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The Fern Bulletin




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^ MID-WINTER NUMBER, ^



The.

Fern

Bulletin.

A Quarterly Devoted to Ferns.



Edited by WILLA-RD t\. CLUTE.



JANUARY.



Blnghamton, N. Y.:
THE FERN BULLETIN CO.,
1897.



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A FEMN BOOK FOR EVERYBODY; by M. C Cooke.
i2-mo.y cloth, 124 pages, 12 colored plates and 30 illus-
trations in the text This is an English work, but con-
tains an account of the majority of Eastern American
Ferns. Scientific but popular.
Price postpaid, SO eta.; with the Fern BulleHn one year, 80 cfo.

OUR NATIVE FERNS AND THEIR ALLIES, by
Prof. L. M. Underwood. Latest edition. 12-mo.;
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dard text book, and contains full descriptions of all ferns,
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PrioR postpaid,, fl.OO; wUh the Fern Btilktin one year, fl.20,

FERNS IN THEIR HOMES AND OURS, by John
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Price postpaid, fl.SO; with the Fern BuiUetin one year, fl,60.

THE FERNS AND FERN ALLIES OF NEW ENG-
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Price, doth, postpaid, 60c,; with Fern BvUetvn one yea/r, 76c,
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THE

FERN BULLETIN.

VOL V. JANUARY, 1897. NO, I*



ASPLENIU.n EDENOIDES IN VIRGINIA.

By PpOF. W. AliPHONSO MURRILIi.



IT was on the hottest day. of Jast July that I found my first plant
of Asplenium ebenoides. Before leaving Blacksburg Idlsoov-
ed six other plants, in five different localities, but none prov-
ed quite so interesting as that first one, which added Virginia to
the small list of states that grow the rarest one of all our ferns.

By careful search, however, among our limestone formations,
I see no reason why the number of stations for ebenoides should
not be increased, for it thrives in the light, rich soil at the base of
limestone rocks, and nearly as well, so far as my experience goes,
in exposed but shaded situations on the side of limestone clifito.
Indeed, judging from the localities where A. plnnatifidum, its
nearest congener, is found, I should not be much surprised to find
it on cliffs of sandstone. One of my plants grew on the eaves of a
large mass of chert covered with Polypodium vulgare; though
this chert was formerly embedded in Lower Silurian limestone. I
have also found it here in Virginia with Pellfea atropurpurea, As-
plenium platyneuron, Oamptosorus, Asplenium parvulum, A ruta-
muraria, A. trichomanes, Woodsia obtusa, and Adiantum peda-
tum.

When first seen, ebenoides suggests a small, prim plant of
Camptosorus which has found its situation uncomfortably sunny
and holds up its half-gruwn tips at a safe distance from the dry
earth. On closer examination, the body of the frond is seen to be
pinnatifid, and the sori of true Asplenium type: so our find must
be either A. ebenoides or A plnnatifidum. Although these two
ferns resemble each other closely in size, color, texture and gener-
al outline, I think it is possible with several specimens before me,
Xo point out spme well-defined differences.



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ASPiiBNiUM EBENOiDES. (One-half natural eize.)

The stipe of ebenoides is rich purple and polished, as is also
the rachis on its under side, sometimes even beyond the middle of
the frond ; while the stipe of pinnatifldum is dull purplish only at
its base. A few of the lower pinnse of ebenoides are separate, while
in pinnatifidura there is a distinct green wing connecting them all.
Pinnatifldum retains its pinnatifld character to the very tip, while
the fronds of ebenoides often show extreme jaggedness and irreg-
ularity at the base, and become wavy-margined or entire at the
apex. The pinnan of both terns vary from broadly ovate and
obtuse to sharply lanceolate in outline. I have several prolifer-
ous fronds of ebenoides, but none of pinnatifldum. On the other
hand pinnatifldum bears much more fruit, its pionee being often
entirely covered beneath. Other structural pecuiiariiies of eben-
oides, that do not appear to the unaided eye, are mentioned in the
discussion of the interesting theory of hybridity, to which we now
turn.

Thirty years ago it was suggested that A. ebenoides mierht be
a hybrid between Asplenium platyncuron and Campiosorus rhizo-
phyllus. In Eaton's "Ferns of North America," we readtbat it



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has always been found with these ferns, and that the hybrid theo-
ry of Berkely "certainly appears probable." The * 'Synopsis Fili-
cum" ( 1868) classes It under A. platyneuron, as the fern which it
most closely resembles ; while the basal sorl of nearly every seg-
ment, and the proliferous apex seem to connect it with Camptoso-
rus. Another Interesting link connecting It with the walking-leaf
Is the areolate structure of its veins. Eaton's book says: "The
veins are everywhere free," and none of the manuals deny the
statement ; but nearly all the specimens I have examined show a
very few areoles between the middle and the apex of the frond.
However, a month's experience wllh the fern in its native haunts
has shaken my firm belief In the hybrid theory. To 'my mind,
ebenoides has uniformly appeared as a distinct spleen wort, and he
who would impeach its title to specific rank must bear the burden
of proof. The vascular bundles of ebenoides are like those of pinna-
tiftdum, platyneuron, and other closely related spleenworts, and
though proliferous, as pinnallfinum and platyneuron sometimes
are, no fronds have been found actually rooting at the tip. With
hybrids, there is usually a complete gradation from one parent to
the other, but none of the variations of ebenoides appear to ap-
proach the supposed parents At Havana Glen, Ala., ebenoides is
said to grow in profusion, while its supposed parents are present
only in small numbers. Young plants, too, are there in abundance,
most probably descended from spores ; for I find that, though the
sporangia of Virginia forms are mostlv filled with black, dusty
masses, the specimens from Alabama yield several spores that
look as if they might grow. But here I need more time for an In-
vestigation. Much remains to be learned, and any helpful sug-
gestions will be very gratefully received. I am already deeply in
debt to Messrs. W. N. Clute, C. E. Waters and Alvah A Eaton,
and Dr. L. M. Underwood for valuable aid In the preparation of
this article.



LYCOPODIUM ALOPECUROIDES IN MASSACHUSETTS.



ON the 4th of September, 18^6, while botanizing on Plum Is-
land, I came acr«>ss a cranberry bog, of which there are
several on the south half. In which I found an abundance
of Lyoo podium inundatum. and what appeared at the time as a
very odd form of It, very unripe. Calculailng it would be about
right on Oct. 5th; I made another trip to the locality, and found



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that a part was about right to get, and tho rest unripe. Meanwhile
the inundatum had ripened, about two weeks or so later than in
other localities. It was the best I ever saw, spikes of two inches
in length being not uncommon. The then unknown species was
taller, with slender spikes, appressed scales, mostly green in co) -
or, with longer and stouter sterile branches. I found on getting
home that it was identical with some alopecuroides I had from
Atsion, N. J. As the botanies do not seem properly to distinguish
this, I will give the result of my investigation, and of the locality,
that others may be on the "look" for it.

Plum Island is a long sand-dune, or series of dunes ; "a whale
aground," Whittier calls it, about six miles in length, facing the
ocean between the Merrimao and Ipswich rivers. AnioDg these
dunes, especially at the south end, are depressions in which cran-
berries grow, and often various trees, as poplar, juniper, maple,
alder, etc. The dunes often migrate into these depressions, cov-
ing the trees till nothing but the tips of the branches protrude. In
such a depression among cranberries, I found the Lycopodium.
The most striking thing about it is the great number of spikes,
from three to seven, while inundatum has rarely but one. An-
other thing is that the sterile stems do not die in the winter, as
inundatum, but persist till the next summer, and the terminal
part becomes bulbous thickened and often proliferous after the
year's growth has ceased to sap it, especially in vigorous shoots.
The leaves are longer, less spreading, and more ciliate than is in-
undatum The fertile stems are (here) 6 to 8 inches high, the
scales less spreading than in inundatum, and fruit ripening later.
The most peculiar thing is, that the vigorous shoots have two
spikes or more that are about equal in size, and one to five more
or less abortive ones gradually decreasing in height and fertility
till the middle of the stem is reached. Those farthest removed
from the base are nothing but sterile stems or spikeless peduncles,
often showing a tendency to revert in depauperate forms, by being
variously divided at top and often the divisions bent down as if
trying to find the earth to root in. This is a migratory species.
The vigorous shoots are always on the outside of the patches,
traveling away from the center. The inner ones are always de-
pauperate, as if the first growth had exhausted the soil. The
patches are usually small and the plants of the center often have
sterile stems but 1-3 inches long not rooted at end, sending up 1-3
peduncles, but having little or no fruit, in fact,* are al?out to 4*9



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— 5—
at once. The general aspect of this is that it is unhappy in this
northern locality. This species should be sought in the cranberry
bogs of Cape Cod. — A, A. Eaton, Seabrook, N. H.



YOUNQ FERN FRONDS.



NOT all the interest in fern study is confined to the mature
plants ; the first tiny fronds that spring from the prothal-
lus are worth our attention. Very little has been done in
this field, although few offer better opportunities for original work.
Our knowledge of the shape and appearance of most young ferns




PELL-EA ATBOPUEPUBEA.
Fig. I.— Young plant, natural size. Fig.2. — Small fronds from older plants
natttrfti iize. Fig.s. — Mature frond, reduced one-half.



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iB SO limited at present that few of us are prepared to name [a
species with certainty until it has fruited. So greatly do the early
fronds of some species dififer from the mature ones, that one may
easily confuse them with other species. This is especially true of
Dryopteris spinulosa and its varieties. The young fern must be
nearly a year old before we can be sure that it is not some other
member of the family. Another fern with even a more strik-
ing metamorphosis is Pelleea atropurpurea illustrated herewith.
The young plants (Fig. 1 ) have very thin fronds, roundish-heart-
shaped in outline and do not in the least resemble the thick heavy
fronds found on mature plants; (Fig. 3.) These juvenile, round-
leaved fronds do not fruit, though close beside them may be found
plants no larger with pinnate fronds bearing sporangia (Fig. 2.)
which shows that age and not size is responsible for the change
in outline. With a little care one may select a series of fronds
showng just how the change is made. Starting with the cordate
fronds, we find the next inclined to become triangular or auricled
at base, and in subsequent fronds these auricles become distinct
pinneB. Later fronds show two pairs of pinnee, both apparently
derived from the terminal one, and it may well be questioned
whether the dozen or more pairs of pinnee sported by larger fronds
were not aleo derived in their turn from the single terminal pinna.
It is probable that investigation of the infant fronds of other spe-
cies will yield as interesting results. To the courtesy of Mr. C. E.
Waters, of Baltimore, Md., we are indebted for several valuable
notes on this subject, and also for the specimens from which the
drawings for our illustrations were made. — WtZtord N. ChUe,



LYCOPODIUM SELAQO L



THIS little plant grows within our range on high mountain
tops, and was collected by the writer on the sub-alpine sum-
mit of Koan Mt., N. G , this summer, at an altitude of
about 6,400 feet, 200 feet higher than Mt. Washington. It grows
there in abundance, usually rooted under the edge of small rocks
or stones, and sending out stems which curve up and fork into
flat-topped clusters, the whole effect reminding one a little of tiny
candelabra. At first sight the plant might be mistaken for a
dwarfed form of L. lucidulum, the general structure and appear-
ance of the two being very similar, and the spores in both species
being borne in bright yellow sporangia in the axils of the upper



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— 7—
leaves, not in spikes. The specimens of L selago, however, which
came under my notice, lacked the brilliant,! shiny green of
their larger cousin, and were from about IJ to 4 inches in height.
This species is a lover of the cold, and according to Hooker's **Flo-
ra Boreali- Americana," is found northward to the extreme Arctic
shores and islands. In the valuable herbarium of the Academy of
Natural Sciences at Philadelphia, specimens are preserved which
were collected by Dr. Kane's polar expedition, and also some brought
from Greenland by the Heilprin expedition of 1891. The presence
of the plant so far south as North Carolina is therefore very inter-
esting, but it has congenial company on its cool mountain top in
Arenaria Groenlandica, Alnus viride, Potentilla tridentata, Solida-
go virgaurea (var), etc.— characteristic northern species. L. Sela-
go, in common with the other species of the genus, discharges its
spores in the form of a copious yellow powder, which is very im-
flammable. Anyone desiring an impromptu pyrotechnic display,
may have it by shaking the mature plant over a lamp flame, the
fal ing spore-dust changing like magic to a shower of brilliant
stars.— C F. Saunders, Philadelphia.



ABNORMAL FRUITING FORMS OF OSHU^DA CINNA-

MOWEA.



THE explanations offered in the July Bulletin by Geo. F. At-
kinson and A. A. Eaton to account for the cause of so-call-
ed varieties of Onoclea, Osmunda and other ferns, have re-
cently been verified to me by accidental circumstances. On the
10th of September I visited the swamp where I found the speci-
mens which were described in the Bulletin of last January. The
swamp is gradually being transformed into a celery garden and
flre has been used to a considerable extent in clearing the surface.
At my last visit I found a considerable area of thirty square rods
or so that had been burned over wiihin a very few weeks 'SO that
evei*y green thing had been destroyed. Over this blackened space
there was scarcely a frt sh growth to be found except at the sum-
mits of the numerous rootstalks of Osmunda cinnamomea. Near-
ly all of these had put forth new fronds, the number (from each
stalk ranging from one to a dozen. In nearly every case the first
frond to appear had been fertile in a greater or less degree, a few
seeming as perfect as those produced in the usual season. Un-
questionably the fire had induced the ferns to send up the fronds



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—8^
that were most advanced in preparation for next season's work of
fruiting and growth. It seems perfectly clear to me now that any
apparent deviation in a frond from the sterile towards the fertile
form is in reality a reversion from an intended fertile form, and
that the degree of reversion is inversely proportioned to the devel-
opment of the embryo frond at the time of the accident that affects
its destiny. It is not clear to me why the reserve fronds should be
put forth so late in the season. The leaves destroyed by the fire
had nearly or quite completed their work and must have been in
a dying condition when burned away. That there was need of
more leaves to elaborate growth material does not appear proba-
ble, and it seems as if the lire must have had a stimulating effect
not entirely in the nature of a necessity.

I collected and preserved the out-put of some sixty stocks,
keeping each separate. If any member of the Chapter is wanting
such material, I shall be pleased to send to such as may request it
a selected series illustrating the steps of modification. One who
is collecting merely to make up a beautiful herbarium will have no
use for these, as most of the specimens are dwarfed and unsightly
from various causes. Many of the more fertile ones were brown
and withered when found. — 0. D, McLouth, Muskegon, Mich.



THE SPORES OF DRYOPTERIS MARQINALIS.



THE spores of Dryopteris margin alls are really brown, al-
though in many eases the sori and even the spores while
still in the sporangia appear to be black. Attention was
called to this on page 46 of the July BuiiLETiN and the matter was
looked into. The sori were scraped off and placed under the mi-
croscope and pressed down gently, so as to squeeze out the spores
as there ware present both green and black sporangia. When a
drop of strong alcohol was allowed to run in under the cover glass
the spores were discharged, and it could be seen that those from
the black-looking sporangia were brown. The others of course
were green. It must not be imagioed that the function of the
Jointed ring in "discharging the spores " is the rather passive one
of straightening out, thus rupturing the sporangium and letting
the spores drop out. That used to be my idea of the operation
until one day I was startled by seeing the ring straighten out and
Instead of stopping, keep on its course until it had made almost a
complete ring in the opposite direction. Then it suddenly straight^



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— 9—
ened and shot the spores out of the field. Anyone with even a
*'boys" microscope can see this by taking sporangia and letting
a drop of alcohol or glycerine run in under the coverglass. My
first surprise was with sporangia that had been kept moist some
days in a tin box. As they dried in the air the above mentioned
result wds obtained. It can be easily seen that the spores will not
be shed in rainy weather, when they would be beaten down to the
ground without much chance to be spread with the wind. Several
other species besides Dropteris mariginalis has black sporangia
frequently. Woodwardia areolata, Cystopteris fragilis, Onoclea
sensibilis, O. Struthiopteris and Dicksonia punctilobula may b e
mentioned.

THE SPINY SHIEID FERN IN ALASKA.



ASPIDIUM spinulosum dilatatum (wood fern) is abundant in
rich, open woods near sea level, and the rootstock or cau-
dex is highly relished by the natives who cook and eat it in
large quantities,, it being the first vegetable food which ihey ob-
tain in early spring The method of preparation is as follows :
The rootstocks are dug from the ground soon after the snow dis"
appears, before the fronds are developed, and are trimmtd and
washed. A round, well-like hole, three feet in diameter and two
and one-half feet deep is then dug, hot stones are placed in the
bottom, or stones are placed thereand a fire built upon them un-
til they become hot. The fire is then removed, a layer of damp
moss or kelp is laid on the stones and the cleaned root-stocks plac
ed therein until the hole is full. A little water is then thrown on
the pile which is then hastily covered with a layer of damp moss,
or a couple of cedar bark mats are laid on and earth to the depth
of about ten inches is put over it. On this a fire is built and kept
up all night. The next day the contents are taken out and are theii
ready to be eaten, the outer rind being removed with the fingers
or a small knife. It has a slightly sweetish taste but is too smoky
and tobacco-like in fiavor for the average white man's palate ex-
cept under stress of hunger, though I have no doubt it is quite
nutritious — M. W. Gorman, in Pittonia.



Mr. Stewart H. Bumham has a plant of Scolopendrium in cul-
tivation which has had more than forty living fronds at one time*


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