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I Recommend Going Green With Ferns

Updated on March 2, 2015
A fern leaf or frond
A fern leaf or frond

Green is in, going green is even better and ferns are one of the easiest greens to grow.

Why Go Green?

Green is the buzz word nowadays. Going green means taking care of the environment or environmentalism. If you want your company or business to succeed, you have to incorporate an environmental aspect. This indicates that you are environment friendly.

Green denotes life. Whenever the word “life” is mentioned, one of the first images that always come to mind is a green plant. So green signifies life, nature, abundance, growth, renewal, health.

Green has a calming effect. This is the reason why majority of spas use the color green on their walls to give the effect of calmness, wellness and luxury.

maidenhair fern growing on a rock crevice
maidenhair fern growing on a rock crevice

Why Ferns?

Why ferns indeed? Well, because they are easy to grow.

As long as you have enough moisture in your part of the world, ferns will grow.They can grow on rock crevices, near bodies of water, high up in the mountains, on forest grounds, or practically anywhere as long as there is enough moisture for their growth and reproduction.

So growing ferns is what I call a “no brainer” activity. It's for the lazy gardener. Just give them enough moisture and they will grow happily, luxuriantly.

For example, I did not even plant the ferns in my garden; they just appeared one day and have stayed on. I guess their spores came with the garden soil I bought.

Ferns also do not need much maintenance except for the occasional removal of a few dead fronds. A friend has even complained that the ferns in his garden have grown so thick, they have become weeds already. So he has to uproot several of them to prevent further growth.


close-up of a fern leaflet
close-up of a fern leaflet
fern symmetry and curve
fern symmetry and curve

Ferns Are Pretty but Not Sexy

Since ferns started growing in my garden, they have become the subject of my photography adventures. They are so green and pretty that I always discover something new to photograph about them. I’ve got hundreds of fern photos, not in the taxonomic way (because I only have a few species), but simply in the photographic way.

So I’m sharing a few of my fern photos here. I hope you enjoy them. They are the “pretty” part of this hub. Notice their symmetry? Notice the patterns they create? Notice how photogenic they are?

Now why did I say that “ferns are pretty but not sexy”?

Well, because unlike most plants that you know, ferns do not practice sex to reproduce.

What, reproduction without sex? How boring can that be?

No, it’s not boring at all. It’s the way to go, if you are a fern!

Ferns Reproduce without Sex

Ferns do not have flowers, so they do not practice sex during reproduction.

As you already probably know, flowers contain the reproductive organs of plants. But ferns do not have flowers, so they cannot practice sex. Rather, they have spores that become the future “baby” ferns.

Do you see the brownish dots on the underside of fern leaves or fronds? These are the spores and there are millions of them in a single frond.

Fern fronds showing spores
Fern fronds showing spores
simple symmetry in fern leaflets
simple symmetry in fern leaflets

Spores are contained in special containers called sporangium . Sporangia (plural) can be in the form of separate clusters as in the right photo above, or can be continuous as in the left photo above.

Spores inside the sporangia change in color from whitish green when young to reddish brown when mature.

Mature spores are released from the sporangia and they are carried by air to various places. When they settle on a favourable moist environment, they grow into a new fern plant through a bit of a roundabout way.

young leaf of fern showing a future crozier
young leaf of fern showing a future crozier

Ferns (Kind of) Practice Sex After All

The growth of a spore is indeed a bit complicated and it shows that there is sex in ferns after all, (kind of)!

When a spore settles on a favourable environment, it grows into a very small (about 8 mm) heart-shaped plantlet called gametophyte or prothallus. This gametophyte has sacs of eggs and sperms. That’s why it’s called gametophyte because it forms gametes or eggs and sperms.

In a moist environment, the sperms swim towards the eggs to fertilize them. You guessed it, this is the sex part - fertilization!That's why I said "kind of".

The fertilized egg then grows into a sporophyte. The sporophyte is the one that we see as the fern plant. It has roots and leaves or fronds. It’s called sporophyte because later in its life, it will form spores. And the cycle repeats itself.

That is how a fern spends its life - alternate between a spore-producing sporophyte (this is the fern that we see) and a gamete-producing gametophyte (too small to see with the naked eye).

Just One More Thing about Ferns

Have you ever looked at a growing fern closely? Do you see those curly tips on the young leaves? Those are called crosiers (croziers) or fiddleheads.

Crosiers are the curved staff carried by bishops while fiddleheads are of course the heads of fiddles or violins. If you look at the three photos below, you will see the resemblance.  

Crozier -Fern- Fiddlehead                                  Left and Right Photos from stnicolascenter.org and from Shutterstock
Crozier -Fern- Fiddlehead Left and Right Photos from stnicolascenter.org and from Shutterstock

Why Go Green With Ferns?

Just to recap:

Ferns are easy to grow as long as there is enough moisture to support their growth and reproduction. They also come in various forms and sizes and are really beautifully green all over. They have pleasing patterns and symmetry with just the right curves to make them exciting.

Green color is of course refreshing, relaxing and luxurious on its positive aspect. Hopefully you will not experience its negative aspect of envy, jealousy and sickness.

Dedication

This is dedicated to my hubber friends whose favourite color is green – Coffeesnob, Green Lotus, Paul Gibsons, Anglnwu.

This is also for Jerilee Wei. I promised her a hub on ferns.

If You Want To Know More About Ferns

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    • jill of alltrades profile image
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      jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines

      Hello natures47friend,

      That's great! This hub is perfect for you then!

      Thanks for the beautiful comment and vote up and awesome!

      God bless!

    • natures47friend profile image

      natures47friend 5 years ago from Sunny Art Deco Napier, New Zealand.

      Amazing photos - my favourite colour is green, although I wear a lot of yellow and orange/coral. Voted up and awesome etc.

    • jill of alltrades profile image
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      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Hello Doug,

      Nice to see you!

      Thank you very much for your beautiful comment!

      See you around!

      God bless!

    • profile image

      Doug Dunigan 7 years ago

      Nice photography works

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Sandy,

      It's nice to see you here!

      Thanks very much for the visit and wonderful comment!

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Thanks for the sex education with ferns. Very interesting and informative on ferns.

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Hello Dolores - It's nice to see you again!

      Thank you very much for your kind words. I really appreciate them.

      Hope to see you again!

      God bless!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Jill, beautiful hub on ferns. I love those maidenhair ferns, they look to dramatic yet delicate. Great pictures too!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Hi mwatkins - thank you very much for the visit and wonderful comment.

      You are most welcome. My pleasure really.

      Hope to see you again.

      God bless!

    • mwatkins profile image

      mwatkins 7 years ago from Portland, Oregon & Vancouver BC

      Great article on ferns - So beautiful! Thanks so much! Great info t pass on!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Hello Ben - Thank you very much for visiting and leaving a heartwarming comment.

      Thank you too for sharing your wonderful encounter with ferns. I suppose, if you eat too much of some exotic things, then they might not agree with you.

      I used to eat fiddlehead salad when I was still living in the province. Unfortunately, they are not available here in the city.

      Thanks again for dropping by Ben. See you around.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image

      Ben Zoltak 7 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Ferns will always hold a sequestered space in my heart as one of my earliest memories of taking a hike in a very wild woods involved a huge understory of ferns. Also, I've heard it said that ferns are one of the greatest creators of oxygen. In the place where I live, fiddleheads are deepfried and eaten by people, though I've heard mixed reports that fiddleheads have some toxins in them and if you eat too much they can be bad for you. Fun article, I enjoyed your recap, well done and well thought out Jill.

      Ben

    • jill of alltrades profile image
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      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Hi herbivorehippi - thanks very much for dropping by and leaving a wonderful comment.

      Ferns are really versatile and easy to take care of.

      You are most welcome. The pleasure is really mine!

    • theherbivorehippi profile image

      theherbivorehippi 7 years ago from Holly, MI

      Wow! I need a few ferns immediately!! These are beautiful! LOVE this hub! Thanks for such helpful information on these stunning plants.

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Peggy - it's nice to see you!

      Hey, that's beautiful! I'm sure you have a nice, cool spot there. You have bananas too? Then you have something to say about bananas - check out my banana hub.

      Thank you very much for your inspiring words!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      We have ferns intermingled with our banana plants and ginger plants and they thrive in our climate. Your photos are stunning as always!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Hello RTalloni - That's great! Yes, go green with ferns!

      Thanks for the visit and comment!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 7 years ago from the short journey

      Recently I was wondering if I wanted to include more ferns in my shaded beds. Now I'm convinced.

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Cris - good to see you!

      Yes, ferns really make great overhangs. They are so graceful and pretty.

      Thank you very much for your kind words! Go ahead, I give you permission to steal! I eagerly await what you will do with them.

      I'm happy you're inspired!

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      I love ferns - specially when they're overgrown and are placed as overhangs. And I love how you put personality in the noble fern in this hub. Great and informative read as usual! :D

      Btw, lovely images! I might steal some and create something out of them... I might do plants next time. Please keep inspiring me! :D

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Hi coffeesnob - it's great to see you!

      Thank you very much for always inspiring me with your beautiful words.

      You are one of the reasons why I enjoy the hubpages community.

      God bless!

    • profile image

      coffeesnob 7 years ago

      Jill, I do like green! And Ferns. What beautiful pictures! Your writing about the ferns equals your photographic excellence. Your description of the beauty of this creation of God was animated and fun as well as well researched and well presented. I am always taken by your work. God bless and thanks for being close.

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Hi anglnwu - yes, still sounds good! Great even! How do we go about this? I'll write you an email and we can talk about this. This is exciting!

      Coffeesnob and I collaborated once on a hub. She writes beautiful verses too.

      Thanks for visiting again!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Hello hypnodude - thank you very much for your inspiring words.

      You are right, ferns are indeed one of the oldest plants on Earth. In fact their earliest fossils are found more than 300M years ago! Imagine! And their present descendants haven't change much since then!

      Thank you very much for the rate and stumble. I really appreciate it.

      All the best!

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 7 years ago

      Hey, Jill, that sounds like a plan. I find your pictures very captivating and they seem to speak volumes. Now, poems will go well with them. Maybe, we can collaborate on a book, or at least ebook. Haha--still sounds good?

    • hypnodude profile image

      Andrea 7 years ago from Italy

      Your pictures are great, and your explanation of ferns reproduction is simply great again. Actually ferns are one of the oldest vegetables on Earth, they grow easily and some of them are even edible. Do we need something else to love them?

      Great hub jill, rated and stumbled. :)

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Hi anglnwu - the pleasure is mine! You are very welcome!

      Yes, we do love to explore as children, didn't we? Some ferns can even be taller than us, so we can hide behind them.

      Thank you very much for your wonderful words! I feel so elated by your positive response. I do love that picture too.

      That's an idea worth exploring. Maybe you can write the poems and I'll provide the photos?

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Hello Ann - thank you very much! Your beautiful words warm my heart! You inspire me!

      Well, these are not giraffes, just ferns! Giraffes move around, ferns just sway. I'm sure I'll get some headless giraffes too if I try taking their picture!

      Thanks again for visiting!

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 7 years ago

      First of all, thank you so much for the dedication--you're immensely sweet. I love plants in general and as a child, I love exploring the wild and you will find me examining parts of flowers and one of my fascination is ferns, especially the ones with fiddlehead, like the beautiful one you took.

      Again, Jill, I'm awed by your skills, the pictures are so stunning and I especially like the one that curls like the tail of a scorpion. Your botony lesson is well presented and it made me think of an ode to ferns...now, you need someone to write poems to all your pictures because they are so captiviating. Thanks for sharing.

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 7 years ago from Virginia

      Beautiful pictures and beautifully unique take on this Jill! Very creative and wow! your photography is amazing! No headless giraffes here! Great hub!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Hello czastawn - what do you mean aspects of education? What study? Are you studying ferns?

    • profile image

      czastawn 7 years ago

      so if anyone is interested in helping with this important study on the aspects of education please go to http://freeonlinesurveys.com/rendersurvey.asp?sid=...

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Dohn - it's nice to see you again!

      Oh, you are making me blush with your compliment! I am no professional, just a photo enthusiast. I just love doing macro photography, thus the detailed shots.

      Of course you can be as good as me, maybe even better. But I also wish I can be as good as you in writing, so that makes two of us wishing to be better in what we do! Ha ha.

      Thanks again for the visit and heart-warming comment.

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Tony - Thank you very much! Your words inspire me buddy! It's always nice to hear from you.

      I dedicated my purple hub to you purple lovers, so this hub is now for green lovers like anglnwu, our common buddy.

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Paul - no problem. Thanks for coming back!

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      I was absolutely blown away by your photos Jill! You are a professional! Maybe someday I can be ALMOST as good as you. Your descriptions of said ferns was also detailed and very comprehensive as well. I enjoyed reading and viewing every bit of this. Thank you.

    • tony0724 profile image

      tony0724 7 years ago from san diego calif

      Jill the detail in your photographs is no less then amazing ! And I am also a reader od anglnwu and consider her one of my hub buddies. And of course you are one of my hub buddies to ! I will have to check out the work on those other ones. As usual you do great work Jill !

    • paul_gibsons profile image

      paul_gibsons 7 years ago from Gibsons, BC, Canada

      ouch! I missed that dedication.... thank you Jill... kindred soul.

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Paul,

      Thank you very much for your kind words!

      Yes, I have time, and I love doing the things that make my heart sing!

      Did you read my dedication?

    • paul_gibsons profile image

      paul_gibsons 7 years ago from Gibsons, BC, Canada

      more wonderful pictures Jill.... you have too much time on your hands :) Superb though!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Green Lotus,

      You are most welcome! The pleasure is mine!

      I am happy that you like this hub because I really had you and my other green-lover friends in mind when I wrote this.

      You are right about the maidenhair fern. It is rather sensitive and may die when the weather gets dry. However, it reappears the moment rains start falling.

      Yes, I have eaten fiddlehead fern salad! Yummy! Oh, I forgot to mention this in this hub. Thanks for the reminder.

      Thanks again for the visit and inspiring comment!

    • Green Lotus profile image

      Hillary 7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Thanks you for this beautiful green Hub Jill and thanks for the dedication :) You have really outdone yourself with the photography, it's stunning and the info is wonderful

      I also love ferns and many grow in my garden. I love the maidenhair fern the best, but it's extremely difficult to grow north of our zone 7. All my others die back in the Fall and emerge in the Spring except for my Christmas fern which hangs in all year. The Japanese Painted are just leafing out now. Oh, have you ever eaten the fiddleheads? They're good in salad!!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Hi digitalexplorer,

      It's nice to see you again!

      Now you got a name for those curly tips - croziers! The curls in each leaflet are something too!

      Thank you very much for your kind words!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Hello D.A.L. - you certainly got the right amount of moisture there to support luxuriant fern growth. I'm sure you have several of them in your garden. Aren't they pretty? I just love looking at them!

      Thank you very much for the visit and wonderful comment.

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Jerilee,

      Thank you for being the first to visit. Your words warm my heart. Did you see my dedication?

    • digitalexplorer profile image

      digitalexplorer 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Wonderful hub! The main thing that fern amazes me is its curly tips of the leaves! Beautiful images really enhance your hub!

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 7 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Jill, you are quite right about the beauty of ferns. Here on the north west coast of England we have a moisture climate and even when it is hot I find that spraying the ferns in the morning and evening they thrive. Excellent article that I enjoyed tremendously. Thank you.

    • Jerilee Wei profile image

      Jerilee Wei 7 years ago from United States

      What a delightful and well thought out article on ferns!