This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol2", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
A large genus characterized by having the spore clusters borne in a continuous line along the margins of the pinnae. Of the many species and varieties the market kind par excellence is Pteris cretica major. This is grown in hundreds of thousands, and there are a good many variations in it. The fronds, however, are gracefully arching, and divided into ribbon-like wavy pinnae, hence the popular name of "Ribbon Ferns". One of the best is Drinkwateri. There are several crested and tasselled varieties also, the most popular at present being cristata and Wimsetti. Others are albolineata, Childsi, gracilis, Ouvrardi, Leyi, Mayi, nobilis, etc. Childsi is a very graceful Fern with deeply serrated fronds nicely crested at the tips. It is barren, and must therefore be raised by division. A form of Wimsetti, called multiceps, is very distinct, and is remarkable for the cresting of the inner pinnules. It may be reproduced true from spores. The forms sell well in 5-in. pots. A new variety called Parkeri is a distinct improvement, and is likely to become a fine market Fern if not too coarse. It has larger and broader fronds than the Cretica forms, and, owing to their leathery texture, will stand a good deal of rough usage.
FERNS (PTERIS CRETICA MAJOR) GROWN FOR MARKET.
P. serrulata and its varieties, recognized by having winged rachises, are also popular market Ferns, and sell in all sizes, those in 5-in. pots being most in demand.
P. tremula - the "Trembling Fern" of Australia - a vigorous species with fronds 1-3 ft. long and four-times pinnate, is a fine market Bracken, and chiefly sells in 5-in. and 6-in. pots. There are several forms of it, the best being flaccida and Smithiana, densely crested. Other good market Pterises are P. arguta, P. biaurita, and its varieties argentea and nemoralis; P. hastata, and P. straminea.