FERTILE AND STERILE FRONDS LEAF-LIKE AND SIMILAR;
Finally, one September afternoon, shortly before leaving the neighborhood, we resolved upon a last search, in quite a new direction. Several miles from home, at a fork in the road, standing in a partially wooded pasture, we noticed just such a large, shaded rock, with mossy ledges, as had filled us with vain hopes many times. J. suggested a closer examination, which I discouraged, remembering previous disappointments. But something in the look of the great bowlder provoked his curiosity, so over the fence and up the ledges he scrambled. Almost his first resting-place was a projecting shelf which was carpeted with a mat of bluish-green foliage. It needed only a moment's investigation to identify the leathery, tapering fronds of the Walking Fern. No one who has not spent hours in some such search as this can sympathize with the delight of those moments. We fairly gloated over the quaint little plants, following with our fingers the slender tips of the fronds till they rooted in the moss, starting another generation on its life journey, and earning for itself the title of Walking Leaf or Walking Fern.
Although since then I have found the Walking Leaf frequently, and in great abundance, I do not remember ever to have seen it make so fine a display. The plants were unusually large and vigorous, and the aspect of the matted tufts was uncommonly luxuriant. To be sure, some allowance must be made for the glamour of a first meeting.
The Walking Leaf grows usually on limestone