Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)

 
 
K. M. Lyell's "A Geographical Handbook of
All Known Ferns" (S160: 1870)

 
Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: A book review printed on page 428 of the 24 February 1870 issue of Nature. To link directly to this page connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S160.htm


A Geographical Handbook of all known Ferns, with Tables to show their Distribution. By K. M. Lyell. (Murray, 1870.)

     This useful and unpretending, but elegant little volume consists of two parts. In the first, the genera and species of ferns are enumerated under a number of geographical divisions and subdivisions, which appear to have been judiciously selected. The stations, habitats, and geographical range of each species, are given with much care, and the authorities fully quoted. It thus forms a series of fern catalogues for eighteen divisions of the globe. The second part consists of a systematic list of all the species, with their range of distribution indicated in eighteen columns. Sir William Hooker's arrangements and limitations of species have been followed throughout, and this gives a unity to the work which has its value. But as ferns have generally so wide a range that genera restricted to any one part of the globe are exceptional, we think it would be as well in a work of this nature, to adopt the additional genera of John Smith and others.

     We would also suggest for another edition, that a summary of the genera and species might be usefully given at the head of each geographical subdivision. Thus for "Europe Proper" we should have:

1. Woodsia . . . 2 species
2. Dicksonia . . . 1 "
3. Hymenophyllum . . . 1 "
4. Trichomanes . . . 1 "
5. Davallia . . . 1 "
6. Cystopteris . . . 4 "
7. Adiantum . . . 2 "
8. Cheilanthes . . . 3 "
9. Cyptogramme . . . 1 "
10. Pteris . . . 4 "
11. Lomaria . . . l "
12. Woodwardia . . . 1 "
13. Asplenium . . . 17 "
14. Scolopendrium . . . 2 "
15. Aspidium . . . 2 "
16. Nephrodium . . . 6 "
17. Polypodium . . . 4 "
18. Nolhochlæna . . . 2 "
19. Gymnogramme . . . 2 "
20. Osmunda . . . 1 "
21. Ophioglossum . . . 2 "
22. Botrychium . . . 5 "
                               ______
                              55 species

     Such summaries would offer useful materials for comparison, and show at a glance what genera were abundant, rare, or wanting, in a given district. We also think the specific names should have been printed with some difference of type, so as more readily to catch the eye; but these are small matters in so useful a work, which must have been a labour of love to its author, and which no lover of ferns should be without.

A. R. W.


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