Genus of the Week
Week of June 29 - July 5
This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of all available Web resources on a particular genus.
Visit the Land of the Glandular Trichomes,
a microscopic look at plants in the Lamiaceae family.
This week's genus:
Comptonia - Sweet Fern
Comptonia peregrina, with female inflorescence in background
Photo taken by J. Forman. May not be used without permission.
Number of Species: 1
Root: named after Compton, the Bishop of London from 1632-1713, by Sir J. Banks.
There is only one recognized species in the genus Comptonia: C. peregrina (Sweet
Fern). This plant is also known by the Latin name Myrica asplenifolia, the species name
given because of the resemblance of the plant's leaves to that of the fern Asplenifolia.
Sweet Fern has very fragrant leaves and potentially edible fruits.
Here are a few links to images and descriptions of different Comptonia species:
- Stop by the Brooklyn Botanical Garden web site for a look at
Comptonia in their Metropolitan Plant Encyclopaedia, which includes a Bibliography of
related journal articles.
- Line Online (Long Island's Natural Environment) keeps a
photo of C.
peregrina tucked away on their web site.
- Herbalists may want to visit NativeTech, a Native American web site that describes how C.
peregrina was used by the Mi'kmaq to
treat poison ivy rashes.
- Visit the Fire Effects Information System (FEIS) web site, brought to you by the federal
government of the U.S., to find out more about the
ecological value of C. peregrina.
- Geneticists may want to check out the Codon Usage Database to examine the
DNA of C. peregrina.
- Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
- Neiring, William A. and Nancy C. Olmstead., eds. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers, Eastern Region. Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 1979.
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