Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club/V8/The Ferns of New York State

§ 73. The Ferns of New York State.—The untiring zeal of botanists in all sections of our country is causing great changes in our knowledge of the geographical distribution of species. The fact that no less than five species of ferns* have been discovered within the geographical limits adopted for Gray's Manual, since the publication of the last edition, is sufficient evidence that our botanists are neither idle nor allowing much territory to remain unsearched.

New York State, from its diversity of favorable conditions, can justly claim the first rank in the richness and extent of her fern treasures.   Other States may surpass her in a singular particular: Alabama produces the smallest fern (Trichomanes Petersii); California produces the richest, in the "golden-back" (Gymnogramme triangularis); Florida produces the most anomalous, in Viitaria, Ceratopteris and Ophioglossum palmatum; but no State can excel New York in number of species, variety, richness or profusion.

The States which approach nearest in number of species are California and Florida.   The former has the advantage of an extent of ten degrees of latitude against four degrees in New York, and the nearer approximation to an insular climate which favors fern growth.  The latter (Florida) has the advantage of a semi-tropical climate peculiarly adapted to this order of plants.

It would be interesting to compare the fern growth of all our States and Territories, yet this can hardly be done in the present state of our knowledge of distribution.   The following, however, may be safely compared:

New York, 52 species;
California, 46 species;
Florida, 42 species;
Kentucky, 39 species;
Illinois, 37 species;
Arkansas, 37 species;
Michigan, 30 species;
Texas, 27 species; and
Arizona, 24 species.

Of the forty-six species found in California, ten are shared in common with New York, and fourteen of the Florida species also occur in New York.* Of the thirty-one genera of American ferns, nineteen are found within the limits of New York; Florida can boast an equal number, yet she monopolizes all the species of five-genera, viz.: Acrostichum, Viitaria, Blechnum, Ceratopteris and Nephrolepis. California has representatives of only seventeen genera.

The list enclosed gives the ferns of New York State as far as known.

  Bloomington, Ill. Lucien M. Underwood

* Adiantum Capillus-Veneris, L., Asplenium viride, Huds., A. Bradleyi, Eaton, Woodsia hyperboreae, R. Br., and Botrychium matricariaefolium, R. Br.

As the list sent by Prof. Underwood is, with few exceptions, the same as one given by us on page 263, Vol. vi, of the Bulletin, we have thought it unnecessary to repeat it here. The additions made by him to that list are Asplenium Bradleyi and A. ebenoides (detected within the State more recently), and the varieties obiiquum and dissectum of Botrychium ternatum. The latter we inadvertently omitted.