Biology

Life cycle

In common with other ferns, Lecanopteris has 2 alternating generations. These are the:

  • sporophyte generation - the main fern plant that produces spores inside sporangia
  • gametophyte generation - a small insignificant prothallus that develops from a germinating spore

Male and female sex organs are produced on the gametophyte and fertilisation takes place when there is sufficient moisture, usually between different individuals. The resultant zygote grows into a new sporophyte plant.

Dispersal

In Lecanopteris spinosa and some other Lecanopteris species, spores are shed in clusters of 4, connected by the flaky spore surface. This is unusual in ferns and may be an adaptation to the ant - fern association.

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Glossary
Absorption

The process by which water and nutrients are absorbed and conveyed to the plant tissues and organs.

Domatium (plural: domatia)

Part of a plant that has been modified to provide protection for insects, mites or fungi.

Epiphytes

Plants that grow on another plant for support but are not parasitic.

Facultative

Not obligatory - can complete its life cycle independently.

Frond

Fern leaf.

Glaucous

With a waxy blue-green sheen.

Indusium 

A structure that covers the sorus.

Monophyletic

Descended from a single common ancestor.

Rachis

A fern's midrib.

Rhizome

A fern's stem.

Sorus

Group of sporangia.

Sporangium

Spore capsule.