New England Trail Review

Ferns and Other Primitive Plants

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 Plants of an ancient nature, found today. 


 Images 46 to 50 of 50

A dried brown leaf hangs from a set of ferns on the side of a mossy rock.

Purgatory Chasm - Fern and Leaf On Boulder

The leaf probably fell and dried right on this fern, as shown by its distortion and discoloration. The plants and lichens in this photo illustrate how moist the chasm can sometimes be.

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Bright green ferns in a pattern.

Penwood Park / Metacomet - Ferns and Spores

These winter ferns show the spore cases characteristic of their species - small and yellowish, in regular arrays beneath the leaves. Each spore contains a clone of its parent that bears doubled chromosomes, which will be sexually selected as the clone develops.

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A stone like a mountain based in ferns (still green) in a sea of tan leaves.

Talcott Mountain State Park / Ridge Loop - Finger Stone and Ferns

This is a piece of the sandstone characteristic of the upper sections of some part of the ridge followed by the Metacomet trail. Apparently a long period between lava flows was marked by this ridge being at the bottom of a lake or sea.

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Two lime green fern leaves, the right one with regularly spaced tan spots, granular in texture.

Talcott Mountain State Park / Ridge Loop - Spores On Ferns

This closeup shows one fern frond with spores beside another without them. Some species have the sporangia (clusters of spore cases) on all fronds - this is not one of those, as you can see. The spores, more primitive than seeds, carry everything needed to produce new ferns.

Though primitive, spores are actually quite complex. Unlike seeds, which are fertilized prior to being distributed, spores carry a tiny clone of the fern which has the genetic material of both sexes. The material is only cross fertilized if and when the spore ends up in a suitable environment. The resulting growth replaces the original with a new plant that grows into a fern.

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