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Genus of the Week

Week of June 29 - July 5

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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
Comptonia peregrina, with female inflorescence in background
Photo taken by J. Forman. May not be used without permission.

Subclass: Dicotyledoneae
Superorder: Hamamelidae
Order: Myricales
Family: Myricaceae
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:


  1. Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
  2. 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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