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  • Subject: Athyrium
  • From: "Tom Stuart" <tstuart@westnet.com>
  • Date: Tue, 21 Apr 2009 11:32:39 -0500

The set of lady ferns related to Athyrium filix-femina (European lady fern), 
including, depending on your favorite taxonomist, A. asplenoides (southern lady 
fern), A. angustum (northern lady fern), and A. cyclosorum (western lady fern) 
pose significant challenges in separation. In addition, A. filix-femina has 
numerous cultivars, many distinct, many coming true or mostly true from spore.

With few morphological differences the phenology can help diagnosis.

In conversation with Ralph Archer of Kentucky, he and I have noticed A. 
asplenoides emerging well before the other three species. In my garden A. 
asplenoides began unfurling on April Fools' Day whereas the others vary from a 
week or two later to the beginning of May. The other species do vary 
considerable from cultivar to cultivar or even plant to plant. With such a 
small sample of A. asplenoides (one plant each) we wonder whether this 
observation is general or a statistical artifact. I'd like to hear reports of 
differences in lady fern emergence where you have more than one species. 

Tom Stuart
New York

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