Wednesday 8 September 2010

Sunlight on fern fronds

The first thing I discover when I begin to read up about ferns, is that there is a plethora of Latin vocabulary! I did Latin at school for two whole years and the only phrase I can remember with any clarity is 'Canis est in atrium'. Very useful, if you have a dog. Or a hall. Or a dog and a hall.

Of course, like most of us, I've rubbed shoulders with bits of Latin here and there, but not a lot of it is helpful in the whole scientific classification of the species thing. Maybe I should just stop researching and say that I took this photo because I thought that the light shining through the leaves looked pretty.  It is true! I love the brightness and the shadows with the sun spotlighting the fronds.

Well, ok, maybe a bit more about ferns, because they are quite interesting in their own unique way. It's nice and alliterative, so here are...

 Five Fascinating Facts about Ferns

1. First of all, I'm highly unlikely to be able to tell you what kind of fern this is because there are 64 species native to the British Isles. The largest group of ferns are the leptosporangiate; and when I say they are the largest, I mean that there are about 9000 living species of them worldwide, whereas the other three groups have about 260 between them!

2. Ferns have been around for a while. There are fossils dating back 360 million years, although many of the species we have around today are youngsters at a paltry 145 million years.

3. Ferns do not flower, they reproduce using spores which grow on the underside of the leaves. These are shed, and as they germinate, they grow into small heart shaped plants known as prothalli. Prothalli produce both male and female cells and, after fertilisation, the adult fern begins to develop

4, Ferns have four main habitats; woodlands, crevices in rocks, bogs and swamps and tropical trees; all fairly marginal locations which are less favoured by plants needing softer conditions. One of Britains most invasive ferns is bracken, which can be seen throughout our woodlands and damper hillsides. I like bracken :)
5. Final fact! In Victorian times, garden fern collections became extremely popular, to the extent that wealthier garden owners would build specially designed glasshouses known as ferneries in which they housed their collections.

(I so should have saved this for Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday 'F' in about 6 weeks time! RATS!)


  1. One word: repost.

    I love this image and ferns in general. Their feathery softness never fails to delight.

  2. I'm with Cheryl. post and just refer back to it.

    I have both a dog and a hall. Awesome.

  3. Hi H,

    Very educational. Keep your post for Alphabet Thursday. I wont tell....See you there (if I can..)

    Anne-Marie : )