136. Tree Ferns

Forests of tree ferns once covered large areas of the earth during the Jurassic Period. 


Tree ferns can be very tall. Some grow up to 65 feet! Fern leaves are called fronds, and they bear spores for reproduction. The underside of a mature fern frond is covered with dusty brown spots called sori, which contain hundreds of spores each. Spores are the first stage of a complicated two-stage reproductive cycle that must take place in a moist environment.


Sections of tree fern trunks are sometimes used as pots for growing epiphytic orchids. The trunks were also traditionally carved into sculptures by indigenous people in the Pacific islands.