Ferns. Begin to unfold in March, and the botanist who seeks for them in woods and bank-sides may often discover round hairy-looking balls, of a rich brown colour, emerging from among the grans and mosses.
contain some infant fern, carefully folded up, but soon to yield to the joint ministry of showers and sunbeams, and to stand forth in its singleness and beauty.
Oak fern prows generally in wild and mountainous districts, and although one of the most elegant and attractive of our native species, seems instinctively to avoid the abodes of men, and fixes itself in places overhung with rocks, or thick foliage. The roots are black and fibrous, and the young fronds make their appearance in March and April; they each resemble three small balls, upheld on Wires, which gradually unfold and display a triple di ision; the fronds arrive at maturity early in the summer, and entirely disappear before the storms of winter. This species, the Polypodium dryop-teris of botanists, derives its specific name from being occasionally found among the mossy roots of aged oaks. Its localities are often associated with local scenery and time-haunted ruins, with the remembrance of Druidic observances and rites, and places renowned in history. Dry, stony heaths, in Yorkshire, Lancashire, Westmoreland, and Scotland, are some of its favourite resorts, though growing in great luxuriance beside the fall of Lodore, on the side of Der-wentwater, in Cumberland. The unfold-ing of this graceful species is ever welcome. Its emerging from the earth uniformly indicates the passing, by or winter storms, and is accompanied by the lesser celandine, with its glossy yellow cups - the speedwell, and hawthorn, and those two most fragrant flowers, the violet and the meek soft-eyed primrose. The mezereum, that tills the air with fragrance, and daffodils "That come before the Swallow dares, and tint The winds of March with beauty," often affect the same locality. Fronds of the Broad fern (Lastraa dilatata, or dium dilatatum and spinulosum. and Poly-podium cristatum, for by each of these names has the Broad fern been designated also appear in March, and, although thus early developed, are rarely injured by the frost. New fronds succeed one the other as months pass on; they apparently attain their maturity in September, and continue green and vigorous throughout the winter; yet only in sheltered places, for the Broad fern seems to shrink instinctively from cold. This fern occasionally assumes a dissimilar appearance from such as it generally presents, and is therefore somewhat puzzling to inexperienced botanists.