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Glossary of Terms

Fiddlehead

Found in the early spring when new fronds are growing. The curled and growing blade resembles the end of a fiddle.


Frond (Leaf, Blade)

Flat, green, photosynthetic part of the fern plant. Supported by a stipe (stem). May be fertile (with sporangia) or sterile (without sporangia).


Pinnae (singular Pinna)

First division or cut of a blade.


Pinnule

Second division or cut of a blade. First cut of a pinna.


Pinnulette

Third division of cut of a blade. First cut of a pinnule.


Sori (singular Sorus)

Collection of many sporangia. Referred to as "fruit dots" when found on the underside of blades.


Stipe (stem)

Supports the blade of the frond, below the rachis.


Spore

Microscopic, usually single celled, reproductive propagule. Analogous to the seed of a flowering plant.


Sporangia (singular Sporangium)

Very small, ball-like structures within which spores are produced.


Rachis (axis)

Part of stem supporting the leaflets or divisions of the blade; aboe the stem.


Once-Cut Frond

Blade divided into just pinnae.


Twice-Cut Frond

Blade divided into pinnae and pinnules.


Thrice-Cut Frond

Blade divided into pinnae, pinnules, and pinnulettes.

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