HOW TO KNOW
THE FERNS

BY
S. LEONARD BASTIN

WITH THIRTY-THREE ILLUSTRATIONS

METHUEN & CO. LTD.
36 ESSEX STREET W.C.
LONDON

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CHAPTER I
THE FERNS AND THEIR ALLIES

In its lowest forms vegetable life is a very simple affair. The minute Algæ which clothe damp surfaces with a green film show few indeed of the characteristics with which we are familiar in the higher plants. Certainly they are green, proving that the tiny cells of which they are composed contain the wonderful colouring matter—chlorophyll, by means of which they are able to assimilate carbon from the carbonic acid of the air. There is, however, in these lowly plants no sign of a stem, a leaf, or a root. As we ascend in the scale of vegetable life we begin to get an increasing number of distinctive characters. In the case of the Mosses we have plants with distinct stems and leaves. But Mosses have no true roots, neither is there any vascular (woody) tissue in their composition. Mounting yet higher in the scale we come to a very important and interesting group of plants usually referred to as the Vascular Cryptogams. In this group are included the Ferns,................

 

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