Sori are the tiny clusters under the leaflet that hold the spores. They are covered in a membrane.

Spores are the reproductive units of plants. Some are produced internally by plants, but ferns produce them outside, underneath the fernlets

Gametophyte – when a spore of a fern finds itself in a habitat suitable for growth, it will begin the growing process and germinate into a growth, possibly photosynthetic, or underground, where it will eventually develop sex organs.

Sporophyte – Roots, shoot/rhizome, leaves and sporangia of a fern.

Sword Fern – Leaves are 20 to 60 inches long with alternating fernlets. Clump together at the base.

Deer Fern – Lack sori, broad leaves going toward the base, and have slender pinnae/

Licorice Fern – Green leaves throughout winter, pinnae broaden toward base and don’t separate to stalk, have alternately arranged pinnae, and roots are mostly horizontal to leaf and are edible. Grows on trees and rocks in moss beds.

Maidenhair Fern – Fan shaped, has multiple leaves on one branch, rolled edges, black and shiny stalks.

Bracken Fern – Triangular leaves, 2 to 3 times compound, rolled edges. Multiple leafs on a stem.

Lady Fern – tall leaves, ends of stalks meet at rhizome, exposed sori, narrows at both ends.


Fern Identification Key


A field guide

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