WHEN AND WHERE TO FIND FERNS
heads in the thicket along the river-shore. The Spinulose Shield Fern and the Evergreen Wood Fern meet us at every turn of the shaded path beside the brook, and on the rocky wooded hillside the Christmas Fern is almost as abundant. Where the stream plunges from above, the Bulblet Bladder Fern drapes the steep banks with its long feathery fronds. In the wet meadows and thickets the New York Fern and the Marsh Shield Fern are noticeable on account of their light green color and delicate texture. On mountain-ledges we look for the little Woodsias, and in rocky places, often in the shadow of red cedars, for the slim erect fronds of the Ebony Spleenwort.
Possibly it will be our good fortune to discover the blue-green foliage of the Purple Cliff Brake springing from the crevices of some dry limestone cliff. Almost surely, if we search the moist, shaded rocks and ravines in the neighborhood, we shall greet with unfailing pleasure the lovely little Maidenhair Spleenwort.
In somewhat southern localities the tapering, yellow-green fronds of the Dicksonia or Hay-scented Fern are even more abundant and conspicuous than the darker foliage of the Spinulose Shield Fern. They abound along the roadsides and in partially shaded or open pastures, the spores ripening not earlier than August.
In the same month we find in full maturity three interesting wood ferns, all belonging to the same group. The first of these is the Long Beech Fern.