Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Beautiful World of Ferns


"The green and graceful fern.
How beautiful it is.
There's not a leaf in all the land.
So wonderful, I wis. "

Have ye e'er watched it budding,
With each stem and leaf wrapped small.
Coiled up within each other
Like a round and hairy ball ? "

Have ye watched that ball unfolding
Each closely nestling curl
Its fair and feathery leaflets
Their spreading forms unfurl? "

"Oh, then most gracefully they wave
In the forest, like a sea,
And dear as they are beautiful

Are these fern leaves to me." — Twamley


Our Ferns in Their Haunts: A Guide to All the Native Species, by Willard Nelson Clute, 1901

A Century of Ferns: Being Figures with Brief Descriptions, by Sir William Jackson Hooker, 1854.

The fern paradise: a plea for the culture of ferns by Francis George Heath, 1878

" The Spring is here—the delicate-footed May, With its slight fingers full of leaves and flowers ; And with it comes a thirst to be away, "Wasting in woodpaths its voluptuous hours. " ~Willis

How to Know the Ferns: A Guide to the Names, Haunts, and Habits of Our Common Ferns
, by Frances T. Parsons, 1899.

A bit about the folklore surrounding the Bracken Fern and ferns in general from Folklore of Plants, By Thomas Firminger Thiselton Dyer, 1889:

"Among Celtic and Germanic nations the Fern was
formerly considered a sacred and auspicious plant. Its luck-bringing
power was not confined to one species..."

"...those who possessed the secret of wearing this seed
about them would become invisible. Thus, we find that, in
Shakspeare's ' Henry IV.,' Gadshill says : ' We steal as in a
castle, cock-sure : we have the receipt of Fern-seed, we walk invisible.' "

From A Floral Fantasy in an Old English Garden by Walter Crane, 1899:

Here's VENUS'-COMBE for MAIDENHAIR

For children: Nature Study Made Easy by Edward Byrne Shallow, Winifred T. Cullen,Ferns, ages 9-11, published in 1909.

All are in public domain, readable online or downloadable as an ebook.

2 comments:

Leticia said...

Lovely post! I just love to see ferns unfurling deep in the woods in spring. They do have a sense of mystery about them.

Alexandra said...

Thanks for dropping by. :) Yes, they are one of my favorites as well, and the slugs stay away from them...always a good thing in a garden.

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