Page:Parsons How to Know the Ferns 7th ed.djvu/230

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the very spirit of the waterfall, all its life and grace, as it springs from the dripping ledges, clothing them with a diaphanous garment of delicate green which vies with their neighboring veil of white, now pouring over some rocky shelf a solid but silent mass of pale luxuriant foliage, now trailing down the cliff its long, tapering fronds, side by side with silvery strands of water, close to tufts of wind-blown, spray-tipped hare-bells.

Although the plant is never seen at its best save in some such neighborhood as this, its slender, feathery fronds are always possessed of singular grace and charm, whether undulating along the dried rocky bed of a mountain brook or bending till their slender tips nearly touch the rushing stream or growing quite away from the rocks which are their natural and usual companions among the moss-grown trunks and fallen trees of the wet woods.

I know no other fern, save the climbing fern, which is so vine-like and clinging. In reality its stalk and midrib are somewhat brittle, yet this brittleness does not prevent its adapting itself with supple and exquisite curves to whatever support it has chosen.

In its manner of growth, as well as in its slender, tapering outline, the Bulblet Bladder Fern is so individual that there can be no difficulty in identifying the full-sized fertile fronds, even in the absence of the little bulbs which grow on the under side of the frond, usually at the base of the pinnæ. The sterile