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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/637

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A PIECE OF COAL.

forms, and in all essential points of structure a close relationship is indicated between them. It is, however, in their relationship with modern plants that they are principally interesting. In the moist woods of New England, and farther south along the summits of the Alleghany Mountains, there lingers a group of little plants, called Lycopods, ground-pines or club-mosses, that must be regarded as the nearest living relatives of Lepidodendron. The habit of growth is very much the same; the mode of fruiting is almost identical; the little spores are produced with the same extravagant copiousness, and, being resinous, are highly inflammable. Both plant and spores—but particularly the latter—will bear long-continued maceration in water without undergoing complete decay; and so it is, in a great many respects, that our little club-mosses—rarely attaining the dignity of a

PSM V18 D637 Coal ferns and restoration of a calamite.jpg
Fig. 10.—Restoration of a Calamite. Fig. 11.—Coal-Fern: Callipteris Sullivanti. Fig. 12.—Coal-Fern: Alethopteris Massilonis.

foot in height—are very exact miniatures of the ancient Lepidodendrons (Fig. 8). You may then, if you please, call the Lepidodendrons and their allies gigantic club-mosses; and yet, if you do no more than that, you will fall a long way short of doing them full justice. For though in the mode of fruiting they are indeed club-mosses, and