Filmy Fern Gametophytes and Sporophytes

by Chuck Nishihira

I have this little plastic bin that has a lawn of Trichomanes ankersii gametophytes that on occasion produces a few sporophytes. I’m still at the stage of trying to understand what conditions will induce successful fertilization and regular production of little fernlets.  Many other filmy ferns that I have tried to reproduce in this way will fill the container with gametophytes, but this is as far as it gets.  I have containers that are several years old with no further stages.  In the plastic bin with my T. ankersii, some of the sporophytes are maturing to the point that they are starting to look like filmy ferns.  Taking macro shots of this container reveals how pretty all of this early development can be.  It is also helping me to understand a little more about what I am looking at.  With the naked eye, I am never sure if I am looking at early bryophyte growth (as they invariably get into my non-sterile cultures) or fern growth. In two of the shots, you can see the fern gametophytes, sporophytes and some young liverworts.  I thought I would share these photos with others in hopes that this becomes more commonplace in our hobby.