This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol1", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Leaves 2'-6' long, slender and variable, the common stalk usually about half under ground; sterile blade and sporophyl straight in the bud. Sterile blade usually short-stalked, thickish, ovate, obovate or oblong, simple and roundish, or pinnately 3-7-lobed (rarely binate or ternate, the divisions pinnately lobed), the segments cuneate to somewhat lunulate, usually apart, the veins forking from the base; sporophyl long-stalked (often one-half or more the height of the plant), simple or 1-2-pinnate.
Osmunda Lunaria L. Sp. PI. 1064. 1753.
B. Lunaria Sw. Schrad. Journ. Bot. 18002: no. 1801.
Leaves very fleshy, usually stout, 2-12' long, variable, the common stalk nearly all above ground and constituting about one-half the length of the plant, the sterile blade bent over in the bud only at the apex, clasping the nearly erect sporophyl. Sterile blade nearly sessile, broadly oblong, once pinnately divided into 2 to 8 pairs of lunate subentire, crenate or somewhat incised, often close or imbricate segments, the radiating veins several times forked; sporophyl 2-3-pinnate. paniculate.
Newfoundland to Alaska, Connecticut, New York, Michi-gan. British Columbia and in the Rocky Mountains to Colorado. Europe and Asia. June-July.
Leaves 4'-61/2' long, slender, the common stalk slender, rather weak and spreading, 3'-4 3/4' long, nearly all above ground, the sterile blade bent over in the bud only at the apex, clasping the nearly erect sporo-phyl. Sterile blade oblong, often narrowly so, 3/4'-l 1/2' long, distinctly stalked (up to 3/8'), pinnately divided into 3 to 4 (casually 7) pairs of mostly distant broadly cuneate subentire to flabellately lobed segments; sporophyl 1/2'-l' long, mostly 2-pinnate, borne upon a slender stalk l'-1 1/2' long.
On shaded rocky slopes, near Syracuse, New York. Also in Montana and northern Michigan.
Leaves 1'-9' long, slender, delicate and lax, shining, light or yellowish green, eventually decumbent and stramineous, the common stalk very long, usually more than half the length of the plant; buds rather small, the sporophyl erect, the tip of the sterile blade slightly inclined. Sterile blade short-stalked, simple, lobed, or usually with 1-3 pairs of distant, alternate, lunulate or cuneate, decurrent, usually entire segments, the apex emarginate; sporophyl short-stalked, simple or rarely a little branched, flattened, the large sporangia somewhat immersed in rows or groups on either side.