Ferns first appeared some 360 million years ago. Being an ancient plant still surviving today, ferns have evolved mechanisms to help in reproduction. Seen here is the sporangia surrounded by paraphyses. The sporangia contain spores that spread and allow the plant to widely distribute, while paraphyses are sterile hairs that protect the sporangia until they open.
Image by Dr. Igor Siwanowicz, HHMI Janelia Farm Research Campus.
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Ferns first appeared some 360 million years ago. Being an ancient plant still surviving today, ferns have evolved mechanisms to help in reproduction. Seen here is the sporangia surrounded by paraphyses. The sporangia contain spores that spread and allow the plant to widely distribute, while paraphyses are sterile hairs that protect the sporangia until they open.

Image by Dr. Igor Siwanowicz, HHMI Janelia Farm Research Campus.

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    A fern’s sporangia