American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of numerous flowerless, seedless vascular plants having roots, stems, and fronds and reproducing by spores.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. One of a large group of vascular cryptogamous plants, constituting the natural order Filices. They are herbaceous, rarely shrubby or arborescent plants, sometimes with long creeping rhizomes. But in many cases the rootstock or caudex is erect, when the species is called a tree-fern. The fructification, which is asexual, consists of spores produced in sporangia upon the backs or margins of the fronds. The sporangia in most genera are collected in definite clusters (sori), and these are usually covered by a special covering membrane, or one formed from the margin of the frond, called an indusium. Each sporangium is formed from a single epidermal cell. In the largest suborder, the Polypodiaceœ, the sporangia are stalked and provided with a vertical, many-jointed ring, which ruptures at maturity, allowing the escape of the spores. In the other suborders the ring is leas perfectly developed, or wanting. The spores in germination produce a green prothallium upon the surface of the soil, and upon the under surface of the prothallium antheridia and archegonia are monœciously produced. After fertilization the germ-cell of the archegonium develops into a frond-bearing plant. About 2,500 species of ferns are known. They are found all over the world, but abound in humid temperate and tropical regions. Great Britain has about 50, temperate North America about 160, India about 600. Ferns are very abundant as fossil plants. The earliest known forms occur in Devonian rocks, and their remains are very common in connection with coal of the Carboniferous period. Plants of the related group Ophioglos-saceæ also are called ferns.
- Ancient; old; former; past; previous.
- Distant; remote; far off.
- Long ago; long before.
- n. In Australia, Ophioderma pendula.
- n. The royal fern, Osmunda regalis, which grows in low, wet situations and is thus associated popularly with snakes. See Osmunda.
- n. In Australia, Grammitis australis, a small species with simple leaves.
- n. Same as floating-fern. See Ceratopteris.
- n. Any of a group of some twenty thousand species of vascular plants classified in the Division Pteridophyta (formerly known by some as Filicophyta) that lacks seeds and reproduces by shedding spores to initiate an alternation of generations.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adv. obsolete Long ago.
- adj. Ancient; old. [Obs.] “Pilgrimages to …
- n. (Bot.) An order of cryptogamous plants, the Filices, which have their fructification on the back of the fronds or leaves. They are usually found in humid soil, sometimes grow epiphytically on trees, and in tropical climates often attain a gigantic size.
- n. any of numerous flowerless and seedless vascular plants having true roots from a rhizome and fronds that uncurl upward; reproduce by spores
- From Old English fearn, from Proto-Germanic *farnan (cf. Dutch varen, German Farn), from Proto-Indo-European *pornóm 'wing, feather' (cf. Lithuanian spar̃nas, Albanian fier 'fern', Avestan parəna, Sanskrit parṇám), from *per- 'feather' (cf. Tocharian B parwa, Old Church Slavonic pero). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English, from Old English fearn; see per-2 in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“We have had only one fall of snow, and that a light one; but the fern is already lying on the ground, prostrate, as in spring.”
“The fern is going to respond to the fertilizer but it isn't going to understand biochemistry no matter how often I explain it.”
“(The monkey fern is a favorite even though it is a little creepy.)”
“Obviously, I'm repeating myself here, but this fern is worth mentioning again, a second time to point out that it is commercially available exclusively from Edenspace Systems Corporation.”
“Seems it's an area that is richer in fern species than any other part of Mexico.”
“The groups er, ir, ur (finally or before a consonant) are not intended to be pronounced as in English fern, fir, fur, but rather is English air. eer, oor.”
“Knee-deep in fern we stand while the days of the sun-time go;”
“The Comptonia or sweet-fern is in flower, the brown, catkin-like blossoms are nearly as fragrant as the foliage; it is the only fern we have with woody branches.”
“The fern is coming up, its wooly heads just appearing above ground, the broad frond closely rolled within; presently the down will grow darker, and the leaves begin to uncurl.”
“Our sweet-fern is a pleasant plant; there is always something very agreeable in a shrub or tree with fragrant foliage; the perfume is rarely sickly, as occasionally happens with flowers; it is almost always grateful and refreshing.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘fern’.
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