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Women have long been underrepresented in STEM, although there are certain fields within this umbrella that show less of a disparity — the biological sciences being one example. Within biology, pteridology has a rich history of female contributors involved since its inception. In this review we strive to highlight some of the foremost female pteridologists including Elizabeth Knight Britton, Alma Stokey, Irene Manton, Alice Tryon, Barbara Hoshizaki, and Florence Wagner. This is not an exhaustive list, but rather an insight into the strong maternal lineage of the fern and lycophyte community. While the field would not be the same without the work of many male pteridologists, herein we emphasize the important contributions that these founding women have made. Some of the research conducted by early female pteridologists was largely undermined by their time and circumstance; here we bring their lives and works to the foreground. Furthermore, we hope this paper inspires young botanists to enter our unique and historically rich field.
This paper describes and illustrates a new hybrid, Jamesonia 3intermedia, from Serra dos Órgãos, Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. The hybrid, most of whose spores are aborted, shows intermediate morphology between its putative parents (J. biardii and J. insignis) in lamina dissection, shape of the ultimate segments, and pubescence of the adaxial surface of the pinnae and rachises.
The microphylls of Selaginella bear structures that have been given names as diverse as idioblasts, papillae, sclereids, fibers, and warts, yet they resemble silica bodies. However, for most species of the genus, no study has ever shown the composition of these structures or proven their nature comprehensively. Based on scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy analyses, we confirmed the presence of silica bodies in microphylls of Selaginella, described four distribution patterns of the structures, and carried out a terminology review. The presence of silica may be related to mechanical protection of the cell wall, activation of defense mechanisms, and providing support for microphylls. Further in-depth analyses based on studies on the evolution of this character remain necessary to elucidate its relevance for the ecological relationships and systematics of Selaginella.
The hybrid Polystichum × arendsii was first bred by Georg Arends at the turn of the 20th century. It was an artificial cross between P. munitum (Kaulf.) C. Presl, native to north western North America, and P. aculeatum (L.) Roth, occurring in the Eurasian region. In 1906 the well-known Swiss botanist Konrad H. Christ applied the name Aspidium × arendsii to this hybrid. In the following decades the fern was lost and its name was forgotten. The present study investigates the history of the hybrid. In the interim, the cross has been successfully carried out once again and a new description of P. × arendsii is provided. Study of herbarium material and comparison of the information supplied by Konrad H. Christ, as well as the analysis of the spores, confirmed that the hybrid corresponds with the original A. × arendsii and a necessary valid combination under Polystichum is provided.