The fern we are now describing, Cheilanthes fragrans, retains its pleasant 
scent when dried ; it resembles that of violets, or perhaps more strictly of violet-powder, there 
being a faint but perceptible starchy smell mingled with the perfume. 

Cheilanthes fragrans (which is also known as C. odora ) is a small fern of tufted habit ; the 
stipes is short (from an inch to three inches in length), firm, and wiry, of a dark shining brown, 
and covered more or less densely with reddish-brown, linear, hair-like scales : these scales soon 
fall or are easily rubbed off, and the stipes has then a smooth appearance. The bipinnate 
fronds are usually about two inches long (sometimes, however, exceeding three inches), and 
about an inch broad in the lower portion, tapering gradually to the apex ; the pinnae are 
opposite, the lower broadly ovate and distant, the upper ones narrower and closer together ; 
the upper surface is of darkish green, the lower is paler ; the sori on the fertile fronds are 
singly or more numerously on the margins of the pinnae, the indusium being at first pale or 
whitish, and becoming brown, the margin being toothed or crenate. The species is, however, 
very variable, not only in size, but also in the division of the fronds and their hairiness. The 
above description will apply to the usual European form of the plant. Milde distinguishes six 
forms, three of which are found in Europe. The most frequent of these is that already described, 
in which the indusium is continuous and ciliate. A second form has an interrupted indusium, 
which, as in the typical state of the fern, is “ abruptly attenuate ; ” this occurs on Mount 
Vesuvius and in Sardinia. A third form has also an interrupted indusium, but this is herbaceous, 
not attenuated ; it is a native of Spain. These two forms show by their, characters that the 
distinctions between true C. fragrans and the plant which has been described as distinct under 
the name C. maderensis, are insufficient for specific purposes. 

As we have already said, C. fragrans is one of the most characteristic ferns of the 
Mediterranean region, extending to the islands, and seldom found very far from the coast. 
It occurs in Central France, Dalmatia, and Piedmont, extending as far north as Switzerland ; 
in the Eastern Pyrenees and in the south of Spain, on the rock of Gibraltar and in Portugal ; 
and in many parts of Turkey and Greece. Its extra-European distribution is not very 
extended : it is found in Algeria and Morocco, and is abundant in the Canaries and Madeira, 
from which last-named island it was introduced to cultivation in England by Francis Masson 
in 1778. The Madeiran plant has been described as a distinct species by some authors, under 
the name of C. maderensis ; but the characters by which it was proposed to distinguish it are 
neither important nor permanent. In Asia it occurs in the North-western Himalayas, at an 
elevation of 5,000 feet, as also in Afghanistan, Beloochistan, and Syria; at Jerusalem, and in 
Lycia and Cilicia. If the authors of the “ Synopsis Filicum ” are correct in identifying with 
this species C. andina, Hook., a native of the Peruvian Andes, the range of C. fragrans 
must be considerably extended, as it is not usually regarded as a plant of the New World. 

C. fragrans is an easy plant to grow, and does well either in a cool fern-house or in a 
Wardian case. Like the other species of the genus, it should be potted in fibrous peat with 
sand mixed with small pieces of sandstone, care being taken to elevate the crown of the root 


European Ferns. 

above the rim of the pot in which it is planted. It well deserves to be more generally cultivated 
than is at present the case ; as, although many ferns are more strikingly graceful, and others 
have a more distinct character, it is in itself a pleasing object, and the fragrance of the fronds 
renders it a well-marked and interesting species. 


This is a very rare fern — so rare, indeed, that it is but seldom represented, even in large 
herbaria — and hence our description of it must be borrowed from authors who have been more 
fortunate than ourselves in this respect. It is interesting as being one of the very few species 
which are exclusively European (a list — nine in number — of those of which the geographical 
distribution is thus limited will be found in our introduction, p. xiv.), and its range in Europe 
is far from extensive. It was originally discovered in Spain, in the province of Estremadura, 
by Schousboe, in 1798, and to this its specific name is due: since then it has been found on 
rocks on the banks of the river Mondego, near Coimbra, in Portugal, by the late Dr. Welwitsch ; 
and Milde refers to it, without any doubt, a fern found near Messina by Tineo, which was 
described by Todaro in 1866, and named by him C. Tinoei, in compliment to its discoverer. 

C. Hispanica much resembles C. fragrans in habit, but is readily distinguished by the 
distinctly deltoid outline of the twice or thrice pinnate fronds. The smooth-tufted, wiry stems 
are of a dark chestnut-brown hue, and shining ; from two to three inches in length, and with 
a dense tuft of slender wiry hairs at the base, which are similar to the stem in colour. The 
fronds are of a coriaceous texture, from an inch to an inch and a half long, and about half as 
broad ; they are green and smooth above, but on their under side are densely clothed with 
jointed, glandular, cinnamon-coloured hairs : the pinnae are in opposite pairs, the lowest being 
the largest ; these are oblong, or again branched on the lower side. The sori on the fertile 
fronds are very numerous, covering almost the whole of the under surface. 


Although not so uncommon as the preceding, this fern is by no means frequently met 
with ; in Europe, indeed, its distribution is very limited, as it only occurs in Italy and Dalmatia ; 
but in the East and in Asia it appears to be more frequent, as it has been found in Lycia, the 
Caucasus, and Mount Taurus, and also in Algeria. It has also been brought from Beloochistan 
and Tibet, ascending in the last-named district to seven or eight thousand feet. It was first 
described in 1838, and named in honour of Szovitz, who first brought it from the province of 
Karabagh, in Asia. 

This is an exceedingly beautiful species, and one which is at once readily distinguished — 
“ primo viso,” as Milde has it — from C. fragrans by the ferruginous wool with which the fronds 
are covered below. It is closely allied to C. lanuginosa , a North American species, from which 
indeed it only differs in having distinct scales mixed with the woolly clothing of the stipes and 

The fronds spring from a tufted roundish caudex, the crown of which is densely scaly. 
The stipes, which is about as long as the frond (the latter being from three to four, or even six 
inches in length, and about a third of that size in breadth), is wiry and somewhat shining, of 
a blackish purple hue, clothed, like the rachis, with spreading woolly hairs, with which slender 
scales are intermingled ; the scales are scarcely more conspicuous than the hairs, but larger 

Cheilanthes . 


and subulate (or awl-shaped), and these are very characteristic of the species. The pinnate 
fronds are narrow-oblong, quite smooth on the upper surface, but densely covered below with 
a thick coat of a brown woolly covering ; the nearly sessile pinnae are in opposite pairs, the 
lowest being the smallest, and almost deltoid in shape. The pinnules are set closely together, 
“cut down to the rachis below into small roundish beaded segments;” the divisions are again 
divided into ovate ultimate divisions, the margins of which are turned over so as to cover the 
numerous marginal sori with a spurious indusium, fringed with light-brown hairs. Although 
so densely clothed with light-brown wool below, the fronds are nearly smooth above, their green 
hue standing out with great distinctness against the brown marginal fringe which is afforded 
by the long hairs of the under-surface. One of its names, C. fimbriata , no doubt refers to this 
fringed appearance. Sir W. J. Hooker describes a variety (/3. Stocksii ) from Scinde and 
Afghanistan, in which the woolly covering is exceedingly dense and tawny, and “so copious 
and spreading as at first sight apparently to invest the whole frond.” 



European Ferns. 



have here a fern which is the only species of the genus in which it is 
placed, and which may thus be supposed to stand out from its allies with 
especial distinctness. Genera, arbitrarily defined by naturalists for purposes 
of classification, are of course based upon certain resemblances or differ- 
ences between plants or other natural objects, and their recognised extent 
is largely regulated by the views of different scientific men. As is the 
case with species in a yet more marked degree, what one man recognises as a 
distinct type, and then calls by a new and distinctive name, may be regarded 
by another observer as merely a new form belonging to a genus previously 
described, while a third savant may go yet further, and say that the plant, or 
insect, or whatever may be the object under consideration, is not only no new generic type, but 
has barely any claim to rank as a distinct species. This divergence of opinion leads our 
professors in two different directions; and while the bent of one man’s mind induces him to 
recognise and describe as distinct, plants which have many points in common, another may go 
to just the opposite extreme, and err by his custom of referring almost every novelty to some 
well-known type, of which it must be considered a form or variety. The two opposing schools 
are characterised respectively in scientific slang as “splitters” and “ lumpers,” the former finding 
very thorough -going representatives in the describers of some hundreds of forms of our common 
Blackberry ( Rubus fruticosus), while a reference to some of the more recent Colonial Floras will 
show that “lumping” has its advocates and practisers in very high quarters indeed. As a rule, 
indeed, it may be stated that those who study only the flora of a limited area, or who devote 
their attention to a small group of plants, are more likely to detect and lay stress upon 
comparatively small differences, and so to multiply species, while those who take a wider range 
and have to deal with the flora of a large province, or the plants of the whole world, are given 
to take very broad views of what constitutes a species, and to make their definitions so wide as 
to include a considerable range of variation. Two of our leading English botanists may be 
cited as offering an example of this. Professor Babington, in his “ Manual of British Botany,” 
maintains a large number of species which Mr. Bentham, in his “ Handbook of the British 
Flora,” will not allow a higher rank than that' of varieties ; the former has for the most part 
confined his attention to the British and European flora, while the latter has devoted himself to 
research in a wider field, and has probably passed under his notice the greater number of known 
plants. Each course of action has its good and bad points, and probably the old maxim, in 
medio semper tutissimus ibis, will apply to this as to so many other things. 

But, after all this explanation, it will be found that there is a vast difference in the extent 
of genera. The largest genus of plants known is probably Senecio : this is estimated to contain 
about a thousand species, of which our common Groundsel ( Senecio vulgaris ) is one of the most 
familiar and ubiquitous examples. Other genera are monotypic, containing but. one species ; 
and of these we have an illustration in the Parsley Fern, to which we will now return. 

Cassells European Ferns 

V:nce. , *il Bt ucks Day Sc ::uu 





The Parsley Ferh. 


Not only in its technical characters, but in its habit and general appearance, the Parsley 
Fern is one of the most easily recognised and least variable of European ferns. Looking 
through a large series of specimens, we are struck with the fact that the variation which exists 
in all natural objects is here confined within very narrow limits ; there is singularly little dif- 
ference between them, either in size or form. In saying this, we are speaking only of the 
European form of the plant : the Indian and American forms present differences which have 
been considered sufficient to entitle them to specific, or even generic rank, although they are 
now usually considered as varieties of C. crispa ; but of these we shall speak further on. 

The Parsley Fern is a small plant varying from four to eight or ten inches in height, 
sometimes, though rarely, attaining a foot. The densely-tufted fronds rise from a short, thick, 
slightly creeping caudex, which is sometimes hardly perceptible ; the stipes, which is as long as 
or longer than the frond, is pale green, smooth, and straw-like. The fronds, which are of a 
bright green hue, and of a thick, somewhat leathery, texture, are more or less triangular in 
shape, and from two to three inches across at the base. They are of two kinds, or what is 
termed dimorphous, thus differing from all the species which we have hitherto described ; one 
kind of the fronds being fertile and the other barren. This dimorphism is not very uncommon 
in ferns, while among flowering plants it exists in very varied forms, from a slight though 
permanent and important difference in the stamens and pistils of a flower to a complete change 
in the habit and general appearance in individuals belonging to the same species. Mr. Darwin 
has taken a leading position among the, botanists who have directed attention to this phenomenon ; 
his papers upon dimorphism in the flowers of the common Primrose, and upon trimorphism in 
the Purple Loosestrife, were mainly instrumental in attracting to the subject the observation 
which it has of late years received among naturalists. Among our European ferns, we shall find 
it more strikingly manifested in the Hard Fern, which stands next upon our list ; in certain 
exotic ferns it is very conspicuously developed — we referred to one instance of it when 
speaking of the genus Trichomanes. 

The fertile fronds of the Parsley Fern are, of course, readily distinguishable, when fully 
developed, by the clusters of brown sori with which they are thickly covered ; in a young state 
these are of a pale yellowish green. The segments are much more narrow and slender in 
appearance than those of the barren fronds ; this is due to the fact that the membranous edges 
of the segments are turned over upon the sori so as to cover them, thus supplying the place 
of an indusium, there being no true indusium in this species. Each division of the frond has a 
somewhat wavy simple or forked vein running down its centre ; this produces several smaller 
veins which reach nearly to the margin of the segments, each bearing a round sorus near its 
termination. The sori are at first separate, but as they develop they spread out and become 
more or less confluent, covering nearly the whole surface of the back of the frond. The spores 
are smooth, and roundish or oblong in form. 

The barren fronds are shorter than the fertile ones, and have a more elegant appearance, 
being less contracted, and offering a much greater variation in form ; it is in them that we 
must look for that resemblance to parsley which has suggested the popular name of the fern, though 
it must be confessed that this is not always particularly striking. The fronds are divided into 
alternate or nearly opposite branches or pinnae, which are spreading, and more or less triangular 
in form, the lowest being the largest. The segments into which the pinnules forming the 
pinnae are divided are more or less cuneate, or wedge-shaped, and oblong, notched at the 
extremity with two or three distinct teeth. These barren fronds are of a very beautiful 
green, and their densely tufted habit renders the fern one of very attractive appearance. 



European Ferns. 

Their capabilities from an ornamentist’s point of view have already received attention. 
Mr. G. McKenzie, in the Magazine of Art, refers to the Parsley Fern as presenting “forms of 
leafage which would be of much use to the carver.” “ In studying from this plant,” he adds, 
“ much care and perseverance are needed ; the practice followed was to detach the frond to be 
copied from its neighbours by means of a piece 
of black silk, which formed a perfect background 
for the bright green leaf, and then, as in the 
case of the object, Fig. I, which was really no 
larger than a moderate-sized pea, the detail was 
made out by means of a good magnifying-glass, 
an instrument which must be used by everyone 
who would profit by the study of small plants, 
as in these are often to be found the most 
valuable lessons. Fig. 2 is a more advanced frond 
of the same. Fig. 3 is yet more expanded ; the 
whole of the detail of this drawing was found in 
an object no larger than one’s thumb-nail. F"ig. 4 
is the fully-opened leaf.” 

The two kinds of fronds — the barren and the 
fertile — are almost always quite distinct ; forms 
intermediate between them have been recorded, in which, although for the most part barren, 
fructification is found upon some segments of the fronds ; these forms, however, are rarely met 
with. In Withering’s “Arrangement of British Plants” (ed. iii. and others) there is a note 
stating that “ Mr. Jackson has observed two varieties with curled leaves, the one curled 

like parsley, the other like the flowering 
part of Osmunda rega/is." These two forms 
of the barren fronds — the one having the 


obovate segments deeply divided, serrated, 
and one-nerved, the other with elliptical, 
deeply serrate, and pinnately veined pin- 
nules — are frequently to be noticed if we 
examine a large series of either fresh or 
dried specimens of the Parsley Fern. The 
annexed woodcut, taken from specimens 
collected in Scotland, shows portions of 
the fronds of a handsome form of the 
species which does not seem to be com- 
mon, although there are other examples 

. . „ .. _ , , „ „ of it in the British Museum Herbarium. 

( 1 ) fertile frond. ( 2 ) Barren Frond. ( 2 ) Pinna {enlarged). 

The synonomy of the Parsley Fern 
is very extensive, as will be at once apparent when we state that it has had as many as 
eleven generic names. It was originally described by Linnaeus as an Osmunda — a fact 
which may seem strange to those who understand that genus as it is now limited, but 
which ceases to be surprising when we remember that in former days it had a much more 
comprehensive scope, and included, besides other ferns, the Struthiopteris, the Hard Fern 
( Blechnam Spicant), and the Moomvort (Botrychium Lunaria), in addition to the subject of 



The Parsley Fern. 


the present notice. Later on Linnaeus referred the plant to Ptcris, with which genus 
indeed, although so different in habit, it has several points in common, such as the 
folding over of the margin of the segments of the fertile fronds so as to form a false 
indusium. The common English book-name for the species, “ Rock Brakes,’’ bears witness 
to the time when the Parsley Fern was placed in the same genus with the common 
Brakes (. Pteris aquilind). It is unnecessary to notice any of the other generic synonyms of 
the Parsley Fern with the exception of two — that under which it is described in these 
pages, and another one by which it is at least as often referred to, Allosorus. The 

name Cryptogramma was given by Robert Brown, who defined the genus in 1823, and 

is from the two Greek words, crypto, hidden, and gramme, a line, in reference to the lines of 

the fructification being concealed. Sir W. J. Hooker, pointing out this derivation, considers 
Brown’s spelling to be inaccurate (as no doubt it is), and writes the name Cryptogramme. 
In this he is followed by many botanists ; but this alteration in spelling is hardly in 
accordance with botanical laws of nomenclature, according to which the name under which a 
genus was published must be accepted as the recognised designation of the plant, and 

even the original spelling must be adhered to, unless in very exceptional cases. This rule 
might seem strange to those unacquainted with scientific terminology, and indeed outsiders 
might be excused for considering entirely wasted much of the ink and paper which has been 
devoted to what seems very trifling questions of nomenclature. The question of the right way of 
spelling Cinchona, for example, has given rise to a controversy of considerable extent. This 
name was intended to commemorate the Countess of Chinchon, who was the wife of a viceroy 
of Peru. Having been attacked with fever, a packet of powdered bark was sent to her physician 
by a native of Loxa, who assured him that it would prove efficacious in the treatment of her 
disease. The drug fully bore out its reputation, and the Countess was cured, and upon her 
recovery she caused large quantities of the bark to be collected, which she gave away in the 
form of powder to those sick of fever.* It was probably owing to this that the drug was 
introduced to Spain, and thence spread through Europe. Its employment by the Countess 
took place in 1638 ; it was not until 1742 that Linnaeus founded the genus Cinchona. There 
is no doubt but that in so doing he intended to commemorate the Countess of Chinchon ; and 
it has of late years been strongly urged that the spelling of Cinchona should be altered to 
Chinchona, and some writers on quinine and its sources have gone so far as to adopt this 
form. But the word Cinchona has been so thoroughly established, and so many derivatives 
have originated from it, that the proposed alteration has never been generally adopted, nor is 
it likely to become so. It has been pointed out that Linnaeus also wrote the name Cinhona, 
a form of spelling which, however, may be owing to a blunder of the printer. In spite of 
Shakespeare’s implication to the contrary, there is really a good deal in a name ; and a very 
interesting chapter might be written on the subject of commemorative names alone. In many 
instances, as Linnaeus himself tells us, these titles were bestowed on account of some fancied 
resemblance between the plants to which they were given and the botanists whom they commemo- 
rated : thus, for example, the genus Bauhinia, named after the brothers Caspar and John Bauhin, 
has a two-lobed or twin leaf ; Schenchzeria, a grassy Alpine plant, is so called in order to bring 
to our minds the two Scheuchzers, one of whom had a great knowledge of Alpine plants, and 
the other an extensive acquaintance with grasses. Sometimes such names were not compli- 
mentary — for instance, Bujfonia tenuifolia, an insignificant plant, is said to have been so called 

* Any one curious to see how much of interest and history may be associated with so simple a matter as 
the introduction of a drug should consult the account of Cinchona bark, given in “ Pharmacographia,” pp. 304— 309. 


European Ferns . 

in memory of the great French naturalist, whose pretensions to botanical knowledge were 
very slender.* 

The genus Allosorns was established by Bernhardi in 1806, and then included numerous 
species of ferns. Many of these, however, have been transferred to other genera, and the 
Parsley Fern is now the representative of the genus. The name is derived from two Greek 
words — alios, various, and sorus, a heap, the intention probably being, as Mr. Moore 

observes, “ to indicate the variation in the 
arrangement of the sori occurring among 
the plants originally thought to belong to 
this family. It may also apply to the ap- 
parent difference of arrangement in the sori 
of this plant at different stages of develop- 
ment, the young sori forming distinct roundish 
patches, and the older becoming effused into 
larger shapeless masses.” It may, however, 
perhaps have been intended to refer to the 
difference between the barren and fertile 

In the “ Synopsis Filicum,” following Sir 
W. J. Hooker in the “ Species Filicum,” two 
ferns at one time regarded as distinct from 
the Parsley Fern are placed under it as 
varieties. Milde also follows this arrange- 
ment, while Mr. Thomas Moore opposes it, 
and considers the two plants alluded to to 
be even generically distinct. One of these, 
C. Brunoniana of Wallich, is a native of 
Northern India, ascending in the Himalayas 
to from eleven to thirteen thousand feet : 
the other, C. of Robert Brown, 
is a plant of North, and especially North- 
Western, America. These Mr. Moore con- 
siders as distinct, basing his opinion on the 
difference in the receptacles, which are linear 
and oblique in the two plants just named, 
while in the Parsley Fern they are puncti- 
form. He says, “We follow Mettenius and others in keeping them distinct, on account 
of the difference in the receptacles, to which we attach considerable importance. In the 
typical species of Cryptogramrna, the sori form short lines along a portion of the veins, 
after the gymnogramnoid type, and these lines being parallel, and near together, unite 
laterally as they become effused, and so form a broad linear mass transverse to the 
veins. In Allosorus , the sori instead of being elongated are punctiform, but they become 
laterally confluent in the same way as in Cryptogramrna ; and in some states of the 
plant a tendency to elongate is perhaps also to be observed.” The two genera are 


U) Fertile Frond. (2) Barren Frond. (3) Pinnule {enlarged). 

This, however, has been controverted. See “Journal of the Linnean Society,” ii., 183 — 190(1858). 

The Parsley Fern. 


undoubtedly very closely united, and in habit and general aspect they are quite similar; the 
recent and careful observations of Milde entirely support Hooker’s view, and from these the 
author referred to states very definitely that the two genera can in no way be retained, and 
that all the forms are referable to the species. 

The Indian form, C. Brunoniana , is an erect, stout plant, of somewhat rigid habit, the 
barren fronds being quite like those of the European form, though the fertile ones more 
resemble those of the American variety : the segments of these are oblong, “ about three lines 
long and one line broad, with the involucre spreading in the mature plant and a space left free 
from fruit in the centre.” This occurs in various parts of Northern India, ascending to thirteen 
thousand feet in the Himalayas. C., the North American form, of which 
we give a woodcut, is altogether a larger and stronger plant, with thicker and more pro- 
minently veined barren segments, which also are not so deeply cut ; the stipites are more 
robust, and the chaffy scales are longer in proportion ; the fertile pinnules also are larger, 
broader, and more flattened, with the involucre spreading as in the Indian form. This is 
especially a North-West American fern. It was first found by Menzies at Nootka Sound, 
and then by Sir John Richardson in the Hudson’s Bay territory, between fifty-six and sixty 
degrees north. Douglas collected it in 1825-27 in various localities in the Rocky Mountains, 
about the Columbia River : his specimens are certainly more luxuriant than any of the 
European examples we have seen, the fertile fronds being nine inches or more high, and 
stout in proportion. Other North American specimens, however, according to Sir W. Hooker, 
possess quite the European form ; but statements of this kind, after all, seem to depend a good 
deal upon the ideas which those making them have formed of the type of a species ; for 
while the author just quoted says that specimens from Isle Royale, Lake Superior, agree 
entirely with the Parsley Fern of Europe, Professor Asa Gray retains the name acrostichoides 
for the Isle Royale plant, although he says it is “very near A. crispus of Europe.” The 
interest of this locality lies in the fact that it is the only one known for the plant in the 
United States. 

Besides these two forms, which have some claim to be considered distinct, Milde* describes 
two others, A. Stelleri and A. sitckensis. The former is only a depauperated form of A. crispus , 
with a very slender rhizome, and fronds which are sometimes barren at the base and fertile 
towards the apex. This is a native of Siberia and the East, and of India. Milde says that 
he has seen North American specimens which entirely agree with the Asiatic plants. It has 
also been called A. minutus. A. sitckensis , which Milde places between A. acrostichoides and 
A. Brunonianus, has very small, minutely denticulate ultimate segments; it is only known 
from Sitka, but the author already quoted says it is certainly not specifically distinct from 
A. crispus. He also says that he possesses an example of A. crispus from the Salzburg Alps, 
which unites in itself the varieties Stelleri and acrostichoides. The upper part of the frond is 
fertile and the lower barren, while the segments of the barren portion accord with acrostichoides. 
Forms of crispus approaching Brunonianus are, according to Milde, much more frequent; and 
a careful study of his minute and detailed observations, based, as they evidently are, on the 
examination of a very large series of specimens, seems to point to the accuracy of the con- 
clusion that the whole are but forms of one and the same species. 

It may be interesting to enter upon a somewhat more detailed account of the geographical 
distribution of C. crispa, considering it in its more restricted acceptation, and hence excluding 
from our present estimate the forms just described. 

* “ Filices Europe® et Atlantidis,” p. 26. 


European Ferns. 

Beginning with our own country, we shall find that the Parsley Fern is frequent on the 
mountains in many parts of Scotland and the north of England, with a few outlying stations 
further south, some of which, however, certainly require verification. This is the case with the 
Devonshire locality, for example: Mr. N. B. Ward recorded the finding, in 1840, of a single 
plant of this fern, “at or within six miles of Lynton, North Devon,” and what appears to be 

the same locality has been recorded for it in somewhat different terms in various works. But 

from the way in which the Somersetshire locality for the plant is recorded by Mr. Newman, 
it seems most probable that the Devonshire locality should be altogether suppressed. Mr. Ward* 
says the fern was found “ in company with Polytrichum alpinum ,” near Lynton, as already 
quoted ; Mr. Newmanf has no mention of any Devonshire locality, but under Somersetshire 
says, “ I am indebted to Mr. Ward for a specimen found in 1840. The plant grows very 

sparingly on a stone wall, about a mile from Simmonsbath, in company with Polytrichurn 

alpinum'.' The wording of these two records leaves little doubt that the same locality is 
intended in each case, and the occurrence of the Parsley Fern in Devonshire must be con- 
sidered as requiring confirmation. Worcestershire and Shropshire each have one locality for 
the Parsley Fern : in the former county it grows sparingly on the eastern side of the Here- 
fordshire Beacon, and in the latter on Titterstone Clee Hill. There is an old record for it in 
Derbyshire, and it is stated on more recent authority to occur in Cheshire. As we go further 
north the Parsley Fern becomes more abundant ; it has numerous localities in Lancashire, 
although in some of them it is extinct, or nearly so, and is also found more or less plentifully in 
all the northern counties. In many parts of the Lake district it is very abundant, so much so, 
indeed, as to attract the attention of even non-botanical tourists, who cannot fail to be struck 
with the charming contrast afforded by its delicate fronds growing in masses around the dark 
slaty rocks. Plentiful in many parts of the district, it is nowhere more abundant or more 
beautiful than at the foot of Honister Crag, where it grows in company with the beautiful 
silvery Alpine Lady’s Mantle ( Alchemilla alpina) and other interesting plants. As might be 
expected, the Parsley Fern did not escape the notice of the Lake poets, although they do 
not seem to have enshrined it in verse. Southey, however, calls it “ the most beautiful of all 
our wild plants, resembling the richest point-lace in its fine filaments and exquisite indenta- 
tions while we read in Wordsworth’s Memoirs, how “ suddenly stopping before a little bunch 
of harebell which, along with the Parsley Fern, grew out of the wall near us, he exclaimed 
‘How perfectly beautiful that is!’ 

“‘Would that the little flowers that grow could live 
Conscious of half the pleasure that they give!’" 

The Parsley Fern is recorded as having been found in most of the Welsh counties, but 
we have no notice of its occurrence in Pembrokeshire, Anglesea, and Flint. In Caernarvon- 
shire it has a considerable range of elevation ; it is found on stone walls between Llanberis 
and Caernarvon, at a very slight altitude above the sea-level, while it ascends to the very 
summit of Snowdon, and is found also, though in small quantity, upon most of the mountains 
and hills of the county. In Scotland the Parsley Fern is widely distributed, extending to 
Caithness, although absent from some few counties, and not growing very plentifully in some 
others : it occurs in the Hebrides, but not in the Orkney or Shetland Isles. In Ireland it is 
quite local, occurring only in the east and north-east ; it grows in the counties of Louth, 
Down, Antrim, and Derry, ranging in altitude from one thousand feet in Derry, to two 

t “History of British Ferns” (1844), p. 105. 

* “ Phytologist ” (1842), p. 21. 

The Parsley Feral. 

6 3 

thousand four hundred feet in Slieve Bingian, co. Down. Several of the recorded Irish 
localities require confirmation. It is said to have been found near Belfast, but was there 
probably planted. 

On the continent of Europe (to which indeed, with the exception of the British Islands, 
the typical Parsley Fern seems to be confined) it is widely, though by no means universally, 
distributed. It is abundant in Lapland and Finmark, extending to Greenland, and occurs in 
the North of Sweden, and throughout the greater part of Norway. Coming farther south, 
we find it in Hungary and Belgium, though not in great abundance; on the Swiss Alps, and 
in the sub-alpine parts of Switzerland ; in Lower Austria, Styria, and the Tyrol. It occurs 
in Piedmont and in several parts of France, notably among the mountains of Dauphine and 
in the Pyrenees ; crossing these, we find it also in Spain, in the highest region of the Sierra 
Nevada, and ascending to ten thousand feet on the Picacho de Veleta. It seems to be entirely 
absent from Portugal. Going east, we meet with it upon Mount Olympus, and it is recorded as 
occurring in Siberia. This may be regarded as the limit of the Parsley Fern, if we take a 
restricted view of the plant ; but if, as seems most in accordance with the evidence produced, 
we take a more comprehensive view, and include under the same species the Indian Allosorus 
Bnmoiiianus and the American A. acros ticJio ides, we shall of course take a much more extended 
estimate of its geographical range. 



European Ferns. 


have here a genus of ferns which is generally regarded as sufficiently distinct 

for separate mention, but some members of which in many points — notably 

in general appearance — resemble so closely another genus, Lomaria, that its 
solitary European representative, B. Spicant, is often referred indiscriminately 
to both, some authors calling the plant Blechnum Spicant or B. boreale , while 
others style it Lomaria Spicant. It is one of those cases in which, if guided 
only by general resemblance, we should certainly place the two genera under 
one head ; the contraction of the fertile fronds, which is sometimes given 
as a characteristic of Lomaria , is certainly manifest enough in our common 
Hard Fern ; but the technical difference between the two must be sought 
for elsewhere. Mr. Moore has put this so clearly that we cannot do better than avail our- 
selves of his observations on this point. He says “ The distinction between Lomaria and 

Blechnum becomes easy when full force is 
given to the technical characters assigned 
to each respectively. The peculiar charac- 
teristic of Lomaria is that the sori are 
produced at the margin ; whilst the 
characteristic of Blechnum is to have the 
sori distinctly within the margin, and near 
to the costa. Thus in technical and exact 
terms, the sori of Lomaria are marginal, 
and in Blechnum costal or intramarginal. 

The fructification of Lomaria is determined 
by the indusium being a continuation of the 
margin of the frond, which becomes mem- 
branaceous, and is inflected over the spore-cases. The fructification peculiar to Blechnum, on 
the other hand, is known by the indusium springing directly from the under surface of the 
frond, the margin extending beyond. This is a clear and intelligible difference, and the 
genera are only satisfactorily divided when these peculiarities are allowed to have full force.” 
The accompanying figures will show the technical distinction between the two genera. 

The “Synopsis Filicum” enumerates thirty-nine species of Lomaria, several of which are 
in cultivation. They are widely distributed, occurring principally in the South Temperate Zone, 
but having representatives in most parts of the world, although — unless we regard the Hard 
Fern as a Lomaria — finding no place in the European flora. L. attenuata is a widely-spread 
species, occurring in both the Old and the New Worlds — in the former in Polynesia, Norfolk 
Island, the continent of Africa (Fernando Po, Cape Colony, etc.), and in the Mascarene 
Islands ; in the latter from Guatemala southward to Brazil and Juan Fernandez, and in the 
West Indian Islands. It is a handsome evergreen plant, from a foot to two feet in height, 
having a somewhat climbing woody root-stock, which is thickly covered with dark brown hair- 
like scales. The barren fronds are rigid and rather leathery in texture, quite smooth on both 

* “Nature-printed British Ferns” (octavo edition), ii. 208. 



sides, and of a very dark green hue ; they are pinnate and broadest in the middle, narrowing 
towards each end, the central pinnae being three or four inches long, and narrowed into fine 
points. Another and a yet more striking species is L. chilensis, which, as its name denotes, is 
a native of Chili ; this is a handsome plant, with arched dark green fronds, in well-grown 
examples from four to six feet long, and is quite hardy. It will flourish for months in an 
ordinary sitting-room, and, in favourable situations, will grow on an outdoor rockery as far 
north as York. The same frond is often partly barren and partly fertile. 

A plant allied to the last-named species, L. caudata, a native of the Andes of Ecuador, 
has a curious peculiarity. The barren fronds are very much narrowed towards the apex, 

where they take root and produce fresh plants, in the same manner as we sometimes see 
the arching shoot of a bramble rooting at its apex ; or, to take another example, resembling 
the Banyan (Ficus indica), though not in the extent of its growth, if we may accept the 
statement that the celebrated Banyan-tree on the Nerbuddah has three hundred large and 
three thousand smaller stems, and is capable of sheltering three thousand men. This habit, 
by the way, is developed to a singular extent in a little North American fern, Camptosorus 
rhizophyllus (called, on account of this peculiarity, the “Walking Leaf”), of which we give a 
figure. It is a small plant, with evergreen spreading tufted fronds, which are undivided and 
heart-shaped at the base — reminding one somewhat of the common Hart’s-tongue (Scolo- 
pendrium vulgare), with which it is sometimes generically associated — but tapering above into 
a long slender elongation, which bends down to the ground and, under favourable circum- 
stances, takes root, giving rise to new plants. These in their turn, on arriving at maturity, 
behave in the same manner, so that, as in the case of the Banyan, it is possible to have two 


European Ferns. 

or three generations thus connected together, all the offspring of one and the same plant. 

It is easily cultivated in the Wardian case, and is well worthy of notice. Our figure illustrates 

this peculiarity, which is shared by an allied species, C. sibirica, a native of Siberia and Japan. 
We shall have occasion to recur to this or a somewhat similar mode of increase when we come 
to the description of our next genus, Woodwardia; an example familiar to those acquainted 

with the more commonly cultivated exotic ferns will be found in Asplenium bulbiferum , of 

which we shall speak more at length under the head of the genus to which it belongs. 

An Australian Lomaria, L. Patcrsoni, is remarkable on account of its frequently quite 
simple, narrow, undivided fronds ; these are from a foot to two feet long, and are sometimes 
pinnatifid with a few narrow segments. This has been in cultivation in England since 1839, 
when it was raised from spores in the Royal Gardens at Kew ; but it is more curious than 
striking, and is not often met with in cultivation. A New Zealand species, L. Fraseri, has 
an erect, slender rhizome like that of a tree-fern, attaining a height of two or three feet, and 
covered, as in the ordinary tree-fern, with the bases of the old stipes. It has numerous tufted 
bipinnate fronds from one to three feet long, including the stipes. L. volubilis is a 
South American species of very remarkable habit. Sir W. J. Hooker says of it: “This is 
the most remarkable of the genus Lomaria which it is my privilege to describe. There are 
species of Lomarice with scandcnt caudices or rhizomes which measure from twenty to twenty-five 
feet, but here that length is attained by the frond itself, or rather by the main rachises of the 
frond, which, having considerable intervals free from the pinnae, twine round each other, as well 
as over and among bushes (perhaps much after the manner of Lygodium), intermingling — as it 
would appear — sterile and fertile fronds, so that it is difficult to trace the pinnae to their 
respective rachises. Of the caudex and even stipes we know nothing. The primary petioles, which 
are quite inarticulate, are often nearly opposite, two inches and more long, and stand out at 
right angles from the rachis. The fertile pinnae have always fewer pinnules, and they exceed 
those of the sterile ones in length, being more than twice as long, and generally very falcate. 
A folio page would not suffice to do justice to a figure of this fine species.”* 

L. gibba, a native of New Caledonia, presents one or two features of interest. In the 
first place, it is one of the species which seem to suggest the possibility that the distinctness 
of the two genera, Lomaria and Blechnum, is a matter which further investigations may show 
to be at least questionable, for specimens have been met with in which the sori are cut quite 
marginal, thus showing an approximation to Blechnum, of which, as we have seen above, the 
non-marginal sori form a distinctive feature. Then it is not only a very handsome plant — having 
deeply-pinnatifid fronds, from one to three feet in length, and about half a foot broad, rising 
from a short stout stem — but one that is easily grown, It is also a very variable plant: 
one of its most striking varieties (Z. gibba 'crispa ) has a rather dwarf habit, with densely leafy 
waved pinnae ; another form (Z. gibba major) is much larger than the type ; and there 
are others in cultivation. It will do well in a cool house, so long as care is taken 
to avoid frost, and is extremely useful for dinner-table decoration. Our attention has 
been directed to an example of this species flourishing in a glass window-case in 
one of the worst suburbs of Manchester— worst, we mean, from a gardener’s stand- 
point, inasmuch as the smoke and exhalations from the chemical works make plant-life a 
real struggle for existence. Even when protected by glass it is impossible here to grow 
some plants with permanent success ; but ferns do fairly well, and few better than this 
handsome Lomaria. Were this a suitable opportunity, we might point out all that this success 

* “Synopsis Filicum,” vol. iii., p. 30. 


6 7 

implies, illustrating our remarks by reference to the repeatedly unsuccessful attempts to induce 
any kind of tree to grow in Manchester Cathedral-yard. Londoners who are accustomed to 
see plane-trees flourishing in the heart of the city, and who find it possible to maintain 
a very decent semblance of a garden round St. Paul’s itself, would look with astonishment 
on the few black sticks which are all that remain of the last attempt at tree-planting in 
Manchester. The fearfully vitiated atmosphere of course explains the whole matter, but tree- 
planting is not always a success even under more favourable auspices ; what, for example, 
could be more melancholy than the attempts at arboriculture which we may suppose were 
intended to adorn the pavements in Sackville Street, Dublin ? 

But we must now pass on to the genus Blechnum, a genus containing some twenty or 
thirty species— although this estimate varies, some plants referred to it by certain authors being 
considered by others as belonging to Lomaria — bearing for the most part a general resemblance 
one to the other, and widely distributed through the tropical and south temperate regions 
of the globe. Our sole European representative, B. Spicant, which we shall shortly consider 
more at length, is a plant of wide distribution, but the other species are more restricted in 
their range, but few of them being common to both hemispheres. One tropical American 
species, B. volubile, is, as its specific name denotes, of climbing habit. It has a spreading, 
twining stem, by which it climbs to the top of lofty trees to a height of from twenty to 
thirty feet, and bipinnate fronds ; some peculiarity in the indusium induced Mr. John Smith 
to propose this as the type of a new genus, Salpichlcena, but it is now generally con- 
sidered as a species of Blechnum, remarkable on account of its scandent mode of growth. In 
this it bears a strong resemblance to Lomaria volubilis, to which we have already referred. The 
pinnules vary a good deal in length and breadth, but are often very large ; they are some- 
times as much as fifteen or sixteen inches long, and (the barren ones) two inches and a half 
broad. Mr. Purdie, who collected the plant 
in Columbia, has recorded that when the sori 
and involucres have completely fallen away 
from the fertile pinnules, the last-named, which 
have hitherto been narrower than the barren 
ones, increase in size until they are indis- 
tinguishable from these latter. 

Among the exotic species of Blechnum 
which are — or have been — in cultivation in 
England, none is more distinct than B. Lanccola, 
a small evergreen species, native of Tropical 
America from Panama southwards to Brazil 
and Peru. This, indeed, cannot be confused 
with any other species of the genus, being 
distinguished from all of them by its simple 
fronds. These are from four to six inches 
long, and usually less than half an inch 
broad, narrowed gradually at each extremity, 
and rising on slender stipites from a creeping stolonifcrous rhizome ; the sori form a con- 
tinuous line close to the midrib. This was in cultivation in Kew in 1841, and is not 
very uncommon in collections, although its interest lies rather in its exceptional appear- 


European Ferns. 

ance in the genus than in any special beauty or attractiveness. There is a variety 
( trifoliatum ) in which there are one or two pairs of small pinnae at the base of the 
large one which terminates the frond. B. longifolinm, a form of which is known as B. 

gi'acile, is a pretty species frequently met with in cultivation ; it was introduced to the 

Royal Gardens, Kew, in 1833. It has slender pinnate, deep-green fronds, varying from 
six inches to a foot and a half in length, with a few large, distant pinnae, similar to the 
solitary one of B. Lanccola. This is a native of Tropical America — from Mexico and the 
West Indies southward to Brazil and Peru. B. asplenioides is a pretty little plant, having 
very narrow fronds with small, broad segments placed very closely together, and reminding 
one very much at first sight of the Maidenhair Spleenwort ( Asplenium Trichomanes ) ; it is a 
Tropical American plant. One of the Australian species, B. cartilagineum, which is peculiar 
to the Australian continent, is of some interest as being probably the only species of the genus 
possessing any claims to be considered of economic importance. It has a short, thick, 
woody rootstock, covered with shining black scales. The fronds are from a foot to two 
feet in length, with very numerous serrulate pinnae, from three to six inches long, of a some- 
what leathery texture. It is the thick rhizome that possesses economic value; this is first 
roasted by the natives, and then beaten so as to break away the woody fibre : its taste 

is said to resemble that of a waxy potato. B. cartilagineum is a very handsome species, 

and will succeed well in a cool greenhouse. 




Owing to its readily recognised form and habit, this species, generally known as the Hard 
Fern, was familiar to our older botanists, who were not in those days in that danger of confusing 
it with any allied fern which exists in times like the present, when our knowledge of plant-life has 
so wonderfully extended and developed. Gerard’s brief description, however, is not very graphic, 
although the figure by which he illustrates his remarks leaves little to be desired in this respect. 
He calls it “ Lonchitis aspera, Rough Spleenewoort,” and says: “Rough Spleenewoort is partly like 
the other ferns in shewe, and bereth neither stalke nor seede, having narrow leaves a foote long, 
and somewhat longer, slashed on the edges even to the middle rib, smooth on the upperside, 
and of a swart green colour ; underneath rough, as is the leaves of the Polypodie : the roote 
is blacke, and set with a number of slender strings.” He adds : “ The Rough Spleenewoort 
groweth upon barren heathes, dry sandie banks, and shadowie places in most parts of 
Englande, but especially on a heath by London called Hampsteede Heath, where it groweth 
in great abundance;” and where, we may note, it is still to be found in spite of the mania 
for fern cultivation; the ravages of collectors — whether botanists or horticulturists — being kept in 
check by the watchful care of the local magistrates, who have determined to preserve the 
natural flora of the Heath. The name Rough Spleenwort, like that of Hard Fern, refers to 
the rigid harshness of its fronds, and is appropriate enough. Spleenwort was a name (now 

applied to the species of Aspleniuni) given formerly to many ferns, from a belief that they 

were efficacious in diseases of the spleen. 

Gerard’s description, it must be confessed, though accurate enough so far as it goes, does 

not go very far ; but the art of describing species was in those days in its infancy. Curiously 

enough, he does not seem to have noticed the very obvious and characteristic feature of the 
dimorphic fronds, nor are these clearly shown in the figure which he gives. Parkinson,* writing 
about fifty years later, is much more explicit on this head. “ In the middle of the outer 
leaves,” he says, “ rise up other bigger and blacker stalkes of narrower leaves, like unto them, 
but fully separated, and so finely dented about the edges that they seeme curled with 
brownish spots, or scales on the backes of them as if other femes ; the roote hath a 
thicke head, covered with scales, lying one upon another, with divers fibres at them.” He 
refers also to “ another of this sort, lesser than this, found about Colchester in Essex, and 
in other places, growing in the wet borders of fields, and by the hedge sides.” This was 
probably a variety of the Hard Fern, which, as we shall see, is a very variable plant. 
The rhizome is tufted and hairy, covered at the apex with black hair-like scales ; the roots 
are, as Gerard describes them, “a number of slender strings,” black and tough; and the fronds, 
as we have already said, are of two kinds. The deeply-pinnatifid barren ones are evergreen, 
supported on short, scaly stipites, and from six inches to a foot or rather more in length. They 
are narrow and lanceolate, of the same width (about one or two inches across) for the great 
part of their length, but tapering to the summit and also towards the base. Many of them 
rise from the same rhizome: they are at first upright, but soon assume a spreading position, 
often lying quite flat upon the ground. The segments are long and narrow, rather blunt, 
or nearly acute at the apex, curved slightly upwards, entire (in the typical form), and united 
towards the base, where they are attached to the rachis ; they are conspicuously veined, there 
being a stout mid-vein producing once or twice forked lateral ones. The fertile fronds (which 

* “ Theatrum Botanicum ” (1640), p. 1043. 



European Ferns. 

are also evergreen) are much longer than the barren ones, attaining a height of from one 
to two feet, or sometimes more. They are upright or slightly inclining, and rise conspicuously 
above the last-named. They are pinnate,* the pinnae being very narrow, and more distant 
than the segments of the barren frond, especially the lower ones. The rachis in these is of a 
shining dark-brown or nearly black hue ; in the barren fronds it is green— although by some 
accident this distinction between the two is hardly shown satisfactorily in our plate. 

We have said that the Hard Fern is a variable species ; this will at once become manifest 
when we state that Mr. Moore enumerates and describes at length no fewer than thirty-four 
varieties.t It would be impossible to do more than allude to these in the space at our disposal; 
but we may just glance at the six principal of them, which have been thought by Mr. Moore 
of sufficient importance to merit a botanical diagnosis. 

In the variety lancifolium , which is the least divided form of the species, and a very 
distinct-looking plant, the fronds (both fertile and barren) are very narrow (from a quarter 
to half an inch wide), and undivided for about a third or even more of their length, from 
the apex downwards. This has been found at Tunbridge Wells, near Todmorden in Lancashire, 
in North Wales, and in the Clova mountains ; it is permanent and fairly constant in cultivation. 
The frequent occurrence in Mr. Moore’s book of the Todmorden locality for varieties of ferns 
seems to suggest that if collectors in other places would take up the subject as energetically 
as Mr. Stansfield has done in the district named, their search would be rewarded with many 
new forms. 

The variety subserratum , a very elegant and permanent form, has small narrow elongated 
fronds, which are, to quote Mr. Moore’s description, “ usually curved in a lateral direction, and 
the acute segments remarkably curved forwards in a falcate manner, so much so as to overlie 
each other ; the anterior margin of these segments is entire, while the posterior margin is 
notched with conspicuous shallow rounded lobes or crenatures.” This has also been found in 

The variety imbricatum is notable on account of its short broad sterile fronds, the 
segments of which are densely crowded, and imbricated, that is, lying over one another in the 
manner of tiles upon a roof. The stipes is very thick. This variety is constant in cultivation, 
and seems to be not unfrequent in a wild state ; it is recorded from Devonshire, Somersetshire, 
Lancashire, Staffordshire, Pembrokeshire, and Perthshire. 

The variety strictum has long narrow fronds, the segments being more distant than in 
the normal form, and shorter, the margins being more or less irregularly toothed. Allied to 
this, which has been found in Westmoreland, Lancashire, and North Wales, there is another 
form, heterophyllum , which is remarkable for the irregular appearance of its barren fronds. 
Some of these are normal, but in others many of the segments are very much reduced, 

while a few of them extend to their normal size; this occurs quite irregularly, and the result 

is that the fronds present a singularly quaint and untidy appearance. 

The varieties hitherto considered have been those in which the fronds have retained their 
normal shape ; but there are others in which they are branched or much divided either below 

or at the apex. The most common of these is one in which the fronds, or some of them, are 

* The difference between the somewhat similar terms pinnate and pimiatijid should, perhaps, be explained, 
and the fertile and barren fronds of the Blechnum afford a good illustration of this. In the former the pinnae 
are distinct, arranged on opposite sides of the rachis ; in the latter the segments of the frond, although deeply 
divided, are not separated at the base. 

f “ Nature-printed Ferns” (8vo edition), vol. ii., pp. 217 — 228. 


7 [ 

simply bifid at the apex, as shown in the accompanying figure ; the extremes of this method 
of division are seen in the two forms multifidum and ramosum , of which we give cuts. In 
the first of these, the barren fronds (the fertile ones are 
not known) are often branched once or twice near the base, 
or many times forked towards the apex, thus forming a flat 
spreading tuft. “ The segments resulting from these apical 
furcations,” writes Mr. Moore, who has paid much attention 
to the variations of British Ferns, and to whom we acknow- 
ledge our indebtedness, “ are quite irregular in form and size, 
but they spread out, and are most of them extended into a 
lengthened acute point, of which the margins are irregularly 
notched, producing a somewhat ragged appearance : the 
fronds are about six to eight inches long, tapered below.” 

The variety ramosum, which has an exact counterpart in 
a variety of the common Hart’s-tongue ( Scolopendrium 
vulgare) bearing the same name, is a very pretty plant. 

The fronds in this are repeatedly divided in a forked manner into numerous branches, each of 
which terminates in a dense crested tuft. This variety, which is well worthy of cultivation, has 
been met with in the Irish counties of Wicklow and Mayo, and also in Westmoreland. 

The Hard Fern is a plant of wide though not general distribution, but it is mainly 

confined to Europe. Its extra-European localities are — in the Old World, Madeira, the Azores, 
and the Cape Verde Islands ; it is also said to occur at the Cape of Good Hope, and in 

North Africa : while in the New World it is reported from Sitka, Nootka Sound, Oregon, 

and Chili. It is spread almost all through the mountainous and sub-alpine districts of Europe, 



as well as in the lower regions, extending from Lapland to Sicily, from Spain and Portugal 
to Crete and the Caucasus. With ourselves, it is recorded for nearly all the English and Scottish 
counties, and doubtless occurs in the whole of them, as those from which it is not as yet 

7 2 

European Ferns. 

recorded are counties which are but poorly represented in botanical literature. Mr. Watson, 
speaking of its distribution in Britain, says: “Taking both horizontal and vertical range into 
account, this is perhaps the most widely distributed of all our ferns, Lastrea dilatata being 
its nearest ally or rival in this respect.” 

In spite of this wide distribution we should hardly reckon the Blechnum as one of our 
commonest ferns. It is somewhat particular as to its place of growth, and is never found at any 
great distance from water. It varies a good deal in size, attaining its largest dimensions on 
sheltered banks in moist woods where there is a stagnant pool, or where a tiny brooklet winds 
its way among the trees. Here the Hard Fern grows most luxuriantly, forming dense tufts, 
the fertile fronds rising gracefully above the more robust barren ones, forming a beautiful 
object. In more exposed localities it is a much smaller plant— often, indeed, not exceeding in 
size the figure given in our plate, although that is only about half the average size of the 
fern. It is a conspicuous object upon the countless acres of peat-bog which extend with 
intervals throughout the south and west of Ireland — conspicuous, not indeed on account of 
its size, but from its colour. The barren fronds in this exposed situation are of a peculiar 
yellow-green, which it would puzzle even an artist of the school now most in vogue to render 
at all accurately. This, no doubt, is partly owing to the surroundings — the dull herbage, and 
the rich deep brown of the moorland bog, where this has been laid bare in the preparation of 
“turf;” and the brilliant white tassels of the cotton-grass, in numbers such as to produce from 
a distance the effect of a drift of newly-fallen snow.* But whatever may be the cause, the 
bright fronds of the Blechnum are among the most conspicuous objects on an Irish bog in 
the early summer-time — a time when, in Ireland, the wild flowers seem to have forgotten their 
proper dates for blossoming, and get mixed up in an extraordinary fashion. As an instance of 
this we may mention that we recently saw the primrose and fox-glove in blossom together on the 
same hedgebank in many parts of the County Waterford — the former, indeed, having a little passed 
the period of full bloom, while the latter had not yet attained it ; but both being sufficiently 
well represented to attract attention. Perhaps the fairies have something to do with the 
jumble ; for, although philologists do their best to prevent our believing that the name fox- 
glove should be written folk' 's-glove, there is no doubt but that in Ireland fox-gloves and 
fairies have had a good deal to do with each other ; for not only is the plant called fairy- 
cap, fairy-bell, fairy-glove, and fairy-weed, but it is also named lusmore , the “great or important 
herb,” owing its importance to the use made of it by the “ good people,” who, when dis- 
turbed in their revels by the approach of a human foot, take refuge in the bells, and 
remain concealed until the danger is past. The Blechnum extends throughout Ireland, in 
boggy and heathy places, except upon pure limestone. Although the Bracken may have 
been the fern more especially intended by Cowper when he wrote the following lines, the 
species now under consideration may have been also present to his mind when he spoke of — 

“ The common overgrown with fern , and rough 
With prickly gorse that, shapeless and deformed 
And dangerous to the touch, has yet its bloom, 

And decks itself with ornaments of gold.” 

The uses of the Hard Fern may be almost expressed by a cipher, although in the “ good 
old times,” when no plant was considered entirely destitute of “ vertues,” it was not regarded 

* This appearance of the cotton-grass explains a simile used by Ossian : 

• “Her bosom was whiter than the down of canna.” 

Cannach or canna-down is the Gaelic name for the cotton-grass, and is still in use in some parts of Scotland. 



as quite useless. Parkinson says, “ The dryed leaves of this taken in vinegar, is held to be 
good to dissolve the hardnesse of the spleene, and the greene leaves to be singular good for 
wounds, and to keepe them from inflammations.” He includes the Ostrich Fern or, as he 
writes it, “ the Estridges Feme ” ( Onoclea Struthiopteris ) in the same chapter ; but the “ vertucs ” 
seem to be attributed to the Blechnum; and Threlkeld, writing in 1727, says of this that “it 
hinders inflammations of wounds.” 

The Blechnum is one of the few ferns which has a genuine vernacular name apart 
from that by which it is usually known in books. Indeed, it has two or three — but one of these it 
shares with the Royal Fern, both being known in the New Forest district as “Snake Fern.” 
It is a noticeable fact that snakes and adders play a prominent part in the vernacular nomen- 
clature of plants, and notably so among our British ferns. Besides the Adder’s Tongue (which 
has its serpent associations also perpetuated in its Latin title, Ophioglossum) , we find that the 
common Bracken is called “ Adder-spit ” in Sussex, while the common Polypody ( Polypodium 
vulgare ) is called in Hampshire “Adder’s Fern.” It is quite likely that the somewhat snake- 
like appearance which the uncoiling fronds of some ferns — such as the Bracken — present, has 
suggested this association of names and ideas : it will also be observed that most of the plants, 
whether flowering or cryptogamic, which are so associated with snakes, are conspicuous in the 
spring and early summer, when adders and their relations abound. The second vernacular 
name for the fern now under consideration is, however, peculiar to it, and indeed would not 
be appropriate to any other British species. At Winderwath, on the borders of Westmore- 
land and Cumberland, we are informed that it is known as the “ Herrin’-bone Fern;” and 
the resemblance between the form of the fronds, especially the fertile ones, and the object 
referred to in this local appellation, is certainly striking enough. In that interesting collection 
of letters, the “Correspondence of John Ray,” published some thirty years since by the Ray 
Society, we find in a letter from Lhwyd to Ray a reference to the Blechnum under its old 
name of Lonchitis aspera. Speaking of certain “coal-plants” “found at a coal-pit in the 
Forest of Dean,” he mentions “ Lonchitis aspera, called by the workmen ‘Vox Vearn,’ i.e., 
Fox Fern.” His identification of the fossil Fern with our recent Blechnum may, however, be 
considered open to question, but it is worthy of note that the vernacular name used by the 
workmen is the same as that given by Parkinson as applied to the Hard Fern ; he says “ this 
is called Foxes Feme in many places of this land.” 

It seems strange that the vernacular and popular nomenclature of our British ferns should 
be so very limited as it certainly is. One would have thought that ferns were abundant and 
conspicuous enough to have obtained at any rate a fair share of popular attention, and, as a 
consequence, a due proportion of vernacular names ; but such does not seem to be the case. 
Even so well-known and striking a fern as our common Bracken is almost destitute of 
genuine English names ; so that it is not surprising that other less conspicuous members of 
the family should have received but scant notice. But it is very difficult, if not impossible, 
to arrive at any conclusion as to the causes which render a plant sufficiently popular to 
receive a copious vernacular nomenclature. It is, of course, obvious that such a plant 
must be generally and abundantly distributed, and capable of arresting attention by brilliancy 
of colour or peculiarity of form, or by the possession of some medicinal or economic properties 
which cause it to be in frequent request. Yet such conspicuous and well-known wild flowers 
as the Forget-me-not ( Myosotis palustris) or the Fleabane ( Pulicaria dy sent erica) are almost 
devoid of any popular nomenclature ; the Mistletoe, with all its wealth of tradition and 


European Ferns. 

historical association, has no other English name ; the Bracken, as we have already seen, 
is scarcely better off : and yet one would have thought that all these were sufficiently 
common and striking plants to have attracted a good deal of attention. It would seem, 
speaking generally, that spring flowers are the richest in vernacular names. Coming after 
the barrenness of winter, and appearing usually in great abundance, it is natural that they 
should force themselves more clearly upon the notice of the casual observer than those later 
blossoms which make their appearance in a field already occupied ; and so it is that we 
find not only such odd plants as the Lords-and-Ladies ( Arum maculatum ) and the Purple 
Orchis ( Orchis viascula ) with scores of quaint and varied English names, but even such 
ordinary-looking flowers as the Lady’s Smock ( Cardamine pratensis ) and the Stitchwort 

(Stellaria Holosted) with a goodly roll of titles. The 
absence of blossoms, and the uniform green hue of the 
fronds, may be considered to explain the paucity of 
popular fern-names : it must be admitted, however, that 
the ferns are more than compensated for this neglect 
by the number and variety of titles which have been 
showered upon them by scientific men. This absence 
of popular vernacular names for ferns seems equally 
noticeable in other languages, so far as the literature of 
the subject enables us to judge. One or two ferns, 
indeed, have such names in French and German, but 
— as is the case among ourselves — this is so markedly 
the exception that it can only be regarded as proving 
the rule. 

The name Blechnum , in its Greek form, blechnon , was 
employed by Dioscorides. It is the ordinary Greek 
equivalent for a fern. The specific name Spicant is, 
however, a difficult one to explain ; indeed, it may be 
doubted whether any certain explanation of it is possible. 
It may be observed that it is spelt with a capital initial 
letter, and this distinction is reserved in botanical nomen- 
clature for two classes of specific names — those which 
are commemorative, or taken from the names of people, 
and those which at one time ranged as generic or 
substantive names. It may be well to explain, for the benefit of those not specially 
acquainted with scientific nomenclature, that the Latin names of all natural objects are made 
up of two parts — the first being called the substantive or generic name, and the second the 
trivial, adjectival, or specific name. Thus, in Blechnum Spicant, for example, Blechnum is the 
substantive or generic, and Spicant the trivial or specific name. Certain rules or canons have 
been laid down for the guidance of those naming plants — some of them proposed by Linnaeus, 
who conferred an incalculable boon upon scientific men, whether readers or writers, by 
systematising nomenclature, and by establishing the law that no animal or plant should receive 
a name of more than two words ; others, comparatively recently, at a Botanical Congress, by 
M. Alphonse De Candolle. It may be objected by some that this is a small matter for 
legislation, and we may be reminded of the axiom “ de minimis non curat lex;" but order is 
essential in small things as well as in great, and readers of scientific journals will notice how 



frequently questions connected with nomenclature are brought before them, just as scientific 
workers are but too well aware of the difficulties presented by synonymy. Generic names 
always begin with a capital letter — we have already said something about these at p. 59 — 
specific ones with a small one, except in the cases which we have mentioned above. Some of 
these names point out something special about the plant upon which they are bestowed ; 
for instance, the Yellow-wort, or Yellow Centaury, is called Chlora perfoliata , in allusion to the 
curious way in which the stem seems to pass through the leaves ; the Arrowhead is named 
Sagittaria sagittifolia because of its arrow-shaped foliage, and so we might go on through a long 
list, for an interesting chapter might be written on the meanings 
and applications of generic and specific names.* When the specific 
name is commemorative — of which we have already had an ex- 
ample in Cheilanthes Szovitzii- — a capital letter is employed, and this 
is also the case when it is a name which was formerly used as 
substantive or generic ; of this we had an example in Onoclea 
Struthiopteris , Struthiopteris having been at one time employed as 
a generic name. This accounts in some measure for the spelling 
of Spicant with a capital S. Linnseus so wrote it, and it is to be 
supposed that by so doing he showed that he regarded it as an 
old substantive name. Such, indeed, it may be, and most probably 
is, for it is difficult to see otherwise how it could have arisen. It 
has been suggested that the name originated in a lapsus calami , and 
that it should be written spicans, but there is no ground for such a 
supposition. Bauhinf has among its synonyms “ Spicant Germanorunt , 
forte a radice Indicant spicam referente',' but the resemblance between the rhizome of the 
Blechmtm and that of Nardostachys Jataniansi — a valerianaceous plant, which, according to the 
best authorities, constituted the spikenard of the ancients — is not very striking, although a 
certain similarity may be traced. But it would seem that the name Spicant is still in use 
as a popular German equivalent for the plant. J 

* A full explanation of the generic and specific names of British plants with a very interesting introduction 
to the subject, will be found in Mr. R. H. Alcock’s “Botanical Names for English Readers.” 

t “ Pinax,” p. 359 (1623). } See F. Kirschleger’s “Fiore Vogdso-Rhenane,” ii., p. 262 (1870). 


European Ferns. 


HIS is a small but handsome genus of ferns, with large handsome bipin- 
natifid fronds, natives of the North Temperate zone, extending, though 
but slightly, into the Tropics. The genus was established by Sir James 
Edward Smith in 1794, and named by him in commemoration of 
Mr. Thomas Jenkinson Woodward, a British botanist who published 
some papers on seaweeds and fungi towards the end of the last century. 
Six species are recognised by Hooker and Baker. The rhizome or 
underground stem is very thick, covered with scales, and rooting very 
freely. The stipites are covered at the base with long narrow scales. 
The fronds are uniform in some of the species, and dimorphous in 
others ; they are once or twice pinnate, with undivided or divided 
pinnae, and in many cases are proliferous, giving off small scaly buds from the upper side of 
the fronds, which produce fresh plants. We shall say more about this peculiarity in our de- 
scription of W. radicans. The sori are oblong or linear, “arranged in one or more chain-like 
rows or transverse anastomosing veinlets parallel and near to the midrib.” * This disposition 
of the sori has suggested the name “ Chain Fern,” by which the genus is sometimes called 
in books. These veinlets form a series of elongated meshes, technically termed areoles. 

Of the six species, four have uniform fronds, while in two they are dimorphous. Of the 
dimorphous-fronded species, one, W. Harlandi, is a native of Hong Kong, while the other, 
W. angiistifolia (called also W. areolata), is a United States plant, extending from Massachusetts 
to Florida, and most abundant in the Southern States. Of this latter the sterile fronds are 
membranous, from a foot to a foot and a half in height, with slender stipites and numerous 
pinnae ; the fertile fronds are taller and somewhat leathery, with stout erect brown stems, and 
narrow entire pinnae, which are about half an inch apart. This was introduced to the Royal 
Gardens, Kew, in 1830. Among the species in which the fertile and barren fronds are similar, 
one, W. virginica. — a native of the United States, from Maine to Virginia, and southwards — was 
known to Finnaeus, who described it under the name of Blechnum virginicum. It has a creeping 
underground stem, broad, smooth, pinnate fronds, from a foot to two feet high, the veins 
forming a row of narrow meshes, or areoles , along the midrib of the pinnae. This is a 
handsome and hardy fern, which has been in cultivation in England since I 774 > when it was 
grown by Dr. Fothergill. W. orientalis , a native of Japan and southwards, is very nearly 
allied to W. radicans, of which it may be a form. Of this a remarkable variety, at first 
described by Sir William Hooker as a species, f was collected in the Foo Choo Islands, 
1825-28. It is a smaller plant than the type, and the divisions of the pinnae are more 
copiously netted with veins ; but “ its most remarkable feature,” to quote Sir William’s 
description, “ arises from the copious scaly buds, each bearing a young frond, which appear 
on the upper side of the laciniae (divisions of the pinnae), and always from a certain point of 
the nervation, in the upper angle of the costal nerves, occasioning a corresponding depression 
on the under side.” He adds: — “Our specimens are almost entirely destitute of sori.” This 

* Gray : “ Manual of the Botany of the Northern United States.” 
f “Botany of Beechey’s Voyage,” 1841, t. lvi., p. 275. 

Cassell's European Ffrns 




failure of the ordinary method of reproduction is often to be noticed in cases where, as in 
the present, the plant is propagated by extraordinary means. The typical form of 
W. orienta/is is equally remarkable in the respect just mentioned, although not invariably 
so. The peculiarity has long been known, and did not escape the wondering comments of 
our last century naturalists. Thus the great John Ray, in the supplement to his large folio 
“ Historia Plantarum ” (1704), describes it under the name of “ Filix Emuyaca pinnis proliferis 
mire ornatis,” and thus refers to its peculiar mode of increase: — “Verum, quod mirum videtur, 
et huic speciei ex omnibus netas unquam vidimus proprium, ex ipsis foliis, et quantum discerque 
licuit seminalibus lineolis, enascuntur plantulae innumerse fere, denso velut cespite totam foliorum 
superficiem operientes.” There are several specimens, collected in the East during the early 
part of the last century, in the Sloane Herbarium, which is, historically, one of the most important 


(a) Under-side of Pinna. (6) Upper-side of Pinna. ( Both magnified.) 

of the collections in the National Herbarium at the British Museum. This herbarium is con- 
tained in about three hundred volumes, for the most part folio, and of considerable thickness, 
and contains collections from all the botanical explorers of the latter part of the sixteenth 
and earlier portion of the seventeenth century. No complete list either of the collectors 

or of the plants contained in this herbarium has been published ; but a careful working up 
of the specimens would no doubt bring to light many new and interesting facts which are 
at present buried in these ponderous tomes. At Sir Hans Sloane’s death, in 1753, this 
collection was, in accordance with the provisions of his will, offered to the nation for a 

large sum : the terms were at once agreed to, and the plants thus acquired formed the basis 

of the British Museum Herbarium. Among the specimens of Woodwardia orientalis contained 
in the Sloane collection is included that from which our figure is taken, with others apparently 
from Father Kamel (or Camelli), a Portuguese Jesuit missionary, who collected numerous 
plants in the Philippic Islands, and particularly at Luzon, where he was stationed for many 
years, towards the end of the sixteenth century. He paid much attention to botany, and 
was in correspondence with Ray, Petiver, and other botanists ; he was also a good artist, 



European Ferns. 

and many of his drawings of plants are also in the British Museum. It was in his honour 
that Linnaeus named the familiar and beautiful genus Camellia, Camellus being the Latinised 
form of his name. Many of the earlier Catholic missionaries were also acute naturalists, 
and found time to combine with their spiritual labours a careful investigation of the fauna 
and flora of the — then almost, if not quite, unknown — regions to which they were sent by 
their superiors. For example, Louveiro, while employed as a missionary, investigated the 
botany of Cochin China; his work upon the subject (published in 1712) being still our principal 
authority on the plants of that region. It is to Kamel that we owe the introduction of the 
drug known, in compliment to the founder of the Society of Jesus, as St. Ignatius’s Bean 
(. Strychnos Ignatii) ; this he collected in Manila, sending specimens to Ray and Petiver, which 
were laid by them before the Royal Society of London in 1699 ; other plants of economic 
value were also introduced by him to the knowledge of European savants. 

Woodwardia orientalis is, as we have said, not always proliferous, although this is very 
usually the case. The species attains a great size in Formosa, where the fronds are three or 
four feet long. Our cut (taken from a specimen in the Sloane collection) shows a pinna with 
the young plants springing from it, and also a small portion of the same enlarged. 


This handsome plant, the type of the genus, was known to Linnaeus, by whom it was 
described under the name of Blechnum radicans. It is a large fern, with gracefully arching 
pinnate fronds from four to six feet long — in favoured localities in California it attains a 
length of from eight to ten feet — the stipes of each being densely scaly at the base and 
smooth above; they are somewhat thick in texture. The pinnae are lanceolate and distant, 

the lower being often a foot or nearly so in length, deeply pinnatifid, and narrowed towards 

the apex into a long tail-like point ; the segments are almost entire, but oftener minutely 
and sometimes conspicuously serrate, especially towards the apex, which often terminates in 
a bristle-like point. The veins are reticulate or netted, there being a single row of meshes 
(areoles) outside the sori. These latter are parallel with the mid-vein of each segment of the 
pinnule ; they are short and oblong in form, and covered with a thick involucre of the 
same shape, which is usually persistent, and closes like a lid over the sori. 

Towards the top of the rachis, at the base of one or more of the pinnae, may be 

noticed a conspicuous mass of brown scales, which is indicated in our (necessarily much 
reduced) coloured plate as a small brown spot. In the accompanying woodcut this is shown 
of its natural size : it is, in fact, a bud, which is capable of reproducing the plant. The 
young fern arising from this will put out fronds while still attached to the parent plant ; 
Mr. Lowe* says “ it is not at all uncommon to see plants with half-a-dozen fronds a foot long, 
receiving all their support from the parent leaf.” We can hardly go so far as this 
from actual experience, but it is certainly by no means unfrequent to see young plants 
attached to the parent frond after the manner shown in the cut. It will be noticed that the 
position in which these scaly buds are produced is quite different from that in which the young 
plants occur in Woodwardia orientalis, already referred to ; in that species they grow from the 
upper side of the segments of the pinna;, whereas here they occur on the rachis. In Prof. 
Eaton’s handsome work on the “Ferns of North America,” the author speaks of this as a 

* “Ferns British and Exotic,” vol. iv., t. 108. 



bud developed into a short rhizome, with several rudimentary fronds coiled up and hidden in 
the chaff. In a foot-note he adds : “ The fact that a stalk may produce a rhizome, though 
perhaps more evident in the case of Dicksonia pilosiuscula than in other ferns, is by no means 
unknown. In Sachs’ Text-book (English version, p. 351) several instances are given of the 
same thing, as Pteris aqiiilina , which often produces a shoot from the back of the leaf-stalk 


close to the base, and Aspidium Filix-mas , which produces buds a short distance above the 
base, oftenest on one side of the stalk. The slender stolons of Onoclea Struthiopteris are said 
to be formed in a similar way, and Acrostichicm auretim and Woodwardia radicans seem to do a 
like thing. The formation of proliferous buds on the stalk of Asplenium fragile and on the rachis 
of Asplenium ebenemn, the bulblets of Cystopteris bulbifera , the scaly bud of Woodwardia 
radicans, the terminal bud of Camptosorus rhizophyllus , the numerous little buds on the upper 
surface of the pinnae of Woodwardia orientalis and of the Australian Aspidium prolifenwi, 
rightly regarded, are all manifestations of the same power which many ferns have of producing 
an adventitious proliferous bud from almost any part of the plant.” 


European Ferns. 

This Woodwardia was introduced to the Royal Gardens, Kew, from Madeira, in 1779, by 
Francis Masson. In Madeira, indeed, it is plentiful in many places, as on the Plateau of Santa 
Anna, about a thousand feet above the sea, on shady hedge-banks and the margins of 

streams, and at Ribeiro Frio, at an elevation of about three thousand feet, where it is 

very luxuriant. It also grows to a very large size at Teneriffe, and occurs in several of 
the Azores. On the African Continent it is reported from Congo and Abyssinia. In Asia 
it occurs in the Himalayas, at an elevation of from four to five thousand feet, and also 

in Simla; it likewise grows in Java. In the New World its distribution is limited: it grows 

in California by streams in shady places in the valleys and canons of the coast ranges, and of 
the Sierra, from Long Valley to San Diego, and is frequent in Mexico and Guatemala ; 
but it is not known elsewhere. 

The distribution of the Woodwardia in Europe is confined to the Mediterranean region 
and the Spanish peninsula, but its occurrence is local. It is found in Spain and in Portugal ; 
in Sicily it occurs on grassy rocks in shady volcanic valleys, on Mount Etna, and elsewhere ; 
in Italy at Sorrento and Naples, and in the Island of Ischia. 

Two varieties of this Woodwardia have attracted notice during the last few years. One 
( W. radicans Brownii) was found growing wild in the Island of St. Michael by a Mr. 
Brown, whose name it bears. Both the pinnae and pinnules are extensively subdivided, the 
latter being deeply cleft at the ends and “ finishing up the sides of the fronds with tufted 
branches or crests starting from each other almost at right angles. The terminal crests are 
larger, frequently several inches in width, and composed of almost innumerable small excurrent 
points.” It is difficult to see' how this differs from W. radicans cristata, which is described 
as having drooping fronds averaging from eighteen to twenty-four inches in length, each pinna 
being crested, while at the apex of the frond there is generally a tassel, which often attains 
a large size. This is a useful decorative plant, and will flourish either in the conservatory 
or temperate house. 

Woodwardia radicans is an easy fern to grow, and one which, from its gracefully arching 
fronds, is well adapted for conservatory decoration. It prefers a loamy soil, and does best 
when planted out, the fronds being of a richer green and more luxuriant in favourable 
situations out of doors than they are under glass. In many localities it is quite hardy ; but 
it is safest to give the crown of the root some slight covering as a protection during winter. 
It is easily increased by means of the young plants which are, as we have said above, often 
formed at the ends of the fronds. These will soon grow and become independent plants if 
the frond upon which they have formed be pegged down flat on the surface of a broad 
seed-pan filled with peat and sand in about equal proportions, care being taken not to bury 
the frond. If the soil be kept moderately moist, in a close frame or in a pit with gentle 
heat, the young ferns will soon take root ; as soon as they have become established, the 
frond from which they have originated may be cut into as many pieces as there are plants, 
and after a short time they may be removed from the pit and planted singly in small pots. 


Nearly allied to Woodwardia , and included in it by some botanists, is the genus Doodia. 
This is a small genus of five or six species, with a limited geographical distribution, extending 
from Ceylon eastward to Fiji, and having its head-quarters in Australia and New Zealand. The 
species differ from Woodzvardia mainly in having the sori on the surface of the frond instead 



of sunk into cavities, and in the shape of the indusia. Doodia aspera , which is not unfrequently 
met with in greenhouses, has stiff, very rough fronds, about a foot high, resembling in general 
appearance those of a Blechnum ; it was introduced to the Royal Gardens, Kew, by George 
Caley, in 1808. D. caudata, another Australian species, is more commonly met with, as it is 

very easily cultivated, and readily propagates itself by spores ; the fronds are six or eight 

inches long, the terminal segment being much elongated. It was on this plant that Robert 
Brown established the genus in 1810; the name Doodia commemorates Samuel Doody, who 
was curator of the Chelsea Botanic Garden during the latter part of the seventeenth and the 
beginning of the eighteenth centuries, and devoted much attention to British botany, especially 
to the Cryptogamia, although he did not publish ; his collections form part of the Sloanean 

Herbarium already referred to, now in the British Museum. There is a curious form 

of D. caudata which has been described as a species under the name D. linearis ; this has 
long, narrow fronds, which are quite entire in the upper half, more or less divided towards 
the middle, and have distinct, short, rounded lobes at the base. Another Australian species, 
D. blechnoides, is sometimes met with in cultivation; it resembles D. aspera , but is a larger 
plant, and the fronds are much less scabrous. 



European Ferns. 


IEN describing the Parsley Fern {Cryptogram me crispa),* we took occasion to 
remark upon the very variable extent of genera, and noticed how, while 
some included hundreds of species, others were what is termed monotypic, 
that is, containing but one species. We have now to consider the largest 
genus of ferns — a genus containing at least between three and four hundred 
species, and one which, as might be supposed from its extent, exhibits a 
very great deal of variation in the character of its members. It is, indeed, 
not easy to estimate the extent of some of our larger genera of ferns. 
These plants present great attractions to the botanical collector, and even 
to the resident in foreign countries, who is no botanist, but takes sufficient 
interest in his surroundings to collect specimens for his friends at home. Since 
the publication of the “ Synopsis Filicum,” by the late Sir W. J. Hooker and Mr. J. G. Baker 
(the second edition of which bears date 1874), and in which three hundred and thirty species 
were enumerated and described, many collections from different parts of the world — notably 
from Madagascar and Borneo — have been brought or sent to this country alone, without referring 
to the many others which have found a resting-place in Continental herbaria. The latter of 
the authors above-named has published in the “Journal of Botany’’ and in the “Journal of the 
Linnean Society ” numerous lists of recent collections of ferns from different parts of the 
globe; and “the cry is still ‘They come!’” for scarcely any collection of ferns is named without 
there being detected in it a considerable proportion of novelties. The accuracy of this 

statement is manifested the more strongly, inasmuch as Mr. Baker certainly cannot be accused 

of the slightest tendency towards the undue multiplication of species. When we remember 
that in all only about a hundred and ninety species of ferns were known to Linnaeus, and 
contrast this with the number at present described belonging to a single genus, we can form 
some idea of the rapid increase of our knowledge of the fern world. 

Of the genus Asplenium , the second edition of the “Synopsis Filicum” enumerates, as 
we have already said, three hundred and thirty species, and this number is certainly below 
the mark at the present time, if we accept a broad estimate of what constitutes a species. 
But it must be remembered that under this generic name are included many groups which 
are ranked by other authors under separate generic heads : as regards one of these, the 

Ceterach or Scale Fern, we ourselves have preferred to follow those who consider it suf- 

ficiently distinct to be ranked as a separate genus. But, with all deductions, the genus is 
a very large one, and, moreover, one which has many European representatives, while eight 
at least of our British ferns are found in its ranks. 

We have already said that the genus Asplenium presents considerable variation ; and this 
variation is equally apparent whether we consider the forms of the plants, their size, or their 
geographical distribution. Some, such as A. Hemionitis and A. Nidus , have entire fronds — of 
these we shall speak more at length when we come to consider the first-named species— in 
others the fronds are pinnate, with small pinnules, such as the Maidenhair Spleenwort (A. 
Trichomanes), or the Green Spleenwort (A. viride), or with very large ones, as in A. salicifolinm ; 
while some of those with pinnate fronds have the pinnae divided into almost hair-like segments. 

* See page 56. 



Others are bipinnate, as is the case with our Black Maidenhair Spleenwort {Asplenium Adiantum- 
nigrum), or tripinnate. In texture, too, there is great variety ; some species are membranous 
others (and those the most numerous) are stout and herbaceous, while others again are tough 
and leathery. We shall take an opportunity of referring more at length to some of the foreign 
Spleenworts when describing the European species to which they are most nearly allied. 

The name Asplenium dates back to Dioscorides, who bestowed it upon the Scale Fern or 
Rusty-back ( Ceterach officinarum ) — which is still placed in the genus Asplenium by some writers 
on ferns, in allusion to its use as a remedy in diseases of the spleen ; so that the English 
name Spleenwort is only an adaptation of the Latin. We shall have to recur to it again 
as applied to the Scale Fern, when we come to speak of that plant. The names of very 
many plants, indeed, both Latin and vernacular, have been given to them in consequence 
of the real or supposed influence possessed by them over certain parts of the body, or in 
the case of certain disorders. Were this a suitable opportunity, much might be said in 
illustration of this statement. The “doctrine of signatures” suggested a vast number of names. 
This was thus quaintly explained, more than two hundred years ago, by William Coles, in his 
“Art of Simpling ” (1656) : — “Though Sin and Satan have plunged mankinde into an ocean of 
infirmities, yet the mercy of God, which is over all His works, maketh grasse to grow upon 
the mountains and herbes for the use of men, and hath not only stamped upon them a distinct 
forme, but also given them particular signatures, whereby a man may read, even in legible 
characters, the use of them.” These characters, it must be confessed, are sometimes hardly 
as “ legible ” as Coles seems to think. For instance, it is not until we see the yellow 
under-bark of the Barberry (. Berberis vulgaris) that we understand how the “ doctrine of 
signatures ” can account for its use in cases of jaundice ; but when this is known, it is easily 
understood that a yellow-wooded tree would naturally suggest itself as a remedy for that 
disease. Our garden Jerusalem Cowslip {Pulmonaria officinalis ) owes its common English 
name, Lungwort, as well as its Latin generic equivalent, to the spotting of the 
leaves, which was considered to indicate that they would be useful in diseases of the lungs. 
The Viper’s Bugloss (Echium vulgare), according to Lyte’s “Niewe Herball ” (1578), “is very 
good against the bitings of serpents and vipers, and his seede is like the head of a viper,” 
hence the name, both Latin and English, the former being an adaptation of echi, the Greek 
word for a viper. The Wood Sanicle {Sanicula europced) took its name from its healing 
properties, real or supposed ; as also did the genus Salvia (from salvo, I heal). The Colts- 
foot is called in Latin Tussilago, from the word iussis, a cough ; it is still employed as a 
remedy against coughs. We might adduce many more instances of this method of naming ; 
but those already cited are sufficient to show how many of the plant-names still in use have 
their origin in some allusion to the real or imaginary “virtues” which were possessed by the 
species to which they belong. The earlier Latin names of plants, by which they were 
referred to in the ' old herbals before Linnaeus reduced scientific nomenclature to a definite 
system, were still more frequently framed in allusion to some healing property of the species. 
Thus, the Comfrey, which now bears the name Symphytum (from the Greek symphyo, I make 
to grow together), was formerly known as Confirma, in allusion to that property of con- 
solidating of which we had occasion to speak in our Introduction (p. xxvi).* The meaning 

* The subject of the origin and history of plant-names is a very interesting one ; for Latin names, Thcis’ 
“ Dictionnaire de Botanique ” and (for those of English plants) Alcock’s “Botanical Names for English 
Readers,” should be consulted ; for English names, Dr. Alexander Prior’s “ Popular Names of British Plants,” 
Britten and Holland’s “ Dictionary of English Plant-Names,” published by the English Dialect Society, and 
Professor Earle’s “ English Plant-names from the Tenth to the Fifteenth Century.” 

8 4 

European Ferns. 

and origin of many plant-names is very obscure, especially as these names often refer to 
some supposed property or association of the plant upon which they are bestowed that is now 
forgotten ; just as the old ecclesiastical titles for plants have become obsolete and meaningless, 
now that the festivals which suggested them have ceased to occupy a prominent place in 
the religious life of the people. But to those who are gifted with a taste for antiquarian 
research, and are willing to take some little trouble in the pursuit of an object, there is plenty 
to be done in the way of investigating the names (and their meanings) of our common plants. 
How readily we may meet with a puzzle, even at the very outset of our journey, may be 
illustrated by the fact that the names Cowslip and Paigle, with which most of us are 
familiar enough, are still unexplained, the latter especially having had spent upon it a vast 
amount of speculative ability, with, as we venture to think, little if any advance towards 
a solution of the difficulty. 

Several species of Asplenium, of which A. bulbiferum is a well-known type, offer good 
illustrations of viviparous plants — that is, they produce young plants upon the surface of their 
fronds, and when the latter fall to earth, these plants take root and assume an independent 
existence. We have already had occasion to refer to this phenomenon in connection with 
Ccimptosorus rhizophyllns (figured at page 65), and also when speaking of Woodwardia. 
Although the normal mode in which plants are propagated is by means of the seed, it 
cannot have escaped the notice of even a casual observer that there are other methods of 
perpetuating the species. The formation of seed is the result of an arrangement which recent 
researches into fertilisation have shown to be somewhat complex, and which may be in- 
terfered with in numerous ways. Many plants, indeed, seldom bring their seed to perfection, 
and Nature then — 

“ So careful of the type she seems, 

So careless of the single life ” 

supplies the deficiency in various ways ; or, where the deficiency does not exist, lavishly, 
bestows upon some favoured plant a double mode of increase. The strawberry, for example 

is propagated more by runners than by seed ; so is the sweet violet : other plants, such as the 

yellow loosestrife ( Lysimachia vulgaris) have underground suckers, which run along for some 
distance under ground and then send up new shoots ; others are mainly extended by the spread 
and division of the roots, such as the Great Bindweed ( Convolvulus sepium ) ; others by division 

of the plant itself, as in the case of the American Waterweed ( Anacharis Alsinaslrum), of 

which, in spite of its great abundance, the male plant has not yet been met with in England, 
so that it cannot be perpetuated by seed. 

Like most other ferns, the Aspleniums are useful rather than ornamental. Some of the 
British species were formerly credited with medicinal properties, as we shall see when we come 
to consider each of these in detail ; and we have already described * the superstitious regard 
paid by the natives of New Zealand to A. lucidum. But it must be confessed that the genus 
is sufficiently beautiful to find in that fact ample support to its claims to attention ; and we may 
well regard this beauty as compensating for the absence of any qualifications for notice on 
account of general usefulness. 


Our first species of Asplenium is one which stands out very distinctly from any other 
European member of the genus by reason of its simple entire fronds. At first sight, we should 

* See Introduction, p. xxv. 



be disposed to doubt its being correctly placed as an Asplenium: it seems to have much more 
resemblance to a Scolopendrium, with which indeed it has been confounded by more than one 
writer on ferns; but in technical character it is a true Asplenium, belonging to the small 
section Thamnopteris of Presl, which contains only twenty-four species, most of which have quite 
undivided fronds, our plant having them hastate in form, with a triangular terminal lobe and two 
large heart-shaped ones at the base, all being pointed at their extremity. The most striking of 
these entire-leaved Aspleniums is the Bird’s-nest Fern (A. Nidus), a widespread species, native of 
the Himalayas, Japan, and other Eastern regions, extending to Queensland and New Caledonia, 
and found also in the Mauritius and other African islands, where it is called Langue de 
bazuf. This has a dense circle of fronds growing round a vacant centre, in shuttlecock 
fashion ; the fronds are from two to four feet long, and from three to eight inches broad, and 
are of a leathery texture. The largest form of this, which is sometimes regarded as a distinct 


species (A. muscefolium), has fronds sometimes six feet long and a foot broad. Mr. John Smith 
quotes from a Penang correspondent : “ I saw two fine specimens of the Bird’s-nest fern ; each 
had between forty and fifty perfect green leaves ; the average length of the leaves was six feet, 
and from a foot to fourteen inches across in the broadest part. They were growing on each 
side of the doorway of the mansion ; when I was walking up to them I thought they were 
American aloes.” * This has the largest simple entire fronds of all known ferns. 

A. Hemionitis , as has been already observed, is distinguished from all the other European 
species of the genus by its simple fronds. These rise from a short, somewhat creeping, rhizome ; 
the stipes is dark-brown, from four to ten inches long, smooth, and channeled ; the 
fronds are from two to seven inches in length, and about the same in breadth, measured 
across their broadest part ; they are, as has been said above, somewhat spear-shaped, 
with a triangular terminal lobe, which is longer than the two (or sometimes four) large, heart- 
shaped, lateral ones ; they are broadly triangular in outline, of herbaceous texture, light-green 
in colour, and ever-green. The veins are close together, and usually simple, often with a 
narrow line of fruit on each. The plant singularly resembles in general appearance a species 
of Scolopendrium bearing the same specific name, as will be seen if the cut here given of 
Asplenium Hemionitis be compared with the figure of Scolopendrium Hemionitis given in the 

* “Historia Filicum,” p. 330. 


European Ferns. 

plate, and the two plants have been confounded by some authors and collectors. Mr. Kippist, 
however, who thoroughly investigated the history of the species* describes the type-specimen 
in the Linnean Herbarium (now the property of the Linnean Society of London), which was 
named by Linnaeus himself, as “clearly an Asplenium, with long, slender, closely-placed lines of 
fructification, extending nearly to the midrib and indusia, bursting towards the apex of the 
leaf, or of the lobe on which they are placed. The fronds are truly palmate, scarcely longer 
than broad, five-lobed (with the two posterior lobes more or less rounded), and usually shorter 
than their slender glabrous petioles.” Our cut (p. 85) shows the difference in the fructification 
of the two plants. 

This beautiful species has long been in cultivation in England, having been introduced 
from Madeira in 1779, by Francis Masson. It deserves to be more frequently met with 

than is at present the case, inasmuch as it is a plant of very distinct habit, and one which 

will do well upon rock-work, and still better in a cool greenhouse. When found in cultivation, 
it is often under the name of A. palmatum. It is a plant of very limited geographical dis- 
tribution, being a maritime and Atlantic species, touching Europe only on the coast of 
Portugal. Here it abounds in crevices and holes among the loose blocks of granite at Cintra, 
near Lisbon, and this appears to be its only European locality. It has been reported, on 
the authority of Cavanilles, as occurring also in Spain, but this requires confirmation. In 
Madeira it is very plentiful in shady, woody places, along the northern coast, generally under, 

or not much above, a thousand feet of elevation, and descending to a very low level. It is 

also found in Teneriffe, in the Cape Verde Islands, and in several islands of the Azores. 
On the African continent it seems to be limited to the extreme north, having been collected 
in Algeria and at Tangiers, and this terminates its geographical range, so far as we know 
at present. The Cintra locality was known to Linnaeus. A specimen received thence in 
his herbarium at the Linnean Society, already referred to, is localised “in monte alto 
quo situm est castellum vetustum, prope Cintra Lusitanis.” 

There is a crested variety of this fern in cultivation (A. Hemionitis cristatum ) which 
differs from the type only in having a large tuft or crest, at the 

upper extremity of the frond, similar to that which we have already 
had occasion to notice in so many other ferns. Milde describes 

two wild forms, both occurring in Madeira — the first (var. lobatum ), a 
small plant with simple triangular, or cordate-ovate fronds ; the other 
(var. datum), a tall, upright plant with acute lobes, the lateral ones 
being very much elongated. 

We have already referred to the likeness between this 

Asplenium and a Scolopendrium ( S . Hemionitis). This strong 

resemblance between two plants, which yet in essential 

characters are decidedly distinct, has excited some attention 

during the last few years, and the term “ mimicry ” or “ mimetic 

analogy ” has been applied to it. The same phenomenon had 

previously attracted notice in the animal creation — the bearing 
which it obviously has upon the Darwinian theory having of course 
contributed to make the subject interesting and prominent. Without going into speculations as 
to the why and wherefore of a phenomenon which undoubtedly exists, we may point out one 

* “ Botanical Magazine,” t. 4911. 



or two instances of it in plants far more widely separated than the two ferns which suggest 
the topic. Here, at any rate, the plants resembling each other belong, at least, to the same 
family ; but we find among the Coniferce a tree, the Salisburia (or Ginkgo ) adiantifolia, which 
has leaves so strikingly resembling the pinnules of the Maidenhair Fern as to suggest its 

Latin specific name and its common English designation, Maidenhair-tree. A good 
authority upon ferns was deceived by Stangeria paradoxa — a Cycadaceous shrub which is 
exceptional among its allies in its fern-like foliage — and described it as a genuine member 
of the Filicince. No less practised a botanist than Sir William Hooker was deceived into 
describing a New Zealand Veronica as a species of Podocarpus, in the order Coniferce. " We 

see something of the same sort 
in our British flora, in the way 
in which the Fringed Buckbean 
(L imnanthemum nymphoeoides ) re- 
calls to our minds the members 
of the Water-Lily tribe ; while 
it is certain that any person 
unfamiliar with the plant who 
should meet with the handsome, 
prickly, blue-green foliage of the 
Sea Holly ( Eryngium maritimum) 
growing among the sand upon 
the sea-shore, would think he had 
come across a thistle of some 
kind. We might pursue this 
subject to an indefinite length : 
but any one who has at all an 
extensive acquaintance with foreign plants will be able to recall numerous instances. A tropical 
African vine ( Vitis jatrophoides ) bears a striking resemblance when dried, to a branch of the 
common sea-weed Fitcus serratus ; while, to come back to the British flora, the likeness between 
. the Horsetails ( Equiseta ) and the Marestail ( Hippuris vulgaris) is most obvious, although the latter 
is a flowering plant, while the former are Cryptogams. We would draw special attention only 
to two of such cases. The Holly type of leaf is, as we all know, not very uncommon, but it is 
strange that the three leaves here shown are from plants of different natural orders. A is a leaf 


European Ferns. 

of the ordinary Holly; B, one of a Cuban species of Vitex (V. ilicifolius ) ; c, one of a solana- 
ceous shrub from Peru ( Dcsfontcmea spinosa ). It would be easy to match them exactly upon any 
good-sized Holly-tree, and there are very many shrubs, belonging to as many different 
natural orders, which resemble these in their common approximation to the Holly type 
of foliage. Our other illustration is perhaps even more striking, inasmuch as the type of 
leaf is infrequent. A is a leaf of Lourea vespertilionis , a Leguminous plant from the Indian 
Archipelago; B, a leaf of a Tropical American Passionflower (Passijlora vespertilionis), the 
specific name in each case alluding to the curious bat’s-wing type of leaf presented by two 
plants widely separated, both botanically and geographically. 


This extremely pretty little fern has much in common with the species last described, 
so much, indeed, that it was considered as a variety of it by Linnaeus, while some recent 
authors — Mr. Bentham for example — regard it as a form of that species. This view is, 
however, exceptional, nor do we think it is borne out by the facts of the case. The plant 
was known to the old writers, but was first described as a distinct species under the name it 
now bears by Hudson, in his “ Flora Anglica ” (1762). The green rachis of A. viride, as contrasted 
with the dark one of the next species, A. Trichomanes, is a character by which the two plants may 
at once be separated ; and there are other points of difference to which we referred when speaking 
of the English Maidenhair. The evergreen fronds arise from a tufted, somewhat creeping 
caudex, which is sparingly covered in its upper portion with dark-brown scales. These fronds 












vary a good deal in length ; in well-grown specimens they are as much as ten inches long, but 
are usually shorter — from four to six inches — and narrow, about half an inch — or rather more — 
broad, tapering towards the apex ; the stipes, which is brown at the base, though green in its upper 
portion, is about a third of the length of the frond. The pinnae are of a pale delicate green, 
very different from those of A. Tricho manes, although the difference is one not easy to 
express on paper; they are less numerous than in the species just named, somewhat 

square in outline, with a wedge-shaped base, 
and waved or sometimes slightly cut at the 
margin ; they are usually alternate, and, like 
those of A. Trichomanes, attached to the rachis 
only by their short stalks. There is a good 
deal of variation in their shape, as the accom- 
panying figures will show. Mr. Newman finds 
in their venation a character which distinguishes 
the plant from the English Maidenhair ; he 
says : — “ The lateral veins are either simple or 
forked ; they bear a long linear mass of seeds, 
and when forked the mass is most [almost ?] 
invariably situated before the fork ; this appears 
to me a very excellent distinguishing character, 
and one by which this species may readily be 
known.” The fructification is principally situ- 
ated on the upper part of the frond ; the sori 
are linear and at first distinct, and covered with 
a white entire or toothed indusium ; this dis- 
appears when the spores are ripe, and the 
masses become of a bright brown, and join 
one another, covering the centre and the greater 
part of each pinna. 

The Green Spleenwort is not a variable 
species. Mr. Moore names four varieties, which 
seem very slight ones, depending only upon 
the subdivisions of the frond or the pinnae, 
the names of which — multifidum, bipinnatum, 
incisum, and acutifolium — show sufficiently 
their respective peculiarities. The multifid or branched form is the only one worthy of special 
mention ; it is said to be very frequent in some places, and is figured by Gerard as “ Tricho- 
manes fcemina, the Female English Maidenhaire,” while it was described by Linnaeus as a 
branched form of English Maidenhair (A. Trichomanes ramosum). We reproduce the figure 
given by Gerard, which will give a good idea of this form of the plant. 

The geographical distribution of the Green Spleenwort, both in the British Islands and 
elsewhere, is much more restricted than that of A. Trichomanes. In England it is entirely 
absent from the southern counties, although it has been recorded from Surrey, Sussex, and 
Middlesex, but only in situations where it has probably been introduced ; Glamorgan, Monmouth, 
and Worcester (where it is supposed to be extinct) are its southern limits, nor does it appear 
on the eastern side of England below York. It seems to be rather a frequent Welsh plant, as, 



European Ferns. 

besides the counties already named, it is recorded for Brecknockshire, Merionethshire (Cader 
Idris), Denbighshire (near Llangollen), and Carnarvonshire (Llyn y Cwm, Twll du, etc.) ; but 
in many of these localities it is found very sparingly, the collecting of rare ferns by guides for 
sale to tourists having tended greatly to its reduction. The other English counties producing this 
little fern are Stafford, Derby, York, Cumberland, Westmoreland, Durham, and Northumber- 
land ; it is also recorded from Cheshire and South Lancashire, but its occurrence in these 
counties requires confirmation. In Scotland it is not unfrequent, extending as far as Shetland. 
In Ireland, too, it is not a very rare, although a local, plant ; it is absent from the north-east 
corner, and, indeed, from the whole eastern side of the island, but is frequent along the west 
and toward the centre, extending from Killarney up to Donegal. On the continent of 
Europe the Green Spleenwort is found in Lapland, Einmark, and northern Russia ; it extends, 
indeed, from the Arctic regions to the Pyrenees, growing for the most part in mountainous 
or subalpine regions, and most frequently met with upon calcareous rocks. Sweden, Norway, 

Germany, Bohemia, France, Italy, Greece, and Spain all produce this pretty little plant. In 
Spain it ascends to an elevation of nearly ten thousand feet, in the Sierra Nevada. In the 
south of France, at Grasse, it grows at an altitude only slightly above the sea-level. In 
Asia it occurs in northern India, in the Himalayas and Kumaon — in the latter locality at 
an elevation of ten thousand feet — and also in eastern Siberia. It is entirely absent from 
Africa and its islands, and from Australia ; but it is found in the New World, in Greenland, 
Newfoundland, and the island of Sitka (a very small form) ; and, again, in California, on 

moist, shady rocks in the Rocky Mountains ; in the United States, however, it does not put 

in an appearance. There are one or two allied American species which differ from A. viride 
especially in their viviparous habit ; one of these is A. projection, a Peruvian fern, which 
bears young plants at the end of the fronds, and the rachis of which takes root at intervals ; 
the other, A. fragile, is a native of the Andes. Of this Sir William Hooker observes 
“ Were it not for the curious little viviparous bulbilli seen upon the stipes, it would be 

difficult to say in what respect this species differs from A. viride, of the European Alps ; 

and it is possible that this peculiarity may originate in its elevated locality, which is no doubt 
very considerable at all times on the Andes of Columbia.”* 

* “ leones Plantarum,” tab. 932. 



Asplenium viridc is not a difficult fern to grow if it be planted in a light soil and a 
moist atmosphere ; but it does not take kindly to cultivation, and is not always an attractive- 
looking object in cultivation. It is propagated by division of the crowns of the roots. “A 
compost, consisting of chips of micaceous rock, sand, peat, and a slight admixture of thoroughly 
decayed leaf-mould, seems best adapted to its requirements ; it also needs good drainage, and 
likes to be covered with a bell-glass.” * 

Between this species and the next (A. Trichomanes ) may fitly be placed a plant which partakes 
of the characters of both, and is probably a hybrid 
between them. It is found upon serpentine rocks 
in Moravia, Saxony, and Northern Bohemia, and 
was described by Milde under the name of A. 
adulterinum. It resembles A. viride in the texture 
of the fronds, which is softer than A. Trichomanes, 
and also in the absence of any wing to the rachis, 
while its relationship to the English Maidenhair is 
shown in the placing of the spores, and also in the 
colour of the greater portion of the rachis, which 
is dark brown or black, although in the upper 
portion it becomes green, showing that the mixture 
of the two species has been very complete. Some 
German botanists, however, regard it as a distinct 
species. Another hybrid having A. Trichomanes {ox 
one of its parents is A. dolosum of Milde, of which 
we shall speak further when describing A. Adiantum- asplenium dolosum. 

nigrum, its other parent. Hybrids among ferns 

are not, perhaps, very uncommon ; the beautiful Adiantum Farleyense (see p. 43) is sup- 
posed by some to have been thus produced, and among the “ Gold and Silver Ferns ” 
( Gymnogramma ) they are said to be very frequent. A good deal of interesting information 
upon the subject of hybridity in connection with ferns will be found in Mr. F. W. Burbidge’s 
instructive volume upon “Cultivated Plants,” pp. 308 — 312. The author points out that “a 
clever and a careful manipulator might be able to produce hybrid ferns by removing the 
antherozoids f by means of a drop of water on the hair-like point of a sable brush, and 
applying them to the archegonia or female ovary-like cells of another species ; ” and he cites 
a large number of cases in which hybridisation is thought to have occurred. Among these 
is another member of the genus Asplenium (A. ebenoides ), which is thought to be a natural 
hybrid between A. ebeneum, a common North American species, and Camptosorus rhizophyllus 
(see p. 65). It has been found in very small quantity growing with the two ferns named 
on limestone cliffs on the Schuylkill river, near Philadelphia. One or two other actual or probable 
hybrids among the European species of Asplenium will be referred to later on. The subject 
of hybridity in ferns would certainly repay any attention bestowed upon it, and if a series of 
careful experiments were undertaken, the results would be interesting, and probably new. 

* Newman’s “ History of British Ferns.” 

t Or spermatozoids. See pp. viii.-ix. of Introduction for an explanation of these terms. 


E ur ope an Ferns. 


This very pretty and graceful fern is a plant of wide distribution, and one which occurs 
with considerable frequency throughout Great Britain and Ireland. It varies a good deal in 
the selection of a habitat ; sometimes found upon hedgebanks, it is more frequent upon rocks, 
and is perhaps most usually found upon old walls. In this last-named situation it is not 
unfrequently associated with the Wall Rue (A. Ruta-muraria) and Scaly Spleenwort ( Ceterach 
officinaruni). In the County Waterford, the old walls in the neighbourhood of the Comeragh 
Mountains produce large quantities of these three ferns, growing together with the greatest 
luxuriance, sometimes mingled with small plants of the Hart’s-tongue ( Scolopendrium vulgare), 
or, more often, with some flowering plants such as the Herb Robert ( Geranium Robertianum ) — 
the contrast in this case between the free-spreading foliage and bright pink flowers of the 
Cranesbill and the darker hue and more formal growth of the ferns is very striking. The 
flora of an old wall is often very extensive, affording representatives of some of the principal 
groups of flowering plants and grasses, as well as numerous ferns, mosses, and lichens ; 
beginning in the early spring with the Whitlow-grass ( Draba verna) and Rue-leaved Saxifrage 
{Saxifraga tridactylites), and going on through a succession of flowering plants until winter 
sets in, and the ferns, which have been almost eclipsed by their flower-bearing neighbours, 
become again the prominent and the only ornament of the wall. In the County Waterford 
many old walls are covered from top to bottom with a thick growth of the ferns above-named, 
and very striking they look in their green robe. Fern-collecting has become such a mania in 
England that every fern which is in the least interesting is removed as soon as found to some 
garden or rockery ; this, of course, is especially the case near large towns. But in Ireland, 
notably in the south of that country, there is but little demand for ferns, and the supply is 
considerably more than enough to satisfy the few who wish to grow them. It may be doubted 
whether it would not “ pay” an enterprising fern-merchant to make an excursion to the south 
of Ireland ; he would certainly find plenty of material to set him up in business, and English 

people with ferneries would be glad of the opportunity of procuring some of the fine specimens 

which abound on the walls, seemingly throughout the County Waterford, and in many other 
places in Ireland. 

As we have already remarked, the English Maidenhair is generally distributed throughout 
England and Scotland from Cornwall to the Orkney Islands, although in some districts it is 
by no means common, especially of late years, since the days of ferneries ; in Ireland also it 
is frequent, though rather local. If we go beyond the British Isles we shall find it widely 
distributed over the globe in both the temperate and tropical regions. It is found throughout 
the length and breadth of Europe, from Iceland and Lapland to the Rock of Gibraltar, and 
throughout the Mediterranean region, and from the extreme west of Ireland to the extreme 
east of Europe. If we pass to the African continent, we shall find it in the north 

(Algeria, and throughout Morocco, ascending to two thousand two hundred feet) and 
south (Cape of Good Hope) ; but it does not appear to enter the tropics. It is more 

frequent in the African islands, occurring in Madeira (at an elevation of three thousand feet), 
the Canaries, the Azores, and also, though very rarely, in the Cape Verde Islands. In Asia 
we find it in the Caucasian region, in Persia, in Afghanistan, and in various parts of northern 
India, ascending in Kumaon to an elevation of from six to twelve thousand feet ; in southern 
India it occurs in the Neilgherries ; it is also found in Siberia and Japan. It is met with in 



several parts of the Australian continent, as well as in Tasmania and New Zealand ; and ' 
occurs also in the Sandwich Islands. Passing to the New World, we find the English Maidenhair 
throughout the United States, and also in Canada, from Montreal to Nootka Sound ; it is found 
also in Mexico and Guatemala, in the latter region ascending to the height of ten thousand 
feet; also in Peru and Quito; and, in the West Indies, in Cuba and Jamaica. It will thus 
be seen that the geographical range of A. Trichomanes is a very wide one. 

The name Trichomanes — which is used by Dioscorides — is from the Greek trichoma, “ a 
growth of hair,” and bears reference to the property which this plant was supposed to possess 
in promoting or restoring the hair. Lonicer, in 1551, applies the name more particularly to 
the plant now under consideration, but speaks of it as being used with a much more general 
signification. However, it seems to have been generally believed in as a “hair-restorer,” perhaps 
on the theory of the “ doctrine of signatures,” to which reference has already been made, the 
black, hair-like stems suggesting its employment with matters connected with the hair. 
Gerard says, “ The lie wherein it hath beene sodden, or laid to infuse, is good to wash the 
head, causing the scurffe and scales to fall off, and hair to grow in places that are pild and 
bare.” According to Parkinson, writing a little later, it still more closely resembled the 
vaunted “hair-restorers” of the present day. He says, “It both stayeth the shedding of the 
haire, and causeth it to grow thicke.” It was supposed to possess other “ vertues ” at a period 
when every plant was endowed with almost as many attributes and quasi-miraculous pro- 
perties as a quack medicine of our own time. In our description of the true Maidenhair 
( Adiantum Capillus-veneris ) we quoted * some of the properties attributed to it from William 
Langham’s “Garden of Health,” published in 1633. This author says, that the “English 
Maidenhaire hath the same vertues that Capillus Veneris hath ; being sodden with wine or 
hydromell, and drunke dayly, it helpeth the obstructions of the liver, the jaundies, griefes 
of the lungs, difficulties of breath ... it softneth the hardnesse and swelling of the 
milt, expelleth poyson that hath been drunk . . . and breaketh the stone.” Not a bad 

catalogue this for a plant which, in our degenerate age, has no reputation for usefulness of 
any kind. Our illustrious countryman John Ray mentions its use in diseases of the chest 
and lungs, and also in cases of strangury and calculus ; while we learn from Lightfoot f 
that the country-people in Scotland sometimes give a tea or syrup of it for coughs and other 
complaints of the chest, though it is rarely sold in shops. Like so many other ferns, it 
seems to have been employed, either as a substitute for the true Maidenhair, or on account 
of its own supposed merits, in the manufacture of capillaire ; and one of its French names 
is Capillaire rouge, though it is difficult to see in what way it could have been associated 
with a red hue. A large number of ferns are known as capillaire in P'rance, no doubt 
from their employment in the preparation of the syrup so-called, which we described at 
page 47 : thus the Wall Rue (A. Ruta-muraria ) is Capillaire blanc — a name also applied to 
Polypodium rhceticum ; the black Maidenhair Spleenwort (A. A diantum-nigrum) is Capillaire 
noir ; Adiantum pedatum is Capillaire du Canada; A. tenerum, Capillaire du Mexique ; and 
a moss, Polytrichum commune, Capillaire dore- — the last-named having formerly been classed 
with the Maidenhairs, and called Golden Maidenhair in English. 

The English Maidenhair is so very distinct from any other British fern that there is no 
danger of its being mistaken for a different species. The only fern at all like it is the Green 
Spleenwort (A. viride), and from this it is at once distinguished by the rachis, which here is 
of a dark, shining, chestnut colour, or purplish-black, while in A. viride it is green. The fronds 

* Page 48. 

f “Flora Scotica” (1 777), p. 663. 


European Ferns. 

arise from a short tufted caudex ; they are often very numerous, the remains of the old stipes 
forming a dense, almost globular, black mass, and looking very strange as they protrude from 
cracks in an old wall. Their singular appearance is enhanced by the fact that the pinnae, when 
old, easily become detached from the rachis, and drop to the ground, leaving the bare, black 
stems standing up erect. The rachis is rounded behind, but flat in front, and in this differs 
from the rachis of A. viride, which is flat on both sides. The fronds vary very considerably 
both in length and breadth. Under very favourable circumstances they attain, or even exceed, 
a foot in length, while in less suitable situations they do not exceed two or three inches, and 

they are about half an inch broad. The average 
size, however, is fairly represented by the ac- 
companying figure — a facsimile of that given 
in Johnson’s “emaculate” edition of Gerard’s 
“ Herbal,” published in 1633. It will be seen 
from this, and one or two other old figures of 
ferns which we purpose to reproduce in the 
course of the present work, that the art of 
correctly portraying plants is by no means one 
of recent date. Indeed, it may be doubted 
whether the figures of the older herbalists are 
not in many instances more characteristic than 
those produced with all the assistance which 
the advance of modern art has been able to 
supply. The outline engravings with which 
Leonard Fuchs adorned his “History of Plants” 
in 1542 have hardly been surpassed in fidelity 
to nature, except, perhaps, in the grand coloured 
folio plates which illustrate Curtis’s “ Flora Lon- 
dinensis ; ” and even in artistically less valuable 
works, such as the “ Herbals ” of Gerard and 
Parkinson, we often come across figures which 
at once arrest our attention, on account of the 
accuracy with which the habit, or what the 
French call the “port" of the plant delineated 
has been caught and transferred to paper. In 
this respect, indeed, many of our modern artists would do well to take a lesson ; they would be 
puzzled to give a more graphic representation of an entire plant in a small compass than was 
presented by these old authors in the days when engraving and printing were in their infancy. 

The fronds of the English Maidenhair are narrow, linear, and pinnate. The pinnae, which 
are very numerous and alternate, or opposite, are thick and dark-green, and vary a good deal 
in shape : in their normal form they are roundish egg-shaped, blunt at the apex, and somewhat 
tapering to the base, where they are attached to the rachis by extremely short stalks ; their 
margins are sometimes entire, but usually more or less waved. The pinnae are either distant 
or crowded in different plants ; we have already alluded to their deciduous character, and 
the readiness with which they drop away from the rachis. Their venation consists of a central 
vein, from which forked veinlets are given off ; the upper one of these veinlets or venules bears 
the narrow, oblong sori, which at first are covered by a long, whitish indusium, which disappears 


of gerard’s “herbal.” 




as the sori enlarge. When mature these are brown, and often run together into one mass, 
when the whole back of the frond is more or less covered with them. This is one of the 
ferns which has been recorded as having, by a strange freak, produced its fructification upon 
the upper side of the pinnae. Mr. Moore* * * § speaks of “a specimen gathered in Italy by [the 
late] E. W. Cooke, R.A., in which, besides the copious fructification of the under surface, 
one of the pinnae bore a solitary but complete sorus on its upper surface.” The most striking 

example of the production of fructification in the 
upper surface of the fronds of ferns is offered by 
a Ceylon Polypody (. Polypodium, anomalum ), in 
which the sori are always on the upper surface, t 
Several varieties of A. Trichomanes are enume- 
rated and described by Mr. Moore to two or 
three of the more important of these we will now 
briefly refer. One of the most striking is a branched 
variety known as ramosum , in which it is not merely a forking of 
the frond at the apex which is to be noticed, but a distinct branch- 
ing of the rachis at irregular intervals. This is constant under 
cultivation, and deserves a place on the rockery. A still prettier 
form, however, is incisum , which attracted the attention of the earlier 
botanists. It is figured in Plukenet’s “ Phytographia ” § (1691), and 
was found in Jersey by Sherard ; it is also included in Smith’s 
“ English Flora.” Our figure shows the elegant appearance which 
the fronds present ; the pinnae are somewhat triangular in outline, 
and are deeply cut into narrow, acute, somewhat irregular segments. 
This has been found wild in England in numerous localities ; it is 
difficult to cultivate, and does not produce spores : Milde describes 
the plant under the varietal name lobato-crenatum , and distinguishes 
four forms of it. Mr. Moore describes a crested variety ( cristatum ), 
similar to the corresponding variety of Blech- 
num Spicant, already referred to, having the 
apices of the fronds developed into a tuft or 
tassel : this produces spores plentifully, and is 
readily increased by this means, and it is constant in cultivation. The 
variety multifidum also corresponds to the similarly-named form of the 
Hard Fern. Mr. Moore names ten varieties in all; Milde arranges the 
forms somewhat differently. Besides the one already mentioned, he has 
a variety auriculatum ,- the segments of which are auricled or lobed at 
the base ; a variety umbrosum, which is described as a flaccid, slender 
plant, with coarsely crenate, oval pinnae, and few sori ; a variety micro- 
phyllum, a very small plant, with decumbent fronds, forming a rosette, 
found in Italy, the Tyrol, and on Mount Libanus ; and two large 

varieties, named majus and rotundatum respectively — the first a tall, robust form, found in 



* “Nature-printed British Ferns” (8vo. edition), vol. ii., p. 135. 

t See Hooker’s “Journal of Botany and Kew Gardens Miscellany,” viii. 360, tab. xi. (1856.) 

I “Nature-printed British Ferns” (8vo. edition), vol. iii., pp. 109-112. 

§ Tab. lxxiii., fig. 6. 


European Ferns. 

Spain ; the second having pinnae rounded at the base, found in Sardinia, the Tyrol, and the 

Besides these European forms, there is a Madeiran plant, which has been regarded as a 
distinct species under the name of A. anceps. It differs from the ordinary form of A. Trickomanes 
mainly in size, being a much more robust plant, with taller fronds and larger pinnae. A plant 
which Mr. H. C. Watson considers “inseparable from the Asplenium anceps of Madeira and other 
Atlantic islands” has been collected in the south-west part of Surrey. On a specimen of this, 
in the Herbarium of the British Museum, Mr. Watson notes: “This may fairly be called anceps , 
but it is quite traceable into the more usual form in south-west Surrey.” 

Since the greater part of this account was written, Prof. Asa Gray, the well-known 
American botanist, has published the following brief account of what he describes as “a 
phenomenon which, I suppose, has never before been noticed,” to which his attention had 

been directed by Mr. E. J. Loomis, of Washington, and which he commends to the attention 
of botanists: — “A tuft of Aspleniiun Trickomanes gathered last autumn in the mountains of 
Virginia is growing in his house in a glass dish. About two months ago he noticed that one 
of the fronds — a rather short and erect one, which is now showing fructification — made quick 
movements alternately back and forth in the plane of the frond, through from twenty degrees 
to forty degrees, whenever the vessel was brought from its shaded situation into sunlight or 
bright daylight. The movement was extensive and rapid when the frond was younger. 
When I saw it on the twenty-third of January its compass was within fifteen degrees, and 
was about as rapid as that of the leaflets of Desmodium gyrans. It was more rapid than the 
second-hand of a watch, but with occasional stops in the course of each half vibration. This 
was in full daylight, next a window, but not in sunshine. No movement had been observed 
in the other fronds, which were all sterile and reclining, with the exception of a single one 
which was just unfolding, in which Mr. Loomis thinks he has detected incipient motion of the 
same kind.” This opens up a new field for botanical observers, and it will be interesting to 
learn whether similar automatic movements have been observed in any other fern ; so far as 
we are aware, nothing of the kind has been previously recorded. 

Cassells European Ferns 


Ld llI 
_J < 

o z 





This is a rare and little-known fern, which, although taking rank as a species in the 
“Synopsis Filicum,” is considered by Milde as “sine ullo dubio ” a hybrid between A. Triclio- 
inanes and A. germanicum , agreeing with the former in size and habit, and with the latter in 
the wingless rachis and the toothing of the pinnae. It has densely-tufted fronds, the dark 
slender stipes of which is two or three inches long ; the fronds themselves are but one or two 
inches in length, and consist of three or four pairs of opposite distant pinnae, the lowest of 
which is about a quarter of an inch in length and breadth ; the pinnae are toothed or 
lobed, and uniformly narrowed into a distinct petiole. A. Heuffleri is a native of the Tyrol, 
between Vilpian and Molten, and also occurs at Eichhorn, in Moravia ; it is a plant of compara- 
tively recent detection, as it was not described until 1859. 


This extremely pretty little species is one of the rarest of European ferns. It is a small 
plant, with a thick, somewhat creeping stem, from which spring very numerous pinnate fronds 
from two to three inches long, having dark shining stipites from one to three inches in length ; 
the black line extends to the rachis, which, however, becomes greenish in its upper portion, and 
is covered throughout with stalked glands. The pinnae are nearly opposite, and few in number 

from seven to fourteen pairs ; they are lobed or pinnatifid with entire lobes, firm and 

membranaceous, obtuse at the apex, half an inch or less long, and less than half of that 

measurement in breadth ; the sori are from four to six in number, becoming confluent when 

fully developed. Although from the description it might be supposed that this plant is very similar 
to A. Trichomancs and A. viride, it is really very distinct from both, even in general appearance; 
in some specimens, indeed, it reminds one more of a Woodsia in its aspect. The whole 
plant is much smaller, and the pinnae are longer in proportion, and lobed or pinnatifid in a 

manner quite different from the cutting of those in the species named ; and it differs more 

conspicuously still in the stalked glands with which the whole plant is clothed, to such a degree 
as to give it a hoary appearance.* 

This is one of the few ferns almost peculiar to Europe, and even on that continent its 
range is extremely restricted. It has been recorded as a native of the British Islands ; Milde 
records “ Hibernia ” among its localities without any indication of doubt, and it is also included 
in Newman’s “ History of British Ferns ”f as a bond fide Irish plant. In spite of this testimony, 
however, Petrarch’s FernJ is not regarded as possessing sufficient claims to be included among 
the natives of the British Islands ; the authors of the “ Cybele Hibernica ” suspect a form of 
A. Trichomajies was mistaken for it. 

Petrarch’s Fern is found upon dry chalky rocks, especially near the sea, in the Mediterranean 
regions— in the South of France, at Montpellier and Toulon, besides at Vaucluse, as mentioned 
below ; at Mentone and Nice, at Palermo in Sicily, and near Malaga and in Murcia in Spain ; 
it has also been recorded from Greece. Its only extra-European localities are in Algeria, where 
it has been met with by two collectors. 

* Hooker and Greville’s “ leones Filicum,” t. clii., where is a good coloured figure of the plant. 

t Fifth (people’s) edition, pp. 146—8. 

X The specific name has reference to the immortal Italian poet, to whom the locality where this little 
fern was first found— Vaucluse — was especially endeared by association, as we learn from his well-known ode. 


9 8 

European Ferns. 


We have hitherto been looking for ferns in essentially inland localities. If we except 
the True Maidenhair, we have not been led within scent of sea breezes by any of the plants 
to which we have directed our attention. The moorland 
and the barren rock, the wood and the hedge-row, the 
wall and the hill-side, the shady bank and the open 
common — all these have yielded their treasures to us, 
and in each of them some fern has found its home ; but, 
with the single exception already mentioned, the salt 
spray has not dashed upon any of them, nor have we 
been allured in our search away from inland scenes. 

But now all is different. If we want to find the Sea 
Spleenwort, we must follow the guiding of its specific 
name — marimnn — and hunt for it in the dark recesses 
and clefts of rocks close to the sea, where it is often so 
firmly fixed in the crevices by its black, wiry, tough 
roots that it cannot be extracted without some difficulty. 

The rhizome of the Sea Spleenwort is dark-brown 
or black, tufted, and densely covered with black or dark 
scales. From this spring the linear, simply pinnate 
fronds, which are on an average from seven to thirteen 
inches long, but sometimes very much longer ; they are 
smooth and somewhat leathery in texture, with a winged 
rachis, by which the fern may at once be recognised, as 
that feature does not exist in the other simply pinnate 
species. The pinnae are very variable in shape, being 
oblong and rather broad, or linear with serrated or 
crenated margins ; the lower are stalked, the stalk being 
winged, and are thus connected at their base. The shape 
of the pinnae at the base, which is characteristic, will be 
better understood from the accompanying cut than from 
description. Newman says that two pinnae, larger than 
the rest, frequently appear near the apex of the frond ; 
but this seems to us somewhat exceptional. In spite of 
the thick, leathery texture of the frond, the veins are 
very apparent ; there is a central vein in each pinna, and 
from this lateral veins (or venules) are alternately given off, 
and on the anterior side of these the sori are produced.. 

These sori are at first covered with 
a white membranous indusium, 
which does not fall away, but opens 
towards the apex of the fronds, re- 
vealing the bright brown sori within. 

The Sea Spleenwort is a plant of the Atlantic type of distribution, occurring along the 
coast of England and Scotland, except on the east side, its range extending from Cornwall, 




Devon, Dorset, and Sussex to the Hebrides, Orkneys, and Shetlands. It is abundant 
along the coast of the whole of Ireland. Although so essentially a seaside plant, there are 
one or two instances on record of its occurring some distance inland ; as in a stone quarry 
near Warrington (Lancashire or Cheshire), and a red sandstone rock at Newton, Lancashire. 
Mr. Newman found very small examples, the fronds of which were not more than two inches 
long, on a steep rock near the Lakes of Killarney. When the plant grows at any distance 
from the sea it seems to become unnaturally dwarfed, assuming the appearance shown in 
the accompanying figure (b). The specimen marked (a) has the pinna narrower and more 
deeply divided than usual. The other extreme in size is also recorded by the author 
just quoted, who mentions specimens in Guernsey, having fronds two feet or even thirty 
inches long* It is mainly confined to Southern and Western Europe, although specimens 
exist from Nova Scotia, Jamaica, the Bermudas, and South Brazil. It is abundant 
in the Canaries and Madeira, at about the level of the sea, and occurs in some other of the 

African islands ; it also gets into North Africa, being reported from Algeria and Tangiers, 
while in Morocco it grows on Cape Spartel, in inaccessible places. In Southern Europe the 
Sea Spleenwort is found in various parts of the coast of France, in many districts of Spain, 
including Gibraltar, and also in Portugal, in Corsica, and Sicily. 

As we have said, this is a somewhat variable species, and numerous forms of it have been 
described. Mr. Moore enumerates eleven, six of which he considers to be worthy of varietal 
names and technical descriptions. The variety trapeziforme is thought to be the plant which 
Hudson, in the “ Flora Anglica” (1762), described, under the name of Adianlum ti'apeziforme, as a 
distinct species from Scotland. It is a dwarf plant of robust habit, with short rounded dark- 
green leathery segments, the lower of which are trapeziform and deflexed ; this has been found 
in several parts of England. The variety acutum has narrow, elongated pinnae, which are 
drawn out to an acute point ; the fronds are long, and distantly and loosely pinnate ; this has 
been found in the south of England and the Channel Islands. The variety assimile, an 
Irish and Channel Island form, “ may be considered as a deeply lobed condition of the variety 
acutum." The variety incisum is a small and pretty form, the short pinnae of which are 

* Mr. Moore speaks of the variety parallelum as attaining even greater length. 


European Ferns. 

deeply and unevenly cut : it is usually quite a small plant, seldom attaining seven inches in 
length. The variety ramosum, which is rare and constant, “ is a very marked variety. 
One of its chief peculiarities is that the fronds are branched, which branching takes place 
sometimes in the rachis, but more frequently at the base of the stipes, so that the fronds 
become united in pairs, the junction often taking place before they separate from the caudex, 
so that two fronds appear to grow side by side from one point.”* The most divided of all 
the varieties is sub-bipinnatum , a small plant with deeply pinnatifid pinnae, which is 
constant in cultivation and is not known to bear fruit. The largest form of the species is 
the Channel Island plant called paralielum , the fronds of which are as much as three 
feet long, with long, narrow, and very distant pinnae. 

The Sea Spleenwort is said by Newman to be a difficult plant to cultivate, unless 
carefully protected from exposure : “ it will thrive luxuriantly in a stove-house, with a moist 
heat of yo° Fahr., but dies on rockwork, even in the purest air, if denied the advantage of 
the sea-breeze.” Mr. Moore, however, says it is easily grown in sheltered situations, but 
it will not bear frost, and has been known to be frozen even when kept in a close green- 
house. It is well worthy of cultivation, owing to the bright, deep shining green of the fronds. 

According to Ray,t the Sea Spleenwort has been employed in medicine in cases of 
obstruction ; and a mucilage extracted from it is said to be useful, when all other applications 
have failed, if applied externally to burns. A similar use of the Hart’s-tongue ( Scolopendrium 
vulgare ) in the county of Westmeath has gained for it there the name of “ Burntweed.” 


There is a special interest attaching to this extremely pretty little fern in connection 
with its occurrence as a native of England. Its claims to that position are considerable ; 
and yet the best authorities and most careful pteriologists are divided upon the point. The 
distribution of plants is an extremely interesting subject, and one which has, especially of late 
years, attracted a good deal . of attention. Mr. H. C. Watson, whose numerous works upon 
the geographical distribution of British plants are well known, and who has done so much 
to reduce the study of botanical geography to a science, has summed up his researches in an 
invaluable compendium, entitled “Topographical Botany,” in which maybe seen at a glance the 
distribution of any given species through the English and Scottish counties ; and the work 
is being carried on by a club formed for the purpose, called “The Botanical Record 
Club.” For the work of chronicling the distribution of the comparatively few plants which 
form the flora of the United Kingdom is not yet complete ; indeed, it is an illustration of the 
inexhaustibility of even a portion of a branch of natural science that, although there is 
probably no spot in the whole world which has been so thoroughly investigated by botanical 
observers as the British Islands, we have constantly to chronicle new facts in distribution, 
or even the addition of fresh species to our list. Any one who has had any experience 
in the compilation of a local flora will recognise how almost impossible it is thoroughly to 
exhaust that of even a very limited area. 

That the distribution of plants is very irregular may be seen at a glance by an observer 
who removes from a district with which he is thoroughly acquainted to one which is 
strange to him. At first he is struck by the presence of unfamiliar forms ; and a little 

* “Nature-printed Ferns” (8vo edition), vol. ii., p. 98. 
f “Synopsis” (3rd edition), p. 119. 






later, when he has had time to observe rather more closely, he is equally impressed with the 
absence of others which he had come to look upon as almost integral paits of his botanical 
surroundings. For instance, if a botanist from the neighbourhood of London goes to 
Manchester, he will miss the common Mallow (MciIvcl sylvestns ) which he has been accus- 
tomed to see in every waste corner and by every roadside ; in the neighbourhood of 
Manchester this is so uncommon that even where met with there is some suspicion that it 
has been introduced. The pretty little Bindweed, again, ( Convolvulus arvensis) which he has 
found by the side of every path and in every corn-field, is absent; 
and although Poppies are sometimes seen, they are not of the brilliant 
crimson species ( Pcipcivei ' Rhoscis ) which dyes our southern corn-fields with 
blood. Yet there are other points connected with distribution which are 
even more strange. For instance, it is difficult to account for the fact that 
a curious leafless orchid ( Epipogum aphylluni), of somewhat wide distri- 
bution on the Continent of Europe, has been once, and once only (in 1854), 
found in England, it having been discovered in a copse in Herefordshire in 
that year — the plant being one very unlikely to have 
been introduced in any accidental manner. Equally 
strange is the history of a species of Centaury 
( Erythrcea latifolia ), which, until lately, was found 
upon the Lancashire sand-hills, and nowhere else in 
the world, and which has not now occurred in its 
only known locality for some years, its last record 
dating 1865 ; so that we have apparently 
here an instance of a plant dying out in 
very recent times. 

The history of Asplenium fontanum, 
to which it is high time we returned, is 
not difficult to trace, although it is far 
from easy to come to any definite con- 
clusion as to its nativity as a British 
plant. It was first added to our lists 
in 1762, by William Hudson, who in- 
cludes it in his “Flora Anglica” of that 
date, and says, “ Habitat in fissuris rupium et muris antiquis.' Supra Hammersham church, 
D. Bradney ; in locis saxosis supra Wybourn in Westmorlandia.” With regard to the 
Amersham Church locality (in Buckinghamshire), it is certain that the true plant was found 
there ; and it is equally certain that it does not occur there now, nor has it done so for 
very many years. Bolton figures the plant (his plate being dated 1785), and after quoting 
the localities just given says, “ The specimen here figured and described was sent to my 
brother, A.D. 1775, by a gentleman who gathered it in Buckinghamshire.” This was probably 
from Amersham Church, although it is not absolutely specified. In the British Museum 
herbarium there are two specimens, said to have been collected by Lightfoot, a botanist of 
the last century, to which is attached a ticket, upon which, after citing the old synonyms 
and the above-named Westmoreland locality, is written : “ This was gathered on Ammersham 
Church, Bucks.” This is not dated ; but Sir James Edward Smith,* writing in 1828, 


* “English Flora,” iv. 314. 


European Ferns. 

says : “ On Amersham, or Agmondesham, Church, Bucks, found by a Mr. Bradney, 

acccording to Hudson, and from whence it was brought alive to Kew Garden, by the 
late Mr. Aiton, from whom I have a specimen ; but the church has been whitewashed, 
and the plant destroyed.” Since then it has not been found at Amersham, although 
many botanists (ourselves among the number) have made very careful investigation of the 
walls of the church, in the hope that it might reappear. The accompanying figure is taken 
from one of the British Museum specimens referred to above. With reference to the Wy- 
bourn locality, mentioned by Hudson, Sir J. E. Smith says : “ Mr. Hudson gathered the same in 
a stony situation near Wybourn, in Westmoreland ; or rather, perhaps, Wiborn, in Cumberland.” 
Nothing more has, so far as we know, been heard of the occurrence of the fern in this locality. 
The next record in chronological order is probably that which is also authenticated by 

specimens in the British Museum herbarium, which were originally (like those of Lightfoot, 
already named) in the possession of Mr. Brown. Unfortunately there is no date attached 
to them ; but they were probably collected early in the present century. The ticket accom- 
panying them runs thus : “ The specimen of Asplenium fontanum was gathered from a strong 
plant sent with many more of the same species by the Duke of Northumberland from his 
estate at Alnwick in Northumberland. They appeared to have been growing in the crevices 
of moist rocks, part of which were adhering to them. They varied from one to five inches high, 
and were found about two miles from the castle.” This account seems sufficiently circumstantial ; 
but it has not been corroborated by subsequent observers. About this time the plant was 
recorded from Keswick and Saddleback, Cumberland, in Hutchinson’s History of that 
county ; but it seems hardly likely that it would have escaped the observation of the 
numerous botanists who have visited the Lake district if it were really to be found there. 
More than one Yorkshire locality for the fern is on record : Mr. R. M. Redhead, in the 



“Phytologist” for 1844 (p. 1084), says that he collected specimens in Wharncliffe Wood in 
1838, although he was not able to find it subsequently. In the same work (p. 482) Mr. 
Samuel Gibson writes : “ I found a single root of this plant on an old wall above Skipton 

Castle in July, 1835 ; I took all the fronds, and the plant, of course, disappeared. And I 

have a specimen of the plant given me as a Teesdale plant, but perhaps under some 
mistake.” Mr. Gibson was not, however, a very accurate botanist, and in this case some 
error is quite probable. Mr. H. Shepherd, of the Liverpool Botanic Garden, found the 
fern in 1826 on the rocks above Matlock* but no later collector has been equally 
fortunate. But Mr. Newman, who always opposed the admission of Asplenium fontanum 
to the lists of British plants, throws much doubt upon the accuracy both of Mr. Redhead’s 
and Mr. Shepherd’s records, and states that a dealer in British ferns was in the habit of 
selling the species as genuinely British from an apparently inexhaustible stock.f Later on 
the Rev. W. T. Bree records a Scottish locality, an “ intelligent gardener ” having found the 
fern “ in considerable abundance on shaded rocks by the sea, two miles north-east of Stone- 
haven, Kincardineshire, in i 842.”{ The plant was next recorded from Surrey, where it “was 
wont to luxuriate somewhat plentifully in the crevices of an old wall” on Tooting Common; 
but here again it had been destroyed before the locality was placed on record in the 
“Phytologist” (iv. 478, 1852). Then the Rev. A. Bloxam came forward with the announce- 
ment that he had seen a specimen from between Tan-y-Bwlch and Tremadoc, Merionethshire, 

and that the fortunate finder of it there had also collected it at Swanage Cave, in the Isle 

of Purbeck. Last of all, in 1852, the Rev. W. H. Hawker communicated specimens to 
the Linnean Society, and to various herbaria, of the plant from the neighbourhood of 
Petersfield, Hampshire. Here the fern grew “on the north side of an old wall, about five 
feet high,” in company with Hart’s-tongue and Polypody. Mr. Hawker had known of its 
existence for many years ; he says : “ It is growing abundantly and luxuriantly, for I 
counted twelve tufts of it the last time I went to look at it, and I think the largest of 
these tufts must be fully two feet in circumference ... I have measured some of the fronds 
which I have by me, and find the largest to be close upon six inches long.” This is, we 
believe, the most recent record of the occurrence of the plant. Besides these British 
localities, Mr. Moore says he has seen a specimen from Cavehill, near Belfast ; but the 
authors of the “ Cybele Hibernica” do not refer to this. 

Our readers will be able to estimate for themselves the value of the evidence adduced, and 
may form their own judgment as to the nativity of Asplenium fontanum in Britain. We 
are inclined to think that the Amersham and Almvick localities were genuine, although the 
plant is there extinct ; these date from a period anterior to the time when fern cultivation 
became general. This, indeed, would make us suspect the thorough wildness of many of the 
more recent localities; which, it will be noticed, are usually walls. 

The head-quarters of Asplenium fontanum are to be found in central Europe. It is met 
with in Spain, on the Pyrenees and in other localities ; in the mountainous parts of France 
upon damp rocks ; in Italy (Naples) and Greece ; in Flanders, Hungary, and Switzerland 
(Geneva), and in Germany, though rarely (near Marburg) ; it is recorded for Scandinavia, but 
this requires confirmation. Its extra-European distribution is very limited ; it occurs in the 
Ural mountains and in the Himalayas, and Dr. Aitchison has lately collected it at Shendloi 
and Sikaram, in Afghanistan, at an elevation of eleven thousand feet. 

There is no difficulty in distinguishing Asplenium fontanum from any other member of 
* “Phytologist,” i. 1081. t Id., 1143. t Id. (1848), iii. 319. 


European Ferns. 

the genus. Its small narrow twice-pinnate fronds at once distinguish it, coupled with the 
smooth, narrowly winged rachis. Mr. Newman once broached the theory that the Amersham 
plant was really Cystopteris fragilis ; but we have never been able to find out upon what 
foundation he based this certainly inaccurate supposition. It is a pretty little plant, with 
evergreen fronds, from three to eight inches in length, springing from a short tufted caudex, which 
is somewhat scaly at the apex. The stipes is dark-purplish below, but becomes green in 
its upper portion ; the green rachis is, as we have said, narrowly winged. The fronds are 

numerous, quite smooth, and upright in habit ; they are of a pale, rather glaucous green, 

linear-lanceolate in outline, tapering at each end, especially towards the apex, and about 
an inch and a half in breadth at the widest part. The pinnae, which are broadest below, are 
spreading, the upper ones being placed more closely together than the lower. The pinnules 
are oblong in form and more or less deeply cut ; the sori are very numerous, at first 
distinct, but afterwards forming a dense mass on the back of the fronds ; they are covered 
by a white indusiutn, which is usually straight, but sometime’s more or less curved, and 
thus approaching the genus Athyrium , in whicbi the species is sometimes placed under the 
name of Athyrium fontanum. 

There are two forms of the plant, each of which is represented among the real or 
supposed British specimens ; but the difference between them seems to be chiefly a questiob 
of size. The form which is considered typical — -fontanum — is called “ forma minor ” by Milde, 

who places A. Halleri , the larger variety of the plant, as his 

“forma major.” Under the latter form, too, the botanist first 

quoted includes a plant described by Mr. Moore, as distinct, 
under the name of A. refractum * This is supposed to have 
originated from wild Scottish specimens ; it came into notice 
about 1851. Mr. Moore writes concerning it: “Compared 
with Asplcnium fontanum, the fronds of Asplenium refractum 
are longer and narrower in proportion, being seven or eight 
inches high, and not more than three-fourths of an inch wide. 
They have a dark-brown rachis throughout, which is not dis- 
tinctly winged, as in fontanum, although there is a slight green decurrent line at the upper 
angle between the pinnae. The outline is different, being equal and almost linear, not broader 
upwards ; the lower pinnae are scarcely more distant than the rest, and all the pinnae are 
refracted in a remarkable manner, as well as much less divided. The habit of growth is 
spreading, and the fronds are proliferous. The little bulbils are formed principally at the 
junction of the pinnae with the rachis.” This is probably a plant of garden origin ; we 
have already seen, when speaking of Adiantum Farleyense (p. 43), that ferns sometimes 
appear in this casual way, never having been found in a wild state. 

Asplenium fontanum is often met with in collections ; it is easily grown, requiring good 
drainage and a considerable amount of moisture. The crown of the root may be raised 
above the surface of the mould if the plant be grown in a pot. Mr. Moore says : “ It is 
increased without difficulty by division, if the operation is carefully performed in the growing 
season, and the divided plants are kept close till established. We have seen exhibited by 
Dr. Young a magnificent mass of this plant, which could hardly have been less than a foot in 
diameter, with fronds eight to ten inches long. The species grows admirably in a shady 

* “Nature-printed Ferns” (8vo edition), vol. ii., p. 66. 

(a) upper and (6) under side of pinna 





This is a very pretty and uncommon fern of the Atlantic type of distribution, and 
thus having a somewhat restricted geographical range. In England we find it for the most 
part confined to the west side of the island, although it is recorded for Kent and Sussex. 
In Cornwall and Devonshire it occurs in numerous localities; in the former county it is 
found at (amongst other places) St. Michael’s Mount, the Land’s End, Penzance, and Helston, 
and at Hot-point, where it grows to a large size, some of the fronds being eighteen inches 
long. In Devonshire it occurs in numerous localities ; about Plymouth it is usually a semi- 
moorland plant, or grows in places not far from the tidal waters. Somersetshire and 
Gloucestershire also produce it ; and it is found more or less plentifully in some of the 

Welsh counties. In Merionethshire it is, or was until recently, very abundant, especially near 
Barmouth, where it has been much diminished of late years by the depredations of tourists. 
It is not found in Scotland ; in Ireland it occurs very locally, being only recorded for the 

county Cork, near Kinsale and Cahirciveen. 

If we cross to the European continent, and take the Channel Islands in our way, we are 

pretty sure to find A. lanceolatum in any of the islands, not only in wet and shady, but also 

in dry and exposed situations. Here, as elsewhere, it has a marked partiality for the sea air. 
It grows in Turkey and Greece, being represented here by the variety obovatuin, of which 
we shall speak hereafter. In the Mediterranean islands, as well as in the countries bordering 
upon the sea, it is plentiful ; it grows in Spain and Portugal, specimens from the latter 
country measuring about a foot in length. It is also represented in Germany, Belgium, and 
Switzerland, as well as in two or three parts of France. In the islands of Madeira and the 
Azores it is plentiful, and is found on the African continent, at Algiers and Tangiers. 

The merit of having established this fern as a distinct species belongs to our countryman 
William Hudson, who named and defined it specifically in the second edition of his “ Flora 
Anglica ” (1798). It had been known to previous authors, but had always been looked upon 
as a variety of A. Adiantum-nigrwn, with which it is even now not unfrequently confused. 
Its nearest relation among British ferns is certainly the species just named ; Mr. Moore, 
however, thus sums up the differences between them. He says that A. lanceolatum may be 
known — “ (l) by its lanceolate, not deltoid, outline ; (2) by the presence of hair-scales on its 
principal and partial rachides ; (3) by the form of the sorus, which is oblong, not linear : the 
sori in this species being nearly represented in appearance by the upper half of those of 
Adiantuin-nigrum ; and (4) by the position of the sorus, which is in this species produced 
above, and in Adiantum-nigrum below, the fork of the veins ; in the latter, consequently, 
the sori are near the costa, and central with respect to the pinnules, whilst in lanceolatum 
they are submarginal. The texture also is thinner, and the pinnules are shorter, and more 
equable in size.”* There are other characters which are perhaps a little difficult to define 
upon paper, although they are readily recognisable when the plant is seen. The shade of 
green, which is very striking and handsome, is very distinct from that of A. Adiantuin- 
nigrum. Besides the generally much more divided pinnae of A. Adiantum-nigrum, the lower 
pairs should be specially noticed ; these are broad and again divided, and are always the 
largest, but this is not the case in A. lanceolatum, in which, indeed, the lowest pair of pinnae 
are often shorter than the ones just above them. 

The plant now under consideration sends up from a short, thick, scaly caudex a large 

* “ Nature-printed British Ferns,” vol. ii., p. 69 (1859). 



E ur ope an Ferns. 

number of fronds. Mr. Moore speaks of a specimen which was found almost closing the mouth 
of a well in Jersey; this tuft bore one hundred and twenty fresh fronds, besides the remains of sixty 
or seventy others in various stages of decay. The stipes is short and dark below ; the fronds 
are from three or four inches to a foot or a foot and a half in length, twice pinnate, smooth, 
and lanceolate, and are of a very beautiful and distinct green. The pinnae, which are broadest at 
the base, are nearly or quite sessile ; they taper towards the extremity, which is blunt, but twisted 
at the apex, and are covered beneath with small scattered deciduous scales. The fronds are 
evergreen, making their appearance in May, arriving at maturity about August, and continuing- 
bright and fresh throughout the winter. The veins are forked, and the sori are attached 
along their anterior side, thus assuming a submarginal appearance ; the sori are at first distinct, 
but afterwards become confluent, covering the whole under-surface of the frond with a dark 
brown mass, in the same style as A. Adiantum-nigrum ; they are covered when young with a 
white membranous indusium, which disappears when the sori are mature. 

This is not a very variable species. There is a variety, obovatum , which has even been 
raised to the rank of a species ; it is found in the south of Europe, and is distinguished by its 
smaller fronds and less sharply-toothed pinnules. The variety microdon , described by Mr. 
Moore, is a strikingly distinct form ; at first sight it would appear to belong rather to A. 
marinum than to the present species, but it passes into A. lanceolatum , and agrees with this 
in essential characters. It has simply pinnate fronds, the pinnae being almost triangular in 
shape and (especially the lower ones) nearly as broad as long; the upper pinnae are narrower 
and confluent. This has been found in Guernsey, and in Cornwall near Penzance. Another 
variety has quite recently been described under the name of A. Sinelii .* 

A. lanceolatum is not one of the easiest species to grow, although when potted in a 
mixture of peat, loam, and sand, with ample drainage, it will do well, if not kept too moist. 
But it will not stand any approach to cold, so that it is not a good rockwork plant except 
in very mild situations, or near the sea, for which it seems to have a predilection. 


This is a handsome and well-marked species, which is found upon shady hedge-banks or on 

old walls in most of our English counties. Although very widely 
distributed in Britain, it can hardly be classed as a common plant ; 
it often occurs, but sparingly, in the localities where it is met 
with, and many large tracts of country do not 
produce it. It is, as we shall see further on, a 
variable plant ; its nearest ally is the much 
rarer A. lanceolatum, from which it differs in 
the ovate-triangular shape of the fronds, as well 
as in the linear form of the sori. Owing to the 
evergreen nature of the plant, and to the 
persistence of the fronds during winter, the 
Black Maidenhair Spleenwort attracts most 
attention during the winter months, its bright 
green, remarkably glossy fronds standing out 
very conspicuously among the dead and dying 


Var. acutum. 

* Hardvvicke’s “Science Gossip,” July, 1880. 





herbage with which the hedge-banks are clothed. In its typical form it is a fern with tufted, 
short, stout, and scaly caudex, from which spring numerous fronds ; the stipes, which is from six 

to nine inches in length (about as long as 
the leafy part of the frond), is of a dark 
shining brown hue, darker at the base, 
and smooth ; the fronds are from half a 
foot to a foot long, and about half as 
broad ; they are bipinnate or tripinnate, 
of elongated triangular outline, and with 
numerous pinnae, all of which are much 
divided into narrow segments ; the pinnae 
are also triangular in outline, the two 
lowest, which are nearly opposite, are 
longer than the rest, and often pinnate 
or pinnatifid ; the upper portion of the 
frond tapers into an elongated point. 
The sori are borne upon the veins of the pinnules 
in the manner shown in the figure ; in their young 
state these are covered by a narrow white involucre, 
which is attached to the side of the lateral veins, 
opening towards the centre of the pinnule. As 
they develope, the indusium is pushed on one side, 
and at length disappears ; and the sori become 
merged into a confused dark-brown mass, which 
covers the back of the entire frond. 

The Black Maidenhair Spleenwort was known to 
our older writers. Gerard gives a fairly good figure 
of the plant under the name of “ the male blacke 
feme, Onopteris major.” He says it “ is called of 
divers of the later Herbarists Dryopteris nigra , or 
Blacke Oke feme, of the likenes that it hath with 
Dryopteris , which we have called in English Oke 
Feme, or Mosse Feme : of others Adiantum nigrum , 
or blacke Maidenshaire.” He adds that it “ is used 
of divers unlearned apothecaries for Adiantum , or 
Maidenhaire of Lumbardie, but these men do erre 
in doing so.” Its medicinal properties, indeed, are 
so slight as to have almost fallen out of knowledge ; 
but at one time they must have received some re- 
cognition, as Ray* mentions its efficacy in various 
disorders, such as coughs, asthma, and obstructions 
of different kinds, while he cites Matthiolus as 
testifying to its value as a vermifuge ; Hoffmann 
prescribed its employment in scorbutic affections. In France an infusion of the fronds is 
sometimes employed as a diuretic. 

* “Synopsis Stirpium” (3rd edition), p. 127 (1724). 



Europe Ay Ferns. 

Asplenium Adiantum-nigrurn is a fern of wide distribution, and one which is represented 
by several forms, some of which are so distinct in character or appearance that they have 
been described by some writers as distinct species. The ordinary form is found in most 
of the English and Scotch counties, and it is also frequent in most parts of Ireland ; 
it extends from the level of the sea to an elevation, in the Highlands, of about two 
thousand feet. The evergreen character of the fronds did not escape the attention of 
Gerard, who says of them : “ They remaine greene all the yeare long, otherwise than 
I’olypodie or Maidenshaire do : yet do they not cease to bring forth new leaves in summer : 
they are destitute of flowers and seede, as in the former.” Varieties are occasionally met with 

in which the fronds are prettily varie- 
gated with white or whitish-yellow ; 
but these forms do not appear to be 
permanent. Its European distribution 
is also very general, extending from 
Norway and Denmark through Bel- 
gium and Holland, Hungary, Italy, 
France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, 
Spain and Portugal, the Mediter- 
ranean region’, Turkey, and Greece. 
Passing out of Europe, we find it 
plentifully in most of the African 
islands — Madeira (where it is very 
common, ascending to an elevation 
of four thousand feet), the Cape 
Verd, the Azores, St. Helena, and 
the Mascarene Islands (Bourbon and 
Mauritius) — and also on the continent 
of Africa, both in the north (Algeria) 
and south (Cape of Good Hope and 
Natal), as well as in Abyssinia and 
on the Cameroon mountains. In Asia 
it has a considerable range, extending 
from Siberia to Northern India, 
Afghanistan, Persia, and Kashmir; it is found also in the East (Arabia, Syria, and Armenia) 
and in the island of Java. It was at one time supposed to have been found in America, 
but this seems to have been an error. 

We have said that A. Adiantum-nigrurn is a very variable plant: two varieties of it 
(each of which has been considered of specific rank, although now most authors agree in 
reducing them to this species) demand special notice. The first, acutum , is characterised by 
the extreme slenderness and gracefulness of all its parts — pinnae, pinnules, and segments being 
extremely narrow, and usually acute or even acuminate. It is a singularly beautiful plant, 
the elegant form and bright shining surface of the fronds at once attracting attention. In the 
United Kingdom this has at present only been found in Ireland, where it occurs in several 
widely separated localities, being most abundant in the south and south-west ; it has long 
been known as an Irish plant, if we are correct in identifying with it the “ Filix minor 
longifolia of Ray (1724), which was found “on the mountains of Mourn, in the county 




of Down,” and which is well described as “ valde speciosa.” This is the identification of 
most authors, including those of the “ Cybele Hibernica”; but Mr. Moore would rather look 
upon the Mourne Mountain plant as a form of the 
Lady Fern (Athyriuvi Filix-fccmind). This form is 
extremely abundant and very luxuriant in the Azores 


and the Canary Islands, and also occurs in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Hungary, France, the Tyrol, 
and Greece. When an extreme example is seen, the appearance would almost justify the 
retaining of acutum as a species ; but however distinct 
the extreme forms may be, it is in many cases easy 
to trace the plant through a series of gradations 
until we are landed at typical Adiantum-nigrum. Our 
figure is drawn from a specimen in the Herbarium 
of the British Museum. A Mediterranean form, which 
seems to be about half-way between acutum and 
Adiantum-nigrum , has been described under the name 
of A. Virgilii. 

The other variety to which we have alluded is known 
as obtusum or Serpent ini, although Milde considers that 
these names represent separate forms. This is the 
opposite of acutum, having comparatively straight spread- 
ing pinnae, which are usually more or less obtuse at the 
apex. It is of a dull opaque green, very different 
from the bright shining hue of acutum. This is a 
plant of somewhat restricted range, being, so far as is 
known, mainly confined to Central Europe, but perhaps 
extending to South Africa and Abyssinia. There is only 
one locality for this in Britain: it was found in 1862, 
in the parish of Cabrach, on the serpentine range of 
mountains which divides the counties of Aberdeen and 
Banff. The name Serpentini refers to the fact that it 
is only known to occur upon serpentine rocks. It is 
neither as distinct nor as striking a plant as acutum ; and Milde says that, having observed 



E uropean Ferns. 

it carefully for many years, he was enabled to find fronds intermediate between it and 
A. A diantum-n igrwn growing from the same rhizome as the typical A. Serpentini. Mr. Moore 
describes numerous other varieties, amounting in all to thirteen, but we do not purpose to dwell 
upon these. 

The Black Maidenhair Spleenwort is not difficult to cultivate, the most easily grown form 
being the beautiful acutum. It will do well on a shady rockvvork, especially if planted in 
sandy soil that is kept moderately moist, or among stones in a north aspect. It will 
grow well in a greenhouse ; here the dark shining fronds carefully develope themselves, and the 
plant becomes very ornamental. It is only specimens from hedge-banks, however, that can 
be removed with any likelihood of success ; when growing on a wall the roots are so firmly 
fixed that it is hardly possible to get out an entire specimen. 


This is a very curious little plant, and, according to Sir W. J. Hooker, is “ assuredly the 
rarest and most circumscribed in locality of any known European fern.” It has a small 

horizontal caudex, from which 
spring tufts of numerous fronds, 
the stipites of which are scarcely 
three inches long, while the leafy 
portion of the frond is not more 
than half an inch or an inch in 
length. This leafy portion of the 
frond is palmate or palmatisect, 
the segments being from three 
to five in number ; thev are 
elongate or wedge-shaped, and 
unequally cut or toothed ; the 
few forked, nearly erect veins are 
sunk in the frond. The sori are 
few (four to eight) in number, 
and nearly parallel with the 
central vein, occupying the whole 
of the underside of the pinnae, and are covered with a thin toothed indusium. 

This curious little fern is confined to the dolomite region of Carinthia and the South 
Tyrol, at an elevation of from six hundred and twenty to six thousand feet, growing in small 
caves and on the vertical sides of barren dolomite rocks in the neighbourhood of water, in 
company with the Wall Rue (A. Ruta-muraria). It is found in several localities, but these 
lie close together ; and the species has not been found away from the dolomitic region. Our 
woodcut represents a specimen of the natural size. 



“ It hath very fine pale greene stalkes almost as fine as haires, set confusedly with divers 
pale greene leaves on very short foote-stalkes, somewhat neare unto the colour of Garden 
Rue, and not differing much in forme, but somewhat more like unto the true Adianthiun , 



being more and more diversly cut in the edges, and thicker, smooth on the upper part, and 
spotted finely on the under.” Such is the description which “John Parkinson, Apothecary 
of London, and the King’s Herbarist,” gives, in his ponderous folio published in 1640, of the 
fern we have now to take into consideration ; and, if we except the remark on the fineness 
of the “ stalkes,” we shall find his description accurate enough. Ruta-muraria was the old 
name of the species, bestowed upon it by Rembert Dodoens in 1554, and retained as 
a specific title by the great Swedish botanist when he brought order into the chaos of 
scientific nomenclature, and placed our Wall 
Rue in the genus Asplenium. The name is 
an apt one, whether we consider it in its 
reference to the habitat of the plant or the 
appearance of its fronds: although not confined 
to walls, it is essentially a wall plant — more 
characteristically so than any other of our 
ferns ; and the resemblance of the fronds to 
the leaves of Rue, although not always equally 
striking, is often conspicuous enough. The old 
author we have already quoted tells us that 
there were “foure or five speciall sorts of 
hearbes called by the name of Rue, having 
little likenesse thereunto, but only some shew 
in the leaves,” and includes among them the 
little Asplenium of which we have now to 
speak. Certainly the two plants have not very 
much in common — one being a flowering shrub, 
the other a flowerless plant ; but any one 
acquainted with the old herbalists will re- 
member how very miscellaneous an assortment 
of plants is often classed under the same 


The common Garden Rue having 


{From Gerard's “Herbal.”) 

been, even in Saxon times, very extensively 
used as a remedy in all kinds of disorders — 

Langham, in his “ Garden of Health,” gives 
two hundred and sixty-five cases in which it 
is beneficial ! — it was natural that the plant 

which shared its name should be partaker in its medicinal reputation ; and this we find was 
the case. 

To the employment of the Wall Rue in the disease called “the rickets” it owes one 
of its old names — that of Tentwort, which we find employed by Merrett in his “Pinax,” 
and which was for a long time a puzzle to botanical philologists ; Dr. Prior, in the first 
edition of his “Popular Names of British Plants,” calls it “an unintelligible name,” though he 
has since been able to explain it by a reference to Threlkeld’s curious little “ Synopsis 
Stirpium Hibernicarum ” (1727) — a work which, the author tells us, was “the first essay of 
this kind in the kingdom of Ireland.” The passage explaining the name is sufficiently 
quaint to be worth extracting. “ It is one of the capillary plants, and a specifick against the 
Rickets. For this reason our ancestors gave it the name of Tentwort, deeming it a sovereign 

I 12 

European Eerns. 

remedy against the narrowness of children’s breasts, or the Tabes Pcciorea, as Dr. Boot 
calls it, who was State-Physician in this kingdom in K. Charles I. reign; who observes that, 
according to the various symptoms of the same distemper, the English called it the Taint, 
doubling of the joints, and in a more general word, Rickets. According to very late 
observation, convulsions in children have been cured by this small herb boyled in sack-whey. 

It is to be used for forty days in powder, or decoction ; for it 
removes the viscous and mucilaginous tartar in the lungs and 
liver, which causes shortness of breath. Hence L’Obel named it 
Salvia Vitce According to Lightfoot, the Wall Rue had at one 
time a reputation as a remedy “in coughs, asthmas, obstructions 
of the liver and spleen, and in scorbutic complaints.” 

The geographical distribution of the Wall Rue is not very 
extended. It is, however, found in most parts of the United 
Kingdom, on old walls or calcareous rocks ; in some districts 
it is infrequent and unrecorded, but is likely to have been over- 
looked. It is found in the Hebrides, but is absent or rare among 

the Highland mountains, even down in 
their low glens and valleys. It is often 
met with upon old graves and decay- 
ing walls ; and is, or was until lately, 
common in the neighbourhood of Lon- 
don. In the “ Flora of Middlesex ” it 
is recorded for, among other localities, 
Hampton Court, Brentford, Chiswick, 
Finchley, and Hampstead ; and it was 
also found in the brickwork of a kitchen 
area in Bloomsbury Street, London, in 
1866, though here it may of course 
have been planted. It extends 
throughout Europe, from Norway to 
Spain and Portugal, Italy, the Mediter- 
ranean Islands, Greece, and Turkey. 
It is found both in North and South 
Africa, and in many parts of Asia, 
from the Ural Mountains to Thibet 
and Kashmir, in the Caucasus and in 
Aitchison has lately collected it in the Kuram Valley, and other parts of 
it is curious to notice how many of the twenty-two ferns collected in that 
region belong to species found in Europe, and almost all of them in Britain : the list includes 
the names of IVoodsia hyperborea, Cy stop ter is fragilis, C. dentata, Adiantuni Capillus-veneris, 
Cryptogramma crispa, Asplemum septentrionale, A. Ruta-muraria, A. viride, A. Trichomanes , 
A. fontanum, Ceterach officinarum, Lastrea rigida (and vars.), Polypodium Dryopteris, and 
Botrychmm Lunana. In North America it occurs on rocks and limestone cliffs in many parts 
of the United States. 

The Wall Rue is not a very variable plant, although it differs greatly in size and in 
the shape of its pinnules according to the circumstances in which it is placed. The fronds, 


Siberia. Dr. 
Afghanistan ; 

Cassells European Ferns. 

"Viacei it. Broote Day & Son lith 





1 1 3 

which arise from a short tufted stem, and are often very numerous, vary from an inch, or 
even less, to six inches in length ; they are smooth throughout, as is also the stipes, which 
is of about the same length, and have often a peculiar glossy appearance due to the dull, 
almost glaucous shade of green which they sometimes assume. In a young state these fronds 
are nearly or quite simple, passing afterwards 
through a trifoliate to a twice or thrice pinnate 
form, with wedge-shaped pinnules, which are some- 
times acute at the apex, but more frequently 
rounded. When growing in the cracks and crevices 
of walls, the Wall Rue is usually extremely 
difficult to extricate, as the caudex can hardly be 
got out entire, and the fronds are very small, and 
usually separated from the stem in the attempts 
necessary to obtain the plant. Sometimes the fern 
is so extremely small that it is only detected after 
careful observation ; we have met with such plants 
on a wall in a Buckinghamshire locality, which also 
produced minute plants of the Scaly Spleenwort 
( Ceterach officinarum). There is no distinct central vein to be observed in the pinnules, the 
venation consisting of a series of forked veins springing from the base of the pinnule, and 
extending to its margin. To the inner side of the veins are attached the narrow sori, which 
are at first covered by a white involucre : this disappears when the fructification is ripe, being 
pushed aside, and shrivelling up when its work of protection has been accomplished. The sori 
are at first distinct, but as they grow older and develope they become confluent, so that the 
back of the pinnules is often almost entirely and thickly covered with the dark-brown spores. 
The accompanying cut is from Deakin’s “ Florigraphia Britannica,” and shows some variations 
in the form of the fronds and pinnules. 


We are so accustomed to look upon a fern as synonymous with all that is pretty and 
graceful that when we come across a member of the family which has not these qualities, we 
are surprised and half-inclined to resent the appearance of an ugly interloper in our select 
parterre. Not that the Forked Spleenwort can fairly be called ugly ; its defects are of the 
negative kind, and consist rather in the absence of beauty than in the presence of anything 
unsightly; but it must be confessed that it is not at all an attractive plant. It has, however, 
one qualification for admiration which must not be overlooked— that of rarity, for it is cer- 
tainly an uncommon plant in Britain, and does not occur at all in Ireland. Gerard duly 
figures the Forked Spleenwort as a British plant, although he places it among mosses : his 
description, though not very detailed, is good as far as it goes. He tells us that it is 
found “ upon the tops of our most barren mountains, but especially where seacoles are accus- 
tomed to be digged, stone to make iron of, and also where oare is gotten for tinne and lead ; 
it riseth foorth of the ground with many bare and naked branches, dividing themselves at the 
top into sundrie knags, like the forked homes of a deere, every part whereof is of an over- 
worne whitish colour.” Gerard’s figure is not amiss ; but his editor, Johnson, in the later 

European Ferns. 

i i4 

edition of the “Herbal,” substitutes another for it, which he thought better; an opinion in 
which we hardly concur. 

The geographical range of the Forked Spleenwort is somewhat remarkable ; it is mainly 
confined to the Old World, but has been found in New Mexico, 
its only American locality. It occurs throughout Europe in moun- 
tainous regions, extending from Sweden, Norway, and Russia to 
Italy, Sicily, and the Spanish Peninsula ; it is found also in Asia, 
in the Caucasian, Ural, and Altai regions ; also in Kashmir, at an 
elevation of nine thousand feet, and lately in the Kuram Valley, 
Afghanistan, at a height of from seven to eleven thousand feet. 
In Great Britain it is, for the most part, a fern of local distribution ; 
it is found in Devonshire, though, we believe, in only one locality 
(near Lynton), and also in Somersetshire in some abundance ; in 
North Wales it is on record as having been found in several places 
in Denbighshire and Carnarvonshire, chiefly near Llanrwst and Llan- 
beris ; in the Lake District it is found in both Cumberland (Honister 
Crag, Scawfell, Helvellyn, etc.) and Westmoreland (Ambleside). In 
the East Lowlands and East Highlands of Scotland several localities 
are on record for the species in Roxburghshire and Perthshire, in 
the neighbourhood of Edinburgh and elsewhere. 

The two woodcuts which we give of this species will afford a 
good idea of the variation in size which the plant presents. Its long 
narrow grass-like fronds at once distinguish it from any other European 
Fern. The tufted rhizome forms a dense entangled mass, from which 
spring a large number of fronds— sometimes some two or three 
hundred — which are usually upright, but sometimes spread, or even 
droop. They are often quite simple, with a few narrow teeth at 
asplenium sep tentrion ale. distant intervals, or forked, in which case each division is toothed in 

the same manner as the simple fronds ; in height they vary, in 
extreme cases, from an inch to six inches, the usual 
altitude being about three or four inches. The sori are 
linear and oblong, covered with a pale thin membranous 
indusium ; they are separate, but become confluent, so that 
when fully developed they usually form a thick mass which 
covers the entire back of the frond. Mr. Newman says that 
the superficial resemblance of the fern to the Buck’s-horn 
Plantain ( Plcmtago Coronopus) is so great that it might be 
mistaken for the latter by a casual observer. 

Except in size, A. septentrionale is one of the least 
variable of ferns ; indeed, we do not find allusion to any 
form of it in any work upon the subject. A. germanicum , 
indeed, has sometimes been considered a form of it, but 
without sufficient reason, the simple or forked fronds at once 
distinguishing it. It is not easily cultivated, but maybe grown 
successfully among masses of porous sandstone, in the crevices of which should be placed a little 
sandy soil ; the plant should be shaded from too much sun, and does not require much moisture. 


I i 5 


This rare and pretty little fern is perhaps best placed between A. septentrionale and A. 
Ruta-muraria ; differing from the former in having pinnate fronds, and from the latter in these 
being for the most part simply pinnate. It is confined to Europe, but is somewhat widely 
distributed in the northern and central regions of the 
continent. In England it is very rare, Cumberland being 

the only county recorded (Helvellyn and Borrowdale) by 
Mr. Watson as producing it, although Mr. Moore records it 
from Somersetshire (near Culborne), on the authority of Miss 
Payne, and also from Kyloe Crags; Northumberland. In 
Wales it is somewhat more abundant, as it is 
reported from two localities, not very far re- 
moved from each other, in the principality ; 
it grows on high rocks, near the upper end 
of the Pass of Llanberis, in Carnarvonshire, 
and also on Glyder Vawr, intermixed with A. 
septentrionale ; and in Denbighshire it has been 
found between Llanrwst and Capel Curig. It 
has been recorded from both the Highlands 
and the Lowlands of Scotland, the localities 
for it being near Kelso and near Hassendean, 

Roxburghshire ; Arthur's Seat, near Edin- 
burgh ; near Dunfermline, Fifeshire ; and near 
Perth and Dunkeld, Perthshire ; and also near 
Airlie Castle, Forfarshire. It is not found in 
Ireland. On the Continent we find A. gcr- 
manicum (which, by the way, is also known by the names of A. alternifolium and A. 
Breynii ) occuring pretty generally in mountainous regions throughout western and central 

Asplenium germanicuni is an evergreen or nearly evergreen fern, with a perennial tufted 
scaly caudex, from which numerous fronds are given off. The stipites are slender, as long as 
the frond, dark-brown or black at the base, but green above ; the fronds (which are from 
two to six inches high) are very narrow, and linear in outline, with alternate ascending pinnae ; 
it is of a pale yellowish-green throughout. The lower pinnae are the largest ; they are 
notched at the apex, and have no central vein ; there are, however, from two or three to 
five or six nearly parallel longitudinal veins, on which the sori are placed. The sori are 
covered with a thin narrow entire indusium ; they are at first distinct, but ultimately become 
confluent. The alternately pinnate frond readily distinguishes A. germanicum from A. 
R2cta-inuraria ; the pinnules, too, are more wedge-shaped than they are in the latter species, 
of which some have considered it a variety — a view suggested by Linnaeus. Others have 
suggested that it may be a hybrid between A. Trichomanes and A. septentrionale , or 
between the last-named species and A. Ruta-muraria; but this theory has not much to 
support it, especially as A. germanicum is found abundantly in many localities in the Tyrol 
and in Silesia, where none of the three species just named occurs. There is a variety 

European Ferns. 

i 16 

(cuneatum) of the Wall Rue which indeed somewhat approaches this, but it is a stouter plant, 
and of thicker texture, while the teeth, where they exist, are very different. 


This is a very distinct fern, which is confined to the European continent. It has a 
small woody creeping caudex, covered with black scales, from which rise the tufted fronds. 

The stipes is slender, dark- 
brown and shining below, and 
green above ; the fronds are 
from two to five inches in 
length, and about half as broad, 
oblong triangular in outline ; 
they are three or four times 
pinnate, with spreading deep- 
ly pinnatifid pinnules, the ulti- 
mate segments of which are 
extremely narrow. The sori, 
although small, occupy when 
mature almost the entire of 
the under-surface of the frond ; 
they are oblong, and of a 
reddish-brown colour. The ex- 
treme fineness of the divisions 
of the frond is sufficient to 
distinguish this from any other 

This is a rare and local 
plant, occurring in alpine chalky 
situations at an elevation of from 
four to five thousand feet. Its 

most northern locality is the Island of Gothland ; it occurs in several places in the Tyrol, and 
in Southern Germany, Dalmatia, Styria, Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Turkey. 

Milde considers as distinct from this a plant which in the “ Synopsis Filicum ” is treated 
as a variety of it. This is A. lepidnm, Presl, which is said to differ from A. fissum in the 
fimbriated (not crenate) indusium, and glandular (not dark-brown and smooth) stipes. This 
is a native of Sicily ; it was said by Presl, its original describer, to have been collected in 
Bohemia, but some error may be suspected in this statement. In deference to Milde we 
have given this a separate place in our table ;* but it seems scarcely entitled to specific rank. 


* Introduction, p. 16. 




A thyrium, which was established by Roth in 1800, is closely 
Asplenium , and is indeed considered a section of it by many 
The differences between the two are but slight, consisting chiefly 
in the shape of the indusium, which in the true Asplenia is straight or 

slightly curved, and attached to the upper side of the vein, while in Athyrium 

it is always more or less curved, being sometimes of the shape of a horse- 
shoe. There are between twenty and thirty species of Athyrium , distributed 
through different parts of the world, but for the most part natives of the 
Eastern hemisphere. They are all pretty plants, but none of them is more 
elegant and worthy of admiration than our common English Lady Fern. 
Among the more recent botanists who keep Athyrium as a distinct genus 
from Asplenium , Milde may be cited ; and those interested in a more purely technical account 

of the differences between the two genera than it is our object to give in the present work 

cannot do better than consult the “ Filices Europeae ” of this author (p. 48). 


This is undoubtedly one of the most elegant as it is one of the most generally distributed 
and one of the most variable of European ferns. Few people who know British ferns ever so 
slightly are ignorant of this most graceful plant ; and its claims to admiration have enlisted 
the sympathies of poets in a way which is unusual among the members of the fern tribe — 
for, as we have already said, there is a striking absence of any reference to ferns in the works 
of our poets. Sir Walter Scott (in “Waverley”) may claim to have set the example of singing 
the charms of the Lady Fern ; he did so in the well-known lines : — 

“ Where the copse-wood is the greenest, 

Where the fountain glitters sheenest, 

Where the morning dew lies longest, — 

There the Lady Fern grows strongest.” 

It may be doubted whether other bards have been more successful than this in their allusions 
to the habits and localities of the Lady Fern ; but they have expressed themselves at somewhat 
greater length. 

But it is time that we should leave the realms of fancy for those of fact — that we should 
abandon the poetical consideration of the Lady Fern for some practical description of its 
distinguishing features. The subject cannot be said to be wanting in material, for, as if bent 
on affording an illustration of the not very gallant French proverb, “ Femme souvent varie,’’ 
the Lady Fern is one of the most variable of known ferns. Mr. Moore describes no fewer 
than sixty-six varieties (and the number has been since increased) as occurring in Britain ; 
and we may form some idea of the length to which this sort of thing might be extended, 

1 1 8 

European Ferns. 

were ferns as fashionable in other countries as they are in our own, when we consider that 
Athyrium Filix-foemina is a plant of a very wide geographical range, extending through 
both hemispheres, although absent from a good part of the old world. The extreme 
tendency of the plant to become what botanists term “ monstrous ” is one of its most 
striking peculiarities, and has rendered it very popular as a cultivated species. We shall 
refer farther on to some of the more remarkable of these “monstrous” forms. 

If asked to say offhand how the Lady Fern might be most readily distinguished, it would 
probably not be misleading if we were to describe it as resembling a Male Fern, but with 
very finely divided pinnae and a more delicate texture. No doubt it was this more delicate 
style of growth which caused Linnaeus to apply the name Filix-faemina to the species, in 
contrast to the more robust Filix-mas ; but the original Filix-foemina was not this plant, 
but the Bracken (Pteris aquilina). If we open any of the old herbals — Parkinson’s, for 
example — we shall find the chapter headed “ Filix foemina, the female Feme ” devoted 
mainly to the Bracken. Parkinson stated that it is this which “ is generally by most authors 
called Filix foemina ,” and he adds, “ it is called in Italian F elce foemina, and French, Fougere 
femellel' It is well to bear this in mind when referring to the earlier botanical authors, as the 
change of name is somewhat misleading. 

The fronds of the Lady Fern spring from a large erect or ascending caudex, which often 
rises some inches above the ground; Mr. Newman says: “In one instance I have seen it more 
than a foot in height, thus exhibiting a considerable resemblance in habit to the tree ferns:” 
it is scaly at the top, and gives off many black fibrous, wiry roots. The fronds are of annual 
duration, appearing in May; they are at first circinate in vernation, but as they develope the 
top becomes free, and hangs down in a crosier-like fashion. The stipes is about a third or a 
quarter of the length of the whole frond ; it is pale-green or dark-brown, or sometimes of a 
bright reddish-brown hue, when it forms a charming contrast with the delicate pale-green of 
the pinnae ; it is much swollen towards the base, and in its lower portion covered with dark 
narrow scales, which are more sparingly scattered on the upper portion. The fronds vary very 
much in shape and size, as well as in habit ; in form they are generally lanceolate and 
regularly pinnate, varying a good deal in breadth ; they are from one or two feet, or even 
more — we lately met with a record of a frond forty inches long — in height, and from six 
inches to a foot broad. The pinnae are either alternate or opposite, sometimes very close 
together, especially in the upper portion ol the frond, more distant in the lower portion. 
The pinnules are numerous, very close together, pinnatifid with toothed lobes, sometimes 
acute, the terminal pinnule being drawn out into a point, at other times obtuse. The latent 
veins are forked, the anterior branch of each bearing on its side a narrow cluster of sori, 
which are somewhat crescent-shaped or horseshoe-shaped, and it is upon this, as has been 
already said, that the claims of the genus mainly rest. This character being one of so 
much importance, we may be excused for quoting somewhat at length Mr. Moore’s remarks 
upon it. He says: “The fructification of Athyrium will be found to consist of sori varying 
in form, and hence all parts of the frond should be thoroughly examined. Towards the 
extremities, that is to say near the apices of the pinnules or segments, the sori will generally 
be found to consist of short lines, in which the characteristic curve is very little or not at all 
apparent. Such sori are undoubtedly asplenioid, and indicate the actual relationship of the 
genus. Next to these occur others which Professor Mettenius calls hamate, and which in 
their less developed condition answer to the semi-lunate sori which have been generally 
ascribed to Athyrium. These curved or hamate sori are formed by the receptacle which 


I 19 

constantly occupies the anterior side of the vein, crossing at the upper end and returning more 
or less on the opposite or posterior side. When the receptacle only just crosses the vein, the 
result is that the back of the sorus becomes concave, and the slightly curved or semi-lunate 
sorus is produced. When it returns on the posterior side, to about one-fourth or one-half the 
length of the sorus on the anterior side, the hamate or hook-like sorus is formed. In addition 
to these forms of sori, in all the more divided forms of the species, others occur at the base 
of the segments, which are hippocrepiform or horseshoe-like in figure. These are produced by 
the receptacle becoming shortened and more completely returned, so that the portions on 
the anterior and posterior sides of the vein are nearly or quite equal. The occurrence 
of these hamate and hippocrepiform sori, more or less numerous, is abundantly distinctive, 
and absolutely separates Athyrium from Asplenium , by a manifest tendency towards the 
structure of the Aspidiece , as represented in Lastrea So far as our British Aspleniums are 
concerned, the Lady Fern is sufficiently distinct in other than the technical characters 
presented by the sori ; in the shape of the fronds, their delicate texture, which causes them 
to wither almost directly they are gathered, and their strictly annual duration, they differ from 
any species of Asplenium. 

The geographical range of the Lady Fern is, as we have said, a wide one. It is 
found in nearly all the English and Scottish counties, and occurs also throughout Ireland, 
extending from the level of the sea to an elevation of about three thousand feet ; in the 
last-named country, indeed, it is a common bog plant, and is employed in packing fruit and 
fish, in the same way as the Bracken is used in England. With us the Lady Fern is 
most at home in damp, shady woods ; but it is a plant of varied habitat, and may be 
found either in the shady lane or upon the open hillside. It extends throughout the 
continent of Europe, from Lapland, Russia, and Scandinavia to Spain, Portugal, Italy, and 
Greece ; it is found in Madeira, the Azores, and the Canary Islands ; it occurs in Simla and in 
the Himalayas, at from ten or twelve thousand feet (A. pectinatum , Wall.) ; in the Neilgherries 
and at Ootacamund. In South Africa the Lady Fern is recorded from Natal, and in the 
north from Algeria ; it is absent from Australia and Polynesia. In North America it is 
frequent, occurring in Labrador, Newfoundland, and New Brunswick, and throughout Canada 
to the Rocky Mountains, also in British Columbia ; it is found throughout the United States, 
where it is very variable. In South America it is found in Venezuela and Caracas ; and the 
island of Cuba is a tropical locality for the plant. 

In a necessarily brief account of all the European ferns it would be impossible to attempt 
anything like a complete description of the forms of the Lady Fern ; but we may draw 
attention to some of the more remarkable of them, beginning with those which have some 
more or less definite botanical characteristics apart from the “ monstrosity ” of the fronds, 
and then passing to those which owe their popularity to the singular malformations which they 
present. But we must admit that whether we study the plants in the living state, or pass 
through our hands a large series of herbarium specimens, it is far from easy to draw any very 
distinct line of demarcation between the forms, which pass one into the other almost imper- 
ceptibly, although extreme examples are distinct enough in appearance. 

The variety molle has small ovate-lanceolate pinnate fronds ; the pinnae are also pinnate, 
with a winged midrib, the lower pair being distant from the rest ; the pinnules are “ flat, 
decurrent, united by wing of midrib, their margins toothed ; the clusters of capsules are very 

* “Nature-printed British Ferns” (8vo edition), vol. ii., p. 3. 

I 20 

European Ferns. 

distinct; there are five to seven pairs on a pinna.”* With this may be combined two other 
varieties, trifidum and ovatum (or deutatum), also described by Mr. Newman ; the first of these 
is about as large again as molle ; the pinnules are not quite united by a wing of the midrib; 
they are also more deeply cut, and generally distinctly trifid at the apex ; while the clusters 
of sori are smaller and even more remote than in molle. The variety ovatum is intermediate 
between molle and trifidum , resembling the former in size and habit, but the latter in the 
structure of the lobes. It is a stouter and more rigid plant than molle, and of a darker hue ; 
our cuts will give perhaps a better idea of the differences between these closely allied forms 

than a verbal description could convey. The variety ovatum seems to be identical with Mr. 
Moore’s latifolium ; Sir. W. J. Hooker refers to this as the most distinct looking of the forms 
“ with the pinnules oval and broad subpetiolated and rather serrated than pinnatifid, the rachises 
of the pinnae winged. ”f Mr. Moore describes and figures a variety gracile, with lax, slender 
fronds, the pinnae being distant and drawn out into a long point at the apex, and the 
pinnules also distant ; and a variety disccttim, the fronds of which, as the name would 
suggest, are very much cut. The variety incisum is one of the handsomest of the forms ; 
Mr. Newman writes concerning it: “The fronds of this plant often attain a length of four 
and sometimes five feet, and a breadth of eighteen inches ; its rhizoma grows to an immense 
size, and when perfectly undisturbed for many years, in a favourable situation, rises above the 
surface of the ground, and throws up a most striking and beautiful head of fronds, often 

* Newman’s “ History of British Ferns” (1844), p. 242. 

t “ Species Filicum,” vol. iii., p. 219. 


I 2 I 



thirty or forty in number.”* The colour of the fronds is rather dull, as compared with 
that of molle ; the pinnae are very broad; the pinnules are distinct, sometimes pinnate, with 
flat diverging lobes. There are two forms of the Lady Fern, 
however, which demand rather more special attention than the 
foregoing. The first of these, variety rhceticum , is a very 
distinct plant, readily separated from the foregoing by the 
narrow lanceolate fronds and convex pinnules, in allusion to 
which Newman named it variety convexum. It is as well 
here to mention that there are two plants known by the name 
of rhceticum — one, that now under consideration ; the other, a 
fern which we shall describe at length when we come to 
consider the genus Polypodium , where we shall refer to it 
under the name of Polypodium alpestre. The stipes of this form 
is often, though not invariably, of a bright reddish hue. It is 
of tufted habit, with upright, rigid-looking fronds, from two to 
four feet high, growing in exposed boggy places, and widely 
spread over the three kingdoms. “The pinnae are distant, the 
lower ones most so, and these are also usually deflexed, though 
the majority have an upward or ascending tendency. The 
secondary rachides are slender, and without any herbareous 
wing, the pinnules being set as distinct from each other, and very 
commonly at a right angle with them ; these pinnules are narrow, 
linear-lanceolate, becoming apparently linear, with the enlarged 
or prolonged interior basal lobe quite evident. This narrowed 
appearance results from the incurving of the points of the 
lobes into which the margin is divided, whence the pinnules 
become convex.” j The sori are much crowded, and soon become 
confluent; the whole plant (except the rachis) is usually of a pale 
yellow-green, and is conspicuous by its hue- on the bogs where it 
especially delights to grow. 

The variety plumosum is one of the most beautiful forms 
of the Lady Fern, and is not only the most elegant variety 
which has been discovered in England, but is also noteworthy 
on account of its peculiar fructification. Three plants of it 
were found in a wild state near Skipworth in Yorkshire, in 
1857, and were placed in the hands of the Messrs. Stansfield of 
Todmorden, through whom it has come into cultivation. The 
fronds are two feet or more in height, and about ten inches in 
breadth ; they are extremely delicate in texture, and of very 
beautiful bright green hue ; the pinnules, which overlap each 
other, are divided to the rachis into distinct very narrow 
pinnules, and these again are divided into linear-toothed seg- 
ments ; this repeated division gives the whole frond a peculiarly light and feathery appearance, 
and renders the name plumosum extremely appropriate. The sori are very rarely produced, and 

* “ History of British Ferns,” p. 243. 

t Moore’s “Nature-printed British Ferns” (8vo edition), p. 35. 


Var. incisum. 



European Ferns. 

are remarkable for the absence of indusia : this, of course, technically removes the plant from 
the genus A thyrium, and Mr. John Smith places it in Phegopteris on this account. He says: 
“ Upon what grounds it was referred to Asplenice I cannot explain, as all the specimens I 
have examined of it have small punctiform naked sori, perfectly characteristic of the genus 
Phegopteris , with which it also agrees in habit. This leaves me no other alternative than to 

consider it a species of that genus, and consequently a new British species. In doing so, the 

question arises as to whether it represents an ancient species not before noticed, or the modern 
result arising from the power of nature to generate new forms, in accordance with the Darwinian 
theory of creation of species. It is, however, to be observed that in abnormal or difformed 
states of Asplenium and S colop endrium, the sori are depauperated, in some instances having 

no vestige of an indusium ; but such is not the case with this plant. The fronds are perfect 

in every respect, and if herbarium specimens had been received from some foreign country, 


no pteridologist, on seeing the naked sori, would refer it to Asplenice It is probable that 
the luxuriant development of the leafy portion of the frond accounts for the infrequency 
with which the sori are produced ; when they do occur, however, they are fertile, and 
young plants have been raised from them, showing all the characteristics of the parent. 
This is one of the most beautiful hardy ferns in cultivation, and should find a place in every 

Coming now to the “monstrous” forms of the Lady Fern, we shall find they present 
great variation in appearance, although it is difficult to systematise them, as there seems 
scarcely any limit to the number of odd and eccentric forms which they assume. We may, 
however, separate those which have simple fronds — branched, that is, only at the apex and 
at the end of the pinnae — from those in which the fronds are distinctly branched. Whether 
science is in any way a gainer by the bestowal of names upon these almost countless 
forms is a matter open, we think, to question ; Mr. Moore has so treated them, however, 
and his practical knowledge of the subject entitles his opinion to considerable weight. 
Among the unbranched forms we may notice the variety multifidum , the fronds of which 

* “ Ferns, British and Foreign,” p. 289. 



are normal, except that the apex of each pinnule is divided into numerous segments, thus 
possessing a tassel-like appearance. A less divided form attracted the attention of British 
botanists long since; it is figured by Plukenet in his “ Phytographia” (1691), and was found by 
Sir Thomas Willoughby on Lichfield Minster. The variety corymbiferum is an exaggerated 
form of the foregoing ; in this the terminal pinna is very much developed and divided 
into a large number of tassels, thus having a corymbose appearance, and resembling some- 



what in outline the well-known garden Cock’s-comb, which is itself a monstrous state of 
Celosia cristata. Among the forms with distinctly branched fronds, two elegant dwarf plants 
may be noticed. The variety crispum is usually about six or eight inches long, having 
fronds which are branched in various ways, the apex of each pinna being tasselled ; in 
appearance it resembles a tuft of fine curled parsley. The variety acrocladon much resembles 
this in habit, but the pinnae, instead of being tasselled, are drawn out into slender points. 
It would be easy to extend our account of these and similar varieties, but enough has 
been said to indicate the direction which they take ; their interest, too, is rather cultural 
than strictly botanical. 


European Ferns. 


This elegant fern resembles a Cystopteris rather than an Athyrium in habit, and has, 
indeed, been referred to the former genus, although it is properly an Athyrium. It differs 
from the Lady Fern in the shape of the fronds, which is triangular or deltoid, not 

lanceolate. A. crenatum has a creep- 
ing caudex, about as thick as one’s 
finger, from which rise the erect stipites 
alternately at somewhat irregular inter- 
vals ; these are from six inches to a 
foot in length, of a pale or tawny- 
brown hue, darker at the base, and 
clothed in its lower part with large 
brown pointed scales, the upper portion 
being smooth. The leafy portion of the 
frond is about equal to the stipes in 
length and of nearly the same breadth ; 
it is membranous in texture, and three 
or four times pinnate with from seven 
to twelve pinnae (of which the lowest 
are much the largest) on each side ; 
the pinnules are narrow, and divided to 
the rachis into a few blunt segments. 
The fronds are somewhat hairy, though 
sometimes very slightly so, both below 
and above; the sori are small, fewer in 
number than in the Lady Fern, and 
either straight or curved — a variability 
which explains how it is that the plant 
has been placed in different genera by 
different authors ; the indusium is pale- 
brown, and ciliate at the margin. 

This is a fern of small geogra- 
phical range. It occurs in various parts 
of Sweden, Norway, and Lapland, at 
altitudes of from six hundred to a 
thousand feet above the sea, and also 
in Amur-land, Dahuria, and Kamtschatka ; it is also on record from Japan. It is a very 
pretty plant, of a beautiful light-green colour, and very distinct from its congener the Lady 
Fern in the triangular shape of the fronds ; as we have already said, it resembles a 
Cystopteris in appearance, or, perhaps even more closely, the seedling form of the Bracken. 





ERE are many ways in which a plant may become lost to a locality or 
to a country. We have already referred (p. ioi) to an instance in which 
a species has apparently disappeared, and that quite recently, from the 
vegetable world ; and it would not be difficult to cite others — for example, a 
species of Vetch ( Vicia Dennesiand) which was discovered, by Mr. T. C. Hunt, 
in the island of S. Miguel, Azores, about 1845, and which shortly afterwards 
ceased to exist in that locality, owing to a landslip which destroyed the 
isolated spot on which it grew. The British botanist is justly indignant 
with the “ mere collector,” as he is called with well-deserved scorn, who will 
imperil the existence of a rare plant by collecting it in large quantities, in 
order that he may enrich his own herbarium by a judicious system of 
exchanging the plant in question for other species which he desires to possess. People of this 
class are fortunately becoming more and more uncommon as the real study of plants advances, 
and as a complete horttis siccus ceases to be the main ambition of the so-called botanist ; but 
we are sure that all British botanists share in the feelings of alarm, of which we confess we 

are conscious, when we read that Professor has taken a large class of students to the 

almost solitary habitat of some rare member of our flora. By drainage, again, we have 
been almost, if not altogether, deprived of some rarity which will only grow in boggy or 
marshy lands, and which flies before the approach of civilisation in the shape of drain- 
pipes. True, we gain plants from time to time ; it is not losses alone that the student of 
our British wild flowers has to chronicle; the American Water-weed ( Anacharis Alsinastrum ), 
for instance — which the Cambridge undergraduates wickedly named Babingtonia damnosa , 
under the impression that it found its way into the Cam through the agency of the respected 
professor of botany at Cambridge — is as completely at home with us as if it had formed part 
of our flora since the time — 

'• When Britain first, at Heaven’s command, 

Arose from out the azure main 

but one can hardly help regretting that, as civilisation and progress inevitably change the 
natural features of our country, so do they affect even our native fauna and flora. 

It may fairly be asked, What has this to do with the Scale Fern, to which we ought at 
present to be directing our attention ? There is more connection between the two subjects than 
at first meets the eye; much more than that between Tenterden steeple and the Goodwin 
Sands, which has passed into a proverb. In one of its localities, the Isle of Anglesey, the 
Scale Fern was, towards the close of the last century, in imminent danger of becoming 
extinct, and that in a way which was as remarkable as it was unusual. Indeed, we might 
safely assert that no one would ever guess the cause which threatened its extinction, or indeed 
would ever credit it, did it not rest upon unimpeachable authority ; but the Rev. Hugh Davies, 


European Ferns. 

in his “Welsh Botanology ” (1813), tells us that upon the Holyhead mountain in Anglesea the 
Scale Fern had “ become very scarce from being gathered for bait in rock-cod-fishing ! ” It 
must be admitted that this is an extraordinary use for a fern ; but it is more intelligible 
than might be supposed. Gerard, in describing the plant, says that the leaves, “ when they 
be withered, are folded up together like a scrole, and hairie without, much like to the rough 
beare-worme wherewith men baite their hookes to catch fish;” and it was to this, according 
to the same author, that the plant owed its old name of Scolopendria, “ of the likenes that it 
hath with the beare-worme before remembered:” so that we may readily understand that this 
resemblance may have been noticed by the Anglesea fishermen, and turned to account in the 
manner above indicated. 

The old herbals contain a good deal of quaint matter concerning the Scale Fern, to some 
of which it may be interesting to direct attention. This was the original Spleenwort, although 
that name is now applied to the species of Asplenium, and it was so named on account of the 
curious effect it was believed to have upon the spleen. This belief may be traced a long way 
back ; Vitruvius tells us that in the island of Crete, near the river Porterius, which flows 
between Gnosus and Cortyna, on the side towards Cortyna, the flocks and herds were found 
without spleens because they browsed on this herb, while on the other side, towards Gnosus 
they had spleens because it did not grow there. Bullein, in his “ Book of Simples,” says 
that “ no herbe maie be compared therewith for his singular vertue to help the sickness or 
grief of the spleen;” and William Coles, in his “Adam in Eden” (1657), notes that “it 
is said that when asses are oppressed with melancholy, they eate thereof and so ease 
themselves of the swelling of the spleen.” In the Anglo-Saxon Herbarium of Apuleius 
this fern is called Brownwort, and we there read of it : “ For disease of spleen, take roots 
of this same wort, which . . . the Engle call Brownwort : pound it to small dust ; give 
it to drink in lithe [soft] wine, therewith thou wilt observe a remarkable thing. Also it is 
said, that the wort was thus found, that is, it whilome happened that a man scraped intestines 
with the spleen upon this wort, then soon the spleen clave to this wort, and it quickly consumed 
the spleen, for which reason it is also designated as splenium by some men, which [spleen] in 
our language is called the milt. Hence it is said of the swine, which eat its roots, that they 
are found to be without spleen.”* Du Bartas, as translated by Sylvester (1611), has the 
same idea in verse j he speaks of — 

“ The Fingerferne, which being given to swine, 

It makes their milt to melt away in fine.” 

Dr. Prior thinks that the notion was probably suggested, on the “doctrine of signatures,” 
by the lobular milt-like outline of the leaf.f Gerard, however, is rather severe in his remarks 
upon those who accept these marvellous stories ; a fact which is a little odd, considering that 
the time-honoured fable of the vegetable origin of the Barnacle Goose owes its origin to his 
pages, and that the account of this marvellous occurrence is prefaced by the sentence: “What 
our eyes have seene and our hands have handled, we will declare.” Gerard’s criticism of 
the “ empericks or blinde practitioners” runs as follows: — “There be empericks or blinde 
practitioners of this age who teach, that with this herbe not only the hardnesse and 
swelling of the spleene, but all infirmities of the liver also, may be effectuallie and in verie 

* Cockayne’s “ Saxon Leechdoms,” vol. i., p. 1 59. 

f “Popular Names of British Plants ” (3rd edition), p. 156. 

Cetera cit . 


short time removed, insomuch that the sodden liver of a beast is restored to his constitu- 
tion againe, that is, made like to a rawe liver, if it be boiled againe with this herbe. 
But this is to be reckoned among the old wives fables, and that also which Dioscorides 
telleth of, touching the gathering of Spleenwoort in the night, and other most vaine things, 
which are founde heere and there scattered in the old writers’ books, from which most of the 
later writers do not abstaine, who many times fill up their pages with lies and frivolous stories, 
and by so doing do not a little deceive yoong students.” It is impossible to read these severe 
animadversions without being reminded of a certain 
proverb referring to the unsuitability of stone-throw- 
ing as an occupation for individuals whose abode is 
mainly composed of a certain transparent and brittle 
material ; and it would be interesting to know, with 
regard to the Barnacle Goose, whether any explana- 
tion is forthcoming of the circumstances which induced 
Gerard to place on record his belief on ocular demon- 
stration of so startling a phenomenon. 

There is a figure (which we here reproduce) and 
description of the Ceterach in William Turner’s 
“ Herbal ” (1568) ; the latter is a good specimen of 
the quaint style of this old author, who has been 
called “ the father of English botany,” and we there- 
fore extract it in full : “ Asplenum, as Dioscorides 
writeth, is called also Asplenium, S plenum , and 
Hemionium ; and though Hemionites be a farr other 
herb in Dioscorides than Asplenum is, and it is called 
of Asclepiades, in the nynth booke of Galenes worke 
of the composition of medecines after y e places, 

Hemionites. Andromachus in the same boke gyveth 
the same names unto Asplenum. But Galene in y e 
first boke of Simples, and the xii. chapter, semeth 
contrarye unto all these foure autentike autours, to 
make two diverse herbes of Asplenum and Scolopen- 
drium, whilse he rehearseth these words : ‘ The greater diseases of the milte and liver require 
stronger herbes, that is to wit, the barkes of Capers, the rootes of Tamarisk, Scolopendrion , and 
Scilla, called Sea Onyon, and the herbe whiche representeth the same thing by his name, 
called Asplenosl What a man should saye in this matter it is not very ready at hand 
unto al men, nether had it been redy unto me, if that I had not sene two kindes of 
Asplenum. Whilse I went by the Ryne [Rhine] syde, foure myles beneth Binge [Bingen], I 
chaunsed upon great plenty of Asplenon , and there dyd I se a herbe which had whyter 
leaves, deper indented, and sharper leaves than the other had : in so muche (as I remembre) 
it drew very nere unto the lykenes of a certayne kinde of a litle thistel, whiche is indented 
lyke Asplenum. This (as I suppose) was the herbe whiche Galene dyd separe [separate] 
from Scolopendrion. And yet is not Scolopendrion Hartes tonge, whiche agreeth nothinge 
nether in likenes nether in description with Scolopendrion. Asplenos groweth muche in Germanye 
in olde moiste walks and in rockes, it groweth also in England about Bristowe : it is named 
in Duche Steinfarn, in Frenche Ceterache, as the Potecarye call it. I have harde [heard] no 


European Ferns. 

English name of this herbe, but it maye well be called in English Ceterache or Miltwaste, 
or Finger feme, because it is no longer then a mannes finger ; or Scale feme, because it is 
all full of scales- on the inner syde. Asplenon hath leaves lyke in figure unto Scolopendra y e 
beste, which also called centipes, is not unlike a great and rough palmers worme. The 
leaves are some thinge lyke Polipodium , and are indented so that one indenting is not 
right over agaynst an other, but agaynst every division, cutting, or indenting, standeth a 
round halfe circle. The inner syde of y e lefe is some thinge yelowe and rough, w‘ small 
thinges lyke bran, or yelow scales, which w l a light occasion fal of ; y e outer syde is grene : 
it hath nether flowre nor sede. If this description can not evidently ynough declare 
unto you Asplenon, take a braunche of Polipodium, and take a finger length of y e middes 
of it, the nether ende, and the high ende cut awaye, cut of both the sydes, the toppes, 
and the leves awaye, and make then the remain round, and then shall ye se the very forme of 

The word Ceterach is a form of Chetherak, the Arabic and Persian name for the 
plant. A few other of our plant-names are derived from Eastern languages, and some of 
these have even become anglicised. Barberry is a familiar instance of this ; the mediaeval 
name for the plant was Berberis (which is still retained as its scientific title), and this came 
from the Arabic barbaris. Barberries are said by some writers to have been introduced 
by the Arab into European medical practice, although the shrub which bears them is 
common enough in most parts of Europe ; they were employed in fevers by the Egyptian 

practitioners. Our Scale Fern has one or two very characteristic English names — “Rusty 

Back,” for example, which has so obviously been suggested by the brown back of the 
fronds as to need no further explanation ; and “ Brown-back,” a Devonshire name for it, 
also speaks for itself. Its other English names — Scale Fern, Finger Fern, Miltwaste, and 
Spleenwort — have been already referred to. 

The Scale Fern is so very different in appearance from any other fern, not only 
among the natives of Europe, but even including the ferns of the whole world, that a 
description of it seems almost unnecessary. It has a short tufted caudex, covered with dark 

brown scales, and giving off numerous short fibrous roots. The stipes is short, of a dark 

hue at the base, and covered with pale-brown pointed scales ; the numerous, usually erect 
fronds are from an inch to half a foot or even more in length, and about an inch in 
breadth in the middle, their widest part ; they are linear in shape, and pinnately divided into 
rounded segments, tapering towards the base and apex, which are sometimes entire and at 
others lobed. When young, before unfolding, the young fronds are nearly white on the 
under-surface ; later on they become of a very beautiful rich green above, and brown beneath. 
This brown hue is due to the presence of very numerous brown scales, which lie closely one 
over the other, and when looked at under the microscope are seen to be very beautifully 

netted. The fructification covers the whole of the under-surface, although the dense scaly 

covering renders it comparatively inconspicuous. The sori, however, although at first 

concealed by the scales, ultimately make their way through ; they are borne upon the 
lateral veins. The indusium is so very minute as to be almost imperceptible — indeed, 
some botanists have asserted that it is altogether absent. Those who detect it find it 

in the form of a slightly-elevated membranous ridge, which disappears when the frond is 
approaching its full development. The dense covering of scales is probably sufficient 
protection for the sori, and hence the indusium is suppressed. Those who look upon 
this organ as absent regard the Scale Fern as a Gym nogram me — in which genus the sori 


1 29 

are quite devoid of an indusium — and call it Gymnogramme Ceterach ; but the affinity of the 
plant is undoubtedly with Asplenimn rather than with Gymnogramme. 

The Scale Fern is a plant which varies very much in size. We sometimes find it in 
old walls, where it escapes any except the minutest scrutiny, not only because the fronds 
are only an inch or even less in length, but because they lurk in the cracks between the 
stones or bricks of which the wall is composed, and so hide themselves from the passer-by. 
Within the last two or three years we have seen specimens brought from a place in the 
suburbs of London on the Middlesex side of the river — we purposely abstain from indicating 
the locality more particularly — which answered to the above description, where it had previously 
escaped the notice of the investigators of the flora of that county ; and some years since we 
were enabled to add the same fern to the list of Buckinghamshire plants, having been fortunate 
enough to detect diminutive examples upon a wall near West Wycombe in that county. The 
accompanying cut of a specimen from the Middlesex locality will show how easily the plant 
might be overlooked. The distribution of the Scale Fern in Britain 
is rather wide ; it is found in all or nearly all the southern, northern, 
and western counties, but is comparatively unfrequent in the eastern 
and midland counties. Its home would seem to be in the west ; it 
is there that it attains the greatest luxuriance and is found in the 
richest profusion ; in Somersetshire and Devonshire it is especially 
abundant, growing both upon rocks and upon walls. In Scotland 
it is much less frequent; the counties of Dumfries, Kirkcudbright, 

Ayr, Renfrew, Perth, and Argyle, with (more or less doubtfully) Lanark 
and Berwick, are recorded as producing it. In Ireland it is frequent, 
though local, on calcareous rocks and walls ; in the west and south, especially the former, 
it is very abundant, forming a striking feature in the walls so richly covered with vegetation 
which seem characteristic of many parts of Ireland — as in the county Waterford and in Galway. 
The flora of one of these walls would, if catalogued, be found to be rather extensive, and the 
more important of the plants composing it contrast admirably with each other — such as 
the Wall Rue and English Maidenhair ( Asplenium Trichomanes) with the fern we are now 
considering and the thick round glossy leaves of the Wall Pennywort ( Cotyledon Umbilicus ), 
while spreading over all is the elegant tracery of the Herb Robert, with its bright pink 
flowers, fresh green leaves, and red stems. 

On the continent of Europe the Scale Fern is a plant of wide distribution. It is absent 
from Scandinavia, Northern Russia, Bohemia, and Austria, but is found in many parts of 
Germany, in Switzerland, the Tyrol, Hungary, Dalmatia, Greece, Italy, Belgium, France, and 
Spain. It also extends eastward to the Caucasus (it is absent from Siberia), Persia, and 
Palestine, and to North-Western India, being found in Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Tibet at an 
elevation of from six to eight thousand feet. On the African continent it seems to be 
confined to the extreme north (Algeria) and the extreme south (Cape of Good Hope) ; it 
is also found in Madeira, the Canaries, and the Cape Verd Islands. It seems to be absent 
from the New World, although it has been recorded from Brazil. 

The Scale Fern is remarkably free from variation : the principal variety is crenatuin , which is 
a larger plant than the common form, and has the margins of the lobes of the fronds distinctly 
crenate, or broadly toothed. Mr. Moore also mentions a variety ramosum, which has the fronds 
branched at the apex. The crenate variety is not very uncommon, especially in Ireland, from 
which country is likewise recorded a form in which the pinnules are notched and also overlapping. 




European Ferns. 

A more distinct form is that which has been described as a species under the name 
of Ceterach aureum — a plant which, although usually regarded as a form of C. officinarum , is 
still retained as distinct by Milde. It differs from the type in its large fronds, which are a 
foot or more in length, and by the toothed scales. It is an extremely handsome plant, and 
is peculiar to the Canaries, where it is found almost exclusively in the region of the laurel 
woods, descending sometimes in the hotter valleys. It prefers to grow in the rich black 
soil under tall trees, although it is also found upon damp shady rocks. 

The Ceterach is not a difficult plant to grow, if it be planted in rough porous soil ; it 
likes to be kept moderately dry, and does well in pots or on rockwork, if not in too damp a 
situation. So distinct and handsome a plant should find a place in every collection of ferns ; 
and if we cannot endorse the high estimate formed by our ancestors of its remedial properties, 
we may recommend it from another point of view, as being one of the most striking and 
interesting of European Ferns. 

Cassells European Ferns. 



E have here a small and very distinct genus, even if we understand it in 
the extended form proposed by Sir William J. Hooker, who includes in it 
the curious “ Walking Fern,” usually known as Camptosorus rhizophyllus, to 
which we referred at p. 65, where a figure of the plant will be found. 
Even on this estimate it contains only nine species, but these are widely 
distributed, so that the genus is represented in most parts of the globe. 
Besides the two European species, which we shall have to describe more 
at length, there is an eastern one, S', pinnatum , from the Philippines, 
which has large fronds from two to four feet long, which, as the name 
implies, are often (though not always) pinnate, with an entire terminal pinna, 
and from one to six pairs of lateral ones. Two are Brazilian, one, S. 
DoJiglasii, being a beautiful plant with fronds sometimes ten inches long and nearly 
half as broad, sometimes much resembling a large poplar leaf ; one is a native of Ualan 
and another of Mexico, and the two species of Camptosorus (see p. 65) belong one to 
Kamtschatka and the other to the United States. 

With the exception of S. Hemionitis, one of the two European species, which has 
lately been found in Algieis, the genus is not represented on the continent of Africa, 
while in Asia no species is recorded from India or China. 


The common Hart’s-tongue, although more abundant in some districts than in others, 
is one of the most generally distributed of British ferns ; it is also one of the most 
variable, although in all its forms it is easily recognised. It is found in a variety of 
habitats, preferring those where it is exposed to abundance of moisture : thus it is often 
found fringing the mouth of an old well, its cool, green fronds hanging down for some 
distance. Occasionally, however, it chooses a very opposite situation, and small, stunted plants 
may be found in the cracks of an old stone-wall, seeming far from comfortable in their 
restricted abode. It is one of the easiest of ferns to cultivate, requiring no attention, and 
soon becoming an object of much beauty. The roots are black and long, and the rhizome 
is roundish, tufted, and sub-erect ; the fronds are very variable in shape and size, but in 
a normal state are from a foot to a foot, and a half in length, distinctly heart-shaped at 
the base, tapering into a point at the apex : when they first unroll in April or May they 
are of a bright light-green, and quite erect, but when quite -uncurled they gradually 
assume a horizontal position, and ultimately hang down, if in a situation where this is 
possible. The venation of the fronds is very characteristic : from the prominent rachis or 
midrib, which runs down the centre of the frond, forked veins proceed, which are again divided 
into venules, and these are once or twice forked. The development of the sori is worth 
notice : in the mature plant they appear in the form of dark-brown lines on the back of the 
frond, and each line seems, at first sight, to consist of one sorus only ; but closer examina- 
tion and some attention to the growth of the plant shows that each line is really composed 
of two rows of sori, one row being attached to the outermost venules of each vein. The 


European Ferns. 

uppermost venule of one vein is so close to the innermost one of its neighbour that the two 
indusia which are attached to the upper and lower sides of the venules respectively at first 
touch, and seem united into one. After a little time a line is seen between them, showing 
that the sori are really distinct ; and at length the indusia are completely pushed back in 
opposite directions, and covered with the masses of brown sporangia. When the fronds are 
first unrolled, the sori appear only as slight greenish-white swellings, but they rapidly develope ; 
their form has suggested the not inappropriate name of “Buttonholes,” by which the plant is 
known in some parts of Sussex. 

The stipes of the Hart’s-tongue is short, one or two inches in length, of a dark colour 
below, which extends some way along the back of the rachis, and covered, especially at the 
base, with long, light-brown hairs or scales, which are very easily rubbed off. These hairs 
often extend in young plants along the whole of the rachis to the very apex; the fronds are 
sometimes hairy, at other times quite smooth, the older specimens being usually destitute of 

hairs. The mature fronds do not wither 
until those of the ensuing year are ex- 
panded, although in their darker hue and 
the withering of their tips they give indi- 
cations of approaching decay. The fronds 
even when young have a curiously waved 
appearance, somewhat resembling that of 
some of the seaweeds belonging to the 
genus Laminaria ; and this peculiarity 
has gained for the plant in some places the 
name of the “ Seaweed Fern.” In their 
seedling state the fronds are of a thin, 
almost transparent, texture, and waved 
at the margins ; the accompanying figures 
show the plant in one or two of its 
earlier stages. 

As we have already remarked, the Hart’s-tongue is widely distributed in England ; it is, 
indeed, recorded for all the counties, except those — principally Welsh — the flora of which is 
imperfectly known. In Scotland it is, perhaps, less frequent; while in Ireland it is very 
common. Its relative abundance in various districts is, however, very different ; in many 
localities, although not altogether unknown, it is quite a rare plant ; while in others we 
meet with it at every turn, and come to consider it as one of the commonest of plants. 
This is notably the case in some parts of the Isle of Wight, where it grows in the 
greatest luxuriance and profusion ; the long glossy fronds hanging down from the hedge- 
banks, and in places completely covering them. On old walls it sometimes attains a good 
size, especially in damp localities ; but it is usually a small and inconspicuous plant under 
such circumstances. It is somewhat remarkable as possessing a few genuine English names, 
an occurrence, as we have before observed, somewhat rare among ferns ; one or two of these 
we have already named. In the county of Westmeath it is known as “ Burntweed,” on 
account of its being employed there as a remedy for burns ; in the island of Guernsey it 
is called by the singular name of “ Christ’s Hair,” the allusion being to the single, black 
fibrovascular bundle in the stipes. In some parts of Hampshire it has the very suitable 
name of “ Longleaf,” and it was the shape of the leaf that suggested the old Latin name, 

f A v 



> i ' u i 


5 COL 0 PENDR 1 UM. 


Lingua cervina , of which our English Hart’s-tongue is merely an equivalent. This name 
occurs in the Grete Herbal, and in all subsequent authors, and is still the general name 
for the fern. Turner, in his “Libellus” (1538), speaks of a variety which was called Hind’s- 
tongue in his day in Northumberland. His words are: “Vulgus cervinum linguam vocat 
Hert’s tonge. Vidi et herbam cum agerem Northumbriae, quam vulgus appellabat Hyndes 
tonge, et vulgus contendebat non esse Hertes tongue, erat enim minor et rectior.” Gerard 
gives the above derivation of the name ; he speaks of the form of the fronds as “ resem- 
bling in shew a long toong, wherof it hath beene and is called in the shops lingua cervina , 
that is, Hart’s toong.” In Dorsetshire it is called “ Horse-tongue,” and in Somerset “ Lamb- 
tongue ” or “ Lamb’s-tongue.” It is thought to be the plant of which Pliny says : “ There is 
a herb called lingua which grows in the neighbourhood of fountains ; ” and certainly both 
name and habitat fit the Scolopendrium very well. Langue de bantf and langue de cerf are 
among its French names, and it has similar synonyms in Italian and German. 

As the specific name officinale implies, the Hart’s-tongue was formerly credited with 
numerous “vertues.” Indeed, it is still used locally, as in the Isle of Wight, where the fresh 
leaves are applied externally to erysipelatous eruptions on the legs as a cooling remedy. 
It is not wonderful that a plant which has an appearance so essentially suggestive of 
coolness should be employed in this manner. In France it is used in an infusion with 

milk, the slight but pleasant odour which the fronds exhale communicating itself to the 

infusion; and it also enters into the composition of a quack remedy known as the “Vulndraire 
suisse.” Its healing properties have, indeed, been celebrated by many authors ; Ray speaks 
of it as cleansing wounds and ulcers;* and Lightfoot says it was used in his time by the 
country people in Scotland, who applied it to burns and scalds. We have already alluded to 
its name of “ Burntweed,” which finds its explanation in the above statements ; and this use of 
the Hart’s-tongue seems to have been very widely distributed. In the “ Phytologist ”f there 
is the following reference to the employment of the Hart’s-tongue in Wales in similar 
cases. Speaking of the death of Lady Greenly, of Titley Court, Herefordshire, we read that 

she had paid great attention to the use of herbs in medicine, and that this, among others, 

entered into the composition of her pharmacopeia : “ She used to cultivate a variety of 
herbs, and administered medicine to all those who needed it in her neighbourhood. 
Amongst the plants for which she evinced a particular regard was that called in Wales, 
Dail llosg y Tan : it is a species of evergreen fern, indigenous to Gwent and Morganwg ; 
and Lady Greenly having ascertained from her excursions among the Welsh peasantry that 
it was (as its name denotes) of value as a remedy for burns, she took pains to make it 
grow in Herefordshire, and succeeded in getting it to flourish round her favourite well at 
Titley.” It was at the time of its principal repute as a remedial agent reckoned as one of 
the five “ capillary herbs,” the remaining four being the Common Polypody (. Polypodium 
vulgare), the Maidenhair ( Adiantum Capillus-veneris ), the Spleenwort ( Asplenium Trichomanes 
or A. Adiantum-nigruni), and the Wall Rue (A. Ruta-muraria). Culpeper says — we quote 
from an early edition (1653), which is much more quaint and original than many of the 
more recent editions of this ever popular “herbalist”: — “Jupiter claims dominion over this 
herb, therefore [it] is a singular remedy for the liver, both to strengthen it when weak, 
and ease it when ’tis afflicted, ’tis no matter by what : you should do wel to keep it in a 
sympal the yeer, for though authors say ’tis green al the yeer, I scarce beleev it.” After 
enumerating various complaints in which it might profitably be employed, and telling us that 

* “ Synopsis” (3rd edition), p. 117, 

t Vol. i., p. 521 (1844). 


E ur ope a n Ferns. 

“ the distilled water therof is very good against the passions of the heart, and to stay the 
hiccough, to help the falling of the pallat, and stay the bleeding of the gums, being 
gargled in the mouth,” Culpeper concludes by saying that his directions 
for the use of it “ wil be sufficient and enough for those that are studious 
in physick to whet their brains upon for one yeer or two.” The popu- 
larity of Culpeper’s “ Herbal ” still endures, and, indeed, there is no 
other book to take its place. In spite of the vast number of works 
upon British plants, describing minutely their botanical characteristics, 
and giving a fair idea of the wealth of tradition and association by 
which many of them are surrounded, there is no volume setting forth 
the : — often very genuine — “ vertues ” and uses of our common plants. 
It is somewhat to be wondered at that no one has taken this in hand 
upon a thoroughly satisfactory basis ; as it is, the only claimants in 
this field to public favour and support being ridiculously below the 
mark — too much so, indeed, to notice here. Not long ago we were 
asking a gardener in a country house what book we should send him 
as a souvenir of our visit. He at once named “Culpeper’s Herbal” as 
the volume of his choice ; and we felt reluctantly that we had nothing 
better in the line to recommend him. The most objectionable feature 
of books of this kind is that they are almost invariably mere rechauffes 

of previous works : there is no 
attempt to bring them up to 
date, or to include in them the 
well-authenticated cases of cures 
worked by means of common 
English plants — such, for ex- 
ample, as those which we have 
alluded to in our Introduction 
(p. xxvi.). If a herbal could be 
produced which should include 
only such common plants as 
had been proved to possess 
remedial properties, it would 
be hailed as a boon by many 
a dweller in the country, and 
would undoubtedly contain 
much information that even the 
regular practitioner need not 

Having quoted somewhat 
at length the useful qualities 
of the Hart’s-tongue, it may 
be well to devote a line or two 
to an account of the way in 

which it was formerly prepared. In the first place — we take for our guide William Langham, 
whose “ Garden of Health ” we have before had occasion to quote — the plant “ must be gotten 





earely or late, when neither the sunne nor moone doe shine on it.” There are many ways 
in which Hart’s-tongue was prescribed to be used, one of the simplest being “ eate the herb,” 
a form of cure which is recommended in “jaundise and griefes of the liver.” It seems to 
have been very much used in the form of powder ; one prescription (for “ milt griefes ”) advises 
us to “ make powder of it, and of the lungs of a foxe, maces, and sugar-candy, and drink 
thereof with wine or ale ; ” while in the case of “ liver griefes ” we are to “ seethe it with 
fumiterre, and liverwort, of each one handful in clarified whey, and drink thereof first and last, 
especially in May, with a little rubarbe or chamepiteos.” There are other similar remedies 
in which the powder figures as an important item, but it is unnecessary to multiply them. 
A conserve was also made of the green fronds, which was employed in cases similar to those 
above cited. 

The Hart’s-tongue is a fern of somewhat wide geographical distribution. It occurs 
throughout Europe, on shady banks or walls, or in woods, mostly in moist situations, from 
Scandinavia to Italy, Greece, and Spain. It occurs, though sparingly, in Madeira and 
the Azores, and also in North Africa (Algiers). In Asia it is represented in the region of 
the Caucasus, Asia Minor, and Japan, but does not appear in India or China, or in 
Australia; it is found in Mexico, and in the State of New York, as well as in Canada 

We have said that the fern now under consideration is a very variable plant ; this will at 
once become apparent when we say that Mr. Moore describes at length no less than a hundred 
and fifty-five varieties, and that this long list has been added to since his work was published. 
It would obviously be impossible, even if it were desirable, that we should give even an 
enumeration of these in the space at our disposal ; those especially interested in them must 
consult the “Nature-printed Ferns” (octavo edition), pp. 148-197. Mr. Moore says truly enough 
that “ a collection of Scolopendriums alone might be made sufficiently extensive to engage 
the interest ot many an amateur cultivator, and yet thoroughly free from anything like 
monotony of character, though originating from one which in its normal state is the most 
simple among British ferns.” The varieties may be classed under two heads — one containing 
the plants in which the normal strap-shaped form of the frond is preserved ; the other 
including those in which the fronds are branched, or at any rate much divided at the apex. 
As types of these latter, we may take the varieties multifidum and ramosum , the former 
of which is many times forked near the apex, the divisions being curled and variously cut, 
the stipes being undivided ; and the latter having a branched stipes with short irregular dense 
fronds, which are closely divided and curled at the apex. This is an old and not very 
common variety, which is sometimes met with in a wild state ; it is quite constant in culti- 
vation, reproducing itself from spores. It has been known for a very long time, as the accom- 
panying figure, reproduced from Gerard, will show. His description of it is brief but sufficient, 
and it is interesting to notice that even as early as this period (1597) the variety was in 
cultivation. “ The kinde of feme called Phyllitis multifida , or Laciniata, that is iagged Hart’s 
toong, is very like unto the former, saving that the leaves thereof are cut or iagged like a man’s 
hand, or the palme and brow antles of a deare, bearing neither stalke, flower, nor seede. . . . 
[This] I founde in the garden of Master Cranwich, a chirurgion dwelling at Much-Dunmow, in 
Essex, who gave me a plant for my garden. It groweth upon Ingleborough hills, and divers 
other mountaines of the north of England.” The variety multifidum is not unfrequently met with, 
forms with fronds more or less divided at the apex being not uncommon, even in a wild 
state. In the variety polyschides the fronds are undivided, but the margins are very deeply 


European Ferns. 

and irregularly cut ; this has been known since the time of Ray, and is constant in cultivation. 
It has been stated that the spores produced on the normal portions of these monstrous fronds 
produce normal plants, while those from the multifid or branched portions produce plants 
similarly multifid or branched ; but we are not aware whether this has been thoroughly 
established. The variety polyschides is often very proliferous, the fronds producing little bulbils, 
by means of which the plant is increased. Some of the forms may be artificially propagated 
in this manner. If the plants be placed in a warm pit, near the glass, for some weeks, 
and then taken to a similar position in the coolest end of the propagating-house, they will 

soon produce small bulbils upon the margins 
of nearly every mature frond ; these may be 
removed and planted out in small pans, and 
will be ready for transplanting into store-pots in 
about three months. 

Gerard describes what seems to be a small 
barren form of the plant in the following words : 
“ There is a kind of feme, called Hemionitis 
sterilis, which is a very small and base herbe, 
not above a finger high, having fower or five 
small leaves of the same substance and colour, 
spotted on the backe part, and in taste like 
Hart’s toong ; but the leaves beare the shape 
of them of Totabona, or Good Henrie, which 
many of our apothecaries do abusively take 
for Mercurie : the rootes are very smooth, 
blacke, and threddie, bearing neither stalke, 
flower, nor seede : this plant my very good 
friende Master Nicholas Belson founde in a 
gravellie lane in the way leading to Oxey 
Parke, neere unto Watforde, fifteene miles from 
London : it groweth likewise on the stone walks 
of Hampton Court, in the garden of Master 
Huggens, keeper of the saide house or pallace.” 

There is no difficulty in growing the Hart’s- 
tongue ; it will succeed in almost any situation, 
and increases very readily by spores. We re- 
cently heard of a locality in which this fern did 
not exist in a wild state, and the owner of a 
garden introduced some examples of it. In a 
very short time the Hart’s-tongue had not only settled itself independently in various parts 
of the garden, but had passed beyond its boundaries, and established itself in a neighbouring 
lane. Mr. Moore tells us that the varieties may be increased by cuttings of the succulent 
bases of the fronds. “ The fleshy bases of the stipes, which are the parts made use of, remain 
alive long after the fronds have decayed ; these are cut asunder with a sharp knife, retaining a 
portion of the rind of the caudex, and planted like root-cuttings in a slight warmth, and 
under these conditions they soon organise buds from the cut edges, and so form young 



‘/3 NAT SIZE. 



The Hart’s-tongue offers us another example of a fern producing sori upon the upper as 
well as the under surface of the fronds, one case of which we mentioned as occurring in Asplenium 
Trichomanes (see p. 95). This happens, not only when by an elongation of the normal sorus 
on the under-side this is extended to the margin, and beyond it to the upper side, but 
the sori are sometimes produced on the upper side within the margin, when there are no 
corresponding ones beneath. 


This is the plant to which we referred when speaking of Asplenium Hemionitis (p. 86), and 
any one who will take the trouble to compare the figure of that plant on p. 88 with that of Scolo- 
pendrium Hemionitis in our plate will at once understand how close is the resemblance between 
them. The cut given at p. 85 
of a small portion of the frond 
of each of the two species 
shows clearly enough the tech- 
nical differences between them. 

Scolopendrium Hemionitis is a 
fern of very limited geo- 
graphical range. Until com- 
paratively recent times it was 
supposed to be peculiar to 
the South of Europe, but it 
has been found in Northern 
Africa (Algiers and Marocco), 
in Asia Minor (near Aintab), 
and also in Syria. In Europe 
it is found in Central France, 

Spain and Portugal, Italy, 

Greece, and the Mediterra- 
nean islands, often, however, 
only in small quantity. 

This is a variable plant, both in size and in general appearance. The stipes is some- 
times smooth and without scales, at others, and more frequently, densely covered with them ; 
it is sometimes very short, at othe 's longer than the frond itself. The fronds are tufted, 
springing from a short scaly caudex ; they arc from four to six inches in length, somewhat 
broadly spear-shaped in general outline, the lobes at the base (from two to four in number) 
obtusely or somewhat sharply angled, or even rounded, sometimes very prominent, at others 
less noticeable ; the texture of the frond is finer than in the common Hart’s-tongue. The 
veins are all free, but more branched than in S. vulgare, and the sori are usually shorter and 
distant, rarely contiguous. 

Milde describes, under the name of Scolopendrium hybridum, a very interesting plant which 
he considers a hybrid between S. Plemionitis (or N. vulgare ) and Ccterack officinarum. Only 
one example of this seems to have been found, and that was on an old wall of a vineyard 
near Porto Zigale in the island of Lossin. Milde figures this specimen, and our woodcut is 
based upon his representation. This author says that at first sight the plant would be taken for a 
monstrous form of the Ceterach, but it is very different from this ; the fronds are almost entirely 



E ur ope a n Ferns. 

naked below, and are thus very unlike the densely scaly fronds of the Ceterach ; they are heart- 
shaped at the base, and elongated at the apex, as is the case with the common Hart’s-tongue. 

We have already had occasion, when speaking of the Aspleniums, to refer to cases of 
hybridity among ferns. It is usually between species of the same genus that hybrids are 
formed, but instances are not wanting where the parents of the hybrid belong to different 
genera, as in the present instance. Another example is offered by the North American fern 
Asplenium ebenoides, which is believed to be a hybrid between a species of Asplenium 
(A . ebeneuni) and the “Walking Leaf” ( Camptosorus rhizophyllus ) . 

An extremely pretty and distinct little fern seems to demand a word of notice here. It 
is not a native of Europe, and thus, strictly speaking, has no claims to be referred to ; but it 
is one which is so frequently represented in collections of eastern plants that we feel that it 
deserves a word in passing. This is Actiniopteris radiata, a plant which is at once recognised 
on account of the resemblance of its fronds to the foliage of a palm-tree of the genus 
Chamcerops. There is only one species of the genus, and our figure will give a better idea 
of the habit and general appearance of the plant than could be conveyed by a verbal 
description. The technical peculiarities of the genus, according to Mr. Moore, “ consist in 
the simple distinct indusia, free veins, and linear elongate sori, which are marginal on the 
contracted rachiform segments of the small flabelliform fronds.” The Actiniopteris grows 
from three to six inches high, the segments of the fan-shaped fronds being very narrow, 
divided about half-way down, and of a pale-green colour. It is rather widely distributed, 
being found in Tropical Asia and Tropical Africa ; it is recorded for Northern and Southern 
India, and occurs in Arabia and Upper Egypt, at the Cape, and in the Mascarene islands. 
It will succeed well if planted in fibrous peat and sand with small blocks of sandstone inter- 
spersed ; and deserves to be more frequently met with in cultivation than is at present 
the case. 





E have here a genus of ferns, the European members of which, taken as a 
whole, are sufficiently distinct from any other group, although it is not 
always easy to discriminate them from each other. It is often the case 
that plants which are generically very distinct and easily recognisable are 
extremely close in their specific relations ; and, as we shall see later on, it 
is certainly so in the present instance. The genus Polystichum contains 
about fifty species, all of which have all the veins of the pinnules free ; 
its peculiar characteristics, according to Mr. Moore, “consist in the puncti- 
form sori being dorsal in the free veins, and covered by circular peltate 
indusia.” They are almost all of them characterised by their rigid texture, 
which gives them a very distinct appearance : and, in the European species, 
by the spiny teeth with which the pinnules are bordered. They are distributed throughout 
the world, both in the tropical and temperate regions. None of them seem to call for any 
particular remark, unless perhaps P. munitum, a North American species, which deserves 
notice on account of its economic properties. The North American traveller, David Douglas, 
tells us that the fronds of this species are used as garlands by the Indians, and that the 
rhizomes form an article of food among them, being cooked and eaten. The name Polystichum 
signifies many-ordered, and was given in allusion to the numerous rows of sori which are 
regularly distributed over the fronds. 


This is one of our rarer British ferns, and one which is very liable to be falsely 
recorded, on account of the resemblance which a variety of P. aculeatum , known as 
P. lobatuin, bears to it. It is, indeed, a trap for the unwary youthful botanist, and one 
which, in our younger days, we admit having been extremely near falling into, the superficial 
likeness between it and the true Holly Pern being very great. Those who have not seen the 
true Lonchitis are to be excused for such a mistake ; the likeness when lobatum and Lonchitis 
are placed side by side is, however, not very striking. A knowledge of the distribution of 
the Holly Pern in England may assist in preventing mistakes; it is quite a northern plant, 
its most southern locality being in West Yorkshire and Carnarvonshire : it has been recorded 
for Glamorgan, but doubtfully. Of course this by no means implies that the species will 
certainly not occur farther south, but there is a very strong antecedent probability that any 
fern suggesting P. Lonchitis at the first glance will prove on investigation to be one of 
the forms of P. aculeatum. In Carnarvonshire it occurs in several localities, as on Snowdon 
and on Glyder Vawr, above Llanberis, and near Twll-du, “ the Devil’s Kitchen,” but in 
almost inaccessible places. Durham and Westmoreland, with Yorkshire, already mentioned. 


E ur ofea n Ferns. 

are the only English counties in which it has certainly been found ; in the former 
of these it occurs on Falcon Clints, in Teesdale, where it attains a large size. In Scotland 
it is more plentiful, and more characteristically developed : the counties of Stirling, Perth, Forfar, 

Aberdeen, Banff, Elgin, Inverness, Dunbarton, Ross, Suther- 
land, and Caithness. In Ireland it is very local, occurring 
only in the west and north-west, and often in but very 
small quantity, ranging in altitude from about a hundred 
and twenty feet in Tyrone to two thousand five hundred 
feet on Brandon. It grows in clefts in the mountains, in 
exposed situations among rocks and loose stones, but is 
by no means common even in the localities which produce 
it most freely. On the European continent it is plentiful 
in the temperate and cool regions, especially on elevated 
mountains in the south. It reaches the extreme north, 
being found in great profusion at sea-level in Englishman’s 
Bay, Disco. Besides Lapland, it occurs rather plentifully 
in Finland, Russia, and Sweden and Norway, coming down 
through Denmark and Gothland to central Europe : 
Carniolia, Tauria, Hungary, Germany, and Switzerland, 
and — more sparingly— Italy, France, Spain, Turkey, and 
Greece, and the Mediterranean region, all produce it. It 
passes over the European boundary, and is recorded from 
Asia Minor and Siberia, as well as from Northern India 
(the Himalayas). It is not known from Africa or Australia, 
and is but little found in America. In British Columbia 
it is found at the Cascade Mountains, at an elevation of 
from five to six thousand feet above the sea : here it 
attains very large dimensions, some of the specimens 
brought hence measuring two feet in length. Only one 
locality seems to be known for the Holly Fern in the 
United States, and that is in woods on the southern shore 
of Lake Superior and northwards. It will thus be seen 
that the extra- European range of the Holly Fern is 
decidedly limited. 

The dark-green perennial fronds of the Holly Fern 
rise from a thick short upright or decumbent caudex, 
which is thickly covered with brown scales in its upper 
portion, and consists of the densely packed bases of the 
older and decaying fronds. The stipes, which is usually 
short, from an inch to two inches long, is also covered 
with large brown chaffy scales, which indeed also clothe the rachis, but are much smaller 
and of a less prominent hue than those of the rachis. The fronds are densely tufted, from 
six to eighteen (or in very luxuriant examples twenty-four) inches in length ; they are of 
a singularly hard unyielding leathery texture, and sometimes droop, while at others they stand 
upright. They are simply pinnate, and in this way the plant can be at once distinguished 
fiom a mature specimen of P . aculeatum , although the variety lobatum , when young, has a 

Pol ystichum. 


similar habit. The sessile pinnae are numerous and crowded, the upper ones frequently 
overlapping ; they are shortly stalked, or sessile, about an inch long in their widest part ; 
the lower ones are almost deltoid or wedge-shaped, and auricled at the base, as shown in the 
figure. The margins of the pinnae are serrated, the serratures being surmounted by bristly or 
spiny points. The sori are usually confined to the upper part of the frond ; they are round, and 
placed in two or more rows, at first distinct, but often becoming confluent when fully 

developed. “ The rigidity of texture, the strongly spinous margin, and the tendency to 
imbrication in the pinnae,” according to Mr. Moore, “ offer the readiest marks of distinction 
between this plant and some of the forms of P. aculeatiim 

This is a singularly conservative species ; there seems to be little or none of that 
adaptability to other forms which characterises several of our European ferns. It seems 

very strange that while the varieties of one fern may almost be counted by hundreds, another 

species should have none to record ; but the latter is certainly the case with P. Lonchitis, if 
we except such occasional and unimportant variations as a forked apex to the fronds. Mr. 
Moore, in the place already referred to, says that the plants “ sometimes produce small 

bulbils in the axils of the lowermost pinnae, from which young plants spring up. This 

quality of producing bulbils,” he continues, “ seems to be the result in great measure of 

certain little understood peculiarities of cultivation or situation ; for while with some 
cultivators many of the British species prove bulb-bearing, the peculiarity seldom occurs with 
others.” The Holly Fern is not very easy to grow ; it will do well in a cool moist frame, 
potted firmly in well-drained loamy soil, and freely supplied with moisture ; but it does not 

succeed in the neighbourhood of towns, owing probably to the impurity of the atmosphere 

as contrasted with the native haunts of the plant. 


We have here a handsome and a common fern ; one, however, which is liable to be 
confused with its ally, P. angnlare , on the one hand, while on the other it approximates, in 
one of its forms, rather closely to the Holly Fern just described. It is a stout-growing 
plant, with fronds from a foot to three feet in height, resembling a good deal in habit the 
common Male Fern ( Lastrea Filix-mas ), but at once striking the eye as different on account 
of the rigid habit and prickly or almost spinous aspect of the fronds. It has a thick upright or 
somewhat procumbent rhizome, which ultimately becomes woody, and is made up of the 
bases of the old fronds surrounding the axis. The roots are strong and tough, penetrating 
deep into the earth, and retaining a close hold. The stipes is from two to four inches 
long, thickly clothed with dense brown chaffy scales, as is also the upper part of the rhizomes, 
and the rachis throughout the greater part of its length. The fronds are smooth, lanceolate, 
and twice pinnate, of a tough, leathery texture, deep-green above, and paler beneath, of 
erect rigid habit, or at times slightly drooping, from one to three feet long, and about six 
or seven inches across in their broadest part. The pinnae are given off from the rachis 
at nearly right angles ; they are lanceolate, and formed of numerous nearly opposite or 
alternate lanceolate pinnae; each of these terminates in a sharp, spiny point, and their margins 
are also serrated with sharp bristle-like teeth, to which the fern mainly owes its distinctive 
appearance. The lowermost pinnule is often longer than the rest and more distinctly 

# “Nature-printed British Ferns,” i. 119. 

r 4 2 

European Ferns. 


auricled. The fructification is as usual on the back of the frond, 
and is confined for the most part to its upper half ; the sori 
are round, covered with a membranous indusium situated upon the 
venules, nearer to their base than their apex : they are often very 
numerous, and sometimes become confluent. The pinnules of the 
fronds of young plants are much broader in proportion to their 
length. The beauty of the vernation of P. aculeatum has attracted 
the notice of most authors. “ It arises from the rhizome, closely 
curled inwards ; but when it is more expanded, it droops back- 
ward, while the extremity still retains its tendency to curl inwards, 
thus forming a double curve, and having a most graceful ap- 

The geographical range of P. aculeatum is as wide as that 
of any European fern, as may be gathered 
from a glance at the table of distribution, 
where it is noted as occurring in seventeen 
out of the eighteen divisions, being absent 
only from the eastern peninsula and archipelago 
of Asia, including the Philippine Islands. It 
is found almost throughout Europe, although 
not always very abundantly, being however 
rare if not absent in the extreme north. It 
will probably be found to occur in all of the 
English, and most likely in all of the Scotch 
counties, although there are at present a few 
gaps in the list : the Scotch plant is for the 
most part the form lobatum. In Ireland, 
although it occurs in nearly all the districts 
into which the flora of that country has been 
divided, it is local and not common. If we 
go farther afield, beyond the European 
boundary, we shall find the distribution of 
P. aculeatum somewhat difficult to ascertain, 
as it is so often united by authors with the 
next species, P. angulai'e ; but it seems to be 
very generally met with. A very exhaustive 
summary of the distribution of the species 
considered in a large sense, and including 
under the same head a large number of forms 
besides P. angulare , will be found in the 
“Species Filicum”;t here it is traced through- 
out the world. Sir W. J. Hooker remarks 
that he has seen no well-pronounced form of 
it from the West Indian Islands, but is inclined 

* Deakin’s “Florigraphia Britannica,” iv. 95. f “Species Filicum,” vol. iv., pp. 18 — 22, 



to refer to it P. viviparum , a plant found in Cuba and Jamaica, which owes its name to its 
habit of taking root at the apex of the fronds and producing fresh plants. 

The useful properties of ferns being, 
as we have already shown, very limited, it 
may be well to point 
out that the present 
species has been 
utilised in protecting 
the fruit of the fig- 
tree — an employ- 
ment which is suf- 
ficiently remarkable 

to induce us to extract an account of the modus operandi : — “Just before 
the buds begin to expand,” says a writer in Loudon’s ‘ Gardener’s 
Magazine’ for 1828, “I collect a quantity of Aspidium acidcatuvi ; the 
stalk of the frond I introduce into a shred, and the point of it is brought 
to the point of the shoot ; it is there wound once or twice round the 
nail near the point of the shoot, taking care to reserve an inch or two 
of the point of the frond to be turned in between the point of the shoot 
and the wall, which is a sufficient fastening, if properly done. A tree, 
when covered in this manner, has at a small distance the appearance 
of being in full leaf. As 

soon as the fruit is set, 
the fern is taken off, to 
prevent injury to the 
young foliage by confining 
it. This is a neat, light, 
and effectual covering, 
which I have practised 
these last ten years.” 

One of the principal 
forms of P. aculeaturn is 
that known as lobatum — 
a plant which Mr. Moore 
describes as having “ nar- 
row lance-shaped fronds 
one to two feet long ; these 
are subpinnate, i.e., a few 
only of the pinnae de- 
velope pinnules. The an- 
terior basal pinnule is always distinct, consider- 
ably enlarged, and strongly auricled ; but the rest 

of the pinnules are either decurrent or confluent, and not auricled.” * This is by no means an 
uncommon plant ; indeed, it has been found in most districts, and in some, as in most parts 
of Scotland, is commoner than the type. Mr. Moore has not been successful in making 

* “Nature-printed British Ferns” (8vo. ed.), i. 131. 




European Ferns. 

this develope into the typical form of aculeatum , but is of opinion that it is a permanent 
variety of which various gradations exist in a natural state. The form known as loncliitioides— 
or , for it is written in both these ways — is that which, as its name implies, most 
closely resembles the Holly Fern ; it seems to be an immature and undeveloped state of 
lobatum, but is as a rule a small plant, simply pinnate, the pinnae being more or less deeply 
toothed or lobed on the upper side at the base. 

Taken as a whole, however, P. aculeatum , regarded as distinct from P. angulare, is not 
a variable species ; Mr. Moore only describes five varieties, and these are not very marked. 
The author just referred to says that it is occasionally found with the apex of the frond 
multifid, and the pinnae dichotomous, and that it has been known to produce bulbils in the 
axils of the lower pinnae ; but these are merely accidental variations, and do not deserve to 
be regarded as permanent. P. angulare , however, which we shall now proceed to describe, is a 
much more variable plant. 

P. aculeatum is very easily cultivated, and is very useful as a rockery fern on account 
of its evergreen character. It should be placed in a situation where the roots can be well 
drained, and is rather partial to shade. 


As will have been gathered from the incidental references made to this species while 

P. aculeatum was under consideration, there is much in common between the two, and such 

authorities as Sir W. J. Hooker place them together as forms of one and the same species. 

On the other hand, Mr. Moore keeps them distinct ; and although his acquaintance with the 
species of ferns is perhaps less extensive than that of the former director of Kew Gardens, 
we are inclined to prefer his estimate of the specific value of such forms as he has more 
particularly studied. 

The difference in habit between this fern and the preceding is very striking, and 

indeed is sufficient to separate them at a glance. P. aculeatum is a stout rigid plant, with 
stiff upright fronds, having a bristly, and, if we may so speak, an almost defiant appearance. 
In P. angulare, on the other hand, the fronds are soft and lax, with smaller pinnules, which 
are more or less distinctly stalked. Mr. Moore, to whose opinion as to the distinctness of the 
two species we have already referred, says that the chief differences between the two consist 
in the obtuse-angled base of the stalked pinnules of P. angulare, and the acute-angled or 
wedge-shaped base of the sessile pinnules of the more divided states of P. aculeatum. He 
says also: “ P. aculeatum has its sori medial, that is, attached at a point along the middle 
part of the venule, the apex of which is carried out to the margin of the pinnule, the sori 
thus being placed nearer the base of the venule than its apex, i.e., nearer the point of 
furcation ; while in P. angulare the fertile venule stops about midway across the pinnule, 
and the sorus is commonly placed at or almost close to its apex.” 

In habit and general appearance there is much in common between this species and 
P. aculeatum. Both have tough, strong roots, and large thick tufted rhizomes, covered with 
large brown chaffy scales. The fronds of both are of about the same length and size, 
and both plants frequent the same habitats — deep hedge-bottoms and shady banks, especially 
on the borders of woods. So far as our experience goes, they are not often found together, 
but they contrast very effectively with each other when planted on a rockery, the stiff, 
upright fronds of P. aculeatum towering above the softer and more drooping ones of 

Cassells European Ferns 

VmcentErooks Day &Son Lath 




Pol YSTjcHUM. 


P. angulare. Hedge-bottoms, where water may stand in very wet seasons for a time, but 
is not of permanent occurrence, are good places for ferns ; the Hard Fern ( Blechnum Spicant ) 

luxuriates in such localities, growing 
among large tufts of rushes, and forming 
large patches, the fertile fronds standing 
up with sufficient curve to be very grace- 
ful above the nearly prostrate barren 
ones. It is on the bank above the bottom 
that we shall find the Shield Ferns, for 
they do not affect much moisture. 

In England, P. angulare is about as generally 
distributed as P. aculeatuvi , but in Scotland it is much 
less common, being, indeed, but seldom met with, and 
recorded only from the counties of Ayr, Berwick, and 
Roxburgh, and the islands of the Clyde. In Ireland, on 
the other hand, it is much the more frequent plant of 
the two, especially in the province of Ulster, where it 
is very generally met with. Its European distribution 
is not very easily ascertainable, owing to the frequent 
union of this species with P. aculeatum , but it is 
apparently less frequent than that plant, especially in 
the more northern regions, although it is reported from 
Sweden and Norway, and also from Denmark. In the 
centre and south of Europe it is of frequent occurrence ; 
it is plentiful in Madeira, the Canary Islands, and the 
Azores, and also occurs in North and South Africa, 
and in Abyssinia. In Asia it is widely distributed, 
occurring in the neighbourhood of the Black Sea, and 
in India, and the surrounding regions. In America it 
is met with both in the northern and central portions, 
although differing somewhat from the typical form. 

Unlike P. aculeatum , this is a very variable species. 
Mr. Moore describes and names as many as forty-four 
forms, some of which are very striking, although 
“ monstrous.” The variety Kitsonice is the prettiest of 
these : in this the rachis is several times branched, the 
pinnae forming the branches being crisped and curled 
at the tips. Less divided forms are cristatum and 
multifidum , which are similar in their mode of variation 
to the varieties of other ferns bearing the same name 
to which we have already alluded. The variety pro- 
liferum bears small bulbils at the point where the pinnae 
join the rachis, or sometimes in the axils of the pinnae. 
The variety pluinosum has large, broad fronds of a thin delicate texture, with long-stalked, 
deeply-cut pinnules, the whole frond having a beautiful feathery appearance. For further 

information as to the varieties of P. angulare we must refer to Mr. Moore’s enumeration, 



European Ferns . 

where they are described at length, with full particulars as to distribution and the like. 
The accompanying figures illustrate the forms of pinnule most commonly met with. 

When speaking of Woodwardia radicans (p. 78), and also of Camptosorus rhizophyllus 
(p. 65), we referred to the mode of increase from buds or bulbils which is noticeable in 
these and in many other ferns. Mr. Moore’s remarks upon similar instances in Polystichum 
angulare, and in other ferns, are worth reproducing here, if only to show the views which 
he holds upon the point, and also as showing how largely this peculiarity is met with 
among our common British ferns. Speaking of P. angulare , he says : — 

“A remarkable proliferous or viviparous character has been observed in several of the 

varieties of this species, as well as in many other British Ferns, including Polystichum 
Lonchitis ; P. aculeatum, with its variety lobatum ; Lastrea Filix-mas, two varieties; L. ceimila; 
Asplemum lanceolatum ; A. Ruta-muraria ; Scolopendrium vulgare, several varieties; Blechnum 
Spicant, etc. Some of the varieties of the present species propagate extensively by means of 
these bulbils, which form either towards the base of the stipes or along the rachis in the axils 
of the lower pinnm, or, in some instances, on the veins of the fronds. Although among exotic 
ferns instances of this viviparous growth were known to occur frequently, yet our 
acquaintance with so many bulbil-bearing British ferns is due to the scrutiny of a few 

zealous cultivators, especially Mr. Wollaston, of Chislehurst, Dr. Allchin, of Bayswater, Mr. 

Clapham, of Scarborough, and Mr. Baxter, of Oxford. Most of the instances above referred 
to were observed during the summer of 1854. Mr. Baxter has suggested that it may be 

a result of pot-culture, all the instances in which it has been observed having been on potted 

plants. We think it may be the combined result of the check caused by the cramping 
of the roots incidental to pot-culture, and the excitement arising from the very moist 

Pol ystichum. 


atmosphere which is kept up in most fern-houses. The instances thus observed, however 
produced, appear to afford additional evidence that the fronds of ferns are not leaves, as 
some would call them, to which, however, the fact of their normally bearing the fructification 
seems repugnant; but that they at least include something of the nature of branches. Another 
fact may be mentioned as militating against the opinion that the fronds of ferns are mere 
leaves. Leaves, it is maintained by physiological botanists, have their points first formed, 
the perfected apex being, as it were, pushed forward by accretion from below. Now, in the 
fronds of ferns it may often be seen to demonstration that the lower parts are perfectly 
developed and bear mature sori, whilst the apex is still unrolling ; this is very obvious in 
the genus Nephrolepis. Besides the bulbilliform mode of increase above adverted to, Mr. 
Wollaston has observed a different kind of what is supposed to be viviparous development 
in the Polypodium vulgare var. omnilacerum, on a plant communicated by Mr. E. T. Bennett. 
In this case, the development consisted of prothalloid growths on the apices of the serratures 
of the lobes ; these had every indication of being capable of further evolution, though, 
unfortunately, the frond was broken off before they were observed, so that their vital energy 
could not be fully tested.”* 

* “Nature-printed British Ferns” (8vo edition), vol. i., pp. 142-3. 



HIS is a large genus, and one of almost universal distribution. In the 
“ Synopsis Filicum ” it is considered as a section of the genus Nephrodtum , 

differing from the typical species of 
Nephrodium in having the veins all 
free, and about 200 species are enu- 
merated as belonging to it. Of these 
only seven come within the scope of 
the work, although our list will be 
found to include nine species of Las- 
trea , this discrepancy being due to the 
fact that we take a somewhat more 
liberal estimate of what constitutes a species than the 
authors of the “ Synopsis,” and hence regard as distinct 
three plants — Lastrea spinulosa, L. remota , and L. dilatata 
— which are united under the former specific name in 
the work in question. Although varying a good deal in 
size, texture, and cutting, there is a general resemblance 
among the species of Lastrea, and we do not find among 
the extra-European species any that call for special notice. 
The general habit and style of the genus will be gathered 
from the detailed descriptions of the species which fall 
within our limits ; and as all the European species are 
also British, and some of them very common, our readers 
will not find it difficult to make their acquaintance in a 
living state. The genus was named Lastrea (or rather 
Lastrcea, which was its original form, that now in use 
being adopted when its application was somewhat changed), 
and commemorates a French botanist, M. Delastre. 


This is a fern of boggy and marshy ground, which, 
although very widely distributed in England, cannot be 
considered a common plant, while in Scotland it is un- 
frequent, and in Ireland rare and local, although found 
in many widely-separated localities. It is a delicate- 
looking plant, with soft, membranous pale-green fronds, and 
a long, very slender branched rhizome, by which character 
it is distinguished from the species most nearly allied to 
it. Our coloured figure, which is much reduced, shows this 
rhizome, upon which the fronds are produced at irregular 





intervals. The fronds are of two kinds ; the barren ones, which are developed about May 
or early in June, are usually from one to two feet high, although often much smaller, 
smooth or slightly hairy, the lower pair of pinnae being a little, but only a little, shorter 
than those above them. The barren fronds have narrower pinnae, this difference in appear- 
ance, which is easily recognisable, being due in no small degree to the incurving of the 
margins over the sori. The stipes in the fertile fronds, 
which is developed a month or more later than the barren 
ones, is longer in proportion, and the whole frond is taller 
and stouter. The small round sori are produced in large 
numbers upon the back of the frond, being situated near 
the base of the venules, as shown in the figure ; these 
venules proceed from the central vein, or midrib, becoming 
forked, and terminating at the margin of the pinna. The 
accompanying figures — which are of the natural size — will 
show the difference in form between the barren and the 
fertile pinnules. 

This species is by amateurs sometimes confused with 
the next, L. Oreopteris , but is very easily distinguished 
from it, not only by its slender creeping rootstock, but 
by the form of the fronds, the pinnules of which, in L. 

Oreopteris , become gradually smaller towards the base ; L. 

Thelypteris is also quite destitute of the pleasant balsamic 
odour which characterises L. Oreopteris. It is widely 
distributed throughout northern and central Europe, but 
becomes rarer towards the south ; it is absent from the 
Spanish peninsula, and is rare in Italy. In northern Asia 
it occurs in Amur-land and Mandschuria ; in northern India 
it is reported from Khasia and Kashmir, at an elevation 
of from five to six thousand feet. It is found also in New 
Zealand ; and in Africa it is reported from Angola, Cape 
Colony, and Natal. It is common in Canada, and extends 
throughout the United States to Florida. 

Lastrea Thelypteris is known in books as the Marsh 
Fern ; in the Isle of Wight it is called Ground Fern, but, 
like many more of its class, it has no generally recognised 
English name. Its specific name is a Greek compound, 
signifying Lady Fern, and was probably originally 
bestowed upon the plant on account of its delicate appear- 
ance. It is not a difficult plant to grow, but requires a very great quantity of moisture; 
indeed, it is cultivated to the greatest advantage in the neighbourhood of water, as on the 
boggy margin of a small pond, if such a situation can be obtained for it. The fronds are 
annual, and are cut off by the early frosts. It is not at all a variable plant. Milde dis- 
tinguishes two forms, one of which has the segments of the pinnae deeply and irregularly 
pinnatifid, while in the other the fronds are somewhat glandular; but no marked deviation 
from the type exists. 



European Ferns. 



We have here 



while in Ireland it 
of Europe it has 

a fern which has much in common both with the last and the following 
species, but which a very little examination will enable 
us to distinguish from either of them. The pinnules 
gradually narrowing towards the base of the frond, 
and a certain peculiar yet pleasant balsamic odour, 
which has gained for the species the name of the Sweet- 
scented Fern, will suffice to distinguish it from either 
Lastrea Thelypteris or Lastrca Filix-mas. It has a short, 
tufted, scaly rhizome, from which very 
numerous fronds are given off. The 
stipes is very short, or almost wanting, 
the extremely small portion of the 
rachis which can bear this name being 
almost hidden by broad, pale-brown 
scales. The frond is elongate and 
lanceolate, regularly pinnate, the narrow 
acute pinnae being sessile upon the 
rachis ; they gradually diminish in 
length from near the middle to the 
base, where they are extremely short, 
obtusely triangular, and almost rudi- 
mentary. The whole of the under- 
surface of the pinnae is covered with 
small yellowish, glandular globules, 
which adhere to the fingers when the 
plant is touched, and exude a powerful 
odour, which some think unpleasant, 
but which is very generally considered 
rather agreeable. The lobes of the 
pinnae have a distinct central vein, from 
which other simple or forked veins are produced ; the 
round sori, which, although small, are larger than those 
of the preceding species, are produced near the end of 
the venules upon the back of the pinnae, being most 
numerous upon the upper half of the fronds. 

This is rather a common fern, although it is often 
overlooked on account of its resemblance to the Male 
Fern — a resemblance which, as has been shown, does 
not exist when a frond is gathered. It grows upon open 
hill-sides in rather elevated districts, but is sometimes 
found in moist woody situations. In England, especially 
towards the north, and in Scotland it is frequent enough, 
is rather less common, though still widely distributed. On the continent 
a wide range, extending from Lapland to Spain and Greece ; but it does 




not appear to spread beyond the European borders, although it has been recorded from the 
Azores and North America. 

Although not one of the most interesting or remarkable of European ferns, the Moun- 
tain Fern, as L. Orcopteris is sometimes called — a translation of its (Greek) specific name — is 
well worthy of cultivation, although it is not particularly amenable to this mode of treat- 
ment. It is recommended to pot or plant it in fine loam, and to keep this soil wet through 
the winter, this being done, when the plants are in pots, by keeping a feeder full of water 
beneath them. Mr. Moore suggests that “a continuous supply from a syphon, allowing the 
superfluous quantity to overflow, so that there might be a constant change going on, would 
be a still better arrangement ; it would, at least, assimilate more exactly with the cease- 
less percolation which must be going on on its native hills. * It produces a large number of 
seedlings, which do not bear fruit until they are about three years old ; the fronds are annual, 
and soon cut off by frosts ; they are usually fertile. 

Like the last, this is not a very variable plant. There is a form ( caudata ) in which the 
pinnae are prolonged into long tail-like points, and another ( cristata ) in which they are crested 
at the apex, after the manner of some of the varieties of the Lady Fern and the Male Fern ; 
but there are no deviations of any importance from the ordinary type. 


Next to the Bracken, the Male Fern may fairly take rank as the best known and most 
commonly met with of European ferns. It is also, assuredly, one of the handsomest ; indeed, 
there are few objects more beautiful than a well-grown specimen of this plant, the tall fronds 
rising up in a circle, slightly leaning backwards at their tips, or quite erect, and joining each 
other so closely as to form a basket-like appearance, in the centre of which the young fronds 
develope in crosier-like fashion, the rich brown hue of the scales with which they are covered 
forming an effective contrast with the bright, yet subdued green of the fully expanded fronds. 
To this basket-like form of the plant it is indebted for the name “Basket Fern,” by which 
it is known in parts of Cornwall and Hampshire ; in the Border Country it is called “ Dead 
Man’s Hand, 0 in allusion to the appearance of the young fronds before they begin to uncoil, 
when they not inaptly resemble a closed fist. The graceful curve of the uncoiling fronds is 
shown in the accompanying figure. 

These fronds rise from a short unbranched rhizome about an inch thick, which, how- 
ever, appears to be of more than double that bulk, owing to the fact that it is closely 
covered by the hard, fleshy, persistent bases of the fronds of previous years ; the black, 
wiry roots spring from among these. When cut open with a knife, the rhizome is found to 
be of a fleshy texture, and of a pale, yellowish-green colour ; it is to this that the Male Fern 
owes its reputation as an anthelmintic, which, as we shall see further on, it has long possessed, 
and which has obtained for it a place in the British pharmacopoeia. 

The fronds of the Male Fern are from two to three feet, or even more, in length ; they 
rise from the extremity of the rhizome, forming a circle, and are nearly, or quite, upright. The 
stipes of each is densely covered, especially in its lower portion, with large chaffy, thin, light- 
brown scales and hairs, interspersed with smaller ones ; these extend, more or less, along the 
rachis. The pinnae are very numerous, alternate, or nearly opposite, long and narrow, often 
overlapping, though sometimes comparatively distant ; the pinnules are distinct at the base of 

• “Nature-printed British Ferns” (8vo ed.), vol. i., p. 175. 


E ur ope an Ferns. 

the pinnae, but more or less combined above ; they are smooth, deep green, and toothed or 
serrated, the texture varying a good deal in different examples, but usually rather thin and 
soft ; the sori are small and numerous, roundish in shape, confined, for the most part, to the 
upper portion of the frond, forming two regular lines, and having the kidney-shaped indusium 
which is characteristic of Lastrea. 

The Male Fern is a plant of very wide distribution, both 
in the old and new worlds- It extends throughout Europe, and 
over a large part of Asia; it is found in North and South 
Africa, and in Abyssinia, as well as in the Cape Verde Islands, 
the Azores, the Canaries, and other African islands ; it is found 
in North (California, Florida, Newfoundland), Central (Mexico, 
Guatemala), and South America (Peru, Brazil, Ecuador), but not 
in the United States. Its habitat, too, is varied ; it grows either 
in wood or plain, on common or hedge-bank, or in moist and 
sheltered spots. 

In former times a good deal of belief was manifested in the 
mysterious properties of the Male Fern, many of which were 
similar to those of the Bracken, already described. The following 
notice by John Parkinson sums up the ideas then current on the 
subject : — 

“ Of the ashes of Feme is made a kind of thicke or darke 
coloured greene glasse in sundry places in France, as in the 
Dutchey of Maine, &c. (and in England also as I have beene told 
by some) out of which they drinke their wine. The seede which 
this and the female Feme doe beare, and to be gathered onely 
on Midsommer eve at night, with I know not what conjuring 
words is superstitiously held by divers, not onely Mountebankes 
and Quacksalvers, but by other learned men (yet it cannot be 
said but by those that are too superstitiously addicted) to be of 
some secret hidden vertue, but I cannot finde it exprest what it 
should be : for Bauhinus in his Synonimies upon Matthiolus saith, 
those tales are neither fabulous nor superstitious, which he there 
saith he will shew in his History : but Matthiolus, Lugdunensis 
and others declaime against such opinion : experience also sheweth 
that they beare seede, although Theophrastus, Galen, Dioscorides 
and Pliny following him, say they neither beare flowers nor 
seede : for if about Midsommer (for then usually it is ripe) you 
gather the stalkes of Feme and hang them on a thread with 

some faire white paper or cloth under them, you shall finde a 

small dust to fall from them which is the seede, and from them 

doe spring plants of the same kindes, and such young plants risen from the fallen seede have 
beene seene growing about the old plants, for as I said before no herb growing on the earth 
or in the water (except some with double flowers which are encreased by the roote) but doe 
beare seede, &c. Dioscorides relateth a great contrarietie in nature betweene the Feme and the 

Reede, that each one will perish where the other is planted, as if it were by a natural instinct, 

which thing I thinke happeneth rather from the soiles, a Reede not joying in a dry ground 


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1 53 

nor a Feme in a wet. Pliny in his 24. booke and 4. Chapter saith that the roote of the Reede 
laid to the Feme driveth it forth, as the roote of the Feme in like manner doth the Reede : 
and Celsus before him sheweth that each of them is a remedy against the other, and Theo- 
phrastus sheweth that whereas corne and other herbes doe delight and are furthered by dung, 
the Feme onely perisheth thereby.”* 

According to Schkuhr, the rhizome of the Male Fern was in 
Germany associated with superstitious beliefs and practices in 
quite recent times. This author states that in former days the 
so-called Lucky-hands, or St. John’s-hands, were made out of the 
rhizome and unexpanded fronds of this species, and sold to cre- 
dulous people as preservations against sorcery and witchcraft. 

Writing in 1809, Schkuhr says that quite recently a clergyman’s 
wife in his neighbourhood bought one of these “ hands ; ” others 
purchased for a few groschen small pieces cut off from such a 
hand, which they gave to their cattle in their drink, believing 
they would thus be preserved from magic and witchcraft. The 
accompanying figure of one of these hands is copied from that 
given by the author quoted. He adds that a similar deceit is 
practised with the root of Pteris aquilina, which is called St. 

John’s-root; and also with the so-called “lucky dwarf,” which 
is made from the root of the Plantain (P/antago major). In 
our own country it has been customary since the time of Gerard, 
and probably long before it, to manufacture rough figures of 
men out of the large fleshy root of the White Bryony ( Bryonia 
divica), and to sell them as Mandrakes, although, of course, they 
have no affinity with the true Mandrake ( Mandragora officinalis). 

Gerardf says that “the idle drones that have little or nothing to 
do but eate and drinke, have bestowed some of their time in 
carving the roots of Brionie, forming them to the shape of men 
and women ; which falsifying practise hath confirmed the errour 
amongst the simple and unlearned people, who have taken them 
upon their report to be the true Mandrakes.” These things are 
made and sold to country-people at the present day, and the 
Bryony is on this account known by the name of Mandrake in 
many English counties. 

The Male P'ern is, probably, the only representative of the 
order which has received official recognition as a remedial agent, 
the ethereal extract of the rhizome being a recognised prepara- 
tion which is employed, with satisfactory results, in cases of tapeworm. The rhizome is 
collected between late autumn and early spring, and, the dead portions having been removed 
is split open and dried at a gentle heat ; it is then reduced to a coarse powder, and exhausted 
with ether. The rhizome has but little odour, and a sweet astringent taste. Although the 
anthelmintic properties of the Male Fern were known to such early writers as Theophrastus 
and Pliny, the plant had, until a comparatively recent period, fallen into disuse. Towards 

“ ST. john’s-hand.” 

* “Theatrum Botanicum,” p. 1037 (1640). 

f p. 281. 



E uropean Ferns. 

the dose of the eighteenth century, its remedial value was brought forward both in Prussia 
and France: in the former country by a Swiss apothecary named Mathieu, whose treatment of 
tapeworm was so successful that his secret was purchased by Frederick the Gieat foi an 

annuity of two hundred thalers ; 
and in France by a Madame 
Nuffler, the widow of a Swiss sur- 
geon, who obtained from Louis the 
Fourteenth no less than eighteen 
thousand livres for her remedy, 
which was first subjected to an 
investigation by savans of the 
period. In both of these cases it 
was found that the active prin- 
ciple of the remedy was supplied 
by the powdered rhizome of the 
Male Fern ; and it was always 
employed in the form of powder 
until about 1825, when a chemist of 
Geneva suggested the substitution 
of the more convenient ethereal 
extract, in which form the drug is 
now always administered. 

We have already said that the 
Male Fern is a very variable species. 
Mr. Moore describes twenty-five of 
these at length, and gives botanical 
diagnoses of twelve of them. There 
are, indeed, certain differences — in 
the duration of the fronds, for ex- 
ample — which cannot fail to strike 
any one who knows the plant in 
its native habitats, although, per- 
haps, they are not such as are 
usually reckoned of botanical value. 
In some plants the fronds die 
down in the winter ; in others they 
remain green and fresh through the 
coldest weather, and are thus in- 
valuable for winter bouquets or for 
home decoration of various kinds. 
They also vary considerably in form, 
and this variation is especially 
marked in the case of the barren 
fronds. One of the most distinct 
forms is the variety mcis a, which was considered by Deakin as a species, and is figured by 
him under the name of Lastrea ei'osa. This is a very large and handsome form, with tall 


Cassells European Fern 



drooping fronds as much as six or even eight feet in length, the pinnules being deeply 
cut, with serrate lobes, as shown in the accompanying figure. The stipes is much 
enlarged at its base, and, like the typical form, is thickly clotted with light-brown 
scales. It is a very widely distributed plant, being found in most parts of the United 
Kingdom which have been carefully searched for ferns. The variety paleacea is another 
very large and handsome form, which is noticeable for the abundance of shining golden 
scales with which the stipes and rachis are covered. As a contrast to these large varieties, 
two may be referred to which are in the opposite extreme. One of these, the variety 
puinila, is described by Mr. Moore (who is strongly inclined to accord it specific rank) 
as “ a permanently small dwarf erect plant, remarkable, among other characteristics, for the 
rounding of the points of its pinnae and of its pinnules, which gives to its upper surface a 
concave appearance.” This does not often exceed from nine inches to a foot in height ; the 

fronds, when fresh, have a pleasant odour. It is not at all a common plant, being almost 

confined to North Wales, and there found only at a considerable altitude. The other dwarf 
form, abbreviate r, is rather larger and coarser than pumila; and the pinnules are large, broad, 
obtuse, and concave, while in puinila they a-re small and convex. The variety cristata , which 
has the fronds and pinnae divided and curled at the apex, is, according to Mr. Moore, 
“doubtless the most beautiful, all points considered, among the British Ferns”; there are a 
good many forms of this, in which the multifid and crisped peculiarity is developed in a 

greater or lesser degree, to be found in the collections of the curious, but we do not think it 

necessary to refer to them more particularly. 


It is a matter of opinion as to how far this plant is entitled to specific rank. The authors of 
the “Synopsis Filicum,” as well as Prof. Babington, consider it a variety of L.spinulosa ; Mr. Moore, 
on the other hand, holds it to be distinct from that species as well as from L. Filix-mas, to which 
it has been allied by some botanists. It certainly much resembles those vigorous examples of 
L. spinulosa which have narrow, nearly upright fronds ; while its tripinnate, not bipinnate, fronds 
separate it from the incised forms of L. Filix-mas. When first described, it was thought to be a 
variety of L. rigiila, but its resemblance to this species is by no means striking. It is a plant 
of very limited range, its only places of growth, so far as we are aware, being southern Germany 
and the English Lake district, near Windermere. 

L. reinota has a tufted scaly caudex, with erect elongated pinnate fronds, having stalked pinnae 
which are longest in their middle portion. The fronds are without glands, and the spores are borne 
upon the whole of the under-side. These are situated nearer the midvein than the edge of the 
pinnule, to which circumstance the plant owes its specific name. From its extreme rarity this 
fern is but little known, and its position, as has already been remarked, is somewhat uncertain ; 
we have not succeeded in finding any easily recognisable characters by which it may be sepa- 
rated from the allied species. Milde considers it to be a hybrid between L. Filix-mas and L. 
spinulosa , between which species it holds an intermediate position. 


This is another rare fern, confined, in the British Islands, to a few localities in Lancashire, 
Yorkshire, and Westmoreland, at an elevation of from twelve to fifteen thousand feet above the 

European Ferns. 


sea, among craggy limestone rocks. It has been recorded from Cornwall and Somersetshire, 
but either some error is to be suspected, or the fern was planted where found ; the latter was 

doubtless the case in its sole Irish 
locality — a wall at Townley Hall, co. 
Louth. On the Continent, too, its 
distribution is rather circumscribed. 
It has been recorded as occurring 
sparingly in Norway, and also from 
Spain, Greece, Sicily, South Germany, 
Switzerland, Dalmatia, and Hungary ; 
while out of Europe it occurs in Asia 
Minor, Siberia, and Asiatic Russia. 

This fern produces from a thick 
scaly, tufted caudex numerous firm 
upright fronds, from one to two feet 
high, having a densely scaly stipes 
about a third of the frond in length. 
The fronds are of a peculiar dull- 
green hue, with more or less crowded 
pinnae, those at the base being some- 
times more distant than the rest, and 
as long or even longer than the rest ; 
the outline of the fronds is either 
lanceolate or elongated triangular, the 
latter form being especially noticeable 
in the young plant. Both fronds and 
rachis are covered with small short- 
stalked roundish glands, to which is 
due the slight but pleasant odour 
given off by the plant. The lobes of 
the pinnae are toothed, the teeth being 
broad and scarcely spiny ; this cha- 
racter is considered of importance by 
Mr. Newman, as being one by which 
this species may be readily distin- 
guished from its congeners. Milde 
distinguishes three forms of L. rigida , 
which he characterises by the shape 
of their fronds : the first, pinuatisecta, 
has short, simply pinnate fronds, and 
is an uncommon plant, having been 
only collected by Boissier in the Sierra 
Nevada, and published by him as 
Aspidium nevadense : the second, bi- 
pinnatisecta , is that to which many, perhaps most, of the European plants belong, and is also 
found in California; it has bipinnatisect fronds, and somewhat resembles L. spiuulosa in habit: 




the third, tripiimatisecta, is often known in books by the name of pallida; this is a large plant, 
with tripinnatisect, somewhat leathery fronds, to which most of the Southern Europe stations 
for L. rigida belong; besides these, it is also found in Northern Africa (Tunis). Apart from 
these forms, L. rigida is by no means a variable species. It is not difficult to cultivate, as it 
will do quite well in ordinary garden soil, requiring no shade, but plenty of moisture. In a box 
it will do well in a mixture of peat and loam, with which pieces of limestone are mixed ; it 
should be kept well watered. Although, perhaps, not one of the 
most distinct or striking of our ferns, nor one of those most 
frequent in cultivation, L. rigida is a handsome plant, and one 
well worthy of a place in an outdoor fernery. 


Although a plant of wide distribution on the continent of 
Europe, this is one of our rarer British species. It is admitted 
by Mr. Watson as a native of East Anglia (South Suffolk, and 
East and West Norfolk), Huntingdonshire, Nottinghamshire, 
Cheshire, and Yorkshire, as well as of Renfrewshire, in Scotland : 
it has been recorded for other counties, but not upon trustworthy 
authority, and it is not known to occur in Ireland. It is found 
throughout northern and central Europe, extending from Scan- 
dinavia to Moscow, and occurring in Spain and South Italy ; it is, 
however, less common in the south of Europe than in the other 
portions. In the Old World the range of Lastrea cristata is restricted 
to Europe, but it is frequent in swamps in the United States, and 
occurs abundantly in Canada and the Rocky Mountains. 

This fern has been a good deal confused with the two or 
three following species, nor is it always easy to separate them. 
With L. spimclosa, indeed, it is connected by a form named 
uliginosa, of which Milde says that, after examining a large 
number of specimens, he considers it to be truly intermediate 
between cristata and spiuulosa , connecting the two so closely and 
so gradually that it is impossible to find any definite limits to 
either species. It is an upright growing plant, with narrow, oblong, 
pale-green fronds from a foot to a foot and a half in height, the 
pinnae being short, rather distant, and the lower ones being broadly 
triangular or deltoid in outline, about two inches long and an 
inch or so broad, diminishing in size as they approach the apex 
of the fronds. This narrow outline gives the plant a very distinct 
appearance ; it is, however, an interesting rather than a striking 
species, and is not very frequently met with in cultivation ; it 
grows easily in peaty soil, being propagated by the separation 
of the caudex, which sometimes gives off lateral branches. Like 
several other ferns, this produces two kinds of fronds, barren and 
fertile ; the former being broader, and of a more flaccid texture 
than the fertile ones. 



European Ferns. 

In the variety uliginosa, to which allusion has already been made, we have three kinds 
of fronds — the spring or early ones, which are fertile ; other, smaller ones, produced about 
the same time, which are barren ; and later ones, appearing in the summer, the pinnules of 
which are broader and blunter, and either fertile or barren in different examples. This is a 

rare British plant, occurring in Norfolk, 
intermediate does it appear between L. 


Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, and Cheshire. So truly 
cristata and L. spiuulosa that it is placed under the 

former by some writers, and 
under the latter by others. 
The pinnules of the entire 
fronds are more acute and 
more conspicuously toothed 
than in typical cristata. 



This is one of the com- 
monest, and certainly one of 
the handsomest of our ferns ; 
its large gracefully drooping 
fronds at once attract the eye 
in the marshy places and damp 
woods where it delights to 
grow, and its distribution 
throughout Britain is very 
general, although it becomes 
rare as we go north, and does 
not occur at all in the more 
northern parts of Scotland. It 
is very difficult to give any very 
clear idea of L. spiuulosa by 
means of a figure, on account 
of its large size ; the accom- 
panying figure is drawn one- 
sixth of the size of a moderate- 
sized plant ; while we give also 
a pinna drawn of the natural 
size. The stipites are tufted, 
about a foot long, covered 
sparingly throughout their 
length with short, pale-brown 
scales. The fronds are usually 
from a foot to two feet long, 
but sometimes of greater length, 
and from half a foot to eight 
inches across in their lowest 



portion ; the lowest pinnre are also very broad, measuring as much as three inches across. This 
is one of the ferns which in its young stages causes much bewilderment to young pteriologists, 
on account of its being often taken for a fully developed species, although the absence of 

fructification should guard against this error : the 
accompanying figure of a seedling of this or the 
next species (L. dilatatn ) will give an idea of these 
young forms. 

Although so different in habit from L. cristata , 
Mr. Moore and other careful botanists consider L. 

PINNA OF lastrea spiNULosA spinulosa as a form of that species ; others, on the 

(natural size). other hand, unite it with L. dilatata. The dif- 

ferent appearance of the wide-spreading fronds of 
L. spinulosa from the upright, narrow ones of L. cristata is striking enough ; but there are 
undoubtedly connecting links, although the two plants are not usually much alike. 

We have already referred to the general distribution of L. spinulosa in Britain ; it is not 
very common in Ireland. On the continent of Europe it is most abundant in the northern and 
central parts ; it seems, however, to be absent from Spain, Greece, and Central Italy. It 
occurs in Lapland, Manchuria, and Amur-land, and also in Arctic America, at Kotzebue 

Owing to the somewhat brittle nature of its fronds, L. spinulosa can hardly rank as one 
of the best ferns for cultivation, especially as these are only annual, dying down in the 
autumn. But the botanical fern-lover may find some interest in cultivating this and allied 



European Ferns. 

forms with a view to forming some opinion as to their specific distinctness. It is not difficult 
to cultivate, growing best in peat or in a peaty compost, care being taken to supply it 

with an unstinted amount of 



This species has been much 
confounded with the preceding, 
nor is it always easy clearly to 
distinguish them. Mr. Moore 
gives as its distinguishing marks 
the colouring of the scales upon 
the stipes, which is dark in the 
centre and pale at the margins, 
and the indusia being fringed 
with glands ; in L. spinulosa the 
scales are pale throughout, and 
the indusia are devoid of glands. 
The last-named has also a creep- 
ing caudex, while in L. dilatata 
the caudex is erect or somewhat 
decumbent, but not creeping. It 
is a large, handsome plant, the 
fronds being in very luxuriant 
examples five feet in length, their 
average length being one or two 
feet, and from half a foot to a 
foot in breadth. The general 
outline of the fronds is ovate- 
lanceolate or somewhat deltoid ; 
they are more deeply cut, and 
of a brighter and darker green 
(lighter below) than those of 
L. spinulosa, and the pin me are 
placed more closely together. 

Lastrea dilatata is a plant 
of wide European distribution, 
extending to Madeira, and ap- 
pearing in Canada and in the 
United States. It is found also 
in the Azores, and occurs in 
Kamtschatka. In Britain it is more common than L. spinulosa , being found in most 
counties, affecting shady situations, such as moist woods and hedge-banks ; while in Ireland 
it is much more abundant, being widely spread throughout the country, while L. spinulosa 


(a) PINNA ; {/>) PINNULE. 

Maculata , Deakin). 

Cassells European Ferns 


Las the a. 


occurs in comparatively few localities. It is a very variable plant, but space will not permit 
us to do more than glance at one or two of the principal forms. 

The variety dumetorum, of 
which a figure is appended, is 
a small plant with oblong-ovate, 
bipinnate fronds, their under- 
side as well as the stipites 
being covered with glands. One 
remarkable feature in this form is 
the profusion with which the fruc- 
tification is produced upon quite 
young plants ; the fronds are also 
often marked with dark, irregular 
blotches upon both the upper and 
under surface, and to this the name 
macidata (under which Deakin de- 
scribed the plant) refers. Another 
distinct form is the variety Chan- 
terice , which has only been found 
in one or two localities in Devon- 
shire ; it is distinguished by the 
narrow, slender apex of the fronds, 
the pinnae being distant and the 
pinnules blunt. In the variety al- 
pina — which occurs in elevated situ- 
ations in Scotland and in the north 
of England — the fronds are of a 
delicate, membranous structure, quite 
exceptional in the forms of the 
species ; the variety nana is, as its 
name implies, a dwarf plant, the 
whole length of the fronds, their 
stipites included, not exceeding a 
foot, and occasionally being only 
two inches. 

Sir William Hooker* brings 
together as forms of one species, 
not only L. dilatata and L. spinu- 
losa, but also L. cemula, which we 
have next to consider. He says, 

“ Perhaps no group of ferns has oc- 
casioned more difference of opinion 
than the supposed species I have 

here brought under the Aspidium spinulosum.” The confusion that exists with regard to these 
forms is indeed almost endless ; and they are so closely connected, and at the same time 

* “Species Filicum,” vol. iv., p. 129. 




E ur ope an Ferns. 

present so much variation, that it would be impossible in a sketch like this to give any 
account of them. L. dilatata is easily grown, attaining a large size in moderately moist 
and shady situations, and remaining green during almost the whole year when slightly sheltered 
from the weather. 


We have here a fern, resembling in many points the two species last described, and, indeed, 
united with them by some botanists, which is easily distinguished from them by its pleasant 
odour of new-mown hay. One would not usually consider the scent of the plant as likely to 
form a specific character ; but both in a living and in a dried state this odour is so powerful 
in L. cemula as at once to distinguish it. The rich evergreen fronds have a curiously incurved 
or curled appearance which is very characteristic, and their outline is usually more distinctly 
triangular than in the foregoing species. It is a smaller plant than either dilatata or 
spinulosa ; Mr. Moore draws attention to a character furnished by the manner in which the 
fronds decay: “Whilst the fronds of cristata [in which he includes spimilosa\ and dilatata decay 
first near the base of the stipes, so that the fronds often fall while they yet appear green 
and fresh upwards ; in cemula the stipes continues firm while the frond itself is undergoing 
decay, the disorganisation going on from above downwards, and not from below upwards.” 

L. cemula (which is also known as L. fcenisecii ) is abundant in some parts of Britain, 
although its distribution is somewhat local : it is mainly confined to the south and west of 
England, being recorded from the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Sussex, 
Kent, Glamorgan, Pembroke, Carnarvon, Anglesey, York, Westmoreland, and Cumberland, and 
less certainly from Herefordshire and Shropshire. In Scotland it is found in Dumbartonshire, 
the Orkneys, and the islands of the Clyde. It is very abundant in the west of Ireland, 
attaining a height of nearly three feet in some of the shady thickets about Killarney. It is 
not known in Europe beyond the limits of the United Kingdom, but is abundant in Madeira 
and the Azores, although absent from the Canaries : its distribution is thus extremely limited. 
L. cemula is easily cultivated, if planted in a porous soil, being readily increased by the 
separation of the crowns : it is a handsome plant, and deserves a place in every collection 
of ferns. 

Cassell’s European Ferns. 

Vincent Brooks Day & San. Lirl : 

I POLYPODIUM V U LGAR E. (Common Polopody- 2 POLYPODIUM PH EGC PTER I S. ( Beech Fern j 






have here one of the largest genera of ferns, the members of which are ol 
very varied size and habit, and of wide distribution. The authors of the 
"Synopsis Filicum” enumerate about 450 species, and the number has since 
been increased. Our European species will be found to differ sufficiently 
from each other in general appearance ; but there is a group not represented 
among them in which the fronds are quite simple and entire, of narrow 
outline, the round sori being disposed in rows, one on each side of the 
midrib. The limits of this work will not allow us to point out in uetail 
the features of interest connected with the members of the genus ; and 
we will therefore pass at once to the consideration of 


Although it cannot take rank among the more graceful of our ferns, the common Polypody 
is one of the most characteristic as well as one of the most cheerful in aspect, owing to the 
bright yellow round patches of sori which en- 
liven the back of the mature frond. It is a 
common plant, found, however, in very different 
habitats — now extending along the trunk or 
branches of a knotted oak, now forming large 
tufts and patches in the hedgebank overhanging 
some pool or stream, now peering out from the 
crevices, or forming a thick covering to the top 
of some old wall. The figure reproduced from 
Gerard’s Herbal gives a good idea of the plant, 
as well as of the style of engraving used in 
our old books. Although the name of Oak 
Fern is in our books bestowed upon another 
species ( P . Dryopteris ), the common Polypody 
was certainly the original owner of the title, 
and in the old herbals is known as Polypody 
of the Oak, or Oak Fern. It is widely diffused 
throughout Great Britain and Ireland, and also 
throughout Europe, as. well as in most of the 
cold and temperate regions of the world : in 
Asia we find it in Siberia, Turkey, and Japan; 
in Africa, in the north (Algiers) and south (Cape 
Colony); and it is widely spread in the United 
States, extending in America as far north as 
Sitka, and occurring in California and Mexico. 

As a remedial agent in various disorders, 
particularly those connected with the lungs, the 


European Ferns. 

Polypody, especially when growing on the oak, has long endured a high reputation, which, 
indeed, is not yet entirely extinct. Drayton speaks of it as the “ rheum-purging Polypody,” 
and such herbals as Langham’s “ Garden of Health ” devote a good deal of space to the record 
of its “ virtues.” Mr. Newman says that he has seen women collecting it in Herefordshire as 
a specific against whooping-cough. It was gathered 
late in the year, when the sori were fully developed, 
barren fronds being rejected ; having been hung up to 
dry the whole plant was slowly boiled with coarse, 
raw sugar, a mucilaginous decoction of the fronds 
being the way in which it was most frequently ad- 


ministered. In the Arran Islands, in Galway Bay, Mr. Hart met with a strong belief in its 
properties, which, indeed, savour somewhat of the marvellous.* An old woman thus prescribed 
its use: “It was to be pulled in the full moon, and the roots of it buried in porridge, and left 
there for the night ; but if you do place the root as it grows, it will work you downwards, 
and if you place it upside down it will work you upwards ; but if you put it both ways it 

* “Journal of Botany,” 1873, p. 339. 

Cassells European Ferns. 

Vincent brooks Day ASon Lift 








will work you up and down, and it is the best physic that grows ! ” It seems to have been 
formerly imported into Ireland; Threlkeld, writing in 1727, says: “The roots are used for 
purging in antiscorbutick diet-drinks ; Ireland is so miserably bereft of woods, that most of 
what we use is imported.” In France, a preparation of the root is still sometimes used as a 
purgative for children, and it is also thought beneficial in colds. In Hampshire it is known 
under the name of Adder’s Fern ; in Herefordshire, under that of Golden-locks and Golden 

The fronds of the Common Polypody rise from a branched, creeping rootstock, which is 
thickly covered with brown scales ; these fronds have a naked stipes, often nearly as long as 
the leafy portion. The fern varies a great deal in size : sometimes the fronds are as much as 
a foot, or even a foot and a half in length ; at others they do not exceed a couple of inches, 
this latter being the case with specimens growing on walls. They are somewhat tough or 
leathery in texture, dark-green above, and paler below, their general outline being narrowly 
ovate or oblong ; the segments are simple, sometimes rather serrated, and usually blunt at 


the apex. The veins are prominent, the central one being alternately branched, and these 
branches being again divided. Each sorus originates at the apex of a veinlet. The bright 
yellow sori are conspicuous and well known. Mr. Moore points out that the common Polypody 
differs from all the other British species associated with it in the character of having its 
fronds articulated with the rhizome — that is, attached in such a manner that they separate 
spontaneously as they approach decay. 

The Polypody is a very variable species, and a large number of varieties have been named 
and described, many of which are based on the various ways in which the pinnae are cut 
and divided. The most- elegant of these is named conmbiense ; of portions of a frond of this 
variety we give figures on page 164. Another very striking form is that known as the Welsh 
Polypody ( cambriciim ), of which the figure of a portion of a frond is appended. This, as its 
name implies, was originally found in Wales ; the regularly bipinnatifid fronds are divided 
into narrow segments, very variable in shape, and they are always barren. This form has 
been met with several times in a wild state ; in cultivation it is not uncommon. The form 
semilacerum, often called the Irish Polypody, having been first found in Ireland, although it 
has since been met with in many other localities, is the most divided of all the fertile forms 
of the plant ; it bears a general likeness to cambricum , except in its fertility, and like it is 

European Ferns. 

i 66 

constant in cultivation. Mr. Moore enumerates and describes sixteen varieties in all, in- 
cluding a pretty plant having the points of all the segments crisped and tasselled, known as 


Although P. Dryopteris is so generally known, both in books and in ordinary conversation, 
as the Oak Fern, this title, as we have already said, belongs of right to the species last 

described. The present is one of our most delicate and 
beautiful ferns, attracting attention at once by its graceful 
light-green fronds. In the south of England it is rare, 
North Devon and East Cornwall being the only counties 
in which it is found south of Gloucestershire. In the 
centre and north of England it is widely distributed, as 
also in Scotland. In Ireland it is very rare, its only 
certain stations being on Benbo mountain, in co. Leitrim, 
at an elevation of eight hundred feet, and sparingly on 
Knochlayd mountain, co. Antrim, at the height of about 
eighteen hundred feet ; other recorded Irish localities 
require confirmation. It is widely distributed through 
Europe, from the extreme north to Italy, Spain, and 
Gibraltar ; in Asia it has been found in Siberia and 
Kamtschatka, the Himalayas, and quite lately in the 

Kuram Valley, Afghanistan ; and it is reported from 
Africa, although we do not know from what region. In 
America it is widely spread, occurring in Arctic Greenland 
and Labrador, Sitka, the Rocky Mountains, the United 
States, and Newfoundland. 

From the slender-branched perennial caudex of the 
Oak Fern arise three-branched fronds from four to twelve 
inches, or even more, in height, and about half as broad 
proportionately, including the stipes. In vernation the 

fronds present a curious appearance, each branch forming 
a compact little ball, apparently supported on green wire ; 
when the fronds unfold they are of a pale, but very 
exquisite green, and this hue is perhaps the greatest charm of the plant. Being of but annual 

duration the fronds die down completely in the winter, leaving a gap upon the rockwork 

which does not altogether satisfy the cultivator. The branches of the frond are pinnate or 
sub-pinnate, the pinnae on the lower side of the two lateral branches being larger than the 
rest : the pinnules are blunt and wavy. The fructification consists of numerous small sori 
scattered all over the surface of the back of the fronds. 

To appreciate the beauty of the Oak Fern it is necessary to see it growing in profusion 
among the rocks and stones of the lake district, or in the mountains of North Wales, where 
its bright, delicate hue lightens up the stony masses in a charming manner. Unfortunately 
it withers very readily, so that unless seen in a growing state it is difficult to form any idea 
of its extreme elegance. It is not a difficult fern to grow, succeeding well in a mixture of 

P ol y podium. 1 6 7 

two-thirds of fibry peat to one of leaf-mguld, mixed with sand and rubble. Water must not 
be allowed to settle about the roots, free drainage being essential. 


This species, which is also known as P. calcareum, Smith., is by some writers considered 
as a variety of the preceding — an opinion in which, after the examination of a large series 

of specimens, we do not feel inclined to concur. It is a plant of rigid, upright habit, and is 
altogether a more stiff-growing, upright species than P. Dryopteris ; the shape of the fronds, 
as is shown by the figures, differs a good deal from that of the fronds of P. Dryopteris. The 
last-named plant, too, although soft to the touch, is perfectly smooth ; P. Robertianum , on the 
contrary, is covered throughout with a glandular pubescence, which is especially noticeable upon 
the rachis and stipes. 

The distribution of the Limestone Polypody in England affords some very curious 
problems. It is now some twelve or fourteen years since we were shown two specimens which 
had been gathered in a wood near High Wycombe, in Buckinghamshire ; the bona tides of 
the collector was above suspicion, but the most careful searching in the wood failed to 
detect other specimens ; and this appears to be the only occasion upon which it has been found 
in that county. In Oxfordshire it was, we believe, once found in Wychwood Forest, but this 
was many years ago. The other English counties recorded for it are Somerset, Wiltshire, 
Gloucester, Hereford, Stafford, Worcester, Shropshire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Durham, 

European Ferns. 

i 68 

and Westmoreland ; in Wales it is found in Glamorgan, Brecon, and Denbigh. Carnarvon- 
shire is also recorded, but on doubtful authority. From Scotland and Ireland it is entirely 
absent ; a circumstance the more remarkable as in Ireland, at any rate, the rocky limestone 
districts seem to afford a suitable habitat. It is met with over a good part of Europe, 
especially in the northern regions, and in Asia it was collected in the Himalayas by Hooker 
and Thomson at an elevation of from five to eight thousand feet. Its North American 
distribution is limited, though it is found in Canada and the United States. 

It will be seen from this that P. Robertiammi is a far less common plant than P. Dryopteris, 
nor is it at all as ornamental a species. It is easily cultivated, care being taken to keep the 
plants well drained ; they may be exposed to moderate sun without fear of unfavourable 


This is a pretty and graceful fern, readily distinguished from all other European species by 
the downward direction of the lowermost pair of pinnae ; a glance at the plate will illustrate 
this peculiarity better than any verbal description. By no means a common plant, it is 
nevertheless one of general distribution in Britain, being recorded for most of the English 
and Scottish counties ; in Ireland it is local and rather rare. It is found throughout the 
greater part of Europe, extending from Scandinavia to Spain, North Italy, and Greece, and 
occurring in most, if not all, of the intervening regions. In Asia it is recorded for Siberia, 
Mandschuria, and Kamtschatka, and also for Japan. It is not certainly known to occur in 
Africa, and has not been found in Australia ; in North America it occurs near the sources of 
the Columbia river, throughout the United States, and in Greenland, Labrador, Newfoundland, 
and Canada. 

The fronds of the Beech Fern rise from a black, slender caudex, which is creeping and 
branched : this is perennial, but the fronds are annual. The stipes, which is often twice as 
long as the frond, and always exceeds it in length, is dark-purple below and greenish above, 
having in its earlier stages a few scattered scales near the base, which, however, soon fall off 
and disappear. The entire frond, including the stipes, varies from four inches to a foot 
and a half in length, its usual length being about a foot ; it is hairy, and its hue is a soft 
rather dull green ; its general outline i-s ovate, somewhat triangular, and much elongated towards 
the apex. The lowest pair of pinna; is, as has already been said, deflexed, diverging from the 
remainder ; all are sessile, being attached to the rachis by the entire breadth of the base, 
and thus united to each other. The upper pinnae are more or less directed upwards ; the lobes 
are obtuse, entire or slightly crenate, the venation consisting of a slender central vein from which 
proceed numerous smaller veins which extend to the margin of the lobe. The small circular sori 
are scattered over the back of the frond, more especially near the margins of the lobes. 

The Beech Fern — a name, by the way, which is inappropriate, although it is a translation 
of the scientific one, inasmuch as the plant does not grow under the shade of beeches — is not 
difficult to cultivate. It is best grown in pots under glass, as when exposed to the weather 
the fronds soon become shabby owing to their delicate texture. Although requiring plenty of 
water, care must be exercised to prevent anything approaching stagnation about the roots. 
The pot should be filled in its lower portion with small lumps of charcoal or rubbly material 
through which the moisture can readily percolate ; on this should be placed peat earth with 
a slight admixture of sand and leaf-mould ; in this the fern will grow and flourish. 

This is one of the least variable of ferns. The apex of the frond or of some of the pinnae 

Casseils F.iiltmtan Ferns 




is occasionally divided ; but this is an abnormality common to most ferns, and no form of the 
species has been considered worthy of a name. 


This is a species regarding which different views have been taken, the result of which is 
that it has been placed in various genera. Different authors have regarded it as a Polypodium, 
an Aspidium, and an Athyrium ; and Mr. Newman regarded it as the type of a distinct 
genus, which he called Pseudathyrium. We follow Mr. Moore in placing it in Polypodium 

polypodium alpestrf. (reduced). 

Besides the various generic names, its specific one varies, it being often referred to as 
Polypodium rhceticum, under which name we have included it in our preliminary list 
(Introduction, p. xvii.). 

Although considered as a Polypodium by the best authorities, it must be admitted that this 
fern has little resemblance in appearance to the other members of that genus. It is, indeed, 
far more like the Lady Fern (. Athyrium Filix-fcemina ) ; so much so, indeed, as to be frequently 
confounded with it. The short thick tufted caudex and the general form and style of the 
fronds remind one at once of Athyrium or Lastrea ; but the fruit usually at once distinguishes 
it from either of those genera. Those who have regarded it as a Lastrea or as a separate 
genus have done so on account of the indusium which they supposed to exist. On this point 
it may be well to extract what Mr. Moore has said : “ The supposed ‘ indusia ’ ascribed 

to this plant, which may be noticed both in the species itself, and in the variety flexile , are 


E ur ope a n Ferns. 

only occasional, or even rare, and they appear never to be seen in company with the more 
perfect sori, but only where the spore-cases are much fewer in number than usual. Now 
they have the appearance of lacerated membranaceo-filamentous expansions of those points 
of the veins which form the receptacles, and appear to arise from some abnormal condition, 
perhaps inherent, which limits the power of producing spore-cases to the side or base of the 
receptacle, while on the upper side its cells are directly prolonged into the indusioid membrane. 
In no case have we seen what could be considered as a perfect and fully developed indusium.” 

The stem or caudex of Polypodium alpestrc is short and stout, with a broad scaly crown, 
the fronds being arranged in a shuttle-cock-like fashion. These are from a foot to three feet 
or more in height, the stipes being about a sixth of the whole frond ; this is clothed rather sparingly 
with long light-brown scales. The habit of the fronds is somewhat stiff, upright or ascending ; 
they are lanceolate and taper both to the base and to the apex, measuring about six inches or so 
across in their widest part. The pinnae, of which there are from twenty to thirty pairs upon 
the average frond, are ascending and narrow, with ovate oblong acute pinnules, which are 
connected at the base by a narrow wing ; they are deeply cut or lobed. The sori are placed 
on the back of the lowermost venules, and appear as though placed in a notch between 

two lobes of the pinnules ; they are confined to the upper half or two-thirds of the frond. 

The distribution of Polypodium alpcstre is by no means wide. In Britain it is mainly 
confined to the east Highlands of Scotland, where it is abundant, often growing with the Lady 
Fern ; and it occurs also sparingly in Inverness-shire and Sutherlandshire. It is apparently 
much relished by sheep, and collectors have said that it is difficult to obtain specimens which 
have not been cropped by these animals. It has not been found in Ireland, and its European 
distribution is limited. It is most frequently met with in the north, being abundant in 
Norway, Sweden, and Lapland ; it is found in the Carpathian Mountains, the Black Forest, 
and in the Pyrenees, but is rare in the south ; it is recorded from the Caucasus, and from 
Lazistan in Asia Minor. In the New World it is found in Sitka, California, and Oregon. 


This is a plant nearly allied to the preceding, and probably only a well-marked variety 
of it, although it is kept distinct by Newman. It is a more slender and delicate plant than 

P. alpesire ; in general outline it is much narrower, the pinnae being shorter, and the stipes 

very short or even absent ; the sori are borne upon the lower portion of the fronds. Dr. 
F. B. White has published a paper upon these two plants, in which, after contrasting a 
series of specimens of each, he considers the narrow base of the pinnules, the somewhat 
narrower frond, and the general habit of the plant as the only characters by which P. Jlexilc 
can be separated from P. alpestre. This being practically all that can be found in the way 
of specific character, it is rather strange to find Dr. White advocating- the maintenance of the 
two as distinct species. P. flexile is even more restricted in geographical range than P. alpestre. 
Its best known locality is Glen Proven, Forfarshire, and it is said to have been found in Suther- 
landshire ; Milde records it as occurring in Lithuania. 

The two plants are not difficult to grow. The first will do well in an open border in 
bog-earth ; in a greenhouse it flourishes in similar soil, in a large pot, plenty of water being 
supplied, which must not be suffered to stagnate. P. flexile makes a very pretty pot-plant 
in a cool greenhouse, requiring similar treatment to that advised for P. alpestre. 


this genus we have two representatives in Europe, which may at once be 
roughly distinguished from any other European fern by their soft dense woolly 
or scaly covering. The genus is not a large one, comprising between thirty 
and forty species, which range over the tropical and warmer temperate regions 
of both hemispheres. It is characterised among European ferns by linear or 
long-oblong dorsal sori, coupled with the dense scaly clothing of the fronds ; 
the latter character separates it from Gymnogramma , to which it is otherwise 
nearly allied, and with which it is united by Milde. The species have tufted 
rhizomes, with small pinnate or bipinnate fronds, which are often, as in the 
European examples, hairy or woolly, and in other cases covered beneath 
with a farinose or silvery-white powder, as in some of the species of 
Gymnogramma. Many of them, although small, are very ornamental : among them may be 
noted N. Hookeri, a plant with bright-green bipinnate fronds, covered beneath with a shining 
white powder ; N. tomentosa, which, as its name denotes, is woolly, the segments of the pinnules 
being very small and fringed with brown hairs ; and N. argentea, the silvery back of which is 
made more striking by the margin of dark-brown fructification with which it is bordered. 

The name Notholcena is often written Nothochlcena. This is an error ; Robert Brown, the 
founder of the genus, wrote Notholcena. Mr. C. B. Clarke regards it as derived from 
“pseudo-wool,” in reference to the scales on the back of the fronds* Mr. Bentham says “the 
contraction of ghalva into Icena , after the example of the Romans, has been too generally 
sanctioned by botanists in many other cases, .such as Diploloena, Eriolcena , Microlcena , etc., to be 
here rejected.” f 


This is a plant with a densely scaly stout woody rhizome, the scales being of a bright 
reddish-brown. The stout stipites, from three to six inches in length, grow closely together, 
and, like the rachis, are densely hairy ; the bipinnate fronds vary from four to ten inches, or 
even to a foot, in length ; they are bipinnate and narrow — from an inch and a half to three 
inches across — with lanceolate pinnae composed of small entire pinnules. The fronds are 
somewhat leathery in texture, pale-green and smooth upon the upper surface, but bright-brown 
below, owing to the ferruginous scales with which they are densely covered. The sori form a 
broad border extending some way from the margin, and much concealed by the scaly covering 
of the fronds. 

N, Marantce is found upon the continent of Europe throughout the Mediterranean region, 
extending to Botzen in the Tyrol, and Hungary, and to Ardeche and Portugal ; in Spain it 
ascends upon the mountains to the height of three thousand feet, growing among stones and in 
the fissures of rocks in shady places. It occurs also in North Africa (Barbary) and Abyssinia, 
as well as in several of the African islands, such as the Cape de Verde Islands, the Azores, Madeira, 

* Trans. Linn. Soc. 2 nd series (Botany), i. 567. 
t “Flora Australiensis,” vii. 773. 


European Ferns. 

and the Canaries. It is reported also from Tauria and Syria, and ascends in the Himalayas to 
an elevation of between fourteen and fifteen thousand feet. 

Although not often met with in cultivation, N. Marantas is a very pretty fern, and will 
grow well under greenhouse treatment. 


This, as its name implies, is a woolly plant, and is at once distinguished from its congener 
by the dense soft woolly coating with which it is covered throughout, although this coating 
is less dense upon the upper side. It is a smaller plant than N, Maranttz , the bipinnate fronds 
being about eight inches long and an inch or a little more broad ; they are broadest in the 
middle. The pinnae are lanceolate, placed closely together. It is a very handsome little plant, 
suitable for greenhouse cultivation. 

Like the last, N. lanuginosa is a plant of Spain and the Mediterranean region, extending 
to North Africa, the Cape de Verde Islands, Madeira, and Teneriffe, and also to temperate and 
tropical Australia. This occurrence of a Mediterranean species in Australia is a somewhat 
remarkable fact in plant distribution. 



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S is a genus of about a hundred species, containing plants of varied habit, 
natives for the most part of tropical regions. Under the name of Gold 
Fern and Silver Fern some of the species are among the most favourite 
ferns of stove collections, owing their English name, and the beautiful 
appearance to which they are indebted for it, to the bright mealy powder 
with which the underside of the fronds is covered. G. chrysophyllct, a West 
Indian species, is perhaps the best known of the golden-fronded group ; 
the fronds vary from less than a foot to two feet in length, being light- 
green above and of a golden hue on the under-surface ; G. sulphured , 
another West Indian species, is similar in hue, but is a much smaller plant. 
The best known of the Silver Ferns are G. calomelanos, which is also West 
Indian, and has large bipinnate fronds one to three feet long, dark-green above and white beneath ; 
and G. tartarea, from South America. There is a great amount of variation in the species, and 
some very handsome forms, either hybrids or “sports,” are in cultivation. G. chcerophylla is a 
pretty little plant which does well in a Wardian-case, and, once established in a fernery, will 
readily reproduce itself by spores : like an ordinary European species hereafter to be described 
at length, it is of annual duration — a somewhat exceptional occurrence among ferns. It is a 
small plant, from six to ten inches high, with very finely-divided bright-green triangular 
fronds, and is a native of Tropical South America. There are many other species of Gymno- 
gramma in cultivation, all of which are deservedly admired. 


This pretty little fern is a plant of wide geographical range — found, indeed, in each of 
the great divisions of the world, although in America it is far from widely distributed, 
occurring at Vera Cruz, in Mexico, and in Ecuador. In Europe it is confined to southern 
and central regions, finding its north limit in Switzerland and France ; in the latter country 
Jersey should be included for purposes of botanical geography, for the including of Jersey 
plants in the British flora has always seemed to us very unscientific. It has, indeed, been 
recorded from a Scottish locality — by the road leading from Braemar to Ballater, in Aberdeen- 
shire — but some error must have occurred. In South Europe we find it in abundance in Spain, 
Portugal, and Italy — indeed, it is one of the characteristic species of the Mediterranean region, 
growing freely upon walls and rocks in rather moist situations ; Sicily, Corsica, and other 
Mediterranean islands produce it, and it extends to Turkey and Greece. It occurs in the 
north of Africa (Algiers, Barbary, Morocco, etc.), and likewise in the south (Cape of Good Hope), 
as also in Abyssinia and in the Atlantic islands — the Azores, Cape Verde Islands, and the Canaries 
— where it is abundant. In Asia it is recorded from Ghilan and Lazistan, from an island in 
the Persian Gulf, and from the Neilgherries, as well as from other Indian localities ; it also 
occurs in Australia (Victoria, Swan River, and Tasmania) and New Zealand. 

The fronds of Gymnogramma leptophylla are few in number, rising upright from the small 
tufted caudex, and from three to six inches high, the stipes being short ; in shape they are 
ovate or somewhat triangular, twice or three times pinnate. These fronds are fertile, the 

1 74 

European Ferns. 

clusters of spores appearing at first like lines upon the under portion, but afterwards opening 
and covering the whole of it. There are also other and shorter fronds, of a more membranous 
texture, and less divided, which produce little or no fruit ; the principal fronds are cut into 
very slender segments. 

This fern, which is sometimes called the Annual Maidenhair, grows readily under a bell- 
glass in a mixture of light loam and sand, scattering its spores freely, and becoming almost 
a weed under favourable circumstances. It is a pretty little species, and well worth cultivating. 


This is a very rare little fern, found only in the fissures of shady rocks in the mountain 
regions of Cantabria, where it was collected by a Spanish botanist named Pozo (from whom 
it takes its name), and in two localities in Granada, at an elevation of three thousand feet. 
Although described as a distinct species, most authors are agreed in regarding it as an out- 
lying form of G. rutcefolia , Hook., a common Australian species, occurring also in Chili and 
New Zealand. It is a small plant, with tufted pinnate fronds from three to six inches in 
length, the pinnae being covered below with brown scaly hairs, which are also scattered over 
the upper surface. The sori are in linear rows in the centre of the under-side of each 
pinna, sometimes spreading over almost its whole surface. In the Spanish plant the fronds 
are of a thinner texture and greener hue than in the type. It has been placed by some 
authors in the genus Cetcrach, in which it is placed in our introductory list (p. xvi.). 



Cassells European Ferns. 

V;j. ;iLU >i, Day f'.Gun iub 







HE genus Osmunda is the type of a suborder of ferns, the Osmnndacece , distin- 
guished from the Polypodiacece by the technical characters given in our sketch 
of the classification of ferns (p. xiii.), and consisting of two genera : Osmunda. 
in which the sori are quite distinct from the leafy portion of the frond, form- 
ing a clustered panicle ; and Todea — a small genus of large ferns which are 
almost confined to Australia and New Zealand, although one (T. barbara ) 
extends to South Africa — in which the sori are, as usual, borne on the back 
of the leafy part of the frond. The authors of the “Synopsis Filicum ” admit 
only six species, several which had been considered distinct by Presl being 
placed “ without hesitation ” under 0 . regalis. One species, O. bipinnata , is 
confined to Hong Kong, and another, O. lancea, to Japan ; in the former of 
these it is the lowermost pinnae that are fertile, the upper being barren, contrary to the order 
observed in a British species ; the latter has distinct barren and fertile fronds. Two others, O 
Claytoniana and O. cinnamomea, are common North American ferns, which were introduced to 
cultivation in England in 1 772; the latter of these has separate barren and fertile fronds, the 
fertile ones, to the cinnamon-coloured sporangia of which the species owes its name, are produced 
from the centre of the tuft, perfecting fruit as they unfold, and withering long before the barren 
ones — which are at length four or five feet high — attain their full dimensions. In O. Claytoniana 
there is only one kind of frond, the sporangia being produced usually upon the middle pinnae, 
but sometimes upon the upper or lower ones. It is a very pretty plant, and well worth growing. 
This extends to the Himalayas, ascending to ten thousand feet, while O. cinnamomea is of wider 
distribution still, extending in the New World to Mexico, New Granada, the West Indies, and 
Brazil, and in the Old World occurring in Japan, Amur-land, and Mandschuria. We will now 
proceed to describe our European species. 


The handsomest and most striking of our European ferns is the one which we have now 
to consider. It is one of the best known and most sought after — one of which the English 
name seems to imply a contradiction, for a fern which could produce flowers would be no fern at 
all. We can understand, however, when we see the tall fronds topped by the rich reddish-brown 
panicle which is formed by the upper pinnae covered with fructification, that a plant so different- 
looking from the ordinary ferns of humble growth, with the spores upon the back of their fronds, 
may have seemed in comparison to produce flowers ; and so it obtained the name of Filix 
florida or jlorescens. 

Very variable in habit is the Flowering Fern, much depending upon its place of growth! 
and it is quite likely that if first met with upon a moor or heath, where it attains only a small 
size, the impression will be one of disappointment. Our own introduction to the plant took 
place under singularly favourable circumstances. We had long heard rumours of its occurrence 
in or about a certain wood, and had hunted in vain for it in almost every direction, when we 
were fortunate enough to make the acquaintance of one of those naturalists in humble life 

European Ferns. 

i 76 

whose knowledge and practical work has only lately been recognised by the appreciation shown 
to some of their leading representatives. We soon found that our friend was fully acquainted 

with the flora and fauna of his neighbourhood — often, 
indeed, he was ignorant of the names of the plants, 
although thoroughly conversant with the plants them- 
selves ; but the Flowering Fern he knew, and where to 
find it. And so it was that one day we were privileged 
to be guided to a corner — by no means a remote one — 
of the wood, and there, near some shallow stagnant 
water, the tall fronds of Osmunda rose majestically 
above the surrounding shrubs, standing straight up 
some five or six feet, and forming a group worthy of 

Third Year. 


First Year. 

Second Year. 

an artist’s pencil. There were not many specimens, but those that there were were singularly 
fine ones ; and, although we have since so often seen the Royal Fern in abundance, we 
have never seen it to such advantage as in this quiet corner of a Buckinghamshire wood. 
Mr. Newman speaks of the impression which the Flowering Fern, fringing the river between 
the lakes at Killarney, made upon the great Scottish novelist. “ One of the boatmen employed 
by Sir Walter Scott,” he says, “on the occasion of his visit to Killarney, told me that Sir 
Walter scarcely uttered a syllable in praise of the scenery until he came to this spot ; and 
here he stopped the rowers, and exclaimed, ‘ This is worth coming to see ! ’ The boatman 

The Flowering Fern. 


evidently thought very meanly of Sir Walter’s opinion, whom he considered in duty bound to 
be in raptures with the lakes and mountains. I do not wonder at the great man’s taste : 



to me it appeared the most wonderfully beautiful spot I had ever beheld, and this beauty 
is mainly owing to the immense size and number of these pendent fronds.” 

Although much sought after, and regarded as uncommon, the Flowering Fern is very generally 


1 78 

E ur ope a . v Ferns. 

distributed in Britain, extending from the extreme south to the Hebrides and the Shetland 
Islands, although absent or unrecorded from many of the Scottish counties. It is extremely 
plentiful throughout the west of Ireland, but becomes rare on the eastern side. Mr. Newman 
speaks of its abundance in the Island of Achill, where, upon one farm, it had become established 
as a weed in the fields, being very troublesome and difficult to eradicate. “ I was amused,” 
he says, “ to see it towering over cabbages and potatoes, and intermixed with oats and wheat.’’ 
An equally curious example of a bog plant becoming a weed struck us at Oakmere, in Cheshire, 
where we found the furrows in the oatfields round the lake full of Sundew ( Drosera 
rotundifolia). The Osmunda is widely spread throughout the continent of Europe, from 
Sweden and Russia to Spain, Italy, and Turkey. On the continent of Africa it occurs in 
Algeria, Zambesi-land, and Angola, and also in many of the African islands— as Mada- 
gascar, Bourbon and Mauritius, and the Azores. In Asia it occurs in many parts of India, 
as Bombay, in the Neilghirries, and Madras. A form, or a closely allied species ( O . speciosa), 
is found in the Himalayas, and another (var. biformis) in Japan and Hong-Kong. In 
North America, the common form has been described as a species under the name of 
O. spectabilis ; this corresponds very closely with the European plant, but is generally 
smaller ; the pinnules are also smaller in proportion and more distant ; this is found in the 
United States, as well as in Newfoundland, Labrador, and Canada : in South America it 
occurs on the Organ mountains, at an elevation of about three thousand feet, and on the banks 
of the Uruguay. 

The Flowering Fern is easily cultivated in moist places, such as by the side of a small 
stream, or by an artificial pool, and in these situations a clump of it is extremely effective ; it 
prefers a peaty soil. It has been stated that the fern may also be successfully grown in dry 
situations ; but the attempts at this mode of growth which we have seen have been by no means 
satisfactory. Those who wish to watch its'development will find it easy to do this in a Wardian- 
case. Mr. Charles P. Hobkirk, of Huddersfield, has a fernery opening out of his dining-room, 
in the centre of that town, in which he has grown the Osmunda for many years ; and we are 
indebted to him for a very interesting series of specimens illustrating the gradual development 
of the plant during the first four years of its existence, from which the figures on preceding 
pages have been made. 

The numerous fronds of the Flowering Fern rise from a stout tufted caudex, which often 
developes upwards so as to resemble a trunk ; this trunk is sometimes a foot and a half or more 
in length, and the plant thus resembles a tree-fern in habit. This caudex has been employed 
in medicine, and indeed still enters into rustic practice. Gerard says, “ The roote, and especially 
the hart or middle part thereof, boiled or else stamped and taken with some kinde of liquor, 
is thought to be good for those that are wounded, dry beaten or brused, that have fallen 
from some high place : and for the same cause the Emperickes do put it in decoctions, which 
the later Phisitions do call wounde drinks : some take it to be so effectuall, and of so great 
a vertue, as that it can dissolve cluttered blood remaining in any inward part of the bodie, 
and that it also can expell or drive it out of the wound.” In the Lake district, where the 
plant is known by the name of “ Bog Onion,” the caudex is still used as an outward application 
for sprains and bruises : it is beaten and covered with cold water, and allowed to remain thus 
during the night ; in the morning a thick starchy fluid is the result, which is used to bathe the 
parts affected. This fluid was formerly used as a substitute for starch in the north of Europe. 
It is also considered a specific for rickets in children. Gerard’s description of the plant is 
sufficiently quaint to be worth extracting : — “Water Feme hath a great triangled stalke two 

The Flowering Fern. 


cubits high, beset upon each side with large leaves spread abroad like wings, and dented or cut 
like Polypodie : these leaves are like the large leaves of the Ash-tree : for doubtlesse when I 
first saw them afar off, it caused me to woonder thereat, 
thinking that I had seen yoong Ashes growing upon a 
bogge, but beholding it a little neerer, I might easily 
distinguish it from the Ashe, by the browne, rough, and 
round graines that grewe on the top of the branches, 
which yet are not the seede thereof but are verie like 
unto the seede : the roote is greate and thicke, folded 
and covered over with manie scales and interlacing rootes, 
having in the middle of the great and hard woodie part 
thereof some small white- 
nesse, ■which hath been called 
the hart of Osmund the 
waterman.” His description 
of the localities in which the 
plant grew in his time also 
contains an amusing re- 
ference, and is worth citing 
as showing that the Osmunda 
was formerly a London plant : 

“It groweth in the midst 
of a bogge, at the further 
end of Hampsteede Heath 
from London, at the bottome 
of a hill adioning to a small 
cottage, and divers other 
places, as also upon divers 
bogges on a heath or com- 
mon neere unto Burntwood 
[Brentwood] in Essex, especi- 
ally neere unto a place there 
that some have digged, to 
the end for to finde a nest 
or mine of golde : but the 
birds were over fledge, and 
flowne away before their 
wings could be clipped.” 

From the Hampstead lo- 
cality it soon disappeared ; 
for Johnson, writing less 
than forty years afterwards, 
says that it was not then to 
be found there. 

The fronds of the Flowering Fern are about equally divided in length between the stipes 
and the leafy portion; their entire height varies from two to twelve feet, the former being 



E ur ope a n Ferns. 

the length of the plants growing on open moorland, while the latter may be taken as the 
extreme of altitude attained by the plant in a shady situation. The base of the stipes is 
curiously flattened out, with a membranous margin, as shown in our plate. The rachis and 
stipes are pale reddish-brown when young, becoming green when mature. The leafy portion 
is delicate and membranous in a young state, and of a pale yellowish-brown hue, becoming 
leathery in texture and of a deep green when fully developed. The panicled upper or fertile 
portion is at first pale-green, becoming ultimately of a rich deep brown. “ Each short spike- 
like branch of this panicle represents one of the pinnules, the spore-cases being collected 
on it into little more or less evident nodules, and the nodules corresponding to the fascicles 
of the veins. This becomes at once evident in the case of partially transformed pinnules,” * 
one of which we figure in our plate. 

The origin of the name Osmuuda, or “ Osmund Royal,” as the old writers call it, is 
involved in mystery ; numerous suggestions have indeed been made, but none carries conviction 
with it. Some see in it a reference to the god Thor, under his name Osmund or Osmunder. 
Sir J. E. Smith says it “appears to have originated in England: Osmund, in Saxon, is the 
proper name of a man, said to mean domestic peace.” Minsheu suggests that it may have 
been so called because a decoction of it was employed for washing the mouth (ad os mun- 
dandum). Dr. Prior thinks it is a corruption of the German gross Mond-kraut, greater moonwort, 
representing its ancient officinal name Lunaria major. Wordsworth’s poetical reference to the 
plant suggests a derivation which is quite unsupported : — 

“ 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.” 

Its really noble appearance may explain the English “King Fern,” as well as the specific 
name rcgalis. In some lines quoted by the eccentric author of “ The Circle of the Seasons ” 
from one of his imaginary works we have another form of the name : — 

“ Aulcl Botany Ben was wont to jog 
Through rotten slough and quagmire bog, 

Or brimful dikes and marshes dank 
Where Jack o’Lanterns play and prank, 

To seek a cryptogamic store 
Of carex, moss, and fungus hoar, 

Of ferns and brakes, and such iike sights 
As tempt the scientific wights 
On winter’s day ; but most his joy 
Was finding what’s called Osman Roy.” 

Christopheriana, or Herb Christopher, another of its old names, very likely refers to its growth 
by the watersides, in which locality St. Christopher, before his conversion, was wont to perform 
his self-imposed task of carrying people across the ford. “Osmund the Waterman” — another 

* Moore’s “Nature-printed British Ferns ” (8vo. ed.), vol. ii., p. 316. 

The Flowering Fern. 

i 8 i 

of its names — suggests that there is some lost legend which, could it be recovered, would clear 
up the point. The following occurs in several books, but is, we imagine, of no antiquity or 
authenticity : — 

At Loch Tyne dwelt the waterman, old Osmund. Fairest among maidens was the daughter 
of Osmund, the waterman. Her light brown hair and glowing cheek told of her Saxon origin, 
and her light steps bounded o’er the green turf like a young fawn in his native glades. Often 
in the stillness of a summer’s evening did the mother and her fairhaired child sit beside the 
lake to watch the dripping and splashing of her father’s oars as he skimmed right merrily 
toward them over the deep blue waters. Sounds as of hasty steps were heard one day, and 
presently a company of fugitives told with breathless haste that the cruel Danes were making 
toward the ferry. Osmund heard them with fear. Suddenly the shouts of furious men came 
remotely on the ear. The fugitives rushed on. Osmund stood for a moment; then snatching 
up his oars he rowed his trembling wife and fair child to a small island covered with the 
great Osmund Royal, and, helping them to land, bade them lie down beneath the tall ferns. 
Scarcely had the ferryman returned to his cottage when a company of Danes rushed in ; 
but they hurt him not, for they knew he could do them service. During the day and night 
did Osmund row backward and forward across the river, ferrying troops of those fierce men. 
When the last company was put ashore, Osmund, kneeling beside the river’s bank, returned 
heartfelt thanks to Heaven for the preservation of his wife and child. Often in after years 
did Osmund speak of that day’s peril ; and his fair child, grown up to womanhood, called 
the tall fern by her father’s name. 



HIS and the next genus, Botrychium , belong, as v/ill be seen by our sketch 
of the classification of ferns (p. xiii.), to a distinct group or sub-order, 
characterised primarily by the spore-cases being without a ring, opening 
down the side nearly to the base, and by the vernation, which is erect, as 
in most flowering plants, not circinate, as in ferns. From the genus 
Botrychium the present genus is distinguished by having the spore-cases, or 
sporangia, in two rows, forming a distichous simple (in the European species) 
spike ; in a frequent tropical species ( O . pahnatuni) there are numerous 
fertile spikes to each frond, and in a South African one ( O . Bergianum) 
the fertile and barren fronds are distinct. At first sight the species of 
Ophioglossum are very unlike ferns ; they must however be regarded as ferns 
in which the spores, instead of being borne on the back of the fronds, 
are raised upon a stem. The common Adder’s-tongue, for example, produces really but a 
single frond which is divided into two parts — the lowest or leaf-like portion being barren, 
and the upper or spiked portion being fertile. 

The authors of the “Synopsis Filicum ” admit ten species of Ophioglossum; the genus is 
represented in most parts of the world. 


This is a plant which is very easily overlooked, although, when once seen, it cannot be 
mistaken for anything else. Moist meadows in spring often abound with Adder’s-tongue ; but 
so nearly is it concealed by the grass, and so much does its uniform green hue resemble 
that of its surroundings, that it is quite possible to walk over a quantity of it without being 
conscious of its presence. It is widely distributed throughout England, Scotland, and Ireland, 
preferring a loamy soil, and is sometimes, although rarely, found in woods. In this latter 
habitat it is conspicuous enough, especially when in fruit ; but in pastures the growing grass 
soon overtops it, and it is then lost sight of. 

The curious appearance of the plant, with its long-stalked spike rising up from the single 
leaf-like barren branch, seems to have suggested some likeness to the tongue of a serpent, 
from which resemblance both the Latin and English names take their rise. Coles, writing 
in 1657, tells us it was called Adder’s-tongue “because out of every leaf it sendeth forth a 
kind of pestal, like unto an adder’s tongue;” and hence, on the time-honoured “doctrine of 
signatures,” it was thought to cure “the bitings of serpents.” This, however, was but one 
of its many “ vertues,” some of which were quaint enough : thus Langham, in his “ Garden 
of Health” (1633), says that “being wrapped in virgin waxe, and put into the left eare of 
a horse, it causeth him to fall as if he were dead, but being taken out, he riseth againe.” 
Its greatest use was as an ingredient in an ointment, which, under the name of Adder’s spear 
ointment, is still, or was until recently, employed in some parts of Sussex and Surrey. This 
ointment was used, among other purposes, as a healing application to the inflamed udders 

Tee Adders Toxgue. 


of cows. In William Ellis’s “Country Housewife’s Family Companion” (1750) we find the 
author saying, “ My maid every year makes a pot of Adder’s-tongue ointment solely for this 
very use ; it grows in my meadows, is known by its pecked stalk, somewhat in the shape 
of an adder’s tongue, and is in its full virtue in August, when we gather it, cut it small, 
bruise it, and boil it with some butter as it is taken out of the churn, free of any salt ; 
then we strain out the thin parts, and press out what remains in the thick herby part, 
and keep it in a glazed earthen pot all the year ready for our want ; and when we want 
it, she rubs it soundly on the cow’s teat or bag, which generally at once or twice using it 
disperses the humour, allays the swelling, and cures. For, thus made, it is a balsam that 
heals green wounds, bitings of venomous creatures, St. Anthony’s fire, burns, scalds, hot tumours, 
aposthemes, spreading sores and ruptures, as a Physician’s character is of it. Others take 
Adder’s tongue, Melilot, and Sellery stalks, and when they have been well bruised, they boil the 
juice up in fresh butter without salt. Others boil the juice of rue and houseleek with that of 
Adder’s-tongue in butter ; but the nicest way of all is, to stamp the Adder’s-tongue herb in a 
mortar, squeeze out its juice, and boil it up in butter or fresh lard, without any salt : but 
butter is best, because the lard may give an unpleasant tang to the milk, if it should be mixt with 
it as the cow is milking. Put the juice and butter into your saucepan together, and boil them 
for a quarter of an hour.” This account is so comprehensive that it seems unnecessary to add 
anything further upon the subject. 

The frond of the Adder’s-tongue rises erect from a short fleshy rhizome, which gives off 
long succulent roots, and has a lateral bud from which the next year’s frond is produced : the 
rhizome is perennial, but the fronds are annual. Some of the roots spread in the manner of 
stolons, and produce new plants at some distance from the parent. When the frond first makes 
its appearance, the fertile portion is enclosed in the barren part ; but the former is soon raised 
above the barren leafy portion and is quite distinct from it. The whole frond, when full-grown, 
is from four or five inches to a foot in height ; the stipes is erect and hollow ; the barren part 
is very smooth, quite entire, sessile, ovate in form, and of a peculiar pale yellowish-green hue ; 
the venation consists of very numerous fine almost parallel veins, which are netted throughout. 
Sometimes the fertile portion is not developed ; it consists of a narrow spike, having smooth 
round sporangia embedded in a single row upon each edge of the spike ; these open trans- 
versely for the discharge of the sporules, and, remaining gaping, give the spike a jagged irregular 

The distribution of the Adder’s-tongue is very wide. It extends almost throughout Europe . 
in Asia it occurs in the Caucasus, the Himalayas, Kamtschatka, Unalaska, and Japan. In 
Africa it is reported from Angola, the Guinea coast, Abyssinia, and numerous of the islands — 
the Azores, Madeira, St. Helena, and the Mascarenes ; also from Cape Colony (a form called 
O. capense). In the New World it is stated to occur in Mexico, as well as in temperate North 
America ; as also in Australia and New Zealand. 

If taken up carefully, so as to avoid damage to the roots, the Adder’s-tongue is easily 
cultivated in suitable situations, and when once established will maintain its position with little 
or no attention. 

There is a variety of the Adder’s Tongue, known as O. ambiguum , which occupies a position 
about midway between this and the next species, and has been found in several localities in 
Orkney, as well as in the Scilly Islands and near Barmouth, Merionethshire. It attains maturity 
at a much later date than the typical plant, and is considerably smaller in size. It is found in 
France, and probably in other localities on the Continent. 


E ur opr a n Ferns. 


This diminutive species is of wide distribution. It can hardly be considered a British plant, 
in the strict sense of the term, although it is found in Jersey, where it was discovered in 1854, and 
was quite recently discovered in Ireland, upon Horn Head in north-western Donegal. It is a 
common plant in the Mediterranean region, and is found in Algeria and Morocco, as well as in 
the Atlantic Islands — the Azores, the Canaries, Madeira, and the Cape Verde Islands. Mr. Baker 
includes under this species O. gramineum , Willd., from northern and peninsular India, as well as 
another plant, called O. gramineum by Brown, from New Zealand and Australia, and “ three 
closely-allied forms gathered by Dr. Welwitsch in Angola.” But he retains it as distinct from O. 
vulgatum , with which, however, some authors unite it. 

Ophioglossum lusitanicum is readily distinguished from the common Adder’s-tongue by its 
very small size, the whole plant being rarely more than three inches in height, and sometimes 
scarcely attaining one inch. The barren portion of the frond is much narrower than in O. vul- 
gatum , tapering gradually to the base, and it also differs, as will be seen from our figure, in the 
reticulation, which is much less branched ; the texture, too, is thicker. A minute character by 
which the two species may be distinguished is to be found in the spores, which are tubercuiated in 
O. vulgatum , but smooth in 0. lusitanicum. The fronds are produced in the autumn, remaining 
throughout the winter, and dying down in the spring. So small a plant is, of course, likely to be 
overlooked, and it is probable that a close search for it in some of the south-western districts of 
England might be rewarded by its discovery. 

Cassells European Ferns 

Vmcenl Brooks Day &. Son Xith 




I*& l B 6 TIMES t4AT SIZE 2* A 2“ 4 TIMES NAT. SIZ.L 

2? *4 



2* * 4 




HIS genus, like the preceding, is constituted of species having fronds of two 
branches, one being fertile and the other barren ; and it is at once distinguished 
from Ophioglossum by having both the fertile and barren branches again divided, 
; while in Ophioglossum they are simple. Another difference may be noted in 
the way in which new fronds are produced. In Botrychhnn the frond for the 
ensuing year may be found enclosed in the base of the stem of the existing 
frond, and within that the frond for the year next following, and so on ; but 
in Ophioglossum the new frond is produced outside the stem, not within it as 
in the Moonwort. 

There are about a dozen species of Botrychium — more or less, according 
to the estimate taken of what constitutes a species. These are found through- 
out the world, with the exception of Africa, in which the genus is unrepresented, extending from 
the tropical to the arctic regions, and most abundant in the temperate regions of the northern 
hemisphere. They are involved in some confusion, and not always very easily distinguishable. 
Those desirous of pursuing the subject critically will find a careful analysis of the species in 
Milde’s “ Filices European. ” 


This is the best-known and only British species of the genus. It is a short stout plant, 
with a frond from an inch to four inches in height, and divided, as we have already remarked, 
*nto two parts. The smooth dark-green leafy or barren portion of the frond is pinnate, the 
pinnae, which vary in number from three to eight or nine pairs, are fan-shaped and semi-circular 
or crescent-shaped in outline ; this form probably suggested some connection between this 
plant and the moon, whence the Latin name Lunaria , and the English “ Moonwort.” The fertile 
part of the frond is bipinnate, somewhat triangular in outline, the pinnae or branches bearing 
a number of smooth, nearly spherical spore-cases, which open transversely when ripe, and allow 
the smooth pale spores to fall out. Mr. Newman suggests that it is a parasitic plant, but other 
writers do not concur in this belief. The Moonwort, although recorded for nearly all the 
English and most of the Scottish counties, is by no means a common plant, although probably 
more common than is generally supposed. It grows in dry open pastures and upon heaths, 
and is very liable to be overlooked, as it is not readily distinguishable from the grass 
among which it grows. In Ireland it is recorded from most if not all of the counties, often 
occurring in dry limestone pastures. The fronds appear above ground in April, attaining 
their full development in May or June. It is generally distributed over Europe and Northern 
Asia, but is absent from the American and Atlantic floras. In Europe it extends to arctic 
Russia, Livonia, Lithuania, and the Caucasus ; it also occurs in Spain, Italy, and the Mediter- 
ranean islands. In Asia it occurs in Kamtschatka, Persia, and Lazistan ; it is also recorded 
from Australia and Tasmania ; while in the New World it is found in Newfoundland and in 
the northern United States. 


1 86 

European Ferns. 

The Moonvvort was in old times accredited with mysterious and magical powers. Parkinson, 
writing in 1640, says: “It hath beene formerly related by impostors and false knaves, and is 
yet believed by many, that it will loosen lockes, fetters, and shooes from those horses feete, that 
goe in the places where it groweth ; and have been so audatious to contest with those who have 
contradicted them, that they have been knowne and seene it to doe so ; but what observation 
soever such persons doe make, it is all but false suggestions and meere lyes : some alchymists 
also in former times have wonderfull extolled it to condensate or convert quicksilver into pure 
silver, but all these tales were but the breath of idleheaded persons, which divers to their cost 
and losse of time and labour have found true, and now are vanished away with them, like the 
aire or smoake therein.” The traditional power of the Moonwort over iron is well known. Cul- 
peper (ed. 1653) says: “Moonwort is an herb which they say wil open locks, and unshoo such 
horses as tread upon it ; this some laugh to scorn, and those no smal fools neither ; but country 
people that I know, cal it Unshoo the Horse ; besides I have heard commanders say, that on 
White Down in Devon-shire near Tiverton, there was found thirty hors-shoos, pulled off from 
the feet of the Earl of Essex his horses being there drawn up in a body, many of them being 
but newly shod, and no reason known, which caused much admiration ; and the herb described 
usually grows upon heaths.” Coles in his “ Adam in Eden ” says : “ 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 key-hole.” There is a curious passage illustrating this belief in Aubrey’s “ Natural History of 
Wiltshire ” which is worth transcribing, although of course the supposed circumstance which it 
records is, as Ray says, undoubtedly a fable. It runs as follows : — “ Sir Bennet Hoskins, Baronet, 
told me that his keeper at his parke at Morehampton, in Herefordshire, did, for experiment 
sake, drive an iron naile thwert the hole of the woodpecker’s nest, there being a tradition that the 
damme will bring some leafe to open it. He layed at the bottome of the tree a cleane sheet, 
and before many houres passed the naile came out, and he found a leafe lying by it on the 
sheete. Quaere the shape or figure of the leafe. They say the moonewort will doe such things. 
This experiment may easily be tryed again. As Sir Walter Raleigh saies, there are stranger 
things to be seen in the world than are between London and Stanes.” 

As might be expected, a plant of such wonderful power has not escaped the notice of the 
poets. If we may believe the Ettrick Shepherd, witches found the Moonwort of considerable 
use when preparing for their nocturnal excursions : — 

“ The first leet night, quhan the new moon set, 

Quhan all was douffe and mirk, 

We saddled our naigis wi’ the moon-fern leif, 

And rode fra Kilmenin kirk.” 

Du Bartas writes : — 

“ Horses that, feeding on the grassy hills, 

Tread upon moonwort with their hollow heels, 

Though lately shod, at night goe barefoot home, 

Their maister musing where their shoes be gone. 

O moonwort ! tell us where thou hid’st the smith, 

Hammer and pincers, thou unshodst them with ? 

Alas ! what lock or iron engine is’t 
That can thy subtile secret strength resist, 

Sith the best farrier cannot set a shoe 
So sure, but thou so shortly cans’t undoe ! ” 


1 87 

So George Wither, writing in 1622, says : — 

“ There is an herb, some say, whose vertue’s such 
It in the pasture, only with a touch, 

Unshooes the new shod steed.” 

And, again, Ben Jonson enumerates it among the herbs collected for various purposes: — 

“ I ha’ been plucking plants 'among — 

Hemlock, henbane, adder’s tongue. 

Nightshade, moonwort , libbard’s bane, 

And twice by the dogs was like to be ta’en.” 

According to Mr. Newman, the Moonwort is the easiest of all ferns to cultivate, never refusing 
to grow freely if properly treated. “ First dig up a large sod, where a few mature fronds are 
conspicuous among the grass ; take care to have it broad enough and deep enough, so that not one 
of the roots of the Moonwort is exposed, much less injured ; fit this sod in a large pot, a saucer, 
or even a box ; place it in the open air, and be sure to add comfort or rich vegetable soil.” 


This species is very nearly allied to the common Moonwort, but can usually be readily 
distinguished by the shape of the barren segment of the frond ; this is somewhat triangular in 
shape and broadest at the base, while in B. Lunaria the general outline is lanceolate, the lower 
portion not being broader than the centre of the segment. The barren division is divided into 
several pinnae, which approach each other closely, the lower ones being deeply pinnatifid. The 
fruiting portion of the frond is pedunculate, the panicle of fruit being dense and bipinnate, and 
•somewhat triangular in shape. 

This is widely distributed in the north of Europe, extending to Switzerland and northern 
Italy in a few localities ; it occurs also in Unalaska. It has been reported as an English plant, 
but its occurrence as such requires confirmation. B. boreale of Milde — a small plant approaching 
B. Lunaria in appearance — is considered by the authors of the “ Synopsis Filicum ” as a slight 
variety of this. 

Botrycliium lanceolatuin , Angst., is nearly allied to B. matricaricefolium, under which the 
authors of the “ Synopsis Filicum ” place it as a variety. It is a more slender and smaller plant, 
with narrow almost linear pinnae separated from each other (not close together, as in the species 
just named), and with a smaller panicle. It is found in northern Europe, Siberia, and North 


This is a fleshy, sometimes slightly hairy plant, varying from four to twelve inches in height ; 
the barren segment rises on a long petiole from near the base of the plant, and is broadly triangular 
in outline, divided into three pinnatifid divisions, the lower pinnae being much the largest. The 
fertile segment is raised considerably above the barren portion, and is triangular in shape, and 
very much divided. B. ternatum is a plant of wide distribution, although its European range is 
very restricted. It extends in the New World from the Hudson’s Bay Territory to New Granada 
and California, where it attains a very large size. In the Old World it occurs in Australia and 
New Zealand, and in Japan, Siberia, and Lapland. The young unexpanded frond is covered with 
soft hairs or down. 

1 88 

European Ferns. 


This is in some of its forms the smallest species of the genus, never exceeding six 
inches in height, and usually much smaller, the average height being from two to three 
inches. It has a slender stem, the sterile segment of the frond being usually towards 
the base, varying from nearly or quite simple in very small examples, to deeply lobed in 
longer specimens ; the shape also varying from roundish-ovate to somewhat triangular, or 
even ternate. The panicle or fertile segment is raised on a long peduncle ; in very small 
specimens this is quite simple, but it is subsequently more or less branched, in most cases 
resembling that of the common Moonwort. Several forms have been described, based upon 
the variations above indicated, especially in the fertile part of the frond. The example 
figured in the plate is one of the smallest of these. This species is a native of 
northern and central Europe, as well as of California, British North America, and the northern 
United States. 


This is the handsomest and largest of the Moonworts. It differs in texture from the preceding 
species, being thin and membranous when mature, although in its early stage it is of a thick 
fleshy texture, resembling that of the other species. It is very variable in size, sometimes attaining 
as much as two feet in height and sixteen inches in breadth at the base of the sterile branch. This 
branch is sessile above the middle of the stipes, and ternate ; the fertile portion is from two to three 
times pinnate. In general appearance the leafy portion of the frond resembles the foliage of 
some umbelliferous plants. This extends from Norway to Austria ; it is found in many parts of 
Asia and North America, extending to Mexico. 

Cassells European Ferns. 



VincenlBrooic; Diy^.SonLiih 



Aberdeen, Cystoftteris Dickieana near, 23. 

Aberdeenshire, Ferns found in, 140, 173. 

Abyssinia, Ferns found in, 24, 30, 40, 46, 51, 80, 
108, 109, 145, 1 71, 173, 183. 

Achill Island, and the Flowering Fern, 178. 

Acrostichece, tribe of, xiii. 

Acrostichum , venation of, v. ; sorusof, vii. 

A. aureurn , 79 ; economic value of, xxix. 

A. Huascaro , medicinal properties of, xxviii. 

Actiniopteris radiata , description and locality of, 

1 38- 

Adder’s Fern, a name for the Polypody, 73, 165. 

Adder-spit, a name for the Bracken, 38, 73. 

Adder’s Spear Ointment, and the Ophioglossum 
vulgatum , xxvi. , 182. 

Adder’s Tongue, or Ophioglossum , 182 ; various 
reasons for the name, 182, 183 ; its medicinal 
properties, 182, 183 ; description of, 183; distri- 
bution of, 183; varieties of, 183; a name for 
Blechnum, 73 ; vernation of, i., vi. ; medicinal 
properties of, xxvi.; preservation of, xxxi. 

Adiantum , indusium of, viii. ; genus of, xii. ; 
species and distribution of, 42, 43 ; description 
of, 44 ; Pliny’s derivation of the word, 48 ; and 
Cheilanthes radiata , 52. 

A. cethiopicum , 42, 46, 47, 50. • 

A. asari folium, locality of, 42. 

A. CapiUus-veneris, or True Maidenhair, 42, 43, 
47, 5°> 93 » distribution of, xvi., 112 ; medicinal 
properties of, xxviii., 47, 48 ; description and lo-. 
cality of, 44 — 46; etymology and folk-lore of, 49. 

A. caudatum, locality of, 42. 

A. cuneatum, the true Maidenhair; description 
and cultivation of, 49, 50. 

A. digit atum, locality and description of, 44. 

A. dolabriforme , medicinal properties of, 48. 

A. Farley etise, 43, 44, 91, 104 ; description and 
locality of, 43, 44. 

A. Feei, locality and description of, 44. 

A. fragile , locality of, 44; Sir W. Hooker and, 44. 

A. lunulatum, locality of, 42. 

A.macrophyllum, locality and description of, 44. 

A. melanocaulon, medicinal properties of, 48. 

A. Parishiiy fronds of, 42 ; locality of, 42. 

A. pedatum, at Kew, xxxvii. ; medicinal pro- 
perties of, xxviii., 42, 48 ; locality and descrip- 
tion of, 42, 48 ; its similarity to the true Maiden- 
hair, 48 ; French name of, 93. 

A. renijorme, fronds of, 42 ; locality of, 42. 

A. scutum , 44. 

A. tenerum, 43 ; French name of, 93. 

A. trapeziforme , 43, 99. 

Afghanistan, Ferns found in, 53, 55, 92, 103, 108, 
112, 114, 129, 166. 

Africa, North, Ferns found in, 46, 71, 99, 112, 135, 

Africa, South, Ferns found in, xv. , xvi., xxix., 
xxxvii., 18, 40, 109, 1 1 2, 145, 163, 175, 182. 

Africa, Tropical, Ferns found in, xiv. — xvi., 19, 
2 9» 39. 4°. 46, 5 X » 64, 109, 138, 149, 183. 

Agardh, 29. 

Aintab, Asia Minor, S colope tulrium Hemionitis 
near, 137. 

Airlie Castle, Forfarshire, Asplenium germanicum 
near, 115. 

Aitchison, Dr., on species of Asplenwm, 103, 112. 

Alabama, Ferns found in, 14, 46. 

Alaska, IVoodsia ilvensis in, 6. 

A Ichemilla alpina , 62. 

Algeciras, Ferns found in, n, 20. 

Algeria, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., 39, 46, S3, 54, 
86, 92, 97, 99, 105, 108, 119, 129, 131, 135, 137, 
163, 173, 178, 184. 

Algoa Bay, Maidenhair in, 46. 

Alkali from the ashes of the Bracken, 30, 31. 

Allchin, Dr., 146. 

Altosorus, a generic symbol of Parsley Fern, 59, 
60 ; etymology, 60. 

A. acrostichoides, 61, 63. 

A. BrutionianuSy 61, 63. 

A. crispuSy 61. 

A. minutuSy a name for A. Stelleriy 61. 

A. sitchensis, 61. 

A. Stelleriy description and locality of, 61. 

Alnwick, Aspleniion fontanum at, 102, 103. 

Alpine Lady’s Mantle, and the Parsley Fern, 62. 


Alps, Ferns found on the Swiss, 5, 24, 26, 63. 

A Isophila, geographical distribution of, xiii.; sori 
of, xliii. 

A. excelsa, economic value of, xxix. 

A. lunulata, economic value of, xxviii., xxix. ; 
fronds of, used as food, xxviii. 

Altai region, Ferns found in the, 3, 114. 

Amazon, Species of ferns found near the, xiv. 
Ambleside, Forked Spleenwort at, 114. 

America, Central, Polystichum angulare in, 145. 
America, North Temperate, Species of ferns in,. 

xv., 53, 151, 178, 183 ; fern-collecting in, xxxiv. 
America, South Temperate, Species of # ferns in, 
xiv. — xvi. 

America, Tropical, Ferns found in, xiv. — xvi., 8, 
12, 14, 16, 29, 42—44, 52, 67, 68. 

American Water-weed, Auacharis Alsinastrum, 
84 ; its nickname, 125. 

Amersham, Asplenium fontanum at, 101 — 104. 
Amurland, Ferns found in, 5, 124, 149, 159, 175. 
Anacharis Alsinastrum , 84, 125. 

Anastomosing venation, definition of, v. 

Andalusia, Davallia canarieiisis in, 20. 

Andes, Ferns found on the, xiv., 18, 24, 53, 65, 90. 
Andrews, Mr., 13. 

Anemia tomentosay scent of, 53. 

Atigiopteris evecta, economic properties of, xxviii., 
xxix. ; scent of, 53. 

Anglesey, Lastrea cemula in, 162. %. 

Angola, Ferns found in, 14, 39, 149, 178, 183, 184. 
Annual Maidenhair, a name for Gymnogranima 
leptophyllay 174. 

Annulus , definition of, vii. 

Antheridiay definition of, viii. 

Antrim, Ferns found in, 62, 166. 

Apennines, Cystopteris montana on the, 26. 
Arabia, Ferns found in, 39, 40, 46, 51, 108, 138. 
Arabia, Tropical, no ferns in, xiv. 

Archego?iia , definition of, viii. 

Arctic regions, Ferns found in the, xiv., 24, 90, 159. 
Ardeche, Notholcena Marantce in, 171. 

Areolce, 76; definition of, v. 

Argyle ; Ferns found in, 17, 129. 

Armenia, Black Maidenhair Spleenwort in, 108. 
Arnott, Professor, 5.' 

Arran, Isle of, Ferns found in, 14, 46 — 48, 164. 
Arrowhead, or Sagittaria sagitt /folia, 75. 

Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh, Asplenium germani- 
cum on, 1 15. 

Asia, Central, Ferns found in, xv., xvi. 

Asia, Eastern, Cheilanthes tenuifolia in, 52. 

Asia Minor, Ferns found in, 24, 135, 137, 140, 156, 

Asia, Northern, Ferns found in, 1, 3, 29, 52, 149, 

. i8 5- 

Asia, 'lemperate, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., 145. 
Asia, Tropical, Ferns found in, xiv., xvi., 39, 138. 
Asia, Western, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., 145. 
Asiatic Russia, Lastrea rigida in, 156. 

Asparagus, Fronds of ferns used as substitutes for, 
xxviii., 50. 

Aspidiece , tribe of Polypodiacece , xiii., 119 ; distri- 
bution of, xvii. 

Aspidium , genus of ; xiii. 

A. aculeatum , distribution of, xvii. ; its utilisa- 
tion in protecting the fruit of the fig-tree, 143. 
A. ce m/ilum , locality of, xiv., xvii. ; scent of, 52. 
A. a 7 igulare , distribution of, xvii. 

A. cristaUmi, distribution of, xvii. 

A. dilatatum , distribution of, xvii. 

A. Filix-mas, 31, 79 ; distribution of, xvii. ; 

medicinal properties of, xxvi. 

A - frag rans, economic properties of, xxviii.; 

scent and locality of, xiv., 52. 

A . Lonchitisy distribution of, xvii. 

A. montatium, distribution of, xvii.; scent of, 52. 
A. proliferuniy 79. 

A. remotum, distribution of, xvii. 

A . rigidum, distribution of, xvii. 

A. spinulosuniy distribution of, xvii.; Hooker on, 

A. Thelypteris, distribution of, xvii. ; rhizome 
of, xxxi. 

A. tayge tense, 24. 

Asplenicic l tribe of Polypodiacece , xii. ; distribution 
of, XVI. 

Asplenium , genus of, xii., 82, 85 ; sorus of, vii. ; 
preservation of, xxxi. ; varieties of, 82 ; uses 
of, 84. 

A. Adiantum-nigrum, 48, 91, 105, — no; dis- 
tribution of, xvi., 108 ; medicinal properties of, 
xxviii., 107; fronds of, 83, 108; French name 
of, 93 ; description of, 107 ; locality of, 108 ; 
varieties of, 108, 109 ; cultivation of, no. 

A. adulteri 7 mm, locality and description of, 91. 

A. alternifolium , a Continental name for A. 
germanicum, 115. 

A. ancepSy locality and description of, 96. 

A. Breynii , a Continental name for A. germani - 
cum, 115. 

A. bulbiferum, 66; a viviparous plant, 84. 

A. dolosum , 91. 

A. ebeneum, 79, 91, 138. 

A. ebenoides, 138; locality of, 91. 

A. fissum, distribution of, xiv., xvi. ; description 
and locality of, 116. 

A. fontanum, 100, 102, 104, 112 ; distribution of, 
xvi. ; history of, 101 ; locality of, 103; how 
distinguished from other species, 103, 104 ; 
description of the Amersnam plant, 104 ; 
varieties of, 104 ; Milde’s arrangement of the 
plant, 104. 

A. fragile, 79, 90. 

A. germanicum, 97, 114, 115 ; distribution of, 
xiv., xvi. ; locality and description of, 115. 

A. Hemio/iitis, distribution of, xvi., 86; fronds 
of, 82 ; description o f , 84, 85 ; and Scolope/i - 
drium Hemionitis , 85, 137 ; varieties of, 86. 

A. Hemionitis cristatuni, 86, 137. 

A. Heuffleri, distribution of, xiv., xvi. ; descrip- 
tion and locality of, 97; and A, Trichoma/ies 
and A. germanicum, 97. 

A. lanceolatuni, distribution of, xvi.; locality 
and description of, 105 ; how distinguished, 
105 ; varieties of, 106; viviparous character of, 

A. lepidum , 116; distribution of, xvi. 

A. lucidum , 84 ; New Zealand folk-lore of, xxv. 

A. marinum , distribution of, xvi. ; description 
of, 98 ; locality of, 99 ; varieties of, 99, 100. 

A. muscefoliwu, 85. 

A . Nidus, fronds of, 82; locality and description 
of, 85. 

A. palmatuniy a name for A. Hemionitis , 86. 

A. Petrarclue, locality of, xiv., xvi., 97 ; cultiva- 
tion of, xviii. ; description of, 97. 

A . projectum , 90. 

A. rejract/im, description of, 104. 

A. Ruta-muraria , 48, 92, no — 113, 115; distri- 
bution of, xvi., 112; medicinal properties of, 
xxvi., xxviii., m, 112; French name of, 93 ; 
Parkinson’s account of, no, m ; description 
of, 112, 113 ; viviparous character of, 146. 

A. salic folium, fronds of, 82. 

A. Seelosii, no; distribution of, xiv., xvi. ; cul- 
tivation of, xviii. ; description and locality of, 

A. septentrionale , 112 — 115 ; Gerard’s descrip- 
tion of, 113; locality of, 114 ; distribution of, 
xvi. ; cultivation of, xviii. 

A. Sinelii, 106. 

A. T richomanes, 15, 49, 68, 82, 88, 89, 91, 112, 
115, 120; distribution of, xvi., 92 ; etymology 
and folk-lore of, 93 ; Parkinson’s account of, 
93 ; description of, 94 ; varieties of, 95 ; fructi- 
fication of the upper surface of the fronds, 95 ; 
Prof. Asa Gray on, 96. 

A. Trichomanes rajnosum , 89, 95. 

A. viride , 82, 88 — 91, 93, 94, 97 ; distribution of, 
xvi., 89, 1 12 ; fronds of, 82 ; description of, 89 ; 
allied species, 90 ; cultivation of, 91. 

Assam, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., 1. 

Athens, Ferns found at, 46, 47. 

Athyrium, xii., 104, 117. 

A. crenatum, xiv. ; distribution of, xvi. ; de- 
scription and locality of, 124. 

A. Filixfcemina , 117 — 123 ; caudex of, iii. ; dis- 
tribution of, xvi. ; and Ray’s Filix minor 
longifolia, 108, 109 ; its affinity to Asplenium, 
1 17; and Polypodium alpestre, 169. 

A. fontanum and Asploiium fontanum, 104. 

A . pectinatum, 1 19. 


European Ferns. 

Aubrey, John, and the Bracken, 32 ; and the 
Moonwort, 186. 

Auckland Isles, Ferns found in, xv., xvi. , 17. 

Auer, Alois, and nature-printed ferns, xl. 

Australia, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., xxxvii., 8, 18, 
29, 42, 46, 52, 66, 68, 80, 81, 119, 172, 175, 183 — 
185, 187. 

Austria, Ferns found in, 63, 108, 116, 188. 

Ayrshire, Ferns found in, 129, 145. 

Azores, Ferns found in the, xiv. — xvi., n, 14, 17, 
18, 38, 46, 71, 80, 86, 92, 105, 108, 109, 1 19, 135, 
145, 151, 160, 162, 171, 173, 178, 183, 184. 

Babington, Prof., 24, 25, 155; a “splitter,” 56; 
his “ Manual of British Botany,” 24, 56. 

Babingtonia damnosa , a rickname for Ateacharis 
A lsi?iastrum , 125. 

Backhouse, Mr. James, 6, 15, 25. 

Baden, Onoclea Stru thiopteris in, 3. 

Baiera , genus of Oolite ferns, xliv. 

Baikal, Ferns found at, 3, 7. 

Baker, Mr. J. G., and the “Synopsis Filicum,” 
xxxv., 5, 76, 82 ; and the geographical dis- 
tribution of ferns, xiii., xiv. ; works by, on 
ferns, xxxv., xxxvi. 

Baku, Pteris cretica near, 40. 

Balabala, The, or Alsophila lunulata of the Fiji 
Islands, xxviii., xxix. 

Balantium chry so trichum, medicinal properties 
of, xxviii. 

B. Culcita , a name for Dicksonia Culcita , 11. 

Banffshire, Polystichum Pouchitis in, 140. 

Banyan, or Ficies indica , and Lomaria caudata , 65. 

Barbadoes, Adiantum Farley ense in, 43. 

Barbary, Ferns found in, 171, 173. 

Barberry, Berberis vulgaris, and the “ doctrine 
of signatures,” 83 ; etymology of, 128. 

Barmouth, Ferns found at, 105, 183. 

Baitas, Sieur du, Lines by, on the Scythian lamb, 
10 ; on the Spleenwort, 126 ; on the Moon- 
wort, 186. 

Basi/ugal , definition of, vi. 

Bauer, Francis, 4 ; illustrations of ferns by, xxxv. 

Bauhin, and Blechnum Spicant, 75. 

Bauhin, Caspar and John, 59. 

Bauhiuia , The genus, 59. 

Baxter, Mr., 146. 

Beech Fern, locality and description of, 168. 

Belfast, A sfileteium fontanum near, 103. 

Belgium, Ferns found in, 17, 45, 63, 105, 108, 129. 

Bellbank, and the Killarney Fern, xxxiv., 13, 14. 

Beloochistan, Ferns found in, 53, 54. 

Benbo mountain, Leitrim, The Oak Fern on, 166. 

Ben Johnson and the Moonwort, 187. 

Ben Lawers, Ferns found on, 5, 26. 

Bennett, Dr. George, and Asplenium litcidum , 


Bennett, Mr. E. T., 147. 

Bentham, Mr., 88, 171 ; work by, xxxviii. ; a 
“ lumper,” 56. 

Betberis vulgaris , and the “doctrine of signa- 
tures,” 83. 

Berkeley, Rev. M. J., and the Bracken, 30. 

Bermuda, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., 99. 

Bernhardi, and Allosomes, 60. 

Berwick, Polystichum augularc in, 145. 

Bignoniacece , Economic properties of, xxv. 

Bipiniiate , definition of, v. 

Bipiuuatijid, definition of, v. 

Bipinnatisect , definition of, v. 

Bird’s-foot Trefoil, preservation of, xxix. 

Bird’s-nest Fern, locality and description of, 85. 

Birmingham Botanic Garden, and the Scythian 
lamb, 10. 

Blackberry, The, and the “splitters,” 56. 

Black Country, Bracken folk-lore in, 35. 

Black Forest, Polypodium alpestre in the, 170. 

Black Maidenhair, medicinal properties of, xxviii. 

Black Maidenhair Spleenwort, 48, 83, 106 — no ; 
French name of, 93 ; Gerard’s account of the 
plant, 10 7 ; various names of the plant, 107 ; its 
medicinal properties, 107; its cultivation, no. 

Black Oak Fern, old name for Black Maidenhair 
Spleenwort, 107. 

Black Sea, Polystichum angulare near, 145. 

Bladder Fern, 21, 25. 

Blechneez, ribe of PolyPodiacece, xii. ; distribution 
of, xvi. 

Blechnum, genus of, xii. ; and Lomaria, 64 — 
68 ; species and distribution of, 67 ; varieties 
of, 68, 70 ; vernacular names of, 73 ; ety- 
mology of, 74. 

B. asplenioides , description and locality of, 68. 

B. boreale , dimorphism of, vi. ; and Lomaria , 


B. cartilagineum , economic properties of, xxviii., 
68 ; locality and description of, 68. 

B. gracile , 68. 

B. Lanceola , 67, 68 ; locality and description of, 

B. lotigifolium , description and locality of, 68. 

B. radicates, Linnaeus's name for Woodwardia 
radicans, 78. 

B. Spicaiet, 58, 67, 95, 145 ; distribution of, xvi. ; 
and Lomaria , 64 ; Gerard and Parkinson on, 
69 ; description of, 69 ; Mr. Moore on varieties 
of, 70, 71 ; distribution of, 70, 71 ; generic and 
specific names of, 74, 75 ; viviparous character 
of, 146. 

B. virginicum , Linnaeus’s name for Woodwardia 
virgitiica, 76. 

B. volubile , locality and description of, 67. 

Bloxam, Rev. A., and Aspleteitem fotetcLteum, 103. 

Bobart, 1, 42. 

Bog Asphodel and Maidenhair, 49. 

Bog-plants and weeds, 178. 

Bohemia, Bracken folk-lore in, 35 ; ferns found in, 
3, 6, 90, 91, 1 16. 

Boissier, and Lastrea rigid a , 156. 

Bolivia, Species of ferns in, xv., xvi. 

Bolton, James, on the Killarney and other Ferns, 
xxxiv., 13, 14, 23, 101 ; work by, on ferns, 
xxxiv., 13. 

Bombay, The Flowering Fern at, 178. 

Bordeaux, Synod at, and the Bracken, 33. 

Borneo, Ferns found in, xxviii., 19, 82. 

Borrer, The late Mr., 1. 

Borrowdale, Asplenium germateicum in, 115. 

Bory, 18, 45, 47. 

Boscastle, Ferns found at, 14, 47. 

Bosch, Dr. Van den, on the Hymeteophyllece, xxxvi. 

Botanical Record Club, The, ico. 

Botrychium , sporangia of, vii. ; classification of, 
x. ; genus of, xiii., 182, 185 — 188. 

B. boreale, 187 ; distribution of, xvii. 

B. lanceolatum , distribution of, xvii. 

B. Lunar ia, 58, 112, 185 — 187; distribution of, 
xvii., 185 ; Parkinson, Coles, &c., on the sup- 
posed magical powers of, 185 — 187. 

B. veatricaricefolium , distribution of, xvii., 187 ; 
and B. lanceolatum, 187 ; description of, 187. 

B. simplex , description of, 188 ; distribution of, 
xvii., 188. 

B. ternatum, description of, 187 ; distribution 
of, xvii., 178. 

B. virginicum , 188 ; distribution of, xvii., 188. 

Bourbon, Island of, Ferns found in, xiv., 18, 40, 
108, 178. 

Bracken, The, 27 — 29 ; subterranean stem of, iv. ; 
venation of, v. ; sorus of, vii. ; indusium of, viii. ; 
preservation of, xxx., xxxi. ; economic proper- 
ties of, xxv., xxvii., 30, 31 ; locality of, 29 ; 
medicinal uses of, 31, 32 ; lines by Cowper, 
Burns, and Tannahill on, 32 ; folk-lore of, xxv., 
33 — 35 ; rhizome of the, 36 ; lines by Miss 
Tomkins on, 36 ; Tusser on, 37 ; etymology of, 
37 ; various names of, 29, 37, 38, 73, 74. 

Bradbury, Mr. H., and nature-printed ferns and 
seaweeds, xl. 

Brae mar, Cystopteris alpina on, 26. 

Brand, and Bracken folk-lore, 34. 

Brandon. Ireland, Polystichum Loiechitis on, 140. 

Brazil, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., xxix., 16, 18, 29, 
41, 42, 48, 50, 64, 67, 68/99, I2 9> i 3 i 5 j 75 j L he 
flora of, xxxvi. 

Breckan, a Scotch name for ferns, 32. 

Brecknockshire, Ferns found in, 90, 167. 

Bree, Rev. W. T., and Aspleteium fontateum, 103. 

Brentford, Asplenium Ruta-meeraria at, 112. 

Brentwood, Osmunda formerly found at, 179. 

Breyne, Dr., and -the Scythian lamb, 8, 9. 

Briggs, Mr. T. G., 43. 

Bristle Ferns, or Trichomanes } 12, 13. 

British Columbia, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., 119, 140. 

British Male Fern, stem of, iii. 

British Museum Herbarium, xxix., xxxi. — xxxiii., 
xxxviii., xxxix., 1, 5, 30, 39, 41—43, 46, 47, 51, 
52, 58, 77, 96, 102, 109. 

British North America, Botrychium simplex in, 

Brown, Mr., and Woodwardia radicans, 80. 

Brown, Robert, 4, 5, 59, 60, 81. 

Brownback, a Devonshire name for the Scale Fern, 

Brownwort, a name for the Spleenwort, 126. 

Bruisewort, or Comfrey, xxvi. 

Buckinghamshire, Ferns found in, 101, 113, 167, 176 

Buck’s-horn Plantain, and the Forked Spleenwort, 
11 4; 

Buffoma tenuifolia , and M. Buffon, 59, 60. 

Bulbs or bulbils, Propagation by, 146. 

Bullein, on the medicinal virtues of the Spleenwort, 

Burbidge, Mr., and hybridity in ferns, 91. 

Burns, on the Bracken, 32. 

Burntweed, a name of the Hart’s Tongue in West- 
meath, 100, 132. 

Burren Mountains, Ireland, Ferns found on the, 
4 6 > 47- 

Butcher's Broom, Semblance of flowers on leaves 
of, i. 

Cabinet for fern specimens, xxxiii. 

Cabrach, N.B., var. of Asplenium Adiantum - 
nigrutte found at, 109. 

Cactuses, Semblance of flowers on leaves of, i. 

Cader Idris, Ferns found at, 1, 6, 90. 

Cahirciveen, Aspleteitem lanceolatum at, 105. 

Caithness county, Ferns found in, 62, 140. 

Calabria, P terns longifolia in, 39. 

Calaguala, medicinal properties of, xxviii. 

Caley, Mr. George, on ferns, xxxvii., 19, 8r. 

California, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., 24, 78, 80, 90, 
156, 163, 170, 187, 188. 

Callirrhoe, Maidenhair at the fountain of, 46. 

Camellia, The genus, and Linnaeus, 78. 

Cameroon mountains, Black Maidenhair Spleenwort 
on the, 108. 

Camptosorus rhizophylhts , 65, 79, 84, 91, 131, 138, 
145 ; locality and description of, 65. 

C. sibirica , locality of, 66. 

Canada, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., 3, 5 — 8, 21, 93, 
119, 135, 149, 157, 160, 168, 178. 

Canary Islands, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., 23, 30, 
39, 42, 46, 53, 92, 96, 99, 109, 1 19, 129, 145, 162, 
172, 173, 184. 

Cantabria, Gyrnnogramma Pozoe in, 174. 

Cape of Good Hope, Ferns found at, xiii., xv., xvi., 
xxxvii., 39, 40, 52, 53, 64, 71, 92, 108, 129, 138, 
149, 163, 173, 183. 

Cape Verde Islands, Ferns found in the, 20, 39, 46, 
71, 86, 92, 108, 129, 171 — 173, 184. 

Capel Curi g, Aspleteitem germanictem near, 115. 

Capillaire , syrup made from the Maidenhair, xxviii. , 
47, 93- 

Capillary herbs. The five, 133. 

Caracas, The Lady Fern in the, 119. 

Carboniferous ferns, xiii., xliii. 

Cardatnitee pratensis , 74. 

Cardiff, Maidenhair at, 46. 

Carinthia, Ferns found in, 5, 7, no. 

Carmarthenshire, The Killarney Fern in, 14. 

Carnarvonshire, Ferns found in, 62, 90, 114, 115, 

139, 162, 168. 

Carniola, Polystichiem Lonchitis in, 140. 

Carolina, Woodsia ilvetesis in, 6. 

Caroline Isles, Ferns found in, xv. , xvi. 

Carpathians, Ferns found on the, 25, 26, 170. 

Carrigeena, The Trichomatees on, 14. 

Cascade Mountains, Polystichum Lonchitis on the, 


Caucasus, Ferns found in the, 3, 4, 6, 24, 40, 40, 52, 
54, 7 1 , 9 2 ,. 1 . 12 , IT 4,.. I2 9, 1 35 > *70> 183, 185. 

Caudex, definition of, iii. 

Caulopteris, genus of Carboniferous ferns, xliii. 

Cavanilles, and Aspleteitem Hemionitis, 86. 

Cellular Cryptograms, ii. 

Central America, Ferns found in, xiii., 11, 29, 44, 
46, 51—53- 

Ceratopteris thalictroides, economic properties of, 

Ceterach , 82 ; genus of, xiii. ; its derivation, 128 ; 
Turner’s description, 127 ; easy growth of, 130. 

C. atereum, 130. 

C. ojjficinarutit , 48, 83, 92, 112, 125 — 130, 137; 
Turner’s, remarks on, 127 ; cultivation of, 130 ; 
distribution of, xvi. ; cultivation of, xviii. ; 
medicinal properties of, xxvi. 

C. Pozoi, distribution of, xvi., 174. 

Ceylon, Ferns found in, 51, 80, 95 ; species of ferns 
in, xv., xvi., xxxvii. 

Chain Fern, a name for Woodwardia , 76 

Chamcerops, genus of, 138.. 

Chamberlain, and fern-seed, xxv. 

Channel Islands, Ferns found in the, 99, 100, 105. 

Chanter, Mrs., and Maidenhair, 49. 

Charles I. and II., and the Bracken, 35, 36. 

Chaubard, M., on ferns, 40, 45, 47. 

Cheddar, and Thalictrtem saxatile, 46. 

Cheilanthes, genus of, xii. ; species and distribu- 
tion of, 51, 52 ; etymology of, 51. 

C. anditea , 53. 

C. argentea, description of, 51. 

C./arinosa, description and locality of, 51. 

C. fimbriata, a name for C. Szovitsii , 35. 

C.fragrates, distribution of, xvi. ; cultivation of. 
xviii., 54; scent, description, and locality of, 
5 2 > 53- . . . 

C. hispamca , distribution of, xiv., xvi. ; locality 
and description of, 54. 

C. lanuginosa, 54. 

C. maderensis, 53. 

C. Matthewsii , description of, 52. 

C. tnicropteris , description of, 52. 

C. multijida, locality and description of, 51. 

C. odora , a name for C.fragrates, 53. 

C. pteroides, description and locality of, 52. 

C. radiata , description and locality of, 52. 

C. speciosissitna , locality and description of, 52. 

C. Szovitsii , distribution of, xvi. ; locality and 
description of, 54, 55 ; var. of, 55 ; specific 
name of, 75. 

C. tenuifolia, description and locality of, 52. 

General Index. 

19 i 

Cheilanthes Tin oei , 54. 

C. viscosa , description and locality of, 52. 

Chelsea Botanic Gardens, and Mr. Thomas Moore, 
xxxix. ; and Samuel Doody, 81. 

Cheshire, Ferns found in, 62, 90, 157, 158. 

Chili, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., 16 — 18, 24, 46, 65, 

_ 7L x 74- . 

China, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., xxviiu, xxix.,. 5, 
8, 24, 27, 29, 46, 51. 

China, Southern, and the Scythian lamb, 8. 
Chinchon, Countess of, and Cinchona, 59. 
Chiswick, Asplenium Ruta-muraria at, 112. 
Chlora perfoliata , reason for the name, 75. 

“ Christ’s Hair,” a name of the Hart’s Tongue in 
Guernsey, 132. 

Cibotium Barometz , a name for Dicksonia Baro- 
metz , 10. 

C. glaucinn , Sandwich Islands, xxix. 

Cilicia, Cheilanthes fragraus in, 53. 

Cilician Taurus, Cystopteris alpina on, 24. 
Cinchona, Spelling of, 59. 

Cintra, Lisbon, Asplenium Hemionitis near, 86. 
Circinate vernation, explanation of, i., vi. 

Clapham, Mr., 146. 

Clare, Maidenhair in, 46, 47. 

Clarke, Mr. B., and the fronds of the Bracken, 30. 
Classification of ferns, ix. — xiii. 

Climbing Fern, rachis of, iv. ; Mr. Darwin on, iv. ; 
vernation of, vi. 

Clogwyn y Garnedd, Snowdon, IVoodsia hyper- 
borea on, 5. 

Clova mountains, Ferns found on, 5, 26, 70. 

Clowes, Mr. F., 23. 

Clown’s Woundwort, medicinal properties of, xxvi. 
Club-mosses, Dr. Milde and, xxxiv. 

Clyde, Ferns found in islands of the, 17, 145, 162. 
Cochin China, and the missionary Loureiro, 78. 
Cockayne, Rev. Oswald, and the Bracken, 37, 38 ; 

and the Comfrey, xxvi. 

Colchester, The Hard Fern found near, 69. 

Coles, and the “ doctrine of signatures,” 83 ; and 
the Maidenhair, 49 ; and the Spleenwort, 126; 
and the Adder’s Tongue, 182 ; and the Moon- 
wort, 186. 

Collecting-boxes for ferns, xxx. 

Collinson, Peter, and the Struthiopteris , 3. 
Coltsfoot, 83. 

Columbia, Blechnum volubile in, 67. 

Columbia River, Ferns found near the, 61, 168. 
Comeragh Mountains, Ireland, Asplenium Tricho- 
•mattes near, 92. 

Comfrey, The, 83 ; its medicinal properties, xxvi., 

Como, Pteris cretica near, 40. 

Comoro Islands, Ferns found in, xiv., 12. 

Concan, Species of ferns found in, xv., xvi. 
Confrma , or Comfrey, xxvii., 83. 

Congo, Woodvoardia radicans in, 80. 

Connemara, Maidenhair in, 46. 

Consound, an old name for the Comfrey, xxvi. 
Conway, Mr. M. D., and Bracken folk-lore, 35 
Cork, Ferns found in, 14, 17, 105. 

Cormophytes, higher group of Cryptogamia, ii. 
Cornwall, Ferns found in, 14, 17, 18, 46, 92, 98, 
105, 106, 151, 156, 162, 166. 

Corsica, Ferns found in, 5, 17, 40, 99, 173. 
Corymbiferum, and the garden Cock's-comb, 123. 
Costa , definition of, v. 

Coventry, Young Bracken at, 30. 

Cowper, on the Bracken, 32 ; on ferns, 72. 

Cowslip, name of, 84. 

Cranesbill, and the English Maidenhair, 92. 
Cretaceous beds, Ferns of the, xliv. 

Crete, Ferns found in, 40, 71. 

Crimea, Ferns found in the, 3, 6. 

Crossbearers, Economic properties of, xxiv. 

Ci ouch, Mr. Walter, and the Tricho mane s, 14. 
Cruciferce, or Crossbearers, Economic properties 
of, xxiv. 

Cryptogamia , or Flowerless Plants, i. ; two groups 
of, ii., iii. ; reproduction of, ix. 

C ryP t og ra m via or Cryptogramme , genus of, xii. , 
60 ; etymology of, 59. 

C. acrostichoides, locality of, 60 ; description of, 

C. Brunoniana , locality of, 60, 61 ; description 
of, 61. 

C. crispa , distribution of, xvi. ; monotypic, 56 ; 
description of, 57; Mr. McKenzie on, 58; 
fronds of, 58 ; generic synonyms of, 59 ; locality 
of, 62, 63, 1 12. 

Cuba, Ferns found in, 93, 119, 143. 

Culborne, Somerset, Asplenium germanicum near, 

Culpeper's “ Herbal,” Quotations from, 133, 186 ; 

popularity of, 134. 

Cultivation of ferns, xvii. — xxiv. 

Cumberland, Ferns found in, 17, 18, 73, 90, 102, 
1 14, 1 1 5, 162 ; uses of Royal Fern in, xxvi. 
Curtis's “ Flora Londinensis,” 94. 

Cyathea , geographical distribution of, xiii. 

Cyathea medullar is, roots and caudex of, iii. ; 
economic properties of, xxvii., xxix. 

C. Vieillardi, economic properties of, xxvii. 

Cyatheacecs , 11 ; classification of, xii. 

“ Cybele Hibernica,” The, 97. 

Cyclopteris hibernica , xii. 

Cyprus, Cystopteris fragilis in, 24. 

Cystopteris , indusium of, viii. ; genus of, xii. ; and 
the Male Fern, xxxi. ; and Cheilanthes tenui- 
folia , 52 ; description, locality, cultivation, 
and etymology of, 21. 

C. alpina , distribution of, xiv., xvi. ; description 
and locality of, 24-^26. 

C. anthriscifolla , 23. 

C. bulbi/era , 79 ; locality and description of, 21. 

C. cynapi/olia , 23. 

C dentata , 23, 24, 112 

C. Dickieana , 23. 

C. fragilis , 21 — 25 ; distribution of, xvi., 24, 
112 ; description of, 21 ; varieties of, 22, 23. 

C. monta?ia , distribution of, xvi. ; description of, 

C. sudetica , distribution of, xiv. xvi. ; descrip- 
tion and locality of, 25. 

Dahuria, Ferns found in, 6, 124. 

Dalmatia, Ferns found in, 24, 39, 45, 53, 54, 116, 129, 
x 56 . 

Darwin, Lines by, on the Scythian lamb, 10; on 
dimorphism, 57 ; on Climbing Ferns, iv. 

Dauphine, Ferns found in, 26, 63. 

Davallia, genus of, xii., 19 ; pot culture of, xx. ; 
medicinal properties of, xxix. ; species and 
locality of, 19. 

D. aculeata, rachis of, 19. 

D. canariensis, 19 ; growth of, iii., iv. ; distribu 
tion of, xiv., xvi. ; description and locality of, 
20 ; and Dicksonia Culcita , 20. 

D. elegans , 19. 

D. fceuiculacea, 19. 

D. Mooreana , locality and description of, 19. 

D. Novce-Zelandice, locality of, 19, 20. 

D. parallela , and the common Polypody, 19. 

D.parvula, 19. 

D. pyxidata, xxxvii. ; locality of, 19. 

D. Tyermani, locality of, 19. 

D. unc vie l la, rachis of, 19. 

Davallietz, tribe of Polypodiacea, xii. ; distribution 
of, xvi. 

Davies, Rev. Hugh, and the Scale Fern, 126. 

Deakin, on ferns, 154, 161 ; his “ Florigraphia 
Britannica,” 113, 142. 

De Candolle, M. Alphonse, and plant nomencla- 
ture, 74. 

Deccan, Species of ferns in, xv., xvi. 

Delastre, M., and the genus Lastrea, 148. 

Denbighshire, Ferns found in, 90, 114, 168. 

Denmark, Ferns found in, 3, 108, 140, 145. 

Derbyshire, Ferns found in, 14, 62, 90, 158, 167. 

Derry, The Parsley Fern in, 62. 

Desfontanea spinosa, 88. 

Desmobryoid, iv.,x. ; definition of, iv. 

Devonian rocks, Ferns found in, xii. 

Devonshire, Ferns found in, 17, 18, 23, 46, 62, 70, 
99, 105, 1 14, 129, 161, 162, 166. 

Dickie, Dr., and Cystopteris Dickieana , 23. 

Dickieana , and Mr. Moore, 22. 

Dickson, and Cystopteris fragilis, 23. 

Dicksonia , genus of, xii., 1 ; geographical distribu- 
tion of, xiii. ; species and locality of, 8 ; 
description of, 8; the “ Scythian lamb,” 8 — 10. 

D. antarctica , roots of, iii. ; locality and de- 
scription of, 8. 

D. arborescens, locality and description of, 8. 

D. Barometz , caudex of, 8, 9 ; economic value 
of, 10 ; medicinal properties of, xxviii. 

D. Cibotium , medicinal properties of, xxviii. 

D. coniifolia and D. Culcita , 11. 

D. Culcita, distribution of, xvi. ; description and 
locality of, 11 ; use of the hairs of, 10; and 
Davallia canariensis , 20. 

D. moluccana , locality and description of, 8. 

D. pilosiuscula, 79. 

D. punctilobula , topography of, 8; fragrance of, 

D. Sello 7 uiana , fulvous hairs of, 8. 

Dicksoniece , classification of, xi. ; tribe of Poly- 
podiaceie , xii. ; distribution of, xvi. 

Dictyopteris , genus of coal-ferns, xliii. 

Dimorphism, definition of, vi. 

Dioscorides, and the Male Fern, xxvi. ; and 
Blechnum , 74 ; and Asplenium , 83 ; and 
Trichomanes , 93 ; and the Spleenwort, 127. 

Disco, Greenland, Ferns found at, 7, 140. 

Distribution of plants, Irregularity of the, 100, 101. 

Dodoens, Rembert, iii. 

Donegal, Ferns found in, 90, 184. 

Doodia and Woodwardia, distribution of, 80. 

D. aspera, xxxvii. ; description of, 81. 

D. blechnoidesy description of, 81. 

D. caudata , description of, 81 ; Robert Brown 
and, 81. 

D. linearis , a name for D. caudata , 81. 

Doody, Samuel, and Doodia , 81. 

Dorset, Ferns found in, 46, 99, 162. 

Douglas, and Cryptogramme acrostichcides, 61; 
and Polystichum munition , 139. 

Down, The Parsley Fern in, 62. 

Drainage of land ; its effect in diminishing the 
growth of certain rare plants, 125. 

Dryopteris nigra , old name for Black Maidenhair 
Spleenwort, 107. 

Du Bartas, on the Scythian Lamb, 10 ; on the 
virtues of the Spleenwort, 126 ; on the Moon- 
wort, 186. 

Dumbartonshire, Ferns found in, 17, 140, 162. 

Dumfries, Ferns found in, 17, 129. 

Dunfermline, Asplenium germanicum near, 115. 

Dunkeld, Asplenium germanicum near, 115. 

Durham, Ferns found in, 90, 139, 167. 

“Eagle,” or “oak-tree,” in the stipes of Pteris 
aquilina, 28. 

Eagle Brake, Anglo-Saxon name for the Bracken, 
3 7- 

Eagle Fern, book-name for the Bracken, 38. 

Eaton, Professor, on IVoodwardia radicans , 78, 79. 
Echium vulgare , 83. 

Economic properties of ferns, xxiv. — xxix. 
Ecuador, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., 65, 173. 
Edinburgh, Forked Spleenwort near, 114. 

Egeria, Maidenhair at the Fountain of, 45. 

Egypt, Ferns found in, 39, 46, 138. 

Elgin county, Polystichum Lonchitis in, 140. 
Elk’s-horn, dimorphism of, vi. 

Elk’s-horn Fern, pseudo-discovery of, 1. 

Ellis, William, and the Adder’s Tongue ointment, 
» s 3- . . 

English Maidenhair, or Asplenium Tnchomanes , 
89, 91 — 96, 129 ; distribution of, 92, 93 ; de- 
scription of, 94 ; varieties of, 95. 

Entre Rios, Pteris cretica in, 41. 

Equiseta, or Horsetails, xxxiv. 

Eremobryoid, iv., x. ; definition of, iv. 

Ern Fern, a name for the Bracken, 38. 

Ettrick Shepherd, The, and the Moonwort, 186. 

E up ten's, Newman's name for Pteris aquilina , 29. 
Europe, Ferns in, xv., xvi., 29, 145, 149, 163, 166, 
168, 173, 185. 

Falcon Clints, Ferns found at, 6, 140. 

Falkland Isles, Species of ferns in, xv., xvi. 

Farlow, Dr., and the reproductive organs of ferns, 

Faroe Islands, H ymenophyllum IV ilsoni in the, 18. 

Feea , Genu? of, xiii. 

Female Fern, an old name of the Bracken, 31, 38. 

Fernando Po, Ferns found in, 14, 64. 

Fern herbarium, The, xxix. 

Ferns, differences of, from flowering plants, i. ; 
highest of Vascular Cryptogams, iii. ; scientific 
name of, iii. ; structure of stem, iii. ; structure 
of fronds, iv. ; slow growth of, v. ; classifica- 
tion of, ix. — xiii. ; genera of, xi. — xiii. ; geo- 
graphical distribution of, xiii. — xvii. ; cultiva- 
tion of, xvii. — xxiv. ; economic properties of 
ferns, xxiv. — xxix. ; cabinet for, xxxiii. ; works 
on, xl. 

Fern-seed, Traditions concerning the use of, 33—35. 

Ferrara, Synod at, and the Bracken, 33. 

Fibro-vascular bundles, definition of, iv. 

Fiji Islands, Ferns found in the, iii., xxviii., xxix., 
18, 19, 29, 80. 

Filices, or Filicince, scientific name for Ferns, iii. 

“ Filices Europeae,” 185. 

“Filices Exoticae,” Sir W. J. Hooker’s work, 


Filix florida or foresee us, 175. 

Fill v feemina, or Female Fern, an old name of 
the Bracken, 31. 

Filix minor longifolia , and Athyrium Filix - 
feemina, 108, 109. 

Filmy Ferns, iv. ; sorus of, vii. ; annulus of, vii. ; 
indusium of, viii.; case for, xxii.; Hooker and 
Baker and, xxxvi. ; involucre of, xliii. ; culti- 
vation of, 16. 

Finchley, Asplenium Ruta-muraria at, 112. 

Finger Fern, a name for the Scale Fern, 128. 

Finland, Ferns found in, 5, 140. 

Finmark, Ferns found in, 26, 63, 90. 

Fischer, and the Killarney Fern, 15. 

Fitch, Illustrations of ferns by, xxxv. 

Flanders, zTsplenium fontanum in, 103. 

Fleabane, or Pulicaria dysenterica, 73. 

Florida, Ferns found in, 46, 76, 149. 

Flowering Fern, 175 — 181 ; folk-lore of, xxv., 35; 
preservation of, xxxi.; Sir W. Scott on, 176; 
distribution of, 178 ; Gerard’s account of, 178, 
179 ; cultivation of, 178 ; description of, 180, 181. 


European Ferns. 

Flowerless plants, i. 

Food, Ferns used as, xxvii., xxviii. 

Forbes, Mr., on geological ferns, xli. 

Forest of Dean, LoJichitis aspera in, 73. 
Forfarshire, Ferns found in, 140, 170. 
Forget-me-not, or Myosotis halusins, 73. 

Forked Spleenwort, 113 ; locality and description 
of, 1 14. 

Formius, Peter, and the virtues of Maidenhair, 48. 
Formosa, Woodwardia orientalis in, 78. 

Forster, and Pteris esculenta , xxvii. 

Fothergill, Dr., and Woodwardia virginica , 76. 
Foueere a cerises , a French name for the Bracken, 


Fougere porte-aigle , a French name for the Bracken, 


Fox Fern, a name for Blechnum, 73. 

France, and fern literature, xxxiii. ; ferns found in, 
17, 26, 45, 47, 48, 53, 63, 90, 97, 105, 108, 109. 
129, 137, 140, 173; 183. 

Free venation, definition of, v. 

French Fern, a name for Davallia aculeata , 19. 
Friendly Isles, Species of ferns in, xv., xvi. 
Fringed Buckbean, or Limnaidhemuni nymphce- 
oides , and the Water Lily, 87. 

Fronds, difference from leaves, i. ; intervals be- 
tween the origin of, iii. ; structure of, iv. 
Fructification of ferns, description of, vi., vii. ; 
sometimes on the upper side of the frond, 95, 

Fuchs, Leonard, and the “ History of Plants,” 94. 
Fungi, examples of Thallophytes , ii. ; preservation 
of, xxix. 

Galapagos Islands, Species of ferns in, xv., xvi. 

Galen, and the Spleenwort, 127. ,1 

Galilee, Maidenhair in, 46. 

Galiiim verinn , or Lady’s Bedstraw, 49. 

Gallicia,^Ferns found in, 14, 20, 25. 

Galway, Ferns found near, 129, 164. 

Genera of the European ferns, Classification of, 
xi. — xiii. 

‘‘Genera Filicum,” Sir W. J. Hooker’s work on 
ferns, xxxv. 

“ Genera Plantarum,” Sir W. J. Hooker and Ben- 
tham’s work on, xxxviii. 

Generic names of natural objects, 74. 

Geographical distribution of ferns, xiii. — xvii. 

Geological distribution of ferns, xli. — xliv. 

Gerard, and the Clown's Woundwort, xxvi. ; and 
the Bracken, 32 ; and the Maidenhair, 49 ; 
and the Hard Fern, 69; and the English 
Maidenhair, 89, 93, 94 ; and Black Maidenhair 
Spleenwort, 107, 108; and Forked Spleenwort, 

1 13 ; and the cure for the spleen, 126 ; and the 
Hart’s Tongue, 133, 135, 136 ; and the Flower- 
ing Fern, 178, 179. 

Gerard's “ Herbal,” Johnson’s edition of, 94. 

Germany, and fern literature, xxxiii. ; ferns found 
in, 6, 23, 45, 90, 105, 108, 116, 129, 140; 
Bracken folk-lore in, 36. 

Ghilan, Gymnogramma leptophylla in, 173. 

Giant’s Causeway, Maidenhair near, 47. 

Gibraltar, Ferns found at, 53, 92, 166. 

Gibson, Mr., and Asplenuim foiitanuyn , 103. 

Glamorgan, Ferns found in, 17, 46, 89, 139, 162, 167. 

Gleichenia , rachis of, v. ; sporangia of, xliii. 

Gleicheniacea, classification of, xi. 

Glen Callater, Cystopteris montana in, 26. 

Glen Islay, Ferns found in, 5, 26. 

Glen Lochay, Cystopteris mo?itana in, 26. 

Glen Lyon, Cystopteris montana in, 26. 

Glen Proven, Forfarshire, Polypodhnn Jlexile in, 

Gloucestershire, Ferns found in, 105, 1 66, 167. 

Glouin Caragh, Kerry county, and Trichoma7ies 
ATidrewsii, 13. 

Glyder Vawr, Ferns found on, 115, 139. 

Gold and silver ferns, 91, 173. 

Golden-locks, a name for Polypodiion vulgar e, 165. 

Golden Maidenhair, 93, 165. 

Gordon, Mr. James, 27, 40. 

Gothland, Ferns found in, 116, 140. 

Gra77iineee , or Grasses, xxiv. 

Gra77i7iiitideee , tribe of Poly Pod i acecc, xiii. ; distri- 
bution of, xvii. 

Granada, Ferns found near, 39, 174. 

Gra7ide fo7igere femelle , a French name for the 
Bracken, 38. 

Grasses, Economic properties of, xxiv. 

Gray, Prof. Asa, 61, 96. 

Great Bindweed, or Coyivolvulus sepium, 84. 

Greece, Ferns found in, 24, 45, 53, 90, 97, 103, 105, 
108, 109, 1 12, 1 19, 135, 137, 140, 150, 156, 168, 

Greeks, The, and the crv/x^vrov, xxvii. 

Greenland, Ferns found in, 6, 63, 90, 166, 168. 

Greenland, Sub-arctic, Species of ferns in, xv., xvi. 

Green Spleenwort, 82, 88—91 ; varieties of, 89 ; 
geographical distribution of, 89, 90. 

Grimm, and Bracken folk-lore, 35. 

Ground Fern, a name for Lastrea Thelypteris , 149. 
Groundsel, The Common : 56. 

Guatemala, Ferns found in, 18, 40, 64, 80, 93. 
Gubernatis, Professor De, and Bracken folk lore, 34. 
Guernsey, Ferns found in, 99, 106, 132. 

Guiana, Species of ferns in, xv., xvi. 

Guinea Coast, Adder’s Tongue near, 183. 
Gymnogra7>i7na , Genus of, xiii., 51, 91, 171, 173. 

G. calo77ielanos , 173. 

G. chcerophylla , 173. 

G. chrysophylla , 173. 

G. leptophylla , an annual fern, iii., 173 ; distri- 
bution of, xvii., 173 ; description of, 173, 174 
G. ruttpfolia, 174. 

G. suiphurea , 173. 

G. tart are a, 173. 

G. Pozoi , 174. 

Hampshire, and the Adder’s Fern, 73, 165. 

Hampstead Heath, The Haid Fern found on, 69, 
1 12 ; the Os) 7 iunda formerly found on, 179. 

Hampton Court, Ferns found at, 20, 112, 136. 

Hard Fern, dimorphism of, vi., 57 ; and the Parsley 
Fern, 58 ; and Lo maria, 64 ; and Blech7nim 
Spica7it y 69—71, 145 ; localities of, 71 ; in Ire- 
land, 72 ; virtues of, 73. 

Hare’s-foot Fern, or Davallia ca7ia7densis , iii., 19 ; 
description of, 20 ; caudex of, 20 ; palese of, iv. ; 
eremobryoid, iv. 

Hart, Mr., on ferns, 164. 

Hart’s-tongue, or Scolopendrmm vult>a7'e , 48, 65, 
71, 103, 127, 131 — 137; rachis of, v. ; sorus of, 
vii. ; medicinal properties of, xxvi., 100, 133 ; 
preservation of, xxxi ; Mr. T. Moore on, 
xxxix. ; and the English Maidenhair, 92 ; de- 
scription of, 1 3 1, 132 ; its wide distribution in 
England, 132 ; fronds of, 132 ; its various 
names in different localities, 132, 133 ; its sup- 
posed medicinal virtues, 133 ; its uses in Wales, 
133 ; Culpeper’s account of its remedial effects, 
*33- T 34» Langham's description of its useful 
qualities, 135 ; its topography, 135 ; its varieties, 
135, 136 \ easy cultivation of, 136 ; sori on the 
upper surface of, 137. 

Hassendean, Roxburghshire, Aspleniu77i germa- 
7 iicu 7 n near, 115. 

Hawker, Rev. W. H., and Asplenimn fontanu7n , 

Hay-scented Fern, 162. 

Hebrides, Ferns found in, 62, 99, 112, 178. 

H elminthostachys , classification of, x. 

H . zeylanica , economic properties of, xxviii. 

Helston, Cornwall, Asple7iium lance olatu77i at, 105. 

Helvellyn, Ferns found at, 114, 115. 

H emionitis sterilis , Gerard’s description of, 136. 

Herb Christopher, an old name for the Flowering 
Fern, 180. 

Herb Robert, and the English Maidenhair, 92, 129. 

Herefordshire Beacon, and the Parsley Fern, 62. 

Herefordshire, Ferns found in, 162, 164, 165, 167. 

Herrin’-bone Fern, a name for Blechman , 73. 

Hesse, Woodsia ilvensis in, 6. 

Heston, Bracken folk-lore at, 34. 

H ewardia , genus of, and the Adiantums, 44. 

High Wycombe, Polypodium Robertia7iu7ii near, 

Hildebrandt, and Tricho7nanes Hildebrandtii , 12. 

Himalaya Mountains, Ferns found on the, xv., 5, 
14, 24, 39, 40, 42, 51, 53, 60, 61, 80, 85, 103, 
1 19, 140, 166, 168, 172, 178, 183. 

Hindostan, North, Adiantu7?i pedatinti in, 42. 

Hind's-tongue, Turner and Gerard’s description 
of, 133. 

Hispaniola, Davallia aciileata in, 19. 

“ Historia Filicum,” xxxvi. 

Hobkirk, Mr. C. P., and Os77iunda regalis , 176. 

Hoffmann, and the Onoclea Struthiop terns, 2 ; 
and Black Maidenhair Spleenwort, 107. 

Holland, Ferns found in, 45, 108. 

Holly Fern, 139 ; and the Shield Fern, xxxi. ; 
locality of, 139, 140; description of, 140, 141. 

Holly type of leaf, Examples of the, 87, 88. 

Hong-kong, Ferns found in, 42, 76, 175, 178. 

Honister Crag, Ferns found at, 62, 114. 

Hooker, Sir Joseph, Work by, xxxviii. 

Hooker, Sir W. J., on ferns, 5, 18, 24, 29, 44, 47, 
5L 55> 59 — 66, 76, 87, 90, no, 131, 142, 
161, 168 ; on fern species, 82 ; works by, on ferns, 
xxxv.; memorial of his unwearied labours, 
xxxv. ; Mr. John Smith and, xxxvii., xxxviii. 

Horn Head, Donegal, Ophioglossuni lusitanicmn 
on, 184. 

Horse-tails, Dr. Milde and, xxxiv. 

Horse-tails, or Equiseta , and the Mare’s-tail, 87. 

Horse-tongue, an old Dorsetshire name for the 
Hart’s Tongue, 133. 

Hudson, on various species of ferns, 13, 18, 88, 99, 
101, 102, 105. 

Hudson’s Bay territory, Ferns found in, 61, 187. 

Htimata , description of, 19. 

Hungary, Ferns found in, 6, 45, 63, 103, 108, 109, 
1 16, 129, 140, 156, 17 1 ; Bracken folk-lore in, 35. 

Huntingdonshire, Lastrea cristata in, 157. 

Hybridity among ferns, 91, 115, 137, 138. 

H y 7 ne 7 iophyllacece , classification of, x.,xi.; distri- 
bution of, xvi. 

H ymenophyllece , 16 ; venation of, v. ; genera of, 

Hymenophyllu7n , growth of, iv. ; some without 
roots, iv. ; classification of, x. ; genus of 
Hy 7 nenophyllacece , xi. ; pot culture of, xxi. ; 
case for, xxii. ; genera of, xxxvi., xxxix., xli.; 
species of, and the Trichotnayies , 16. 

H . cauiiculatu 77 i , 16. 

H. cruentiun, 16. 

H. 7nultifidu7n , description of, 16. 

H. pa7~vifolium, size of, 12, 16. 

H . sericeum, description of, 16. 

H. tunbridgense , distribution of, xvi. ; Hooker 
and Baker and, xxxvi. ; description of, 16, 18 ; 
locality of, 17. 

H. wiilaterale, 17, 18. 

//. Wi/soni, 14, 17, 18; description of, j 8: 
locality of, xiv., xvi., 18 ; Hooker and Baker 
and, xxxvi. 

Iceland, Ferns found in, 6, 24, 92. 

Ilfracombe, Maidenhai/ in, 46. 

“Index Filicum,” Mr. Moore's work on ferns, xl., 
2 3* 

India, Northern, Southern, and Peninsular, Ferns 
found in, xv., xvi., xxix., 4, 29, 39, 40, 46, 48, 
51, 52, 6 o, 61, 90, 92, toS, 129, 138, 140, 14.5, 178. 

Indian Archipelago, Use of the Water Fern as 
food in the, xxviii. 

Jndusiu 77 i, vii., xi. ; description of, vii. 

Insects, How to preserve fern specimens from the 
attacks of, xxxii. 

Internode , definition of, iii., iv. 

Inverness-shire, Ferns found in, 140, 170. 

Ireland, Ferns found in, xli., 14, 46, 48, 62, 90, 92, 99, 
107, 108, 119, 129, 132, 140, T45, 148, 150, 156, 
160, 162, 163, 166, 168, 178, 182, 184, 185. 

Irish Polypody, 165. 

Ischia, Ferns found in the island of, 39, 80. 

Isle of Man, Maidenhair in, 46. 

Isle of Wight, Hart’s Tongue in, 132, 133; Ground 
Fern in, 149. 

Isle Royale. Lake Superior, Cryptogra7)ime 
acrostichoides in ? 61. 

Italy, Ferns found in, 3, 17, 23, 24, 39, 40, 45, 54, 
80, 90, 95, 103, 108, 109, 112, 114, 116, 119, 129, 
I 35> i37> I 4°> J 49> *57> 166, 168, 173, 185, 187. 

Jackson, Dr., and Bracken folk-lore, 34. 

Jamaica, Ferns at Kew from, xxxvii. ; ferns found 
in, 17, 29, 44, 93. 99> I 43* 

Jamieson, and the Bracken, 38. 

Japan, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., 1, 6, 14, 27, 30, 
42, 46, 51, 66, 76, 85, 92, 124, 135, 163, 168, 175, 
178, 183, 187. 

Jardin des Plantes, Paris, Pteris cretica in, 41. 

Java, Ferns found in, xxviii., xxxvi., 8, 29, 39, 41, 
51, 52, 80, 108. 

Jersey, Ferns found in, 95, 173, 184. 

Jerusalem Cowslip, or Puhnonaria officinalis , 83. 

Jerusalem, Ferns found in, 46, 53. 

Johanna Island, Trichoman ■ s in, 14. 

Johnson, and Bog Asphodel, 49 ; and Forked 
Spleenwort, 113, 114. 

Juan Fernandez, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., 64. 

Jura, Ferns found on the, 24, 26. 

Kalm, and Adia7itum pedatu77i, 48. 

Kamel, or Camelli, Father, and Woodwardia 
orieyitalis, 77, 78. 

Kamtschatka, Ferns found in, 3, 6, 7, 24, 26, 124, 
131, 160, 166, 168, 183, 185. 

Karabagh, Cheilanthes Szovitsii in, 54. 

Kashmir, Ferns found in, 108, 112, 114, 129, 149. 

Kelly, Mr., and Bracken folk-lore, 33. 

Kelso, A splenium geT^nanicum near, 115. 

Kent, Ferns found in, 17, 23, 105, 162. 

Kentucky, Mr. Williamson’s book on the Ferns of, 

Keogh, Mr., and the Maidenhair, 47, 48. 

Kerry, Ferns found in, 14, 17. 

Keswick, Asple7iium foritanum at, 102. 

Kew Gardens, Tree-ferns at, iii. ; the Water Fern 
at, xxviii. ; herbarium at, xxxii., xxxiii., xxxv., 
xxxviii. ; Hooker and Smith, xxxvi., xx<vii. ; 
ferns found at, 41, 47, 49, 51, 52, 66—68, 76, 
8 d, 81, 102. 

Khasia, Cheilanthes arge?iteu in, 51. 

Killarney Fern, 12 — 15 ; James Bolton on the, 
xxxiv., xxxv. 

Killarney, Ferns found at, 13, 18, 90, 99, 162, 176. 

General Index. 


Kiltorcan, Ireland, and geological specimens of 
ferns, xli. 

Kinsale, Asplenium lanceolatum at, 105. 

Kippist, Mr., and Asplenium Hemionitis , 86. 

Kirk, Mr. T., and the Bracken, 30. 

Kirkcudbright, Scale Fern in, 129. 

Knitback, an old name of the Comfrey, xxvi. 

Knochlayd mountain, Antrim, The Oak Fern on, 

Kotzebue Sound, Lastrea spinulosa at, 159. 

Kumaon, English Maidenhair at, 92. 

Kunze, and ferns, xxxvi. 

Kuram Valley, Afghanistan, Ferns found in, 112, 
114, 116. 

Kyle, Peter, and nature-printed ferns, xl. 

Kyloe Crags, Northumberland, Asplenium ger- 
manicum at, 115. 

Labels for fern-specimens, xxxii. 

Labrador, Ferns found in, 6, 7, 26, 119, 1 66, 168, 178. 

I. acini at a , or jagged Harl’s-tongue, 135. 

Lady Fern, iii., 117 — 123 ; preservation of, xxx. ; 
and Ray’s Filix minor longifolia , 108, 109 ; 
Sir W. Scott’s allusion to, 117; Parkinson on 
Filix-fcemina , 118; its numerous varieties, 
117, X19, 120; description of, 118; geographi- 
cal range of. 119 ; varieties of, 119 — 123; 
“ monstrous ” forms of, 122; and Polypodium 
alpestre , 169. 

Lady's Bedstraw, 32, 49. 

Lady’s Smock, or Cardamine pratensis y 74. 

Lake district, Ferns found in the, 62, 114, 155. 

Lake Superior, Ferns found near, 61, 140. 

Lamb-tongue, an old Somersetshire name for the 
Hart’s-tongue, 133. 

Lanark, Scale Ferns in, 129. 

Lancashire, Ferns found in, 18, 62, 70, 90, 155, 167. 

Land’s End, Asplenium lanceolatum at, 105. 

Lange, 47 ; and the Trichomanes y 14. 

Langham, and the virtues of Bracken, Maiden- 
hair, and other ferns, 31, 48, 93, iii, 134, 135, 
164 ; and the Adder’ s-tongue, 182. 

Langue de bceuf y a French name for Bird’s-nest 
Fern, 85 ; for Hart’s Fern, 133. 

Langue de cerf y a French name for Hart’s-tongue, 

Lapland, Ferns found in, 3, 5, 6, 30, 63, 71, 90, 92, 
119, 124, 140, 150, 159, 170, 187. 

La Plata, Species of ferns in, xv., xvi. 

Lastrca y genus of, 119, 148 — 162; origin of the 
name, 148 ; and Polypodiuvi alpestre , 169. 

L. cemula y 146, 162 ; description and locality of, 

L. cristata , 157, 159 ; locality and description of, 
157 ; varieties of, 158. 

L. dilatata y 72, 148, 159—162 ; description and 
locality of, 160; varieties of, 161. 

L. erosa , 150, 154. 

L. Filix-mas , 146, 150— 155 ; description of, 151 ; 
distribution of, 152; Parkinson’s account of, 
152; and Polystichum aculeatnm, 141. 

L./cenisecii % a name for L . cemula y 162. 

L. montana y Moore’s name for L. Oreopteris , 
1 5°» . . 

L. Oreoptens y 150; description and locality 
of, 150; varieties of, 151. 

L. remota y 148, 155 ; description and locality of, 
155- . 

L. rigid a y 112, 155 — 157; locality of, 155, 156; 
description of, 156; varieties of, 156, 157. 

L. spinulosa y 148, 155 — 160; description of, 158, 
159 ; distribution of, 159. 

L. Thelypteris y 148 — 150; description of, 148, 149 ; 
locality of, 149; signification of the specific 
name, 149. 

Launceston, Bracken folk-lore at, 34. 

Lazistan, Ferns found in, 173, 185. 

Lebanon, Cystopteris fragilis on, 24. 

Leitrim, The Oak Fern in, 166. 

Leptopteris y Case for, xxii. 

L'Heritier, and Dicksonia Culcita y ,\i. 

Lhwyd, Mr., on ferns, 5, 46, 73. 

Lichens, examples of Thallophytes y ii. ; preserva- 
tion of, xxix. 

Lichfield Minster, Ferns found on, 123. 

Lightfoot, and English Maidenhair and other ferns, 
93, iot, 1 12, 133. 

Liliacece y Economic properties of, xxv. 

Limax agrestis , and ferns, xxiv. 

L.Jtava y and ferns, xxiv. 

L. variegatus , and ferns, xxiv. 

Limerick, The 7 richomanes in, 14. 

Limestone Polypody, 167. 

Lincolnshire, Bracken folk-lore in, 32. 

Lindsay, Dr., and the prothallinm , viii. 

Lindsayece y tribe of Polypodiacece y xii. 

Lingua cervina y or the Hart’s-tongue, 133. 

Link, and ferns, xxxvi. 

Linnasus on ferns, xxxvii., 2, 20, 23, 36, 52, 58, $9, 
74 — 76, 78, 82, 83, 86, 88, 89, 115, 1 18. 

Linnean Herbarium, Type-specimens of Asplenium 
Hemionitis in the, 86. 

Lip-fern, or Chcilanthes y 51, 52. 

Lisbon, Ferns found near, 20, 38, 86. 

Lithuania, Ferns found in, 170, 185. 

Liverworts, and the prothallium y viii. 

Livonia, The Moonwort in, 185. 

Llanberis, Ferns found at, 114, 115, 139. 

Llangollen, Asplenium viride near, 90. 

Llanrwst, Ferns found at, 114, 115. 

Lomaria, and Blechnum y genus of, 64 — 68 ; Mr. 
Moore on the distinction between Blechnum 
and, 64 ; species and distribution of, 64 — 66. 

L. attenuata, locality and description of, 64. 

L. caudata, locality and description of, 65. 

L. chilensis y locality and description of, 65. 

L. Fraseri y locality and description of, 66. 

L. gibba y locality, description, and cultivation of, 
66, 67. 

L. Patersoni, locality and description of, 66. 

L. Spicant, a name for Blechnum Spicant y 64. 

L. volubilis y locality of, 66 ; Hooker on, 66. 
Lonchitis aspera , 69 ; a name for Blechnum y 73. 
Longleaf, a name of the Hart’s Fern in Hamp- 
shire, 132. 

Lonicer, and Asplenium Trichomanes y 93. 

Loo Choo Islands, Woodwardia orientalis in, 76. 
Loomis, Mr. E. J., and Asplenium Trichomanes y 

Loosestrife, The Yellow, or Lysimachia vulgaris y 


Lords-and-Ladies, or Arum maculatum t 74. 
Lourea vespertilionis y 88. 

Loureiro, and the botany of Cochin China, 78. 
Louth, The Parsley Fern in, 62. 

Lowe, Mr. E. J., 42, 52, 78. 

Low Leyton, Cystopteris alpina at, 24. 

Loxsoma, New Zealand fern, xlii. 

Lucky-hands, 153. 

Lungwort, 83. 

Luzon, Philippine Islands, Father Kamel’s collec- 
tion of plants from, 77. 

Lycia, Ferns found in, 39, 53, 54. 

Lycopodiacece y or Club-mosses, xxxiv. 

Lyell, Mrs., Geographical Handbook of Ferns, xv., 

Lygodictyon y economic value of, xxix. 

Lygodium y rachis of, iv. ; vernation of, vi. 

Z. articulatum y rachis of, iv., v. 

L. scandens , rachis of, v. 

Lynton, North Devon, Ferns found near, 62, 114. 
Lyte, on the Bracken and Viper’s Bugloss, 

31. 83. 

Mackay, Mr. J. T., and the Trichomanesy 14. 

Madagascar, Ferns in, xiv., 39, 42, 46 ; ferns from, 
82, 178. 

Madeira, Ferns in xiv. — xvi., xxxvii., 10, 11, 13, 
14, 17, 18, 20, 23, 38, 42. 46, 53, 71, 80, 86, 92, 
96, 99, 105, 108, 1 19, 129, 135, 145, 160, 162, 
171, 172, 183, 184. 

Madras, The Flowering Fern at, 178. 

Maidenhair, venation of, v. ; medicinal properties 
of, xxviii., 47 — 49, 133 ; the true, or Adiantum 
Capillus-veneriSy 42 — 50 ; and the Bracken, 29 ; 
or Adiantum , 42 — 44 ; varieties of, 47 ; and 
Salisburia adianti/oha y 87. 

Maidenhair Spleenwort, 68, 82 ; French name of, 
.93- . 

Maidenhair-tree, 87. 

Maine, Woodwardia virginica in, 76. 

Maladetta, Pyrenees, Woodsia Jiyperborea on, 5. 

Malaga, Ferns found near, 23, 39, 97. 

Malay Archipelago, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., 39, 
4°, 52. 

Malay Peninsula, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., 19, 42, 

, 5I * ... 

Male Fern, 31, 151 — 155; description of, 150; dis- 
tribution of, 152 'j Parkinson’s account of its 
supposed properties, 152 ; Schkuhr’s account of 
the magical virtues of the rhizome of, 153 ; its 
anthelmintic properties, 153, 154 ; varieties of, 
T 54> J 55 > venation of, v. ; slow growth of the 
fronds of, v. ; sorus and indusium of, vii. ; 
folk-lore of, xxv., 35 ; medicinal properties of, 
xxvi. ; preservation of, xxxi. 

Man, Isle of, Maidenhair in, 46. 

Manchester, Lomaria gibba near, 66, 67. 

Mandrake, a name of the Bryony, 153. 

Mandschuria, Ferns found in, 1, 5, 42, 51, 149, 159, 
168, 175. 

Manilla, Strycknos lgnatii in, 78. 

Maoris, The, and Cyathea medullaris y iii. ; and 
Marattia fraxinea y xxvii. 

Marattiacei e y classification of, xiii. 

Marattia Jraxinea , economic properties of, xxvii. 

Marburg, Asplenium fontanum near, 103. 

Marquesas Isles, Species of ferns in, xv., xvi. 

Marsh Fern, book-name for Lastrea Thelypteris y 
iv., 149 ; rhizome of, xxxi. 

Mascarene Islands, Ferns found in, xiv., 64, 108, 
138, 183. 

Massachusetts, Woodwardia angustifolia in, 76. 
Masson, Francis, on ferns, 11, 39, 52, 53, 80, 86; 

and ferns at Kew, xxxvii. 

Matlock, Asplenium fontanum near, 103. 
Mauritius, Ferns found in, xiv., 12, 17, 29, 39, 42, 

46, 85, 108, 178. 

McKenzie, Mr. G., on the Parsley Fern, 58. 
Mentone, Ferns found at, 40, 97. 

Menzies, and Cryf>togramme acrostichoides y 61. 
Merionethshire, Ferns found in, 17, 90, 103, 105. 
Merrett, and the Wall Rue, iii. 

Mertensia dichotoma y economic value of, xxix. 
Messina, Cheilanthes hispanica near, 54. 
Mettenius, Prof., and ferns, xxxvi., 118. 

Mexico, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., 13, 14, 24, 39 
40, 42, 46, 51, 52, 68, 80, 93, 131, 135, 163, 175, 

183, 188. 

Middlesex, Asplenium viride in, 89 ; Scale Fern 
in, 129. 

Mid-rib . definition of, v. 

Milde, Dr., 5, 24, 51, 53, 54, 60. 61, 86, 91, 95, 
97, 104, 109. 116, 117, 129, 137, 149, 155—157. 
170, 185, 187 ; work by, on ferns, xxxiv. 
Miltwaste, or Ceterach officinarum y xxvi., 128. 
Minsheu, on the origin of the name Osmunda, 180. 
Mistletoe, 73, 74. 

Moffat, Woodsia ilvensis near, 6. 

Mohria thurifragra y medicinal properties of, xxix.; 
scent of, 53. 

Mondego River, Cheilanthes hispanica near, 54. 
Mongolia, Ferns found in, xxviii., 5. 

Monmouth, Asplenium viride in, 89. 

“ Monstrous” forms of the Lady Fern, 122. 

Mont Cenis, Woodsia hypcrborea on, 5. 
Montpellier, Asplenium Petrarchce at, 97. 
Montreal, English Maidenhair at, 03. 

Mont St. Gothard, Woodsia hyperborea on, 5, 
Moon, Mr. Alexander, and Kew, xxxvii. 
Moonwort, and the Parsley Fern, 58 ; vernation 
of, i., vi. ; folk-lore of, xxv., 183 ; preservation 
of, xxxi. ; description of, 185 ; Parkinson, 
Coles, Culpeper, and others on the supposed 
magical properties of, 186, 187 ; easy cultiva- 
tion of, 187. 

Moore, Dr., on ferns, 15. 

Moore, Mr. T., on anastomosing venation, v. ; 
works by, xxxix., xl., 22 ; on ferns, 23, 43, 44, 

47, 60, 64, 70, 71, 89, 95, 99, 100, 103 — 106, 109, 
no, 115, 117, 118, 120, 122, 129, 135, 138, 141, 
143, 145, 151, 154, 155, 159, 160, 162, 165, 166, 
169, 180. 

Moravia, Species of Asplenium in, 91, 97. 

Morea, Pteiis longifolia in, 39. 

Morocco, Ferns found in, 20, 53, 92, 99, 137, 173, 


Mosses, the humblest of Vascular Cryptogams, ii. 
Moulmein, Ferns found in, 16, 42. 

Mountain Fern, The, 151. 

Mount Etna, Ferns found on, 24, 80. 

Mount Olympus, The Parsley Fern on, 63. 

Mount Taurus, Cheilanthes Szovitsii on, 54. 
Mount Taygetus, and A spidium tayge tense , 24. 
Mount Vesuvius, Cheilanthes fragrans on, 53. 
Mourne Mountain plant, The 108, 109. 

Mull, H ymenophyllum tunbridgense in, 17. 
Murcia, Asplenium Petrarchce at, 97. 

“ Museum Britannicum,” The, 8. 

Naples, Ferns found near, 39, 80, 103. 

Narbonne, Maidenhair at, 48. 

Nardostacicys Jatamansi y and the Blechnumy 75. 

N arthecium ossifragum , 49. 

Natal, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., 4, 24, 27, 42, 46, 
108, 1 19, 149. 

“Nature-printed British Ferns,’’ References to and 
quotations from, xxxix., xl., 22, 23, 47, 104, 105, 
. IJ 9» I 35, 143. x 47 » 151, t 8o. 

Neilgherries, Ferns found on the, 92, 119, 173, 178. 

Nepaul, and the Nephrolepis tuberosa t xxvii. 

Nephrodium y Genus of, 148. 

N. Filix-maSy caudex of, iii. 

N. Thelypterisy subterranean stem of, iv. 

Nephrolepisy Genus of, 147. 

N. tuberosa p economic properties of, xxvii. 

Neuropierisy genus of coal-ferns, xliii. 

New Brunswick, The Lady Fern in, 119. 

New Caledonia, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., xxvii., 
46, 66, 85. 

New Forest, Uses of Bracken in, 31 ; the Snake 
Fern in, 73. 

Newfoundland, Ferns found in, 90, 119, 166, 168, 
178, 185. 

New Granada, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., 175, 187. 

New Guinea, Species of Ferns in, xv., xvi. 

New Hebrides, Species of ferns in, xv., xvi. 

Newman, Mr., on ferns, 5, 12, 13, 29, 45, 62, 89, 
97, 99, 100, 103, 104, 1 14, 1 18, 120, 156, 164, 
169, 170, 176, 185 ; works by, on ferns, xxxix. 


E uropean Ferns. 

New Mexico, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., 114 ; 
CheilantJws viscosa in, 52. 

New South Wales, and the Blechnum cartila- 
gineum , xxviii. 

Newspapers ; their use as collecting-boxes for ferns, 


New York State, Hart’s-tongue in, 135. 

New Zealand, Ferns found in, xiii., xv., xvi., xxv., 
8, 12, 16 — 18, 20, 29, 30, 37, 66, 80, 84, 93, 149, 
*73 — 1 75 > 183, 184, 187 : economic properties of 
ferns in, xxvii., xxix. 

Nice, Aspleniu 7 )i Petrarchce at, 97. 

Nilssonia , Fronds of, xliv. 

Niphobolus costatus , xxxvii. 

Nootka Sound, Ferns found at, 42, 61, 71', 93. 

Norfolk, and the Bracken, 38 ; Lastrea cristata 
in, 157, 158. 

Norfolk Island, Ferns found in, xxix., 29, 64. 

Normandy, and the economic use of the Bracken, 30. 

North America, Ferns found in, 1, 24, 29, 40, 48, 
54, 60, 61, 65, 187. 

North Carolina, Cystopteris bulbijera in, 21. 

North Devon, and the Parsley Fern, 62. 

Northumberland, Earl of, and the Bracken, 32. 

Northumberland, Ferns found in, 17, 90, 115. 

North Wales, Ferns found in, 18, 70, 114, 166. 

Norway, Ferns found in, 3, 5, 18, 63, 90, 114, 174, 
140, 145, 156, 170, 188. _ 

NothochlcEucE , Genus of, xiii., 171 ; erroneous spell- 
ing Nothochlcena , 17 1 ; etymology of, 171. 

N. argentea, 171. 

N. Hookeri , 171. 

N. lanuginosa, distribution of, xvii., 171 ; de- 
scription of, 17 1. . 

N. Marantce , distribution of, xvii., 171 ; cultiva- 
of, xviii. ; description of, 171. 

N. piloselloides , medicinal properties of, xxix. 

N. tomentosa , 171. 

Nottinghamshire, Lastrea cristata in, 157, 158. 

Nova Scotia, Asplenuan marinum in, 99. 

Nova Zembla, Ferns found in, 6, 24. 

Nyman, Prof., work by, on ferns, xxxiv. 

Oak Fern, a name for the Bracken, 38 ; for PolyPo- 
diumvulgare, 163 ; for P. Dryopteris , 163, 166. 

Oak Polypody, and the Limestone Polypody, 

“ Oak-tree,” The, in the stipes of P ter is aquiluia, 

Oetzthal, Woodsia hyperborea in, 5. 

Onoclea, genus of, xii. ; species of, 1 ; relation to 
genus Struthiopteris , 2. 

Onopteris major, Gerard’s name for Black Maiden- 
hair Spleenwort, 107. 

O. gerrnanica , or O. Struthiopteris , 1. 

O. 07 -ientalis , locality of, 1. 

O. sensibilis, locality and description of, 1 ; cul- 
tivation of, 3. 

O. Struthiopteris , 79 ; dimorphism of, vi. ; dis- 
tribution of, xvi. ; and the Tree-fern, 1 ; de- 
scription and nomenclature of, 2 ; locality of, 3 ; 
specific name of, 75. 

Oolite period, Ferns of the, xliv. 

Oosphere, definition of, viii., ix. 

Ootacamund, The Lady Fern in, 119. 

Open ground culture, xviii. 

Ophioglossacece , vernation of, vi. ; classification of, 
x., xiii. ; distribution of, xvii. 

Ophioglossu 77 i , or Adder’s-tongue, 73 ; sporangia 
of, vii. ; classification of, x. ; genus of, xiii., 
182 — 184. 

O. Bergianu 77 i, 182. 

O. grainineum , 184. 

O. lusitanicum , 184; distribution of, xvii., 184, 
description of, 184 ; and the Adder’s-tongue, 

O , pahiiatum , 182. 

O. vulgatiun, distribution of, xvii. ; medicinal 
properties of, xxvi., 182, 183 ; description of, 
183 ; varieties of, 183 ; and O. Iusita 7 iicu 77 i, 184. 

Orchidacece in the Mascarene Archipelago, xiv. j 
economic value of, xxiv., xxv. 

Oregon, Ferns found in, 71, 170. 

Organ Mountains, The Flowering Fern on, 178. 

Orissa, Species of Ferns in, xv., xvi. 

Orkney Isles, Ferns found in, 18, 92, 99, 162, 183. 

Omithopteris , Agardh’s name for Pteris aquilina, 

29 • ... . . 

Os 77 i 7 i 7 ida, 58 ; sporangia of, vii. ; classification of, 
x. ; genus of, xiii., 175 — 181 ; origin of the 
name, 180, 181 ; Wordsworth on the, 180. 

O. bipinnata , 175. 

O. cinna 77 i 077 iea, 175. 

O. Claytoniana, 175. 

O. lane '.a, 175. 

O. regalis, xliv., 58, 175 — 181 ; caudex of, iii. ; 
sporangia of, vii. ; distribution of, xvii. ; medi- 1 
cinal properties of, xxvi. 

O. Struthiopteris, name given by Linnaeus to 
Onoclea Struthiopteris, 2. 

Osmundacece , 175 ^classification of, x., xiii. ; dis- 
tribution of, xvii. 

“ Osmund the Waterman,” and Osinunda, 181. 

Ostrich Fern, 73 ; book-name of Struthiopteris , 3 ; 
dimorphism of. vi. ; indusium of, viii. ; cultiva- 
of, 3. 

Outoanaka, Indian name for Adiantinn pedatu 77 i, 

Oxford, Adiantu 77 i reni/orme at, 42. 

Oxford Botanic Garden, Ferns grown in, 1, 42. 

Pacific Islands, and the Angiopteris evecta, xxix., 
53 ; and FolyPodium phymatodes , xxix. ; ferns 
found in, 16, 29, 39, 40. 

Padina pavonia, or Peacock’s-tail Seaweed, 12. 
Paku-Kidang, and' the Balantiiun ch ryso trichum, 

Palceopteris hibernica , xli., xliii. 

Palece , definition of, iv. 

Palermo, Asplenuan Petrarchce at, 97. 

Palestine, Scale Fern in, 129. 

Panama, Ferns found in, xv., xvi. ? xxix., 67. 
Paraguay, Ferns found in, xv., xvi. 

Parkinson, and the uses of Bracken, 31 ; and the 
Hard Fern, 69, 73 ; and the English Maiden- 
hair, 93; and the Lady Fern, 118; and the 
Moonwort, 186. 

Parkinson*s “ Herbal,” 94. 

Parsley Fern, or Cryptogramme crispa , 56— 63, 82 ; 
description of, 57 ; fronds of, 58 ; varieties of, 
60, 61 ; fructification of, vii. ; indusium of, viii. 
Passijlora vespertilionis , 88. 

Patagonia, Ferns found in, xv., xvi. 

Paterson, and Pteris gracile, 30. 

Peacock's-tail Seaweed, and the Tricho 77 ianes me 77 i - 
branaceum , 12. 

Pecopteris genus of coal-ferns, xliii. 

P . arborescens , xliii. 

Pedicularis sylvatica , and the Woodsia hyper- 
borea , 5. 

Peebles, H ymeiiophylhun tiuibridgeiise in, 17. 
Pembrokeshire, Ferns found in, 70, 162. 
Penghawar-Djambi, and the Dickso 7 iia, xxviii. 
Penzance, Aspleriiian lanceolatum at, 105, 106. 
Pereira, and the Maidenhair, 47, 48. 

Persia, Ferns found in, 24, 40, 92, 108, 129, 185. 
Persian Gulf, Gy 77 inogra 7 ii 77 ia leptophylla in, 173. 
Perth, Aspleniuiii germanicu 7 n near, 115. 
Perthshire, Ferns found in, 18, 70, 114, 129, 140 
Peru, Ferns in, xv., xvi., xxviii., 52, 67, 68, 90, 93. 
Petersfield, Hants, Asplenuan fonta 7 ium near, 103. 
Petiole , description of, iv. 

Petiver, the botanist, 77, 78. 

Petrarch's Fern, locality of, 97. 

Petrarch’s Spleenwort, description and locality of, 97. 
Phanerogams, or flowering plants, i. 

Phegopteris, genus of, 122. 

Philadelphia, Asplenuan ebenoides near, 91. 
Philippine Islands, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., xxviii., 
131, 142. 

Phyilanthus, Semblance of flowers on leaves of, i. 
Phyllitis multijida, Gerard’s description of, 135. 

“ Phytographia,” Plukenet’s, 95, 123. 

Picacho de Veleta, The Parsley Fern on, 63. 
Piedmont, Ferns found in, 3, 53, 63. 

Pinnce , definition of, v. 

Pinnate, definition of, v., 70. 

Pinnatifid, definition of, v., 70. 

Puinatisect, definition of, v. 

Putnules, definition of, v. 

Plantain, root of, 153. 

Platyce-nan , sorus of, vii. 

P. Alcicorne, i., xxxvii. ; dimorphism of, vi. 
Platyloma, and Cheilanthes pteroides , 52. 

Pliny, and the Maidenhair, 48, 49. 

Plukenet, 123; and Asplenuan Trichomanes, 95. 
Plumier, and Davatlia aculeata , 19. 

Plymouth, Aspleiiiuin la 7 iceolaUan at, 105. 

Poland, Oiioclea St 7 'uthiopteris in, 3 ; Bracken 
folk lore in, 35. 

Polynesia, Ferns in, xiv. — xvi., 8, 14, 42, 64. 
Polypodiacece , classification of, x. ; eleven tribes of, 
xi. ; genera of, xii., xiii. ; distribution of, xvi. 
Polypodiece, tribe of Polypodiacece , xiii. ; distribu- 
tion of, xvii. 

Polypuduan, genus of, 163 ; venation of, v. ; di- 
morphism of, vi. ; pot culture of, xx. ; species 
of, 163. 

P . alpestre, 121, 169, 170; description and locality 
of, 170; various opinions respecting, 169 ; and 
the Lady Fern, 169, 170. 

P. aziomalum, fructification of, 95. 

P. brasiliensis, Mr. John Smith on, xxxvi. 

P. Calaguala, medicinal properties of, xxviii. 

P. calcareian , a name for P. Robertiarnim , 167. 
P. crassifoluan, medicinal properties of, xxviii. 
j P. diver si folium, dimorphism of, vi. 

P. Dryopteids, 166 ; locality and description of, 
166 ; distribution of, xvii., 112; and P. Rober- 
tianian, xxxvi., 167, 168. 

P. flexile, 170; description and locality of, 170; 
distribution of, xvii. 

P. lusitanicuTn, Linnaeus's name for Davallia 
canarie 7 isis, 20. 

P. lycopodioides, Mr. John Smith on, xxxvi. 

P. Phegopteris, description of, 168 ; distribution 
of, xvii , 168. 

P . phyinatodes , medicinal properties of, xxix. 

P. rlueticum, 23, 169 ; distribution of, xvii. 

P. Robertiaman , 167, 168; description of, 167; 
locality of, 167, 168 ; distribution of, xvii. ; and 
P. Dryopteris, xxxvi., 167,168; and Cystop - 
terns rnontana, 25. 

P. vulgare, 147, 163 ; and Davallia parallela , 
19 ; or Adder’s Fern, 73 ; growth of, iii., iv. ; 

. distribution of, xvii. ; medicinal properties of, 
xxvi., 163 — 165 ^locality of, 163, 164; descrip- 
tion of, 165 ; varieties of, 165, 1 66. 

Polypody, The Common, iii., 163 ; eremobryoid, 
iv. ; sterile fronds of, vi. ; sorus of, vii. ; 
medicinal properties of, xxvi., 133, 163 — 165 ; 
preservation of, xxxi. ; various names of, 163. 

Polysticlnan, genus of, 139 ; its numerous species, 
T 39 * signification of the name, 139. 

P. aculeatu 77 i, 139 — 144, 146 ; description of, 141 ; 
beauty of the vernation of, 142 ; geographical 
range of, 142 ; its utilisation in protecting the 
fruit of the fig-tree, 143 ; and P. angulare , 

P. aiigulare, 141, 142, 144 — 147 ; and P. aculea- 
tum, 144 ; description of, 144 ; geographical 
range of, 145 ; varieties of, 145 — 147. 

P. lobatum , description of, 143. 

P. Lonchitis , 139 — 141, 146 , locality of, 139, 140 ; 
description of, 140, 141. 

P. 77 UOlitU 77 l, I39. 

P. vivipanan , 143. 

Polytricluan alpinian , and the Parsley Fern, 62. 

Porto Zigale, island of Lossin, Scolopeiididum hybn - 
du 77 i in, 137. 

Portugal, Ferns found in, xiv., 14, 20, 38, 39, 45, 53, 
54, 71, 80, 86, 99, 105, 108, 109, 1 12, 1 19, 137, 
I 7 I » ^73- 

Pot culture, xx. 

Pratt, Miss Anne, and ^The Ferns of Great 
Britain,” xli. 

Presl, 85, 175. 

Primrose, dimorphism of, 57 ; preservation of, xxix. 

Prior, Dr., and the Bracken, 37 ; and the Wall Rue, 
iii. ; and the Spleenwort, 126 ; and the Os- 
rnunda, 180. 

“Prodromus Florae Hispanicse,” Willkomm and 
Lange’s, 47. 

Propagation of ferns, xxiii. 

Prothalliian, description of ; Dr. Lindsay and, viii. 

Prussia, 07 ioclea Strjithiopteris in, 3. 

Pseudathyriian , Genus of, and Poly podium 
alpestre, 169. 

Pteridece , tribe of Polypodiacece, xii. ; distribution 
of, xvi. 

Pteris , genus of, xii. ; species of, 27 ; sori of, and 
the Aaiantum, 44 ; and the Parsley Fern, 59. 

P. aquilina , distribution of, xvi., 29; economic 
properties of, xxv., xxvii. ; description of, 27, 
28, 79 ; varieties of, 29 ; locality of, 2Q ; or the 
Bracken, 30 — 38, 59 ; reason for the specific 
name aquiluia, 36 ; general names of, 37 ; root 

of, 153. 

P. arguta, distribution of, xvi. ; description and 
locality of, 38, 39. 

P . argyrcea , and P. quadriaurita, 27. 

P. cretica , 27 ; indusium of, viii. ; distribution 
of, xvi. ; description and locality of, 40, 41. 

P. e 7 isifolia , a name for P. longijolia, 39 ; dis- 
tribution of, xvi. 

P. esculenta, economic properties of, xxvii. ; 
abundance of in New Zealand, 37. 

P.jlabellata , a name for P. arguta , 39. 

P. gracile , and the young Bracken, 30. 

P. longijolia , description and locality of, 39, 40 ; 
numerous names of, 39. 

P. palustris , a name for P. arguta , 38. 

P. quadriaurita, varieties of, 27. 

P. serraria , Swartz’s name for P. cretica, 41. 

P . serrulata , description and locality of, 27. 

P. serrulata Leyi, description of, 27. 

P. tricolor, and P. quadriaurita , 27. 

P. vittata, Linnaeus's name for P. longijolia . , 39. 

Pulmonaria officinalis , origin of the name, 83. 

Pulu, and Cibotium glaucum, xxix. 

Purdie, Mr., and Blechniun volubile , 67. 

Purple Loosestrife, trimorphism of, 57. 

Purple Orchis, or Orchis 7 nascula, 74. 

Pyrenees, Ferns found on the, 5, 6, 17, 24, 26, 53, 
63, 90, 103, 170. 

Queensland, Ferns found in, 46, 85. 

Quito, Aspleniiun Trichomanes in, 93. 

Rachis, description of, iv. 

General Index. 

Radicantes, group of Maidenhair Ferns, 42. 

R amenta, definition of, iv. 

Rare plants, Loss of, 125. 

Ray, on ferns, 17, 18, 48, 73, 77, 78, 93, 100, 107, 

133 1 136. 

Ray Society, 73. 

Ray’s “ Synopsis,” 13. 

Receptacle , definition of, vi. 

Redhead, Mr. R. M., 102, 103. 

Red-Rattle, and Woodsia hyperborca , 5. 

Reeves, Mr. John, and the ScytHian lamb, 10. 
Renfrew, Ferns found in, 17, 129, 157. 
Reproduction, Mode of, viii., ix. 

Rhizome of the Male Fern, 153. 

Rhizomes, or stems, iii. 

Ribeiro Frio, Woodwardia rad leans on, 80. 
Richardson, Dr., 6, 13. 

Richardson, Sir John, and Cryptogramme acrosti - 
c ho ides, 61. 

Rickets, The Wall Rue a specific for, iii, 112. 
Rietz, and the Bracken, 37. 

Rio Janeiro, The Trichomanes in, 14. 

Rock Brakes, a book-name for Parsley Fern, 59. 
Rocky Mountains, Ferns found on, xv., xvi., 6, 7, 
26, 61, 90, 1 19, 157, 166. 

Rootsey, Mr., and the Comfrey, xxvi. 

Rosa canitta, species of, xxxvi. 

Ross-shire, Polystichum Lonchitis in, 140. 

Roth, 117. 

Rough Spleenwort, 69. 

Roxburghshire, Ferns found in, 114, 145. 

Royal Fern, or Snake Fern, iii., 73; fructification 
of, vii. ; medicinal properties of, xxvi. 

Rubus fruticosus, 56 ; species of, xxxvi. 

Rue, The Common ; its medicinal properties, iii. 
Rue-leaved Saxifrage, 92. 

Ruscus aculeatus , Semblance of flowers on leaves 
of, i. 

Russia, Ferns found in,. 3, 5, 6, 24, 90, 114, 119, 
140, 157 ; Bracken folk-lore in, 32, 34. 
Rusty-back, and Ceterach oficinarum , 83 ; a 
name for the Scale Fern, 128. 

Rymsdyk, John and Andrew von, and the Scythian 
lamb, 8. 

S. Miguel, Azores, Dicksonia Culcita at, 11. 

S. Roque, Davallia canariensis at, 20. 

St. Helena, Ferns found in, xiv., 8, 108, 183. 

St. Ignatius’s Bean, or Strychnos lgnatii, and 
Kamel, 78. 

St. John’s Eve, and the Bracken, 32 — 34. 

“St. John's-hands,” 153. 

St. John’s-root, 153. 

St. Knighton’s Kieve, The Trichomanes at, 14. 

St. Michael Island, Woodwardia radicans Brownii 
in, 80. 

St. Michael’s Mount, Asplenium lanceolatum at, 
1 p 5 - 

St. Vincent, Bory de, and Ptens longifolia , 40. 

Sach’s Text-book, 79. 

Saddleback, Asplenium fontanum at, 102. 

Sagittaria sagittifolia, reason for the name, 75. 

Salisburia (or Ginkgo) adantifolia, and the 
Maidenhair Fern, 87. 

Salop, Ferns found in, 18, 62, 162, 167 ; Bracken 
folk-lore in, 32. 

Salpichlcena, and Blechnum. volubile, 67. 

Salvia , genus of, 83. 

6*. vita, L’Obel’s name for the Wall Rue, 

Salzburg Alps, Allosorus crispus on, 61. 

“ Samanbaya,” or Mcrtenda dichotoma, xxix. 

Sandwich Islands, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., 29, 46, 
93 ; and the Pulu, xxix., 10. 

Sanicula europcea. Healing properties of, 83. 

San Miguel, Dicksonia Culcita in, 11. 

Santa Anna, Plateau of, Woodwardia radicans 
on, 80. 

Sardinia, Ferns found in, 5, 40, 53, 96. 

Saskatchawan, Woodsia hyperborea at the, 5. 

Saxony, Ferns found in, 17, 91. 

Scale Fern, or Ceterach, 82, 83, 92, 125 — 130; its 
use as bait in North Wales, 126 ; the original 
Spleenwort, 126; its English names, 128; 
description of, 128 ; its size, 129 ; locality and 
varieties of, 129. 

Scaly Spleenwort, or Ceterach oficinarum , 48, 
113 ; and the English Maidenhair, 92. 

Scandinavia, Ferns found in, 6, 26, 103, 119, 157, 
168 ; and the etymology of Bracken, 37. 

Scawfell, Forked Spleenwort at, 114. 

Scheuchzeria , and the two Scheuchzers, 59. 

Schizoeacece, classification of, xiii. 

Schkuhr on the so-called magical properties of the 
Male Fern, 153. 

Schott, and ferns, xxxvi. 

Schousbee, and Cheilanthes JiisPanica , 54. 

Schuylkill River. Ferns found near, 91. 

Scilly Islands, The Adder’s-tongue in, 183. 

Scinde, Cheilanthes Szovitsii in, 55. 

Scolopendricce, tribe of Polypodiacece , xiii. ; dis- 
tribution of, xvii. . 

Scolopcndrium , genus of, xiii., 85. 131. 

S, Douglasii , description and locality, 131. 

S. Hemionitis , 131 ; distribution of, xvii. ; and 
Asplenium Hemionitis , 85, 86, 137; locality 
and description of, 137, 138. 

.S', hybridum, 137. 

S. pinnatum , 131. 

S. vulgare , 71, 92, 131 — 136 ; distribution of, 
xvii. ; medicinal properties of, xxvi., 100 ; 
varieties of, xxxix. ; and the Maidenhair, 48 ; 
and Camptosorus rhizophyllus , 65 ; its easy 
cultivation, 131 ; venation of the fronds. 131 ; 
development of the sori, 131 ; viviparous cha- 
racter of, 146. 

Scotland, Ferns found in, xli., 18, 23, 31, 58, 62, 
90,150, 157, 161, 166,170, 182 ; Bracken folk- 
lore in, 32, 36. 

Scott, Sir Walter, and the Lady Fern, 117 ; and the 
Flowering Fern, 176, 177. 

Scythian lamb, and Dicksonia Barometz, Dr. 
Breyne’s description of, 8, 9 ; Darwin and the 
Sieur du Bartas on, 10. 

Sea Holly, or Eryngium maritimum, 87. 

Sea Spleenwort, 98 ; description of, 98 ; locality of, 
99 ; its cultivation, 100 ; its medicinal pro- 
perties, 100. 

Seaweeds, examples of Thallophytes , ii. 

Seemann, Dr., and the Balabala, xxix. 

Segment , definition of, v. 

Seiser Alp, Ferns found on the, 5, 7. 

Selaginella helvetica, use of, xxii. 

Semilacerum, or the Irish Polypody, 165. 

Senecio , numerous species of, 56. 

Serra de Cintra, Ferns found at, 20, 38. 

Shady-bracken, a name for the Bracken, 38. 

Shakespeare, on the Bracken, 32. 

Shepherd, Mr., and Asplenium fontanum, 103. 

Sherard, and A selenium Trichomanes , 95. 

Shetland Isles, Ferns found in, 18, 90, 99, 178. 

Shield Fern, and the Holly Fern, xxxi. 

Shield Ferns, 139 — 147. 

Shropshire, Ferns found in, 62, 162, 167 ; Bracken 
folk-lore in, 32. 

Siberia, Ferns found in, 3, 6, 25, 30, 46, 51, 52, 61, 
63, 66, 90, 92, 108, 1 12, 140,, 156, 163, 166 168, 

Sicily, Ferns found in, 24, 39, 40, 45, 71, 80, 97, 99, 
114, 116, 156, 173.. 

Sierra Nevada Ferns in, 24, 45 63, 90, 156. 

“ Signatures,” The doctrine of, 83. 

Sikkim, Onoclea orientalis, native of, 1. 

Silesia, Ferns found in, 6, 115. 

Silver Ferns, 173. 

Sim, and the Cystopteris Dickieana , 23. 

Simla, Ferns found in, 80, 119. 

Sinai, Maidenhair in, 46. 

Sitka, Ferns found in, 61, 71, 90, 163, 166, 170. 

Skipton Castle, Asplenium fontanum at, 103. 

Slieve Bingian Island, The Parsley Fern on, 63. 

Sligo, Maidenhair in, 46. 

Sloane Herbarium, British Museum, Ferns found 
in, 13, 14, 77, 81. 

Sloane, Sir Hans, and the Sloane Herbarium. 
British Museum, 77. 

Smith, Mr. John, on eremobryoid and desmobryoid 
ferns, iv. ; on anastomosing venation, v. ; on 
Brazilian ferns, xxxvi. ; his contributions to 
fern literature, xxxvi. ; and the ferns at Kew, 
xxxvii., xxxviii. ; on various species of ferns, 

1 < 3 , 41, 51, 52, 67, 85, 95, 122. 

Smith, Sir J. E., on various species of ferns, 5, 23, 
76, 101, 102, 180. 

Snake Fern, a name for the Hard and Royal Ferns, 
73 - 

Snowdon, Ferns found on, 14, 62, 139. 

Society Isles, Ferns found in the, xv., xvi., 

Solomon Isles, Ferns found in the, xv., xvi. 

Somersetshire, Ferns found in, 17, 46, 62, 70, 105, 
114, 115, 129, 156, 162, 167. 

Sorrento, Woodwardia radicans at, 80. 

Sorus, definition of, vi., vii. 

South Africa, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., xxix., 
xxxvii., 18, 40, 109, 112, 145, 163, 175, 182. 

South America, Ferns found in, 4, 24, 40, 66, 173. 

Southern Europe, Ferns found in, 24, 157. 

Southey, and the Parsley Fern, 62. 

South Germany, Ferns found in, 155, 156. 

South Kensington, National herbarium at, xxxviii. 

Spain, Ferns found in, xiv., 20, 24, 39, 45, 53, 54, 
63, 71, 80, 90, 96, 103, 105, 108, 109, 1 12, 1 14, 
119, 129, 135, 137, 140, 150, 157, 166, 168, 
171— 174, 185. 

“Species Filicum,” Hooker’s work on ferns, 
xxxv., 29, 142, 161. 

Specific names of natural objects, 74. 

Specimens of ferns, Size of, xxxi., xxxii. 

Spermatozoids , definition of, viii. 

Sphagnum, use of, xxii. 


Sphenopteris, genus of coal-ferns, xliii. 

Spleenwort, or Asplenium , a name for the Scale 
Fern, 128; its medicinal qualities, xxvi., 126, 
133 5 original locality of, 126. 

Spleenworts, The, 82. 

Sporangia, definition of, vi., vii. 

Spores , definition of, vi. 

Spotted Orchis, preservation of, xxix. 

Spruce, Mr., and the Dicksonia Selloxviana , 8. 

Stachys palustris, medicinal properties of, xxvi. 

Staffordshire, Ferns found in, 18, 70, 90, 167 ; 
Bracken folk-lore in, 33, 35. 

Stag’s-horn Fern, or Platyccnum alcicorne , xxxvii. 

Stangeria paradoxa, and the Filicince, 87. 

Stansfield, Mr., and the Hard Fein, 70. 

Stem, structure of, iii. ; no wood formed in, iv, 

Stemmatopteris, extinct group of ferns, xliii. 

Stipes , description of, iv. 

Stirlingshire, Ferns found in, 17, 140. 

Stitchwort, or Stellaria Holostea, 74. 

Stonecrops, preservation of, xxx. 

Stonehaven, Kincardineshire, Asplenium fonta- 
num near, 103. 

Struthiopteris, and Onoclea sensibilis , 1 ; and the 
Parsley Fern, 58. 

germanica, Wildenow’s name for Onoclea 
Struthiopteris , 2. 

•S’. pennsylvanica , American name for Onoclea 
S truthiopteris, 3. 

Struys, Jean, and the Scythian lamb, 8, 9. 

Strychnos lgnatii, 78. 

Styria, Ferns found in, 24, 63, 116. 

Sudetes mountains, Moravia, Cystopteris sudeiica 
on the, 25. 

Suffolk, Lastrea cristata in, 157. 

Sumatra, Ferns found in, xxviii., 10. 

<rvfX(f)VTou, or Comfrey, xxvii. 

Sundews, circinate vernation of, i. 

Surflet, and Bracken folk-lore, 33, 34. 

Surrey, Ferns found in, 89, 96, 103 ; Bracken folk- 
lore in, 36. 

Sussex, Ferns found in, 17, 89, 99, 105, 162 ; 
Bracken folk-lore in, 36, 38, 73. 

Sutherlandshire, Ferns found in, 140, 170. 

Swabia, Bracken folk-lore in, 33. 

Swanage Cave, Asplenium fontanum at, 103. 

Swan River, Gymnogramma leptophylla at, 173. 

Swartz, and Pteris serraria, 41. 

Sweden, Ferns found in, 3, 5, 63. 90, 114, 124, 140, 
145, 170 ; and the etymology of Bracken, 37. 

Sweet-scented Fern, a name for Dicksonia puncti - 
lobula, 53. 

Switzerland, Ferns found in, 45, 53, 63, 103, 105, 
108, 140, 156, 173, 187 ; uses of the Bracken in, 
3 1 * 

Symphytum, or the Comfrey, etymology of, 83. 

S. officinale, medicinal properties of, xxvi. 

“Synopsis Filicum,” Hooker and Baker’s, xiv., 
xxxv. — xxxvii., 5, 14, 17, 24, 27, 42, 47, 53, 60, 
64, 82, 97, 116, 148, 155, 163, 175, 182, 187. 

“ Synopsis Stirpium Hibernicarum,” iii. 

Syria, Ferns found in, 24, 39, 53, 108, 137, 172. 

Szovitz, and Cheilanthes Szovitsii , 54. 

Tangiers, Ferns found in, 20, 86, 99, 105. 
Tannahill, on the Bracken, 32. 

Tan-y-BwIch, Merionethshire, Asplenium fon- 
tanum near, 103. 

Tapeworm, The Male Fern a remedy for, 153, 154. 
Tarifa, Davallia canariensis at, 20. 

Tartarean lamb, Dicksonia Barometz, 8 — 10, 
Tasmania, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., 24, 93, 173, 

Tauria, Ferns found in, 140, 172. 

Teesdale, Ferns found at, 6, 25, 102, 140. 

Teesdale, Mr., and the Trichomanes, 14. 

Teneriffe, Ferns found in, xiv., 11, 14, 20, 38, 80, 86, 

Tentwort, ox Asplenium Ruta-muraria , xxvi., in. 
Tertiary divisions , definition of. v. 

Tertiary strata, Ferns found in the, xliv. 
Tkalictrum saxatile , and the Maidenhair, 46. 
Thallophytes , lower group of Cryptogamia , ii. 
Thallus t cellular structure of Thallophytes , ii. 
Thamnopteris , species of, 85. 

Thirsk, Davallia Novce-Zelandice found near, 20. 
Thomson, on ferns, 168. 

Threlkeld, and the Hard Fern, 73; and the Wall 
Rue, iii ; and Polypodium vulgare , 165. 
Thunberg, and the Bracken, 30. 

Thuringia, Bracken folk-lore in, 35. 

Thurm, Everard im, and the Trichomanes , 14. 
Tibet, Ferns found in, 54, 112, 129. 

Tineo, and Cheilanthes hispanica, 54. 

Tipperary, The Trichomanes in, 14. 

Titterstone Clee Hill, Salop, The Parsley Fern 
on, 62. 

Todaro, and Cheilanthes Tincei , 54. 

Todea , genus of, 175. 

T. barbara , 175. 


European Ferns. 

Todea Wilkesiana , erect stem of, iii. 

Todmorden, Lancijolium , var. of Hard Fern at, 
7°* ^ 

Tohunga, The, of New Zealand, and Asplemum 
lucidutn, xxv. 

Tomkins, Lines on the Bracken by Miss, 36. 

Toulon, Asplenium Petrarckce at, 97. 

Tower of London, Young Bracken at, 29, 30. 

Townley Hall, Louth, Ireland, Lastrea rigida at, 
I 5 6 - 

Tradescants, The, asi&Adiantum pedatum , xxxvn. , 

Tragus, Hieronymus, and the Bracken, 33. 

Transylvania, Cystopteris sudetica in, 25. 

Tree-ferns, iii. ; ordinary height of, iii. ; of the 
Coal period, xliii. 

Tremadoc, Asplenium fontanum near, 103. 

Trichomanes , genus of Hymenophyllacece , xi. ; 
pot culture of, xx. ; case for, xxii. ; genera of, 
xxxvi., xxxix. ; species and locality of, 12 — 15 ; 
and the A splenium, 15 ; and Hymcnophyllum, 

T. alatum , a name for the Killarney Fern, 14. 

r. A ndrewsii, and T. radicals, 13. 

T. Barklianum, locality of, 12. 

T. brevisetum , a name for the Killarney Fern, 
I5 * . ■ 

T. cananense , Linnaeus’s name for Davallia 
cananensis, 20. 

T. ( Hymenostachys ) elegans, dimorphism of, vi. ; 
classification of, x. 

T . fcemina , or Gerard’s “ Female English 
Maidenhair,” 89. 

T. giganteum , description of, 12. 

T. lucens, rachis of, 12. 

T. membranaceum, description and locality of, 

T. pinnatum, description of, 12. 

T. radicans, or Killarney Fern, distribution of, 
xvi. ; James Bolton on, xxxiv., xxxv. ; descrip- 
tion of, 12, 13 ; locality of, 13. 

T. reniforme, locality of, 12. 

7 \ speciosum , a name of the Killarney Fern, 14. 

Tripijinate , definition of, v. 

Tristan d’Acunha, species of ferns in, xiv. — xvi. 

True Maidenhair, The, 44 — 50, 93, 98. 

Tunbridge Fern, and the Killarney Fern, 15 ; or 
H ymenophyllum tutibridgense , 17. 

Tunbridge Wells, Ferns found at, 17, 70. 

Tunis, Ferns found in, 157. 

Turk Waterfall, Killarney, The Trichomanes at, 14. 

Turkey, Ferns found in, 45, 53, 105, 108, 112, 116, 
140, 163, 173. 

Turner, and the Bracken, 33. 

Turner’s “ Herbal ” (1568), Specimens of the style 
of, 127; his “ Libellus,” 133. 

Tusser, Lines by, on the Bracken, 37. 

Tussilago, and coughs, 83. 

Tyrol, Ferns found in the, 3, 6, 17, 26, 63, 95 — 
97, 109, no, 115, 129, 171 ; Bracken folk-lore 
m, 35. 

Tyrone, Polystichum Lonchitis in, 140. 

Ulster, Polystichum angulare in, 145. 

Ultimate divisions, definition of, v. 

Umbelliferce, or Umbellifers, Economic properties 
of, xxiv. 

Unaiaska, Ferns found in, 6, 183, 187. 

United States, and fern literature, xxxiii. ; ferns 
found in, xv., xvi., 3, 8, 46, 76, 93, 112, 119, 
131, 149, 157, 160, 163, 166, 168, 178, 185, 188. 
Upper Engadine, IV oodsia hyperborea in, 5. 

Ural Mountains, Ferns found on the, 3, 5, 7, 103, 
112, 114. 

Uruguay, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., 178. 

Vasculai Cryptogams, ii. 

Vauclose, Asplenium Peirarchce at, 97. 

Venation, description of, v. 

Venca , Brazilian name for Adiantum dolabriforme, 

Venezuela, Ferns found in, xv., xvi., 17, 39, 52, 119. 
Vera Cruz, Gymnogramma leptophylla in, 173. 
Veronica, and Podocarpus , 87. 

Vicia Dennesiana , locality of, 125. 

Victoria, Australia, Gymnogramma leptophylla in, 

Viper’s Bugloss, or Echium vulgare, 83. 

Virginia, Ferns found in, xxxvii., 21, 76. 

Vitex ilicijolius, 88. 

Vitr's jatrophoides, and Fucus serratus , 87. 
Viviparous character of certain fern-species, ix., 146. 
Viviparous plants, Illustrations of, 84. 

Vosges, Onoclea S truth opteris in, 3. 

Wa-Kalou, or Lygodictyon , xxix. 

Walking Leaf, or Camptosorus rhizophyllus , 65, 
13 1 » !3 8 - 

Wallich, and Cryptogramme Brunonia?ia, 60. 

Wall Pennywort, 129. 

Wall Rue, 93, no — 113, 129: and the Maidenhair, 
48 ; and the English Maidenhair, 92; French 
name of, 93 ; medicinal properties of, xxviii.. 

111, 112, 133; locality of, 112; description of, 

112, 113. 

Ward. Mr. N. B., Culture of ferns by, xxi. ; and the 
Killarney Fern, 15 ; and the Parsley Fern, 62. 
Wardian case-culture of ferns, xxi., xxii., 15, 16, 
45, 53> 66, 173, 178. 

Ward’s fern-case, use of, xviii., xxii., xxiv., xxxix. 
Warrington, Onoclea setisibilis said to grow near, 
1 ; Asplenium marinutn near, 90. 

Water Fern, Economic properties of the, xxviii. ; 

its numerous names, xxviii. 

Waterford, Ferns found in, 14, 92, 129. 

Watford, H eniionitis sterilis near, 136. 

Watson, Mr. H. C., works by, xl. ; on various 
species of ferns, 5, 72, 96, 100, 115, 157. 
Weisenstein, W oodsia glabella at, 7. 

Welsh Polypody, The, 165. 

Welwitsch, Dr. Frederick, and ferns at British 
Museum, xxxviii., xxxix. ; and Pteris argnta, 
38 ; and Cheila?ithes hispanica, 54 ; and Ophio- 
_ glossum lusitanicum , 184. 

West India Islands, and Kew, xxxvii. ; ferns found 
in, xv., xvi., 11, 14, 16, 19, 24, 29, 39, 43. 46, 64, 
68, 93, 142, 173, 175. 

Westmeath, use of Hart’s-tongue in, xxvi., 100, 

Westmoreland, Ferns found in, 6, 14, 17, 23, 70, 71, 
73, 90, 101, 102, 114, 139, 155, 162, 168. 
Westphalia, Bracken folk-lore in, 35. 

West Wycombe, Scale Fern near, 129. 

Wharncliffe Wood, Asplenium fotitanum in, 103. 
White, Dr., on ferns, 170. 

White Bryony, Root of, 153. 

Whitlow-grass, 92. 

Wicklow, Ferns found in, 14, 71. 

Wildenow, and Struthiopteris germanica, 2. 
Williamson, Mr. John, and Che “ Ferns of Ken- 
tucky,” xxxiv. 

Willkomm, 47 ; and the Trichomanes, 14. 

Wilson, Mr. Nathaniel, and Kew, xxxvii. 

Wilson, William, and Hymenophyllum Wilsoni, 
17, 18 ; and Cystopteris alpina, 26. 

Wiltshire, Poly podium Robertianum in, 167. 

Windermere, Lastrea remota near, 155. 

Winderwath, The “ Herrin'-bone Fern” at, 73 

Windisch-matrei, Tyrol, Woodsia glabella at, 7. 

Wither, George, and the Moonwort, 187. 

Withering, on the Parsley Fern, 58. 

Wollaston, Mr., 146, 147. 

Woods, Joseph, and the genus Woodsia, 4. 

Wood Sanicle, or Sa?iicula europcea, 83. 

Woodsia , species of, 4 ; indusium of, viii. j genus 
of, xii. 

W. asplenioides, Russian name for a species of 
W. hyperborea , 5. 

W. glabella , distribution of, xvi. ; Dr. Richard- 
son and, 6 ; description, locality, and cultiva- 
tion of, 7. 

W. gua temalensis, fronds of, 4. 

W. hyperborea, distribution of, xvi. ; description 
of, 4 ; Brown and Francis Bauer on, 4 ; locality 
of, 5, 1 12. 

W. ilvensis, distribution of, xvi. ; and IV. hyper- 
borea, 5 ; description and locality of, 6. 

W. pilosella , Russian name for a species of W. 
hyperborea, 5. 

W. subcordaia, Russian name for a species of 
W. hyperborea , 5. 

Woodward, Mr. Thomas Jenkinson, and Wood- 
wardia , 76. 

Woodwardia, 66 ; anastomosing venation of, v. ; 
genus of, xii. ; locality, species, and descrip- 
tion of, 76. 

W. angusti/olia , locality and description of, 76. 

W. areolata , a name for W. angusti/olia , 76. 

W. Harlandi, locality of, 76. 

W. orientalis , locality of, 76 ; Hooker’s descrip- 
tion of, 76 ; Ray and, 77 ; in Sloane Herbarium, 
77 ; growth of, 78, 79. 

W. radicans, and W. orientalis, 76 ; description 
of, 78, 146 ; Prof. Eaton on, 79 ; distribution of, 
xvi., 80; varieties and cultivation of, 80. 

W. radicans Brownii , locality and description 
of, 80. 

W. radicans cristata , description of, 80. 

W. virginica , and Linnaeus, 76 ; locality and de- 
scription of, 76. 

Worcestershire, Ferns found in, 62, 89, 167. 

Wordsworth, and the Parsley Fern, 62 ; and the 
Flowering Fern, 180. 

Wybourn, Westmoreland, Asplenium fontanum 

• in, 101, 102. 

Wychwood Forest, Polypodium Robertianum in, 
167. « 

Yakutzk, Cystopteris sudetica found near, 75. 
Yellow Centaury, or Chlora per/oliata , 75. 
Yellow-wort, or Yellow Centaury ( Chlora Per/o- 
liata), 75. 

Yorkshire, Ferns found in, 1, 13, 18,70, 90, 102, 121, 
155* I 57> 162, 167. 

Young, Dr., 104. 

Zambesi-land, The Flowering Fern in, 178. 
Zante, Pteris longi folia in, 39. 

Zermatt, Woodsia hyperborea on, 5. 
Zonites, and ferns, xxiv. 

Z. alliaria, and ferns, xxiv. 

Z. cellaria , and ferns, xxiv. 

Z. Purus , and ferns, xxiv. 

“ Zophyte,” or plant animal, The, 9. 

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