W hat I believe to be genuine and authentic the collected publications of William Colenso

Hymenophyllum Scabrum var. nov. Hirtum.623

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Hymenophyllum Scabrum var. nov. Hirtum.623

Rhizome long, creeping, stout, densely clothed with red shaggy fine hair; stipe stout, 3–3½ inch long, thickly hirsute, also the main rhachis, with light-coloured (scarcely reddish) flexuose hairs 2–3 lines, long, flattened, and finely and regularly jointed, 20–22 joints to 1 line; frond deltoid-ovate 5–6 in. long, 5–5½ in. broad near base, curved, pinnate below, elastic, and possessing a very similar strong odour to that of H. sanguinolentum; every secondary rhachis, costa vein, and veinlet thickly covered below with red adpressed hairs; pinnœ bi-pinnatifid, sub-opposite, falcate, thickly set on rhachis, overlapping; segments broader, larger, and more profuse than in H. scabrum, with their apices entire; secondary rhachises, costœ, and veins prominent; involucres broadly deltoid, finely and closely toothed, free to base, inflated, open, of a lighter coloured green than the frond. Young fronds and stipes, before unrolling, densely shaggy, with long light brown hairs.

The whole appearance of this fern is widely different from H. scabrum (vera), it is not only shorter—having a dwarfed form, and is much more shaggy, but it is more dense in its vernation, and much less rigid. Its colour, too, is a lighter green.

Hab.—On the ground in the “black birch” (Fagus solandri) forests, east spurs of the Ruahine range, where it grows pretty uniformly in thick beds, but is not often found bearing fruit.

I have long known this fern (indeed, Sir W.J. Hooker had some inferior first specimens of it, which I had sent him, when he compiled Vol. I. of his Species Filicum in 1846), and I have again of late—during the summers of 1879–1880—enjoyed myself among it in its native forests, and have diligently compared its living specimens with those of the larger and coarser variety, H. scabrum. And having also lately been studying H. scabrum (vera) of A. Richard (on seeing a plate of it with dissections in his “Botany Voyage de L’Astrolabe,” already mentioned under H. pygmœum (supra), and comparing therewith the modern descriptions of H. scabrum, as given by our more eminent English pteridologists, Sir W.J. Hooker, Sir Jos. Hooker, Mr. Baker, and Mr. J. Smith, in their various works on ferns), I have noticed how greatly this plant varies, not merely from the original [380] type specimen as first published by A. Richard, but also from what is recorded of it by our English botanists.

Therefore, I have concluded to bring it forward, and so make it known to botanists and also to collectors, for without doubt it would form a choice and elegant garden fern, provided the proper culture could be given it.

Dr. Hooker, in his “Handbook New Zealand Flora,” says of H. scabrum: “Stipes and rhachis brisily, frond dark green, involucres orbiculate, etc.;” and Mr. Baker, in his Synopsis Filicum, where he has placed it in the section of Hymenophyllum, having “glabrous fronds,” says of it: “Stipes and main rachis ciliated with long brown brisily hairs, involucres small,” etc.; and in an additional remark mentions its “hairy rhachis as forming a link between the glabrous and truly hirsute species;” and Mr. J. Smith (who had often and that for a long period had the great advantage of seeing H. scabrum in a living state at Kew) places it, in his most recent work on ferns (Historia Filicum) in the section of Hymenophyllum, having their “fronds glabrous and stipes and rhachis rarely pilose.” All this, however, does not agree with the characters of this very villous variety; and just so it is with the descriptions and botanical plate of H. scabrum by A. Richard (supra).

Its copious large-jointed hairs form such a striking object, even to the naked eye (while under a microscope they are most beautiful!), and together with its densely hirsute ribs, veins, and veinlets, extending all over the frond, and large light-green open involucral valves, give this variety a most striking appearance.

? Pteris Lomarioides.624

Stipe (upper part only) 5 in. long, ? erect, straight, slender, naked, smooth, channelled above, straw coloured; frond 6½ in. long, 5 in. broad, symmetrical, broadly round cordate (in outline), pedate, smooth, glabrous, very membranaceous, semi-transparent, colour (dry) a light olive-green, pinnate, two pairs only, and one long terminal segment 5¼ in. long, 10 lines broad, petiolate, linear-lanceolate (together with pinnæ) decreasing but little and very gradually downwards, sub-accuminate acute; pinnæ opposite, linear-lanceolate oblique obtuse, the two pairs 1 in. apart on rhachis, upper pair sub-sessile and slightly decurrent on lower side, 3¾ in. long, 9 lines broad; lower pair petiolate and pedate, slightly decurrent on upper side 3½ in. long, and 8 lines broad, lowermost pedate segments 1¾ in. long, 6 lines broad, sub-sessile, dimidiate, and curved upwards, all four pinnæ inclined inwards and upwards; veins regular and parallel, conspicuous, fine, pretty close (about 2¼ to a line), free and simply forked with clavate apices terminating within the margin, which is slightly cartilaginous and crenulate, and closely and finely serrulate, particularly towards and at apices of pinnæ [381] and terminal segment; midrib finely channelled above, and very conspicuous on under-surface, slightly puckered, evanescent towards apices of pinnæ, very light straw coloured; hairs (debris of, remaining in lacunæ in axils and bases of pinnæ) bright red-brown.? Pteris lomarioides, Mihi.

Hab.—In a wood close to the coach road near Tapuaeharuru, between Napier and Taupo.

This fern, of which (I regret to say) I possess only one barren specimen, has given me no little trouble. I obtained it in 1872, from an acquaintance who had travelled overland from Taupo to Napier, and who, on passing through a wooded spot on foot, had carelessly gathered it, and afterwards, on remounting the coach, had brought it on to Napier and gave it to me; he said its habitat was near Tapuaeharuru. It was quite perfect, save the lowermost part of its stipe, fresh, and in very good condition. I have subsequently, on several occasions, endeavoured to get more and better specimens, by writing to residents in that locality (even enclosing drawings), but have always failed. Until lately, I did hope to visit the locality and to seek it myself, but that hope has been some time abandoned, and therefore I now have made it known in hopes of some one finding it. Not being certain of its genus I have merely provisionally named it Pteris lomariodes, (from those two genera being so commonly and largely represented in New Zealand, and from its possessing the venation of the more simple species of Pteris, with a faint likeness in colour and form of pinnæ to some species of Lomaria), although it may turn out to be a Gymnogramme.

One great peculiarity of this fern is, that it does not remind one at first sight of any other of our New Zealand ferns; although each of its pinnæ in single outline and appearance slightly resembles those of some states of Lomaria procera, yet in habitat, texture, oblique form and venation, they widely differ, not to mention its sub-pedate figure. In analogy it seems near to some of the simpler species of Pteris (§ Eupteris), particularly Pt. pellucida, stenophylla, dactylina, and cretica; a plate of Pt. cretica in Beddome’s ferns of South India (Pl. XXXIX., the smaller right-hand figure) has a tolerably good partial resemblance, still it differs materially. Besides, in all our living plants of Pt. cretica (which species is pretty largely cultivated here), there are no such fronds as this one represented by Beddome. Nevertheless Pt. cretica is a Polynesian fern, as it is said to have been found in Fiji and the Sandwich Islands. In its simple clavate venation this fern certainly has affinity with Nephrolepis (a simple species of that genus having been also found at the hot lakes in the interior, not very distant from the habitat of this fern), but it wants the cretaceous spots of that genus. In its venation, hair, texture, and general form, it also has affinity with some species of Gymnogramme (§ 1. Eugymnogramme), particularly with G. javanica, which [382] is also said to have been found in the Sandwich Islands. In fine, when hereafter discovered in fruit, I have little doubt of its belonging to one of those four mentioned genera—Pteris, Lomaria, Nephrolepis or Gymnogramme.

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