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, a little seed-vessel). Cyatheaceae. A small group of tree-ferns from Mexico and Polynesia, with bivalved coriaceous indusia, differing from Dicksonia in having the outer valve entirely distinct from the leaf. For culture, see Dicksonia. C. Barometz is the plant that gave rise to the wonder stories of the Barometz or Scythian lamb (Fig. 961), which, according to Bauhin, 1650, had wool, flesh and blood, and a root attached to the navel. The plant was said to resemble a lamb in every respect, but grew on a stalk about a yard high, and turning about and bending to the herbage consumed the foliage within reach, and then pined away with the failure of the food until it died. In 1725 Breyne, of Dantzig, declared that the Barometz was only the root of a large fern, covered with its natural yellow down and accompanied by stems, which had been placed in museums in an inverted position, the better to represent the appearance of the legs and horns of a quadruped.
Fig. 961. The Scythian Lamb; reproduced from an old book.
Young plants of C. Schiedei and C. regale are frequently offered by florists at a stage before the trunk has developed and when the leaves are about four or five feet long. They require greenhouse conditions for successful culture.
A. Outer valve of the indusium larger, or the valves subequal.
Hook. & Arn. Leaves ovate-lanceolate, tripin-nate; pinnules about 6 in. long, taper-pointed; segments close: outer valve of indusium larger, broader than the inner: veins once- or twice-forked. Hawaiian Isls.
Barometz, J. Smith. Scythian Lamb. Trunkless: leaves scented, tripinnate, the lower pinnae ovate-lanceolate; pinnules short-stalked, 4-6 in. long, with falcate segments: valves of the indusium nearly equal: veins prominent, rarely forked. China.
See Cibotium. Barometz.
aa. Outer valve of the indusium smaller than the inner.
Schiedei, Hook. Trunk 10-15 ft. high: leaves oblong-deltoid, tripinnate, with pinnae 1-2 ft. long; segments falcate, sharp-pointed: sori sparse: veins forked, on the lowest pinnate. Mex.
Lind. Trunk 10-12 ft. high: leaves oblong-deltoid, tripinnate, with pinnae 18-24 in. long; pinnules sessile, with close, falcate, deeply incised segments; veins pinnate in the lobes. Mex.
L. M. Underwood.
R. C Benedict.†