Ferns reproduce via spores and have neither seeds nor flowers. They differ from mosses by being vascular, i.e., having specialized tissues that conduct water and nutrients and in having life cycles in which the dominant phase (sporophyte generation) has two set of chromosomes (diploid). Ferns have a unique chemical receptor (neochrome) that allows them to thrive in low light conditions. Although they have relatively few species compared to flowering plants, many ferns have great ecological and economic value. Their moderate size and small number of species also makes them good subjects of study by amateur naturalists.
All the ferns shown here were photographed in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Keywords:botany, ferns, non-flowering, plants
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