National Geographic : 1925 May
FERNS AS A HOBBY 585 Photograph from E. 0. Wooton A DAINTY LITTLE FERN OF THE ARID SOUTHWEST The plant is Bommeria hispida, nestling under a big granite bowlder in the Organ Mountains of New Mexico, all unconscious of its shortcoming in having no "common name." EASTERN LADY FERN Athyrium angustum (Willd.) Presl. Poly pody Family [Plate XIII] Recent studies have shown that the Lady Ferns, long classed under a single name, Athy rium filix-femina, actually belong to several dif ferent species. The true Lady Fern (A. filix femina) occurs in Eurone, Asia, and western North America. The common plant of the Northeatern States is Athyrium angustum. The Eastern Lady Fern is a common species and an extremely variable one, growing in all sorts of situations, from low, moist woodlands and shaded stream banks to dry woods and bushy clearings. Individual fronds are often of great beauty and delicacy; but, except in moist, protected situations, it is not an attractive fern, being especially liable to disfigurement. WALKING-FERN Camptosorus rhizophyllus (L.) Link. Poly pody Family [Plate XIV] The trick of striking root at the end of the frond and there producing a new plant is the most interesting trait of the Walking-fern, it self a plant of extraordinary appearance. The fronds, bluish-green and glossy, are tardy in uncoiling their long, slender tips, so that not until late summer do rootlets and the first tiny leaves develop from the brownish thickened ends, pushed down against the mossy bank or bowlder upon which the plant grows. By winter a rosette of several little leaves has been formed. But the Walking-fern is evergreen, and the new plant remains attached to the parent frond until the following season, and even then may not be separated. Occasionally as many as three or four plants are seen thus attached in a row. The Walking-fern ranges from Quebec to Minnesota and the southern Appalachians, and, though not a "common" species, is often locally abundant. It is almost confined to shady bowl ders and damp, mossy ledges, but is occasion ally found on rotten stumps and on peaty banks capping the cliffs. Usually the plants grow in dense mats, the odd, leathery fronds-up to 12 inches long interlacing in all directions. There are few things that bring a keener thrill to the fern student than his first sight of a colony of this remarkable plant. DWARF SPLEENWORT Asplenium trichomanes L. Polypody Family [Plate XV] Growing usually with the Walking-fern, but tucked away in the chinks of shaded cliffs, will be found the Dwarf, or Maidenhair, Spleen wort. It is our daintiest fern. The fronds, mostly four to six inches long, are arranged in a spreading rosette, all facing the source of light. The attractiveness of the plant comes equally from its surroundings, its delicacy, and the beautiful color contrast afforded by its dark clear-green pinnm and shining, purplish-brown, threadlike stalks.