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Fern Structures - Plants Slideshow

Special structures of ferns Let's take a look at this image of specialized fern structures. The top image should be easy to identify. It's a fully developed frond showing the true leaves. The deep green color comes from the chlorophyll in the chloroplasts. Fern leaves and branches are usually called fronds. You will find two types of fern fronds, those that make spores and those that don't. The top example shows no spores while the bottom one shows developing spores.

The center image shows a frond unfurling. This structure is called a fiddlehead. As the hairy fiddlehead unrolls, the leaves fan out and begin conducting photosynthesis.

The bottom image shows a frond that has developed spores. Even though these fronds are reproductive structures, they look almost identical to the true fronds of ferns. Sperms and eggs are released on the leaves. The sperm swim (through a moist surface) and meet up with eggs. The resulting zygote can then develop into a new fern. One of the results of this type of fertilization is a clumping of ferns. Plants that might use the wind to spread seeds can release seeds over a greater area. Fern spores tend to land close to the parent plant.

Image Credit: Andrew Rader Studios

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