False mermaid is the only North American species in the Floerkia genus of this very small family. See the species description of False mermaid (Floerkia prosperpinacoides).


Ferns never bear flowers and reproduce by spores, not seeds. The ferns and fern allies, the horsetails and the clubmosses, were once dominant plant forms on earth and reached tree size in coal-producing swamps. They are now much diminished in size and there are relatively few species. Fern leaves are quite variable, ranging from simple to once-cut, twice-cut and thrice-cut, the latter having the lacy appearance that we consider “fern-like”. Some are evergreen. Spores are usually bourn on the underside of fertile leaves, but may be on separate stalks. The arrangement of the fruit dots, or clusters of spores, is very important in identification. Some “ferns”, such as asparagus fern and sweet fern are flowering plants, not ferns at all.


The small, radially symmetrical flowers have 5 united sepals and 5 petals and are on one side of a coiled stem that gradually straightens as the flowers bloom. The petals are joined at the base and flare out abruptly. Five small projections are present at the point of flaring, markedly narrowing the neck. The alternate leaves are smooth-edged and often hairy.


Mostly a tropical family with only a few local species, none common. There is often a cup like structure of bracts that supports a corolla-like calyx with its 5 petal-like sepals. There are no petals. The opposite leaves are smooth edged.


Fungi are part of the plant kingdom but differ from other plants in having no chlorophyll and reproducing by spores. The lack of chlorophyll makes it impossible for fungi to synthesize food and they must derive it from other organic matter. Some fungi are parasites and attack living plants and some are saprophytes, feeding only on dead wood. The latter are a very important part of the eco system by disintegrating dead wood.

The term "mushroom" generally applies to the portion of a fungus that is above ground. The mycelium lies beneath the surface and consists of thin filaments of hyphae. This is the vegetative portion of the fungus.

Mushrooms come in many forms: Caps on stalks, Shelves without stalks,
growth on grass, beneath trees, attached to trees etc. There are five headings below that will hopefully make identification somewhat easier: