something in the root of Selaginella
- Often when inspecting ferns under higher magification, all kinds of interesting creatures appear to be adhering to them: bug, spiders, snails, mosses and hepatics, fungi, snails, termites (often still alive). I still have a lovely mossy spider waiting for me, taken from the root masses (mosses) of a Philippine Calymmodon. Whole tropical rain forestal meso-ecosystems I can study in this way without even leaving my desk.
Sometimes though, I cannot discern wether the extras belong to my fern or are unrequested aliens. Generally I do gazing such things for a few few minutes before thinking: o well, still a pile of Selaginellas to be identified, and turning on. But sometimes the things just "catch", such as this one that I found on a Selaginella silvestris from Honduras. It's sitting in the middle of the rhizophore, that appears to be split lengthwise, snugly clasping the thing. It's beautiful, with a golden shine and iridescent cells.
Unlikely anyone sees anything recognizable in it, but still it's nice.
- Dear Wim and all,
Fascinating but deadly - this is the egg-case of the primaeval
scourge of Pterodotus, the ancient Greek pteridologist who discovered
not a lot. He who would have given all the ferns of Greece for a pot
free of this terrible beast - nowadays known under the ICFN as
Eetyafernia insidoutia Hook.f., nom. cons. But I think from the
general shine and irridescence it must belong to a new subspecies,
subsp. dewinteri Fras.-Jenk and gang-ji.
It starts in that way - along the rhizophore and gradually
expands to cover whole plants, adjacent pots and during the warm rainy
season (Ah, only joking - it's Britain, right?), may even cover whole
greenhouses, especially those frequented by Pteridologists. Alarming
really, as the only cure is fumigation with that most handy and well
tested cure-all, hyrdrofluoric acid - followed by burial of the debris
in secure canisters in deep mines below 20,000 ft. under Arizona or
somewhere handy like that.
Anyway, whatever you do, don't inform the Ministry as they will
then ban all fern-cultivation except in the secure Ministry gardens
beneath Whitehall (admission 150 dollars per minute, discount 0.1% for
registered pteridologists with 400 or more publications to their
name). If they knew that even one unidentified, possibly zoological
organism findable at 1000x magnification were sighted on a S. American
rootin a European garden - that would be it, game-up - final warning
to the criminal band of pteridologists to cease all activity and turn
So ssshhh! - for heaven's sake don't tell anyone AT ALL about your
remarkable discovery. Some things are best left unsaid. Big sister
is watching us!
Christodotus, Cat Man Doo.