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Ferns in the North Woods

As you know from earlier posts, I am spending this week in the north woods with my family.  While walking through the woods yesterday, we came upon this amazing patch of ferns.

Unlike the mosses of my earlier post, the ferns belong to the group of plants known as tracheophytes.  Tracheophytes consists of seed plants and seedless plants.  The ferns belong to the latter group, the seedless plants. 

Ferns are better adapted to life on land than the mosses.  The ferns are vascular plants, containing xylem and phloem.  They also have true roots, stems and leaves like the true land plants.  However, there is one characteristic of ferns that prevents them from being completely adapted to a terrestrial way of life.  Ferns have motile gametes.  The presence of the swimming sperm means that the ferns can reproduce only in the presence of water.

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