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 Blechnum subsp. var.  
Blechnum cordatum
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Blechnaceae > Blechnum var. , L.

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Blechnum (hard fern) is a genus of between 150-220 species of ferns in the family Blechnaceae, with a cosmopolitan distribution. By far the greatest species diversity is in tropical regions of the Southern Hemisphere, with only a few species reaching cool temperate latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere (notably B. penna-marina, south to Cape Horn, Chile, the southernmost fern in the world) and Northern Hemisphere (notably B. spicant, north to Iceland and northern Norway).

Most are herbaceous plants, but a few species (e.g. B. buchtienii and B. schomburgkii in Ecuador) are tree ferns with stems up to 3 m tall.

Several species are grown as ornamental plants in gardens.

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Blechnum (Greek name for some fern). Polypodiaceae. Rather coarse greenhouse ferns, with pinnatifid or pinnate Lvs., and rows of almost continuous son parallel to the midvein and close to it, covered with a membranous indusium. Blechnum is here recognized as including the species sometimes classified under the generic name Lomaria in addition to those species which all writers agree to put in Blechnum. The differences on which Lomaria has been based are very slight and are not recognized by leading European fern students. Besides, if the species included in Lomaria are kept separate, it is practically certain that they must be classified under the older name Struthiopteris.

In Blechnum occurs a singular knot in nomenclature. Linnaeus described two species in 1753, and to the West Indian one he gave the name B. orientale, citing figures, etc., showing that it is the plant that recent writers call B. occidentale. His East Indian plant he similarly called B. occidentale. The normal or ordinary usage has been followed below, the name B. orientale being given to the eastern plant.

Blechnums will thrive in almost any compost, but their leaves quickly turn brown and then black if watered overhead. Propagation of Blechnum is effected by spores.

Blechnums are very useful to florists for jardinieres, and for specimen ferns. To attain best results, it is necessary to maintain an abundance of moisture at the roots, with a drier atmosphere than most other ferns require, to prevent leaves from turning brown during winter months. Average temp. 60° to 65° F. Soil, equal parts of rich loam and leaf-mold or peat. The spores of most blechnums germinate very freely if sown on a compost of loam and leaf-mold or peat in equal parts, and placed in a moderately moist and shady position in a temperature of 60° to 65° F. Some of the species send out creeping rhizomes, which develop young plants at the ends. When of sufficient size these may be detached and potted, and in a short time they will develop into good specimens. Some very attractive species arc found among the hardy British blechnums. (N. N. Bruckner.)

B. orientale. Linn., is a large E. Indian and Polynesian fern wit; Lvs. often 3 ft. long.—Well worthy of cult.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.



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