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This article is about a group of plants. Fern_sentence_0

For other uses, see Fern (disambiguation). Fern_sentence_1

"Ferns" redirects here. Fern_sentence_2

For the city in Ireland, see Ferns, County Wexford. Fern_sentence_3

For other uses, see Ferns (disambiguation). Fern_sentence_4



Temporal range: Middle DevonianPresent PreꞒ O S D C P T J K Pg NFern_header_cell_0_0_0

Scientific classification PolypodiopsidaFern_header_cell_0_1_0
Kingdom:Fern_cell_0_2_0 PlantaeFern_cell_0_2_1
Clade:Fern_cell_0_3_0 TracheophytesFern_cell_0_3_1
Class:Fern_cell_0_4_0 Polypodiopsida

Cronquist, Takht. & W.Zimm.Fern_cell_0_4_1


A fern (Polypodiopsida or Polypodiophyta /ˌpɒliˌpɒdiˈɒfɪtə, -oʊfaɪtə/) is a member of a group of vascular plants (plants with xylem and phloem) that reproduce via spores and have neither seeds nor flowers. Fern_sentence_5

They differ from mosses by being vascular, i.e., having specialized tissues that conduct water and nutrients and in having life cycles in which the sporophyte is the dominant phase. Fern_sentence_6

Ferns have complex leaves called megaphylls, that are more complex than the microphylls of clubmosses. Fern_sentence_7

Most ferns are leptosporangiate ferns. Fern_sentence_8

They produce coiled fiddleheads that uncoil and expand into fronds. Fern_sentence_9

The group includes about 10,560 known extant species. Fern_sentence_10

Ferns are defined here in the broad sense, being all of the Polypodiopsida, comprising both the leptosporangiate (Polypodiidae) and eusporangiate ferns, the latter group including horsetails or scouring rushes, whisk ferns, marattioid ferns, and ophioglossoid ferns. Fern_sentence_11

Ferns first appear in the fossil record about 360 million years ago in the middle Devonian period, but many of the current families and species did not appear until roughly 145 million years ago in the early Cretaceous, after flowering plants came to dominate many environments. Fern_sentence_12

The fern Osmunda claytoniana is a paramount example of evolutionary stasis; paleontological evidence indicates it has remained unchanged, even at the level of fossilized nuclei and chromosomes, for at least 180 million years. Fern_sentence_13

Ferns are not of major economic importance, but some are used for food, medicine, as biofertilizer, as ornamental plants and for remediating contaminated soil. Fern_sentence_14

They have been the subject of research for their ability to remove some chemical pollutants from the atmosphere. Fern_sentence_15

Some fern species, such as bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) and water fern (Azolla filiculoides) are significant weeds worldwide. Fern_sentence_16

Some fern genera, such as Azolla, can fix nitrogen and make a significant input to the nitrogen nutrition of rice paddies. Fern_sentence_17

They also play certain roles in folklore. Fern_sentence_18

Description Fern_section_0

Like the sporophytes of seed plants, those of ferns consist of stems, leaves and roots. Fern_sentence_19

Ferns differ from seed plants in reproducing by spores and from bryophytes in that, like seed plants, they are Polysporangiophytes, their sporophytes branching and producing many sporangia. Fern_sentence_20

Unlike bryophytes, fern sporophytes are free-living and only briefly dependent on the maternal gametophyte. Fern_sentence_21

Stems: Fern stems are often referred to as rhizomes, even though they grow underground only in some of the species. Fern_sentence_22

Epiphytic species and many of the terrestrial ones have above-ground creeping stolons (e.g., Polypodiaceae), and many groups have above-ground erect semi-woody trunks (e.g., Cyatheaceae). Fern_sentence_23

These can reach up to 20 meters (66 ft) tall in a few species (e.g., Cyathea brownii on Norfolk Island and Cyathea medullaris in New Zealand). Fern_sentence_24

Leaf: The green, photosynthetic part of the plant is technically a megaphyll and in ferns, it is often referred to as a frond. Fern_sentence_25

New leaves typically expand by the unrolling of a tight spiral called a crozier or fiddlehead into fronds. Fern_sentence_26

This uncurling of the leaf is termed circinate vernation. Fern_sentence_27

Leaves are divided into two types a trophophyll and a sporophyll. Fern_sentence_28

A trophophyll frond is a vegetative leaf analogous to the typical green leaves of seed plants that does not produce spores, instead only producing sugars by photosynthesis. Fern_sentence_29

A sporophyll frond is a fertile leaf that produces spores borne in sporangia that are usually clustered to form sori. Fern_sentence_30

In most ferns, fertile leaves are morphologically very similar to the sterile ones, and they photosynthesize in the same way. Fern_sentence_31

In some groups, the fertile leaves are much narrower than the sterile leaves, and may even have no green tissue at all (e.g., Blechnaceae, Lomariopsidaceae). Fern_sentence_32

The anatomy of fern leaves can either be simple or highly divided. Fern_sentence_33

In tree ferns, the main stalk that connects the leaf to the stem (known as the stipe), often has multiple leaflets. Fern_sentence_34

The leafy structures that grow from the stipe are known as pinnae and are often again divided into smaller pinnules. Fern_sentence_35

Roots: The underground non-photosynthetic structures that take up water and nutrients from soil. Fern_sentence_36

They are always fibrous and structurally are very similar to the roots of seed plants. Fern_sentence_37

Like all other vascular plants, the diploid sporophyte is the dominant phase or generation in the life cycle. Fern_sentence_38

The gametophytes of ferns, however, are very different from those of seed plants. Fern_sentence_39

They are free-living and resemble liverworts, whereas those of seed plants develop within the spore wall and are dependent on the parent sporophyte for their nutrition. Fern_sentence_40

A fern gametophyte typically consists of: Fern_sentence_41


  • Prothallus: A green, photosynthetic structure that is one cell thick, usually heart or kidney shaped, 3–10 mm long and 2–8 mm broad. The prothallus produces gametes by means of:Fern_item_0_0
    • Antheridia: Small spherical structures that produce flagellate sperm.Fern_item_0_1
    • Archegonia: A flask-shaped structure that produces a single egg at the bottom, reached by the sperm by swimming down the neck.Fern_item_0_2
  • Rhizoids: root-like structures (not true roots) that consist of single greatly elongated cells, that absorb water and mineral salts over the whole structure. Rhizoids anchor the prothallus to the soil.Fern_item_0_3

Taxonomy Fern_section_1

Carl Linnaeus (1753) originally recognized 15 genera of ferns and fern allies, classifying them in class Cryptogamia in two groups, Filices (e.g. Polypodium) and Musci (mosses). Fern_sentence_42

By 1806 this had increased to 38 genera, and has progressively increased since (see Figure 1). Fern_sentence_43

Ferns were traditionally classified in the class Filices, and later in a Division of the Plant Kingdom named Pteridophyta or Filicophyta. Fern_sentence_44

Pteridophyta is no longer recognised as a valid taxon because it is paraphyletic. Fern_sentence_45

The ferns are also referred to as Polypodiophyta or, when treated as a subdivision of Tracheophyta (vascular plants), Polypodiopsida, although this name sometimes only refers to leptosporangiate ferns. Fern_sentence_46

Traditionally, all of the spore producing vascular plants were informally denominated the pteridophytes, rendering the term synonymous with ferns and fern allies. Fern_sentence_47

This can be confusing because members of the division Pteridophyta were also denominated pteridophytes (sensu stricto). Fern_sentence_48

Traditionally, three discrete groups have been denominated ferns: two groups of eusporangiate ferns, the families Ophioglossaceae (adder's tongues, moonworts, and grape ferns) and Marattiaceae; and the leptosporangiate ferns. Fern_sentence_49

The Marattiaceae are a primitive group of tropical ferns with large, fleshy rhizomes and are now thought to be a sibling taxon to the leptosporangiate ferns. Fern_sentence_50

Several other groups of species were considered fern allies: the clubmosses, spikemosses, and quillworts in Lycopodiophyta; the whisk ferns of Psilotaceae; and the horsetails of Equisetaceae. Fern_sentence_51

Since this grouping is polyphyletic, the term fern allies should be abandoned, except in a historical context. Fern_sentence_52

More recent genetic studies demonstrated that the Lycopodiophyta are more distantly related to other vascular plants, having radiated evolutionarily at the base of the vascular plant clade, while both the whisk ferns and horsetails are as closely related to leptosporangiate ferns as the ophioglossoid ferns and Marattiaceae. Fern_sentence_53

In fact, the whisk ferns and ophioglossoid ferns are demonstrably a clade, and the horsetails and Marattiaceae are arguably another clade. Fern_sentence_54

Molecular phylogenetics Fern_section_2

Smith et al. Fern_sentence_55

(2006) carried out the first higher-level pteridophyte classification published in the molecular phylogenetic era, and considered the ferns as monilophytes, as follows: Fern_sentence_56


Molecular data, which remain poorly constrained for many parts of the plants' phylogeny, have been supplemented by morphological observations supporting the inclusion of Equisetaceae in the ferns, notably relating to the construction of their sperm and peculiarities of their roots. Fern_sentence_57

However, there remained differences of opinion about the placement of the genus Equisetum (see Equisetopsida for further discussion). Fern_sentence_58

One possible solution was to denominate only the leptosporangiate ferns as "true ferns" while denominating the other three groups as fern allies. Fern_sentence_59

In practice, numerous classification schemes have been proposed for ferns and fern allies, and there has been little consensus among them. Fern_sentence_60

The leptosporangiate ferns are sometimes called "true ferns". Fern_sentence_61

This group includes most plants familiarly known as ferns. Fern_sentence_62

Modern research supports older ideas based on morphology that the Osmundaceae diverged early in the evolutionary history of the leptosporangiate ferns; in certain ways this family is intermediate between the eusporangiate ferns and the leptosporangiate ferns. Fern_sentence_63

Rai and Graham (2010) broadly supported the primary groups, but queried their relationships, concluding that "at present perhaps the best that can be said about all relationships among the major lineages of monilophytes in current studies is that we do not understand them very well". Fern_sentence_64

Grewe et al. Fern_sentence_65

(2013) confirmed the inclusion of horsetails within ferns sensu lato, but also suggested that uncertainties remained in their precise placement. Fern_sentence_66

Other classifications have raised Ophioglossales to the rank of a fifth class, separating the whisk ferns and ophioglossoid ferns. Fern_sentence_67

One problem with the classification of ferns is that of cryptic species. Fern_sentence_68

A cryptic species is a species that is morphologically similar to another species, but differs genetically in ways that prevent fertile interbreeding. Fern_sentence_69

A good example of this is the currently designated species Asplenium trichomanes (maidenhair spleenwort). Fern_sentence_70

This is actually a species complex that includes distinct diploid and tetraploid races. Fern_sentence_71

There are minor but unclear morphological differences between the two groups, which prefer distinctly differing habitats. Fern_sentence_72

In many cases such as this, the species complexes have been separated into separate species, thus raising the total number of species of ferns. Fern_sentence_73

Possibly many more cryptic species are yet to be discovered and designated. Fern_sentence_74

Phylogeny Fern_section_3

The ferns are related to other higher order taxa, as shown in the following cladogram: Fern_sentence_75

Nomenclature and subdivision Fern_section_4

See also: List of fern families Fern_sentence_76

The classification of Smith et al. Fern_sentence_77

(2006) treated ferns as four classes: Fern_sentence_78


In addition they defined 11 orders and 37 families. Fern_sentence_79

That system was a consensus of a number of studies, and was further refined. Fern_sentence_80

The phylogenetic relationships are shown in the following cladogram (to the level of orders). Fern_sentence_81

This division into four major clades was then confirmed using morphology alone. Fern_sentence_82

Subsequently, Chase and Reveal considered both lycopods and ferns as subclasses of a class Equisetopsida (Embryophyta) encompassing all land plants. Fern_sentence_83

This is referred to as Equisetopsida sensu lato to distinguish it from the narrower use to refer to horsetails alone, Equisetopsida sensu stricto. Fern_sentence_84

They placed the lycopods into subclass Lycopodiidae and the ferns, keeping the term monilophytes, into five subclasses, Equisetidae, Ophioglossidae, Psilotidae, Marattiidae and Polypodiidae, by dividing Smith's Psilotopsida into its two orders and elevating them to subclass (Ophioglossidae and Psilotidae). Fern_sentence_85

Christenhusz et al. Fern_sentence_86

(2011) followed this use of subclasses but recombined Smith's Psilotopsida as Ophioglossidae, giving four subclasses of ferns again. Fern_sentence_87

Christenhusz and Chase (2014) developed a new classification of ferns and lycopods. Fern_sentence_88

They used the term Polypodiophyta for the ferns, subdivided like Smith et al. Fern_sentence_89

into four groups (shown with equivalents in the Smith system), with 21 families, approximately 212 genera and 10,535 species; Fern_sentence_90


This was a considerable reduction in the number of families from the 37 in the system of Smith et al., since the approach was more that of lumping rather than splitting. Fern_sentence_91

For instance a number of families were reduced to subfamilies. Fern_sentence_92

Subsequently, a consensus group was formed, the Pteridophyte Phylogeny Group (PPG), analogous to the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group, publishing their first complete classification in November 2016. Fern_sentence_93

They recognise ferns as a class, the Polypodiopsida, with four subclasses as described by Christenhusz and Chase, and which are phylogenetically related as in this cladogram: Fern_sentence_94

In the Pteridophyte Phylogeny Group classification of 2016 (PPG I), the Polypodiopsida consist of four subclasses, 11 orders, 48 families, 319 genera, and an estimated 10,578 species. Fern_sentence_95

Thus Polypodiopsida in the broad sense (sensu lato) as used by the PPG (Polypodiopsida sensu PPG I) needs to be distinguished from the narrower usage (sensu stricto) of Smith et al. Fern_sentence_96

(Polypodiopsida sensu Smith et al.) Fern_sentence_97

Classification of ferns remains unresolved and controversial with competing viewpoints (splitting vs lumping) between the systems of the PPG on the one hand and Christenhusz and Chase on the other, respectively. Fern_sentence_98

In 2018, Christenhusz and Chase explicitly argued against recognizing as many genera as PPG I. Fern_sentence_99


Comparison of fern subdivisions in some classificationsFern_table_caption_1
Smith et al. (2006)Fern_header_cell_1_0_0 Chase & Reveal (2009)Fern_header_cell_1_0_1 Christenhusz et al. (2011)Fern_header_cell_1_0_2 Christenhusz & Chase (2014, 2018)Fern_header_cell_1_0_3 PPG I (2016)Fern_header_cell_1_0_4

(no rank)Fern_cell_1_1_0


(no rank)Fern_cell_1_1_1

ferns (monilophytes)

(no rank)Fern_cell_1_1_2

ferns (Polypodiophyta)

(no rank)Fern_cell_1_1_3

Class PolypodiopsidaFern_cell_1_1_4
Class EquisetopsidaFern_cell_1_2_0 Subclass EquisetidaeFern_cell_1_2_1 Subclass EquisetidaeFern_cell_1_2_2 Subclass EquisetidaeFern_cell_1_2_3 Subclass EquisetidaeFern_cell_1_2_4
Class PsilotopsidaFern_cell_1_3_0 Subclass Ophioglossidae

  Subclass PsilotidaeFern_cell_1_3_1

Subclass OphioglossidaeFern_cell_1_3_2 Subclass OphioglossidaeFern_cell_1_3_3 Subclass OphioglossidaeFern_cell_1_3_4
Class MarattiopsidaFern_cell_1_4_0 Subclass MarattiidaeFern_cell_1_4_1 Subclass MarattiidaeFern_cell_1_4_2 Subclass MarattiidaeFern_cell_1_4_3 Subclass MarattiidaeFern_cell_1_4_4
Class PolypodiopsidaFern_cell_1_5_0 Subclass PolypodiidaeFern_cell_1_5_1 Subclass PolypodiidaeFern_cell_1_5_2 Subclass PolypodiidaeFern_cell_1_5_3 Subclass PolypodiidaeFern_cell_1_5_4

Evolution and biogeography Fern_section_5

Fern-like taxa (Wattieza) first appear in the fossil record in the middle Devonian period, ca. 390 Mya. Fern_sentence_100

By the Triassic, the first evidence of ferns related to several modern families appeared. Fern_sentence_101

The great fern radiation occurred in the late Cretaceous, when many modern families of ferns first appeared. Fern_sentence_102

Distribution and habitat Fern_section_6

Ferns are widespread in their distribution, with the greatest richness in the tropics, and least in arctic areas. Fern_sentence_103

The greatest diversity occurs in tropical rainforests. Fern_sentence_104

New Zealand, for which the fern is a symbol, has about 230 species, distributed throughout the country. Fern_sentence_105

Ecology Fern_section_7

Fern species live in a wide variety of habitats, from remote mountain elevations, to dry desert rock faces, bodies of water or open fields. Fern_sentence_106

Ferns in general may be thought of as largely being specialists in marginal habitats, often succeeding in places where various environmental factors limit the success of flowering plants. Fern_sentence_107

Some ferns are among the world's most serious weed species, including the bracken fern growing in the Scottish highlands, or the mosquito fern (Azolla) growing in tropical lakes, both species forming large aggressively spreading colonies. Fern_sentence_108

There are four particular types of habitats that ferns are found in: moist, shady forests; crevices in rock faces, especially when sheltered from the full sun; acid wetlands including bogs and swamps; and tropical trees, where many species are epiphytes (something like a quarter to a third of all fern species). Fern_sentence_109

Especially the epiphytic ferns have turned out to be hosts of a huge diversity of invertebrates. Fern_sentence_110

It is assumed that bird's-nest ferns alone contain up to half the invertebrate biomass within a hectare of rainforest canopy. Fern_sentence_111

Many ferns depend on associations with mycorrhizal fungi. Fern_sentence_112

Many ferns grow only within specific pH ranges; for instance, the climbing fern (Lygodium palmatum) of eastern North America will grow only in moist, intensely acid soils, while the bulblet bladder fern (Cystopteris bulbifera), with an overlapping range, is found only on limestone. Fern_sentence_113

The spores are rich in lipids, protein and calories, so some vertebrates eat these. Fern_sentence_114

The European woodmouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) has been found to eat the spores of Culcita macrocarpa and the bullfinch (Pyrrhula murina) and the New Zealand lesser short-tailed bat (Mystacina tuberculata) also eat fern spores. Fern_sentence_115

Life cycle Fern_section_8

Ferns are vascular plants differing from lycophytes by having true leaves (megaphylls), which are often pinnate. Fern_sentence_116

They differ from seed plants (gymnosperms and angiosperms) in reproducing by means of spores and they lack flowers and seeds. Fern_sentence_117

Like all land plants, they have a life cycle referred to as alternation of generations, characterized by alternating diploid sporophytic and haploid gametophytic phases. Fern_sentence_118

The diploid sporophyte has 2n paired chromosomes, where n varies from species to species. Fern_sentence_119

The haploid gametophyte has n unpaired chromosomes, i.e. half the number of the sporophyte. Fern_sentence_120

The gametophyte of ferns is a free-living organism, whereas the gametophyte of the gymnosperms and angiosperms is dependent on the sporophyte. Fern_sentence_121

The life cycle of a typical fern proceeds as follows: Fern_sentence_122


  1. A diploid sporophyte phase produces haploid spores by meiosis (a process of cell division which reduces the number of chromosomes by a half).Fern_item_4_17
  2. A spore grows into a free-living haploid gametophyte by mitosis (a process of cell division which maintains the number of chromosomes). The gametophyte typically consists of a photosynthetic prothallus.Fern_item_4_18
  3. The gametophyte produces gametes (often both sperm and eggs on the same prothallus) by mitosis.Fern_item_4_19
  4. A mobile, flagellate sperm fertilizes an egg that remains attached to the prothallus.Fern_item_4_20
  5. The fertilized egg is now a diploid zygote and grows by mitosis into a diploid sporophyte (the typical fern plant).Fern_item_4_21

Uses Fern_section_9

Ferns are not as important economically as seed plants, but have considerable importance in some societies. Fern_sentence_123

Some ferns are used for food, including the fiddleheads of Pteridium aquilinum (bracken), Matteuccia struthiopteris (ostrich fern), and Osmundastrum cinnamomeum (cinnamon fern). Fern_sentence_124

Diplazium esculentum is also used in the tropics (for example in budu pakis, a traditional dish of Brunei) as food. Fern_sentence_125

Tubers from the "para", Ptisana salicina (king fern) are a traditional food in New Zealand and the South Pacific. Fern_sentence_126

Fern tubers were used for food 30,000 years ago in Europe. Fern_sentence_127

Fern tubers were used by the Guanches to make gofio in the Canary Islands. Fern_sentence_128

Ferns are generally not known to be poisonous to humans. Fern_sentence_129

Licorice fern rhizomes were chewed by the natives of the Pacific Northwest for their flavor. Fern_sentence_130

Ferns of the genus Azolla, commonly known as water fern or mosquito ferns are very small, floating plants that do not resemble ferns. Fern_sentence_131

The mosquito ferns are used as a biological fertilizer in the rice paddies of southeast Asia, taking advantage of their ability to fix nitrogen from the air into compounds that can then be used by other plants. Fern_sentence_132

Ferns have proved resistant to phytophagous insects. Fern_sentence_133

The gene that express the protein Tma12 in an edible fern, Tectaria macrodonta, has been transferred to cotton plants, which became resistant to whitefly infestations. Fern_sentence_134

Many ferns are grown in horticulture as landscape plants, for cut foliage and as houseplants, especially the Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata) and other members of the genus Nephrolepis. Fern_sentence_135

The bird's nest fern (Asplenium nidus) is also popular, as are the staghorn ferns (genus Platycerium). Fern_sentence_136

Perennial (also known as hardy) ferns planted in gardens in the northern hemisphere also have a considerable following. Fern_sentence_137

Several ferns, such as bracken and Azolla species are noxious weeds or invasive species. Fern_sentence_138

Further examples include Japanese climbing fern (Lygodium japonicum), sensitive fern (Onoclea sensibilis) and Giant water fern (Salvinia molesta), one of the world's worst aquatic weeds. Fern_sentence_139

The important fossil fuel coal consists of the remains of primitive plants, including ferns. Fern_sentence_140

Ferns have been studied and found to be useful in the removal of heavy metals, especially arsenic, from the soil. Fern_sentence_141

Other ferns with some economic significance include: Fern_sentence_142


  • Dryopteris filix-mas (male fern), used as a vermifuge, and formerly in the US Pharmacopeia; also, this fern accidentally sprouting in a bottle resulted in Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward's 1829 invention of the terrarium or Wardian caseFern_item_5_22
  • Rumohra adiantiformis (floral fern), extensively used in the florist tradeFern_item_5_23
  • Microsorum pteropus (Java fern), one of the most popular freshwater aquarium plants.Fern_item_5_24
  • Osmunda regalis (royal fern) and Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern), the root fiber being used horticulturally; the fiddleheads of O. cinnamomea are also used as a cooked vegetableFern_item_5_25
  • Matteuccia struthiopteris (ostrich fern), the fiddleheads used as a cooked vegetable in North AmericaFern_item_5_26
  • Pteridium aquilinum or Pteridium esculentum (bracken), the fiddleheads used as a cooked vegetable in Japan and are believed to be responsible for the high rate of stomach cancer in Japan. It is also one of the world's most important agricultural weeds, especially in the British highlands, and often poisons cattle and horses.Fern_item_5_27
  • Diplazium esculentum (vegetable fern), a source of food for some societiesFern_item_5_28
  • Pteris vittata (brake fern), used to absorb arsenic from the soilFern_item_5_29
  • Polypodium glycyrrhiza (licorice fern), roots chewed for their pleasant flavorFern_item_5_30
  • Tree ferns, used as building material in some tropical areasFern_item_5_31
  • Cyathea cooperi (Australian tree fern), an important invasive species in HawaiiFern_item_5_32
  • Ceratopteris richardii, a model plant for teaching and research, often called C-fernFern_item_5_33

Culture Fern_section_10

Pteridologist Fern_section_11

The study of ferns and other pteridophytes is called pteridology. Fern_sentence_143

A pteridologist is a specialist in the study of pteridophytes in a broader sense that includes the more distantly related lycophytes. Fern_sentence_144

Pteridomania Fern_section_12

Pteridomania is a term for the Victorian era craze of fern collecting and fern motifs in decorative art including pottery, glass, metals, textiles, wood, printed paper, and sculpture "appearing on everything from christening presents to gravestones and memorials." Fern_sentence_145

The fashion for growing ferns indoors led to the development of the Wardian case, a glazed cabinet that would exclude air pollutants and maintain the necessary humidity. Fern_sentence_146

The dried form of ferns was also used in other arts, being used as a stencil or directly inked for use in a design. Fern_sentence_147

The botanical work, The Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland, is a notable example of this type of nature printing. Fern_sentence_148

The process, patented by the artist and publisher Henry Bradbury, impressed a specimen on to a soft lead plate. Fern_sentence_149

The first publication to demonstrate this was Alois Auer's The Discovery of the Nature Printing-Process. Fern_sentence_150

Fern bars were popular in America in the 1970s and 80s. Fern_sentence_151

Folklore Fern_section_13

Ferns figure in folklore, for example in legends about mythical flowers or seeds. Fern_sentence_152

In Slavic folklore, ferns are believed to bloom once a year, during the Ivan Kupala night. Fern_sentence_153

Although alleged to be exceedingly difficult to find, anyone who sees a fern flower is thought to be guaranteed to be happy and rich for the rest of their life. Fern_sentence_154

Similarly, Finnish tradition holds that one who finds the seed of a fern in bloom on Midsummer night will, by possession of it, be guided and be able to travel invisibly to the locations where eternally blazing Will o' the wisps called aarnivalkea mark the spot of hidden treasure. Fern_sentence_155

These spots are protected by a spell that prevents anyone but the fern-seed holder from ever knowing their locations. Fern_sentence_156

In the US, ferns are thought to have magical properties such as a dried fern can be thrown into hot coals of a fire to exorcise evil spirits, or smoke from a burning fern is thought to drive away snakes and such creatures. Fern_sentence_157

Organisms confused with ferns Fern_section_14

Misnomers Fern_section_15

Several non-fern plants (and even animals) are called ferns and are sometimes confused with ferns. Fern_sentence_158

These include: Fern_sentence_159


Fern-like flowering plants Fern_section_16

Some flowering plants such as palms and members of the carrot family have pinnate leaves that somewhat resemble fern fronds. Fern_sentence_160

However, these plants have fully developed seeds contained in fruits, rather than the microscopic spores of ferns. Fern_sentence_161

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fern.