Fern Facts

Fern Facts
Fern is a vascular, seedless plant that belongs to the group Pteridophyta. There are around 12 000 types of ferns that differ in size, morphology and type of habitat. Ferns can be found throughout the world. They live in shady places that provide enough moisture, such as forests, fields, swamps and areas near the streams. Fern can survive in various climates and on different altitudes. These plants are among the oldest living organisms on the planet. People use ferns mostly in decorative purposes. Several types of ferns are known as invasive species due to increased reproduction rate and ability to occupy new habitats quickly. Some species of ferns are listed as endangered because of the habitat loss (as a result of increased human activity).
Interesting Fern Facts:
Depending on the species, fern develops as miniature herbaceous plant or as tall tree. Smallest fern is only 2 to 3 inches high. Largest fern can grow 30 feet high into the air.
Ferns have fibrous root that can easily absorb water and all nutrients required for successful growth.
Leaves of ferns are called fronds. They are green and have feathery structure. Leaves perform photosynthesis (production of food from the carbon dioxide and water, with a help of sun).
Ferns do not develop flowers and seed. They reproduce via miniature cells called spores.
Spores are produced in the structures called sporangia. They can be recognized as row of brown patches on the bottom side of the leaves. Spores can be reddish, brownish, yellow or black in color.
Some animals, such as bats and mice, eat spores.
Reproduction of ferns takes place in two morphologically different phases known as sporophyte and gametophyte. Sporophyte generation can be easily recognized because it looks like typical fern. Sporophyte produces spores that grow into heart-shaped structure called gametophyte. Gametophyte produces male and female reproductive organs. Ferns live in the moist habitats because they require water for successful fertilization. After merging of the sperm and egg cells, new fern develops and cycle starts all over again.
Fern can also be reproduced from the rhizome and leaves.
Ferns are very old organisms. They exist on the planet for nearly 400 million years.
Fossil fuels (coal and natural oils) created during Carboniferous period are mostly made of ferns.
Some species of ferns are used in human diet.
Ferns can absorb heavy metals from the air and soil. They can be used to prevent pollution or for the cleaning of already polluted areas.
Ferns are able to absorb nitrogen from the air. Because of this feature, some farmers use ferns as natural fertilizers on the rice fields.
Certain types of tree ferns are used as building materials.
Lifespan of fern depends on the species. Some types of ferns can live up to 100 years.

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