Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/840

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
814
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

calls to mind the fact that in personal service have originated a number of family names. The old Saxon had his face scraped by a barber, whence our swarm of Barbers, Barbars, Barbors, Barbours, and Burbers; while in those days the hair of the ladies was artistically "tired," whence the Tyers, Tyrers, and Tyermans of the present day. When sick, or "ill," as his descendants now say, he sent for the leech, and this worthy has left a numerous progeny among the Leeches Leaches, and Leachers. His letters were written by scriveners, who still remain among us as Scribners; and, when he needed relaxation, he was entertained by Players, Dancers, Whistlers, and Singers.


Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg Rule Segment - Flare Left - 12px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 5px.svg Rule Segment - Circle - 6px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 5px.svg Rule Segment - Flare Right - 12px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg


THE HOME OF THE FERNS.

By T. JOHNSTON EVANS.

IN the New World, as well as in the Old, there is many a charming spot, far away in the wild woodland or within the sunless recesses of deep-furrowed mountain gorges, which might well merit the designation by which this paper is prefixed. Indeed, for a very long period the ferns of North and South America have received considerable attention at the hands of botanists; nor must it be forgotten that, centuries before the white man set his foot upon the great continent of the West, several species of these beautiful plants were much sought after by the aborigines. The common polypody {Polypodium vulgare), which is one of the most frequently met with ferns in the Eastern States, was highly valued by the various Indian tribes for its medicinal properties, while Kalm also relates that the red man seems to have universally used the beautiful maiden-hair {Adiantum capillus Veneris) as an infallible cure for cough and difficulty of breathing. Fascinating, however, in the eyes of botanists, as are the various homes of these beautiful plants in the Northern and Southern States, there is beyond the Atlantic one spot above all others upon which Nature has lavished her most glorious gifts, which, par excellence, may well be termed "the home of the ferns."

Justly celebrated for the wondrous beauty of its diversified scenery of waterfalls and lakes and towering mountains, crimson in their autumnal glory with the ripe berries of the arbutus, this favored locality is also especially remarkable for the luxuriant growth of the rarest and most highly prized by collectors of European ferns.

Accompanied by a few scientific friends, among whom were a practical geologist and a skillful field botanist, I recently paid a visit to this fascinating region. It was toward the close of Septem-