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Free Images of Ferns & Allies

Note on large files:  Very large files may be bigger than your screen.  
Right click on any portion of the image showing and chose "save as". 

 

 


A word
of warning,  I am NOT an expert in this field and you should UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES  rely up on any of these images to identify edible, toxic or medicinal plants.  I have attached names to images which I merely THINK resemble the species.

 

What are Pteridophytes?

Pteridophytes - the name conjures images of an ancient dinosaur species I missed in class perhaps?  Alas no, although a living species, they are not part of the animal kingdom.  Pteridophytes are vascular plants that have leaves (called fronds), roots and sometimes true stems.  Examples are ferns and fern allies.

Ferns are different from mosses because they are vascular - having water-conducting vessels.

Common to all Pteridophytes is that they do not produce fruits, seeds or flowers.  Instead, they reproduce via spores.  These key characteristics distinguish them from other plants.

Spores are typically produced on the underside of a fern leaf in clusters called "sori".

The life-cycle of ferns is made up of two generations.  In the 1st stage, a fern plant (sporophyte generation) produces spores.  In the 2nd stage (gametophyte generation), spores germinate into very small "gametophytes" that measure less than 1 centimeter.  It is at the 2nd stage that male sperm and female eggs (sex cells called "gametes") are united and the sporophyte develops.

 

Ferns grow in a variety of habitats.   Terrestrial pteridophytes (those growing in the ground) have erect or creeping stems.  Leaves are vertical or spreading, upright or arching.

Some species live on rocks or in rock crevices.  Their roots grow into trapped dirt and debris.

There are also ferns in tropical rainforests that are "epiphytes".  This means that they grow on other plant species attaching themselves to tree trunks or branches.  Epiphytes get their moisture from damp air or from rainfall that flows down branches and tree trunks.  

Some fern species are subaquatic or rheophytic meaning that they grow beside streams or areas that are sometimes flooded by streams.  True aquatic ferns may:  float freely on a water surface; be completely submerged and rooted in the water's bottom sediment; or may be rooted in water, but appear on the surface.  Floating ferns may have hundreds of translucent hairs hanging in the water to absorb nutrients.

Did you know....

that fronds can vary greatly in size?  Tree Ferns may have 12 foot fronds while Mosquito Ferns have fronds that are only 1/16 of an inch!

 

What are fern-allies?

Fern-allies are relatives of ferns.  They are also vascular plants but not true ferns.  While they similarly have two generations and reproduce from spores, their leaf structure differs.  Leaves of fern allies are small, scale-like structures with a single mid-vein.  They make their spores at the bases of their leaves or on specialized branches.

Traditionally the following groups of plants are considered "fern allies":  club mosses, spikemosses, quillworts, whisk ferns and horsetails.  New genetic studies changes species relationships and groupings calling some species sister groups, splitter groups and now "distantly related".

Did you know...

there are about 1,500 species of fern allies in the world?

 

A great source for more information about the structure of Ferns and their Allies can be found outside of FreeTiiuPix at the Australian National Botanic Gardens here.

 

Fern idenfitication

When identifying fern species, you will encounter descriptions using new terminology.  It is important to know the correct terms related to these plants.

Rhizome -

The portion of the plant that is underground or near the soil’s surface from which the roots and stalk grow is called the “rhizome”.  Rhizomes spread under the ground and develop roots and stalks for multiple plants.

Fronds -

From the rhizomes grow the "fronds".  This is the part that we can easily see and think of as a leaf.  Fronds are divided into two main parts:  the stipe (leaf stalk or petiole) and the blade - the leafy expanded portion of the frong.

Each plant may have more than one frond growing in clumps.  Fronds may be very short like a few inches, or many feet tall.  Fronds are made up of “blades” which may be simple or compound where the blade is divided into many smaller parts called "leaflets" or "pinnae". 

Stem - 

Growing up from the rhizome is a central "stem".  Below the "blade" it is called the "stipe" and above the blade it is known as the “rachis”.   The stipe and the rachis may have scales, hairs or glands.

Spores - 

Ferns reproduce by way of spores which are produced in “sporangia”.  A group of sporangia is called a “sorus”.  Sori (pl. of sorus) are often covered with a flap that is called an “indusium”.

Identification of many species of fern depends upon the pattern, shape and location of the sori.  Some species have sori on the underside of their fertile leaflets while others grow separate stalks.  Fronds that produce sporangia are called “fertile” while those not producing are called “sterile”.  In some species of ferns, the sporangia are produced on only a portion of the frond – at the tip or in the mid portion.

Since I am not an expert in identification of species of ferns, I have placed suspected names with some of the images.  If I have identified a plant incorrectly, please let me know so that I may correct the species.

If you would like a large image of the Features of a Fern photo above, you may download one here.

 

What I've learned about Ferns - they are most difficult to identify.  Close ups of fronds and spore patterns are necessary in order to place names to images.  This category is one which I plan on expanding after I've taken more photographs in the upcoming months.  I have not even attempted to identify the plants below.  Enjoy the images for their beauty, whatever species they are.

 

Miscellaneous Unidentified Ferns

 

Pteridophyte Ferns in forest.

Ferns - 1a

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

 Large - 4119 x 3090  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.

 

 

Large green fern in forest.

Ferns - 1b

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

 Large - 3456 x 4608  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.

 

 

Pteridophyte small ferns on rocks.

Ferns - 2

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

 Large - 4608 x 3456  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.

 

 

Tall green fern fronds.

Ferns - 3a

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

 Large - 4608 x 3456  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.

 

 

Clumps of tall green fern fronds.

Ferns - 3b

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

 Large - 4608 x 3456  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.

 

 

Pteridophyte green ferns on side of hill.

Ferns - 4a

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

 Large - 4146 x 3110  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.

 

 

Two fern plants on side of hill.

Ferns - 4b

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

 Large - 4608 x 3456  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.

 

 

Pteridophyte green fern.

Ferns - 4c

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

 Large - 4608 x 3456  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.

 

 

Young fern fronds emerging in spring.

Ferns - 5a

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

 Large - 3722 x 2792 -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.

 

 

Pteridophyte young leaves unfurling.

Ferns - 5b

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

 Large - 1586 x 2115  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.

 

A distinctive feature of ferns is the emergence of foliage.  It unfolds in a scroll-like fashion. The newly developed fern leaves are called "fiddleheads".

 

Small green ferns in dried leaves.

Ferns - 6a

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

 Large - 4608 x 3456  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.

 

 

Green fern fronds.

Ferns - 6b

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

 Large - 3697 x 2773  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.

 

 

Ferns growing on forest floor.

Ferns - 6c

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

 Large - 4608 x 3456  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.

 

 

Small ferns on forest floor.

Ferns - 6d

Medium - 640 x 480  Right click on above image and chose "save as".

 Large - 4608 x 3456  -  For the full-size resolution of this image click here.

 

Miscellaneous Fern Image Pages   [1]    [2]    [3]

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If you'd like to drop me a note to let me know if any of these images have been useful, I'd love to hear from you. I'm curious to see if my snapshots have been of benefit to you in some way.  Also, I'd like to hear what kind of images you'd like to see more of. 

 

 

 


 

The Wonder 
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"A hedge between
keeps
friendships green".

~ French Proverb ~

 

 

 

 

"The virtuous to
those mansions go,
Where pleasures
unembitter'd flow,
Where, leading up
a jocund band,
Vigor & Youth
dance hand in hand,

Whiles Zephyr, with
harmonious gales,
Pipes softest music
through the vales,

And Spring and Flora,
gaily crown'd,
With velvet carpet
spread the ground;
With livelier blush
where roses bloom,
And every shrub
expires perfume.

~ Charles Churchill ~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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