FERTILE FRONDS UNIFORMLY SOMEWHAT LEAF-LIKE,
16. PURPLE CLIFF BRAKE
Canada to Georgia and westward, usually on limestone cliffs; with wiry purplish stalks.
Fertile fronds.—Six to twenty inches high, leathery, bluish-green, pale underneath, once, or below twice, pinnate; pinnæ, upper ones long and narrow, lower ones usually with one to four pairs of broadly linear pinnules; sporangia bordering the pinnæ, bright brown at maturity; indusium formed by the reflexed margin of the frond.
Sterile fronds.—Usually much smaller than the fertile and less abundant; pinnæ oblong, entire, or slightly toothed.
The Purple Cliff Brake is one of the plants that rejoice in un-get-at-able and perilous situations. Although its range is wider than that of many ferns, this choice of inconvenient localities, joined to the fact that it is not a common plant, renders it likely that unless you pay it the compliment of a special expedition in its honor you will never add it to the list of your fern acquaintances.
But when all is said we are inestimably in debt to the plants so rare or so exclusive as to entice us out of our usual haunts into theirs. Not only do they draw us away from our books, out of our houses, but off the well-known road and the trodden path into unfamiliar woods which stand ready to reveal fresh treasures, across distant pastures where the fragrant wind blows away the memory of small anxieties, up into the hills from whose summits we get new views.
Although the Purple Cliff Brake grows, I believe