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This detailed account of ferns and fern-allies was once first published in 1967 as the first volume in the series The Illustrated Flora of Illinois. Eminent botanist Robert H. Mohlenbrock has now revised Ferns to include twenty-five additional taxa of ferns that have since been discovered in Illinois. In addition, a lot of nomenclatural changes have occurred for plants already known in the state.
The introductory information of Ferns includes discussions of the morphology and life history of the ferns and fern-allies, the taxonomic history of the group in Illinois, and the habitats where they may be able to be found.
The semitechnical keys and descriptions, familiar to the professional botanist, have been simplified for the novice and are accompanied by a glossary and a profuse use of illustrations. A new key has been included for the additional ferns. Two general keys enable the reader to identify the order and the genus of the fern or fern-ally in question. The sort of is designed to be used with specimens that have sporangia; the other is to be used with sterile specimens. The keys are composed of a hierarchy of characteristics for determining the order, circle of relatives, and genus of any given specimen. Once a genus is ascertained, the reader can apply its key to a couple of species of the same genus.
Each species has its own description, commentary of habitat and range, Illinois distribution, map, discussion, synonymy, and full-page line illustration showing its diagnostic characteristics.
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