Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

New Zealand: fern with sporangia

with 21 comments

Look at the prominent sporangia (spore-bearing bumps) that I saw on this fern frond in Queenstown on February 21st.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 16, 2017 at 4:50 AM

21 Responses

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  1. I grew up with large garden ferns in Iowa, and then met maidenhair along Texas streams. For years, those have been the limits of “fern” for me. I surely wouldn’t have recognized this as a fern. Beyond that, I would have assumed the little bumps were some sort of gall. The sporangia not only add to the plant’s attractiveness, “sporangia” is a neat word.

    The bumps look like the candy dots we used to buy for a penny per sheet. I’m surprised they’re still around.


    April 16, 2017 at 6:32 AM

    • It suddenly occurred to me that the long lobes of this fern frond could be the tentacles of a green octopus. I haven’t thought about candy dots in decades, but you’re sure right about the resemblance in shape, if not color. Like you, I might initially have seen the bumps as galls except for the fact that they’re too regularly spaced.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 16, 2017 at 6:46 AM

  2. So that’s what those bumps are, I thought they were simply known as spores! I love photographing the undersides of ferns, and NZ has plenty of varieties!


    April 16, 2017 at 7:14 AM

  3. Such a lovely composition, Steve, and celebration of life.

    Jet Eliot

    April 16, 2017 at 8:19 AM

  4. The incredible variety of ferns that inhabit NZ is truly astounding. I wish I had the time to devote more study to them, and I admire those who have. Meanwhile, I too love to photograph their fascinating structures.


    April 17, 2017 at 9:18 AM

    • I’m with you in loving to photograph ferns even though I understand little of what I’m seeing. If New Zealand changed its name to Fernland, nobody could fault that name. (I’ve said the same thing about changing its name to Waterfalls.)

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 17, 2017 at 10:52 AM

  5. simple and elegant; nice play of light against dark, and peppered with texture!

  6. Amazing definition Steve ..


    April 20, 2017 at 4:40 AM

    • This was a great fern. It compensated for the nearby waterfall we walked to, which turned out to be puny.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 20, 2017 at 7:57 AM

  7. Ferns are works of art. I love all your photos, but particularly like this one, Steve!

    Lavinia Ross

    April 23, 2017 at 6:48 PM

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