27 JULY 1867, Page 21


A Fern Book for Everybody, containing all the British Ferns, with the Foreign Species suitable for a Fernery. By M. C. Cooke. (F. Warne and Co.)—This is a clear and interesting account of the various kinds of ferns, with plates to show their forms and characteristics. On the third page we are told that ferns are not merely for show, though they can- not pretend to satisfy the demands of the utilitarian. Their chief employment seems to be in preserving ash, fruit, and vegetables from

decay and mildew. In the shops of fruiterers, apples and pears are seen packed in hampers with fern leaves, and the fresh herrings sent from the Isle of Man to Liverpool, as well as the new potatoes sent from Cheshire to Manchester, are packed in bracken. A farmer in the North of England was persuaded to cover half his winter potatoes with bracken while he covered half with straw, and the result was that the first were sound and good, while the others were rotten. We do not quote these facts for the lovers of ferns, but for those who do not care for barren graceful forms, and probably prefor potatoes.