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NZ Plants

Ferns: Structure

  • Frond

    Most ferns have divided fronds. These may be once-cut (pinnate), twice cut (bipinnate), three times cut (tripinnate and so on.

  • Fertile, sterile fronds

    In some ferns sporangia are restricted to special fronds with a distinctive form while in other ferns sporangia are restricted to special leaflets in a specific location.

  • Juvenile, adult fronds

    In some species, fronds formed by a juvenile fern are very different to those formed when the same plant reaches maturity. Because plants of different ages often grow together there is often a confusing mixture of leaf forms.

  • Stem

    Fern stems conduct nutrients and water and support large fronds. To do this there is a well developed vascular tissue system. Many of their cell walls are also strengthened with deposits of a compound called lignin.