Ferns of Alabama
Gosse Nature Guides
384 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 1.30 in, 391 illustrations
- Published: October 2012
A much-needed field guide to the more than 120 species of ferns and fern allies occurring naturally in the state, Ferns of Alabama provides yet another window into Alabama’s amazing biodiversity.
Ferns of Alabama is a beautiful, full-color guidebook to the great variety of ferns and fern allies that populate Alabama woods, stream banks, prairies, glades, roadsides, and trails. Along with the ecologically similar but genetically unrelated horsetails, clubmosses, and quillworts, ferns are nonflowering vascular plants of ancient lineages that date back to the Devonian era. Although they are now known to be unrelated, all of these groups of plants were once thought to be part of a single division of the plant kingdom called pteridophytes because of their similarities in reproductive biology, and they are generally studied together. These plants occur in great variety and abundance in Alabama because of the temperate climate, the sufficient year-round moisture, and the multitude of available habitats, soils, and microclimates in the state.
The individual species accounts by John W. Short and Daniel D. Spaulding contain a description of the plant and its habitat, range, history, conservation status, and common names. Color photographs by T. Wayne Barger, Alan Cressler, Sarah R. Johnston, L. J. Davenport, and John W. Short show the ferns in their native settings and black and white line drawings by Marion Montgomery, Sue Blackshear, and John W. Short highlight major features and peculiarities of form. Maps illustrate the county-bycounty distribution of the more than 120 species described. Taxonomic keys designed for the nonscientific user make it easy to pinpoint the identity of a subject being studied in the field, and a glossary explains necessary botanical terms. There is also an appendix by Alan Weakley addressing taxonomic change.
1. About Ferns and Fern Allies
2. Geography of Alabama Ferns
3. Keys to the Identification of Alabama Ferns and Fern Allies
4. Alabama Ferns and Fern Allies
Appendix A. Checklist
Appendix B. On Taxonomic Change by Dr. Alan Weakley
Appendix C. Alternative Keys to the Ferns and Fern Allies of Alabama
Index to Common Names
Index to Scientific Names
“This is a first rate field guide. An emphasis on plain English is notably successful. . . . An award of merit to the publishers is deserved for having the courage to place a maiden fern on the cover. Every fern fancier in Alabama should have this guide. And if you don’t live in the Heart of Dixie, get it so you can compare your field guide to a good one.”
--Tom Stuart, The Hardy Fern Foundation Quarterly
“Thisattractive new guide includes more than 120 species of ferns and lycophytes! Sturdily bound with heavy paper covers, the latest contribution to the Gosse Nature Guides series is a collaboration between two of the most knowledgeable botanists on the state's fern flora. The book is nicely laid out, and the design relatively lavish. . . . The first comprehensive account of Alabama's pteridoflora in more than 40 years is a very useful and well-researched volume. Those who like to explore and botanize in the state's wild areas will find it to be an indispensable addition to their bookshelves.”
—George Yatskievych, Fiddlehead Forum