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sensitive fern

noun
1.
a common, widely distributed fern, Onoclea sensibilis, having large, triangular leaves and beadlike spikes that contain the spores.
Origin of sensitive fern
1805-1815
1805-15, Americanism; so called from the sensitivity of its foliage to frost
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sensitive fern
Historical Examples
  • In the midst of the marsh were rows of the fruit-stems of the sensitive fern, which is the first to blacken before the frost.

    Everyday Adventures Samuel Scoville
  • As Waters remarks, "Most ferns hold the sori in the open hand, but the sensitive fern grasps them tightly in the clenched fist."

    The Fern Lover's Companion George Henry Tilton
  • Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern), very common along the riversides; some on the gravelly shore of Heron Lake Island.

    The Maine Woods Henry David Thoreau
  • The sensitive fern is so called from its being very sensitive to frost.

    The Fern Lover's Companion George Henry Tilton
  • An intermediate form between the fertile and sterile fronds is sometimes found, as in the sensitive fern.

    The Fern Lover's Companion George Henry Tilton
  • As in the sensitive fern there are many curious gradations between the fertile and sterile fronds, both in shape and fruitfulness.

    The Fern Lover's Companion George Henry Tilton
  • Not to mention, among inferior orders, wool-grass and the sensitive fern.

    The Maine Woods Henry David Thoreau

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12
14
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