Matteucia struthiopteris fertile fronds

Matteucia struthiopteris fertile fronds

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Credit: DR JEREMY BURGESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Shuttlecock fern (Ostrich fern), Matteucia struthiopteris, photographed in late Autumn, UK. In the centre foreground, the vertical dark green columns are the newly grown fertile fronds that will produce spores. In the background (white, brown, pale green) are the fading sterile fronds - the typical "leaves" of the fern - that appeared in Spring, now showing their autumn colours. The fertile fronds are similarly made up of leaflets, but these are covered with sporangia, and do not expand beyond the state shown in the picture. Rather, they persist through the winter, eventually turning brown as the spores mature and are released. A native of Europe and E. Asia, M. struthiopteris is unique amongst hardy ferns in forming a permanent stem, like a miniature tree fern. It is an attractive fern for the garden, but may become invasive, spreading by means of underground rhizomes.

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Keywords: fern frond, fertile fornd, garden plant, hardy fern, horticultural, horticulture, matteucia struthiopteris, ostrich fern, shuttlecock fern, sporangia, spore, sterile frond

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