Ferns are the biggest and most diverse group of non-flowering plants, with about 11,000 species. Most species live in the tropics and many are epiphytes on trees. They typically have large feathery leaves or fronds which are tightly coiled when young, unwinding as they expand. Some ferns are large enough to be called tree ferns but they do not develop a trunk structure, the stalks of the fronds sprouting directly from a rhizomous rootstock. The reproduction of ferns is complex. Spores are produced on the undersides of the fronds. If these fall in a suitable damp place they develop into small heart-shaped structures called prothalli. After a further sexual stage, a new plant grows from a female prothallus.
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American Fern Society
Information on the biology and cultivation of ferns; activities of the society including a spore exchange and publication of Fiddlehead Forum, American Fern Journal, and Pteridologia.
The Delta database provides botanical descriptions of all species found in the British Isles.
Ferns et al of New England and Bermuda
Lists all native pteridophyte species and some hybrids, with photographs of most and data pages for some.
Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland
Small images of 39 antique prints by Thomas Moore, 1855.
Ferns of the Canberra Region
A site about ferns in southeastern Australia, their ecology, how to grow them, information on ferns in general, with numerous photographs.
Introduction to ferns from the Tree of Life project.
Introduction to the Ferns
The ferns are an ancient lineage of plants, dating back to at least the Devonian. They include three living groups - Marattiales, Ophioglossales, and leptosporangiate ferns - as well as a couple of extinct groups.
Next to the flowering plants, the leptosporangiate ferns are the most diverse group of living land plants. Estimates place their diversity at about 12,000 species in around 300 genera. This page is part of the tree of life phylogeny project.
Native Ferns for Cool Climates
Information on the cultivation of Australian native ferns with a species list.
Neotropical Fern Genera
Key to the genera of neotropical ferns provided by PhytoImages.
Last update:January 5, 2017 at 12:54:04 UTC