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Author Topic: Questions about Lady Ferns  (Read 4645 times)
Scott
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« on: September 15, 2008, 03:15:20 PM »

The new biology text that Cobb County Schools has adopted has a cryptic remark that lady ferns are allelopathic to red spruce. I've done quite a bit of wandering around for any information that backs this statement up and have found very little. Is there anyone out there who might have some data on this?

Futher, our southern lady fern, Athyrium asplenioides (Michaux) A.A. Eaton, was carved out of a more broadly circumscribed A. filix-femina (Linnaeus) Roth ex Mertens first as a variety, var. asplenioides (Michaux) Farwell, and then a full species. Is there anyone out there who finds an elevational difference in our southern lady fern that is distinctive besides my wife and I? In Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the "magic" elevation seems to be about 4,500 feet. The plants are more robust, have a greener rachis near the ground, and the lowest pinnae are reflexed backward reminiscent of broad beech fern [Phegopteris hexagonoptera (Michaux) Fée]. There are only a few places in Georgia that reach this high and they need to be surveyed for their lady ferns. We're not splitters, but we consistently find the heigher eleation lady's distinctive.

Scott Ranger
« Last Edit: September 15, 2008, 03:22:20 PM by Scott » Logged
Rich
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« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2008, 08:18:21 PM »

Scott,

You might check out

http://www.leca.univ-savoie.fr/tmp/Rech/Allelo/alelodef.htm

as a starting point.  No meat, but a quick summary.
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Rich Reaves
Scott
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« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2008, 03:28:23 PM »

Yeah, this is one of the few things I found, and there is not much to it.

Rich, have you seen a variation in morphology with elevation?

Thanks for takin the time to look.

Scott
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Rich
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« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2008, 03:58:48 PM »

Alas, I have not taken note of a difference, but I generally do not view the ferns all that closely.  I shall endeavor to pay more attention in the future.  I did notice the lady ferns in Alaska this summer - they were HUGE and blanketed the ground in many areas we travelled through.  Different species there.

Wherry doen note multiple varieties of Southern Lady Fern, including a lareger one that he indicates might desrerve separate standing as a species.  Obviously others have noted the differnece in size, but I have not seen anything tied direclty toelevation.
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Rich Reaves
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