The country is now assuming a gay appearance, on account of the fresh flowers and new growths which are daily on the increase. The Furze is becoming truly beautiful, and the hedges are thickly spangled with the bright lilac of the Dog Violet, intermixed with the starry blossoms of the Primrose in every variety of colour, from a pale creamy white to a vivid crimson. The Whitethorn too enlivens the wayside with its brilliant masses; and the mildness of the weather gives an assurance that the spring has really arrived, and each day increases the idea that all severe weather is a thing which has been. But let not our gardening friends be too sanguine; for unless the opening blossom be protected, the cold drying winds and morning frosts will in one night destroy all hopes of fruit for the ensuing season. A close examination of the hedges will shew the young fronds of the various Ferns uncurling their crooks; and if we search, the cliffs, we find the same thing going on among the Aspleniums marinum and lanceolatum, in the interstices of the rocks into which they have firmly rooted, sometimes accompanied by plants of Scolo-pendrium vulgare. The two former, from being scarce varieties in the more eastern part of the country, demand a passing notice.

The Asplenium marinum is found, I believe, near Torquay, and occurs at intervals the whole length of the southern coast of Cornwall, and, again, more abundantly on the northern coast, from the neighbourhood of Morvah towards the east, and probably for some distance into the Bristol Channel. The Asplenium lanceolatum is confined to the coasts more to the westward; I have never heard of its having been found to the eastward of St. Austell, and even there very sparingly; but in the parish of Creed I have found it upon old walls, as also in the neighbourhood of Probus; and it gradually increases in abundance as it approaches the " Lizard," where its fronds attain the length of six inches; and in all the country around Penzance it has ensconced itself on every wall and hedge, and continues in the same abundance round the Land's End to St. Ives and to St. Eval, where it again gradually becomes more scarce. This Fern has often been confounded with the common Adiantum nigrum; but a very little examination will shew its distinctness, - it has a very different oat-line of frond: in lanceolatum the lower pinnae are far shorter than those above them, and all the pinnae are nearly at right angles with the rachis.

But I will not enter into the botanical differences at present, because I do not wish to frighten beginners from interesting themselves in British plants with abstruse botanical distinctions, which in time will no doubt gradually become interesting. First gain an interest, and then the learning will be mere pleasure.


Jesse Barkagweneth.