Page:Parsons How to Know the Ferns 7th ed.djvu/120

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pinnæ, could be seen, but these were in the minority. A number of very young plants, with little, heart-shaped leaves altogether unlike the mature fronds, were wedged in neighboring crannies.

As our eyes grew more accustomed to the contour and coloring of the cliffs, the success of the day was completed by the discovery of several specimens of the little Rue Spleenwort with tiny fronds flattened against the rock.

When next I saw the Purple Cliff Brake it seemed to me quite a different fern from the rather awkward plant, the mere sight of which I had welcomed so eagerly that any unfavorable criticism of its appearance seems ungrateful.

Again it sprang from limestone cliffs, even more remote and inaccessible though less dangerous than those where I saw it first. These cliffs were so shattered in places that the broken fragments lay in heaps at their base and on the projecting ledges. Here and there a great shaft of rock had broken away and stood like the turret of a castle or the bastion of a fort. Among the shattered fragments high up on the cliff's side the Purple Cliff Brake grew in a luxuriant profusion that was amazing in view of the surroundings. The rigid, erect fronds formed large tufts of greenish-gray foliage that, at a little distance, so blended with their rocky background as to be almost indistinguishable. The fronds usually were much more compound than those I had seen a few weeks before. The separate plants had a vigorous, bushy appearance that did