Page:Parsons How to Know the Ferns 7th ed.djvu/34

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name correctly more than three or four of our common wayside ferns.

In his introduction to the "Ferns of Kentucky," Mr. Williamson asks: "Who would now think of going to the country to spend a few days, or even one day, without first inquiring whether ferns are to be found in the locality?"

Though for some years I have been interested in ferns and have made many all-day country expeditions with various friends, I do not remember ever to have heard this question asked. Yet that two such writers as Mr. Underwood and Mr. Williamson could imagine the existence of a state of things so contrary to fact, goes far to prove the fascination of the study.

To the practical mind one of the great advantages of ferns as a hobby lies in the fact that the number of our native, that is, of our northeastern, ferns is so comparatively small as to make it an easy matter to learn to know by name and to see in their homes perhaps two-thirds of them.

On an ordinary walk of an hour or two through the fields and woods, the would-be fern student can familiarize himself with anywhere from ten to fifteen of the ferns described in this book. During a summer holiday in an average locality he should learn to know by sight and by name from twenty-five to thirty ferns, while in a really good neighborhood the enthusiast who is willing to scour the surrounding country from the tops of the highest mountains to the depths of the