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Reviews of A Natural History of Ferns

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Book Profile
Author (1): Robbin C. Moran

Hardcopy edition:
Publish date: October 2004
Published by: Timber Press
List price: $29.95
ISBN Number: 0881926671



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Positive gregr18 On Jun 12, 2005, gregr18 wrote:

This is a really outstanding book about ferns and other fern allies (a term the author is not fond of since the ferns are more closely related to seed plants then they are to lycophytes which have traditionally been termed "fern allies") that covers, in 33 related essays, the life cycle of ferns, their classifications, their paleobotany, their adaptations, their geobotany, and their sociobotany. Admittedly, I thought that reading a book devoted to ferns would be a bit of a chore, but it is anything but that. The writing style is fluid and Moran has a good sense of humor, but the book is technical enough to satisfy those with more than just a casual interest, and in some cases, as with the genetics of hybridization, is actually quite difficult if the reader doesn't have much of a background in plant science. There are also lots of anecdotes about familiar plants that will amuse and perhaps spark a new interest in something overlooked. Living in New England, I was surprised to learn that the familiar club mosses (Princess Pines in this neck of the woods) have spores that are coated with a volatile waterproof oil that early apothecaries used to keep pills from sticking to one another. He also details a couple of flashy demonstrations that anyone can do with these spores. I really enjoyed reading this book, and I encourage those with even a passing interest in ferns to take a look at it.

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