Ferns are some of the oldest plants in the world. The fern family itself has been around for more than four hundred million years! It is also one of the most ubiquitous plant families, as ferns are found in nearly all parts of the world. From the freezing polar tundra to the tropical jungles on the equator, ferns can grow in water, on forest floors, and even up in trees. Ferns also come in many shapes and sizes. While the majority of ferns are green, some are red, purple, yellow or orange. And while around 40,000 fern species have been discovered, new ones are still being found today!
Unlike many plants, ferns do not have flowers or seeds. Instead, they form spores, which contain both male and female reproductive organs. Once the spores are formed, they are released into the air and wind carries them to a new location. If the spores land in a favourable place, they will grow into a new plant.
Each fern produces millions of spores, which allow it to quickly reproduce on its own. This is why the fern family has survived for so many years and can be found in nearly every environment. But most spores do not end up in a favourable location and therefore, cannot grow into adult plants. And this is a good thing. While we're big fans of Carl, Romaine, Sheri, and Akela; we agree it would be a bit much if their fern friends covered the entire globe!