This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Greek, wax fern). Polypodiacese. Hothouse ferns of rather small size, interesting for the powdery covering on the leaves.
A rather small group somewhat related to Pteris, characterized most conspicuously by having the under surface of the leaves covered with a colored powder, often silver, white or bright yellow (so-called silver and gold ferns). The sporangia are borne in indefinite lines and are unprotected by any indusium. The spe-ies of Ceropteris have in the past been classified under the generic name Gymnogramma, but fern students are now generally agreed in separating it as a distinct genus.
A. Powder commonly yellow: leaves about as broad as long.
(Gymnogrdmma triangularis, Kaulf.). Fig. 886. leaf - blades 2-5 in. wide and long, on stalks 6-12 in. long, dark green above, below deep golden yellow, or occasionally white; lower pinnae much larger than the others, deltoid; the upper lanceolate. Calif, to Brit. Col. Gn. 48, p. 444. - A white-powdered variety with a viscous upper surface and coarser cuttings (variety visedsa, D. C. Eaton) is found in S. Calif.
Fig. 886. Ceropteris triangularis. (X 1/3)
aa. Powder yellow: leaves lanceolate, several times as long as broad.
b. Leaves scarcely more than bipinnate.
Leaves 12-18 in. long, with blackish stalks and rachises, the segments slightly pinnatifid at the base: powder golden yellow. W. Indies to Brazil. R.H. 1856:201. G.C. III. 23:373 -Often considered a variety of C. calomelanos. variety Laucheana (Gymnogrdmma Laucheana, Hort.), has triangular leaves except in its sub-variety gigantea. Gn. 48, p. 437.
bb. Leaves tripinnatifid to quadripinnate.
leaf - blades 6-12 in. long on chestnut-brown stalks, the pinnae long, tapering, less than 1 1/2 in. wide at base, the pinnules compact, with 3-7 divisions: powder sulfur-yellow. W. Indies.
Leaves 6-12 in. long, 7-10 in. wide, deltoid; pinnae deltoid, 2-3 in. wide at base, the ultimate divisions cu-neate. Madagascar. - By some this is referred to Gymnogrdmma argentea, Mett., a similar fern with white powder.
(known only under the name Gymnogramma decomposita, belongs in Ceropteris). Leaves l 1/2ft. long, 1 ft. broad, deltoid, quadripinnate or even 5-pinnate; pinnae close, lanceolate, with the ultimate divisions linear and 1-nerved: powder rather scanty. Andes. F.R. 2:25. G.C. III. 11:365. F. 1874, p. 148.
AAA. Powder white: leaves lanceolate. b. segments acute.
(Gymnogramma calomelanos, Kaulf.). Fig. 887. Stalks and rachises nearly black: leaves 1-3 ft. long, with lanceolate pinnae; segments often with a large lobe-like auricle at the upper side of the base. W. Indies to Brazil. A.G. 14:303. - The most variable species of the genus. C. magnifica, Hort., is probably one of the many garden varieties. variety chrysophylla, is here considered a distinct species. (See No. 2.) bb. segments obtuse, rounded.
Fig. 887. Ceropteris calomelanos. (X 3/10)
(Gymnogramma peruviana, Desv.). Leaves 6-12 in. long, 3-5 in. wide, with dark chestnut-brown stalks; pinnae somewhat regularly pinnatifid on both sides below. Mex. to Peru. By some considered a variety of G. calomelanos. variety argyro-phylla (G. argyrophylla, Hort.) is silvery on both sides.
(Gymno-gramma tatarica, Desv. G. tatdrica, Hort.). Leaves 9-18 in. long, 2-5 in. broad, with closely set pinnae, tapering gradually to a point; pinnules scarcely divided or cut, mostly merely crenate. tropical Amer. from Mex. southward.
bbb. segments fan-shaped or wedge-shaped.
Link (known only under the generic name, Gymnogramma; belongs in Ceropteris). Leaves 6-12 in. long, 4 in. wide, the lower pinnae much the largest; pinnules imbricated; texture rather thin. Venezuela. variety Wettenhalliana, Moore (G. Wettenhallidna, Hort.), is a garden variety, with pale sulfur-yellow powder. L. M. Underwood.
R. C. Benedict.†