A low, monoecious or dioecious branching shrub with terete brown branches and narrow, deeply pinnatifid, stipulate leaves, the young foliage pubescent. Aments expanding with the leaves, the staminate ones and their flowers as in Myrica. Fertile aments globose-ovoid, on monoecious plants appearing below the staminate, several-flowered. Ovary subtended by 8 linear-subulate persistent bractlets, which form an involucre to the ovoid-oblong bony nut. [Name in honor of Rev. Henry Compton, 1632-1713, bishop of Oxford.]

A monotypic genus of eastern North America.

1. Comptonia Peregrina (L.) Coulter. Sweet Fern. Fern-Gale

Fig. 1438

Liquidambar peregrina L. Sp. PI. 999. 1753. Myrica asplenifolia L. Sp. PI. 1024. 1753. Liquidambar asplenifolia L. Sp. PI. Ed. 2, 1418. 1763. C. asplenifolia Gaertn. Fr. & Sem. 2: 58. 1791. C. peregrina Coulter, Mem. Torr. Club 5: 127. 1894.

A shrub, 1°-3° tall, the branches erect or spreading. Leaves linear-oblong or linear-lanceolate in outline, short-petioled, obtuse or subacute at the apex, deeply pinnatifid into numerous oblique rounded entire or sparingly dentate lobes, 3'-6' long, 1/4'- 1/2' wide, fragrant when crushed, the sinuses very narrow; stipules semi-cordate, mostly deciduous; stami-nate aments clustered at the ends of the branches, 1' or less long, their bracts reniform, acute; pistillate aments bur-like in fruit, the subulate bractlets longer than the light brown, shining, striate, obtuse nut.

In dry soil, especially on hill-sides. Nova Scotia to Saskatchewan, south to North Carolina, Indiana and Michigan. Ascends to 2000 ft. in Virginia. Meadow- or shrubby-fern. Sweet-bush or -ferry. Fern- or spleen-wort-bush. Canada sweet-gale. April-May.

1 Comptonia Peregrina L Coulter Sweet Fern Fern Ga 1438