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Ferns are plants of discreet appearance and modest requirements; they have no showy flowers and generally lead an unobtrusive existence. However, to the attentive observer they have a special appeal, each species having its own personality, be it graceful, delicate. rugged, or bizarre. Their individual character is usually due to subtly transformed repetition, gradual elaboration or simplification of a characteristic basic form, leading to pattems of great elegance.
Ferns are different from flowering plants in their dispersal and reproductive biology and this affects their role and possibilities in nature. Scandinavia offers a great variety of fern habitats and its Flora counts 72 species of ferns and fern-allies in addition to several varieties and hybrids, many of them with remarkable life histories and adaptations to unusual environments. Most of the species are not restricted to Scandinavia, but several are particular to Scandinavia in a European context.
Scandinavian Ferns is the first to be dedicated to the Scandinavian ferns and the so-called fern-allies. It aims to tell their natural history as well as asking some of the questions the ferns may give us. It includes numerous colour plates, virtually all painted from living plants in the natural habitats. Besides descriptions of the species and keys to identify them, the text also deals with the variability of the species, their reproduction, geographic distribution, ecology, practical and ritual uses, and the origin and meaning of names, often reflecting old superstition and folklore. Scandinavian Ferns aims to convey the enjoyable and interesting experiences one may have with these fascinating plants, to give insight in their life histories, and. hopefully, to inspire the reader go out and discover for himself.