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Junior Section The San Francisco Call
ISSUED EVERY SUNDAY FOR THE BOYS AND GIRLS OF SAN FRANCISCO AND CALIFORNIA ALONZO HE INVESTIGATES Curious Fads Regarding Ferns One must be indifferent indeed who does not admire the ferns., Even the .very name brings- to mind vistas of graceful, waving fronds with delicate, lacellke foliage. \u25a0 But while most species may well claim our admiration, some are so un- like our usual conception of a fern as seemingly to'v justify one in declaring that i they must belong to some other race of plants. The walking fern, as the name implies,', possesses a charac teristic individuality of its.- own. The \u25a0fronds are usually not more than 8 to 12 Inches in length. "They are severely plaln.^as if to show their 'disapproval \ of the" frills and fashions of their more aristocratic relatives. Some of the fronds are short and blunt; others are prolonged into a long, , slender tip, which bends over to the ground, and at this point, if conditions are favorable,' a tiny, plant begins to form. . After a time, as the young plant grows larger, it becomes detached from the parent, though sometimes -the connections re main in this sense that; the walking; fern walks, though its steps are short; and not often taken. It grows In rocky. woods, chiefly in limestone regions,; forming dense mats. In the climbing fern_we have an-; other distinct phase of fern life. This' fern has long, vlnelike stems too weak; to hold themselves erect, and, there-^ fore, has developed a twining habit, de pending on neighboring objects for' sup- ' port The frondlets much resemble a: small hand with chubby fingers, and: are arranged in pairs. The spore bear-* ing part Is borne at the tip of the stem in a sort of branching cluster. This fern grows throughout the eastern part of the United States, chiefly near the coast. It is sometimes called the Hart ford fern, named for the capital of the state of Connecticut, and. a law was passed making it a misdemeanor to pull or uproot a plant in that state. In the appellations "walking fern" and v "cllmblng fern" there Is a pleasing appropriateness, but to call a harmless little plant an adder's tongue hints of something 1 odious, as if the plant were possessed of Home polaonou.s property. However, after seeing a specimen of the plant one must admit that so far as appearance goes the name is in some •degree Justified. It has a single stem, usually less than one foot in height, with the spore bearing portion at the tip, and a single, undivided, elliptical leaf about midway. Beauty and gran deur it has not been endowed with, but for its charming simplicity of form it has few equals among the higher plants. ••- In fact, when we examine its .outlines, we see that it may.be fairly represented by drawing two parallel straight lines to represent the stem and two curved lines to represent the leaf. It grows in the grass In wet, boggy places, compelling one to search to find it, and is therefore considered a particularly Interesting find by fern collectors. Closely related to the adder's tongue are tho grape ferns and the rare mooj> wort. Most of these plants are- too small and inconspicuous for the aver age person to deign to notice, but of unusual interest and v source of much SAN FRANCISCO, NOVEMBER 6, 1910 perplexity to the botanist, owing to their tendency to produce many vary ing forms. They have the same gen eral habit as the adder's tongue, but are more complex In outline. The sterile leaf or frond is often deeply cut and divided, and the spore bearing portion Is branching. The moonwort is more of a British subject than a Yankee, since It is found In but few places south of tho Canadian provinces. In the days of superstition it was sup posed by some to be possessed of mlrac- j ulous powers, and an old time botanist ! wrote regarding It: "Moonwort is an herb which they say will open locks ', and unshoe such horses as tread upon It," which • shows how deeply • those \u25a0 simple folk were Impressed by the lit- \ tie mysteries of common things.. The -. adder's tongue, grape ferns and moon-; 1 wort are not true ferns, but are so i closely allied as to be commonly re garded as such. They grow in pastures and woodlunds, some .species being quite common and widely distributed. If the various- "tongues," so called, could speak, they would no doubt pro- '• test agalrißt the titles conferred upon \u25a0 them by the botanists. The rarest of these unoffending "tongues" is the ; hart's tongue, found in shaded ravines, in tho states of New York and Ten- ; nessoe. Tho fronds are from six inches V to two feet In length, somewhat heart-;! shaped at tho base, and undivided. \u25a0" While there is little In their general « appearance to suggest a fern, the %pore \ bearing organs on the bucks of the I fronds show at once, their true rela- * tlonship. — St. Nicholas?. THE OPEN LETTER SECTION Montenegro's Share in History JASPER B. SINCLAIR . ITon. William Kwart Gladstone,, for mer prime mlnlstor'of Great Britain, once said: ."In my deliberate opinion the traditions of Montenegro exceed In glory those of Marathon and Thar mopolae and all the war traditions of the world." Think of It! Think of this tiny principality In the heart of the Balkans, with a population scarce exceeding GOO.OOO soula, maintaining its Independence by force of arms for hun dreds of years against every European nation that has dared assail It!" This small country with an area of oi)ly 3, C00 square miles, two-thirds the size of the state of Connecticut, has had the audacious daring tb defy th« power of Russia, of Turkey, of Greece, of Servla and of Roumanla, and ha 3 survived every conflict. It is almost Impossible to believe that this small Balkan state has a history more glori ous than the traditions of Marathon and Thermopolae. The traditions of Montenegro are not written In the pages of history but are treasured up In the hearts and souls of the Monte r negrlns in their mountain fastnesses. The history of Montenegro is the his tory of a brave country in continued conflict against .hostile nations—bat tling for its independence against the tide of suppression, tyranny and ag gression. . , . What is the secret of Montenegro's unprecedented victories over the pow ers of eastern Europe? The true secret of this success is the Alontenegrln him jum©ir # self. In Montenegro there is but one national Interest and that Is the army. In times of peace there are 1,000 sol diers; there are 100,000 rpnely to pre serve thrir nation at the Bound of war's alarm. The Montenegrins are born soldiers. Every boy Is a soldier before he Is 12 years of ago and bears arms for the rest of his life. Even the women know, how to shoot. Every Montenegrin carries weapons, for It Is against the law not to carry firearms. The army is the very soul of Monte negro. Without it Montenegro would cease to exist. It is because of the army, seconded by the daring, fearless spirit of the Montenegrin, that the "traditions of Montenegro In glory those of Marathan and Thermo polao and all the war traditions of the world!" Two Troublesome Faults ALBERT BRYANT Onklnnd. Afire 14 Yearn The United States government, I be lieve, is the best In the world, although all things that are good are not fault less. There Is one fault with the gov ernment, and that Is in regard to its laws. There are altogether too many laws. Although some are important, "too many cooks spoil the soup." The laws are so many that it is just as hard to learn them all as it is to spell correctly. A man can hardly live without disobeying some one of them, probably ' one that he never heard of before. The United States should have fewer laws and enforce them. Another fault Is the language. As every one knows, there are too many words." A man- can not learn every English word during the time he is: on this earth. Why? Because there . are altogether too many unimportant ones and more than one name for a thing. Of course, I believe, in the motto, "Don't stop and cry over spilled milk." But we can mend the, leak and wipe some of it up.. WORDS OF THANKS Editor Junior Call — Dear Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge, with many thanks, the receipt .of your splendid fountain pen. I sincerely hope that my use of It will be worthy of the good cause in which The Junior Call has enlisted. Very truly yours, LIONEL, SORACCO. 714 Flllmore Street, San Francisco. Editor Junior Call— Dear Sir: I have received that beautiful fountain pen you sent me, and I thank you very much for it. Yours sincerely, • MAX STRELOW. 1721 Sanchez Street. ' Dear Editor: I am sorry not to have thanked you for the "lovely paint box I received Sunday before last. I thank you over and over. Give my b.est regards to Alonzo and tell him that I agree with him on what he said about cruelty to dumb animals. \u25a0 Stockton. :,,.. ARTHUR I<\ MELEP. Editor Junior Call — Dear Sir: I re ceived the fountain pen and 'thanjc you ' very much. It is very useful -to mo at school. Yours truly, Benlcla. GRACE SERPAS.