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Philippine Nephrolepis

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  • Christopher Roy Fraser-Jenkins
    Just a little Philippine updating - thanks to Dr. Peter Hovenkamp s helpful information (he wrote the new world-wide monograph of Nephrolepis), I think from
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 2, 2008
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      Just a little Philippine updating - thanks to Dr. Peter Hovenkamp's
      helpful information (he wrote the new world-wide monograph of
      Nephrolepis), I think from the info he's provided me with, it looks
      like the little Nephrolepis in the photos is most probably what he
      treats as N. cordifolia var. pseudolauterbachii. I would feel, from
      what I've seen of N. cordifolia in various parts of Asia, that it
      ought to be a species, N. pseudolauterbachii - but the Leiden
      monographers have often used a sort of superspecies rank, putting
      critical and difficult entities together under an aggregate name,
      especially when there are apparent intemediates. I'd just prefer to
      be a bit more precise in separating things when they appear to be as
      distinct as this.
      Unfortunately I rather doubt my plant of it is alive, though I
      sent some spores off to people. But I'm excited that a number of
      other Philippine things are coming up nicely in a plastic tent in our
      front window - including Pterises and a Polystichum and Culcita
      javanica (Sect. Calochlaena), which will be lovely if it continue to
      grow - also Adiantum philippense from the Philippines, which is
      important to know if its cytotype matches the common Indian triploid
      (which it looks like). I have a paper on the latter, with Professor
      S.C. Verma of Chandigarh, in the next Indian Fern Journal. There's
      also a tiny new frond on a Dipteris, which would be nice if it decides
      to grow, and Thelypteris (Pseudophegopteris) paludosa, which has
      bright red stems, is coming up strongly. It isn't really quite
      brightly lit enough for them on the whole, but I can't put them out
      until our present cold season is over in a month to 6 weeks. Besides
      I have not as yet been able to exorcise the ruddy shrews prancing
      around outside eyeing up choice young fronds to chomp, although lots
      of rats that come in from the back tend to, er, go under the hammer at
      night-time recently, as they sometimes seem to eat nearly as much in
      our kitchen as we do, otherwise!
      We all went down to the lowland Chitwan National Park last week for
      the Elephant football and Ox-Cart races etc., which were fun - and
      then got onto elephants to go and see the rhinos in the forest, which
      our kid enjoyed. But the next day I arranged to go on a longer walk
      with two rangers down south into the main part of the reserve - to see
      if any interesting ferns were there. The place was packed with Tiger
      footprints in the mud and sand everywhere, some were as big as a
      saucer - definitely NOT a place to be caught out at night in! Also
      had a hell of a shock when a wild boar - equally surprised - suddenly
      bolted out of the ferns in front of me with a big angry snort and
      rushed off, fortunately in the opposite direction! The ferns were
      pretty ordinary, low-altitude stuff on the whole, though I didn't get
      far enough up into the last range of foothills before the plains of
      India on the other side. But there was a nice Microlepia which I
      think is the same as the Chinese M. hancei, with tall, narrow, finely
      dissect fronds; heaps of edible Diplazium esculentum; Pyrrosia
      lanceolata on the trees (but a slightly odd member of that complex);
      two red-fronded Azollas on the ponds; and I was very pleased to find
      Selaginella repanda for the first time since I've been in Nepal, as it
      is pretty rare here. It was on a river bank where each bend had one
      or two resident crocodiles being ever so sneaky and not moving at all,
      or just with snouts above the water - you'd hardly notice them, even
      though some are very big. I watched one taking about 20 minutes to
      gradually, gradually, apparently randomly, float ever slightly closer
      to a flock of ruddy shell-duck on the bank - even when it was within
      inches of a fat duck that was just looking straight at it and not
      realising it wasn't a log, it still didn't do anything for another 5
      minutes until the duck began to get ready to step onto it, when there
      was frightful shmozzle and rush as it smashed up out of the water -
      but missed - and the whole flock flew off with tremendous quacks and
      honks! It definitely wouldn't be advisable to slip down a ferny bank
      there while collecting and land up in the water's edge unless one were
      pretty nifty on ones feet!
      I later met an amateur Botanist called Harka Man Gurung at the
      herbarium of the King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation there -
      he had collected quite a few ferns, and if I get the chance to walk
      further into the hills in the park some time before it gets too hot in
      Spring, I might aim to publish a little list with him of Chitwan
      pteridophytes. I might be able to get away in a month or two for
      another walking and fern-weekend - also saves one going bananas in the
      traffic and dust of Kathmandu, with no water, long power-cuts etc., to
      get away among the ferns every now and again!
      Had to come back up to Kathmandu on the back of a motorbike,
      hanging onto my rucksack, as the main road was blockaded by angry
      villagers for two days, demanding compensation for somebody killed on
      the road - and while I was walking on from the huge line of vehicles
      waiting to go up, I was very luckily and kindly offered a lift for the
      last 70 km. But it was so cold my head didn't feel properly defrozen
      for the next 24 hours!
      Cheers,
      Chris Fraser-Jenkins.
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