Glossary

abaxial
the under side of a frond or pinnae, facing away from an axis
acicular
needle like, pointed
acroscopic
pointed towards the apex of the frond
acrostichoid
a solid covering of sori on the underside of the frond
acuminate
gradually tapering to a long point
acute
a sharp tip
adaxial
he upper surface of a frond or pinnae, facing an axis
adnate
fused with or broadly attached to an unlike part, for example a pinna united with a rachis
aerial roots
growing in the air as on tree ferns
allelopathy
the release of a chemical by one plant to inhibit the growth of nearby plants
alternate
not opposite
anadromous
with the first branch of a pinna aimed towards the frond’s apex
anastomosing
with veins joining in a network rather than freely branching
antheridium
the sperm producing male organ, found on the underside of the prothallus
apex
the tip of a frond or pinnae
apogamous
producing a sporophyte directly from a prothallus without sexual fertilization
appressed
pressed flat together
areole
the space enclosed between veins
archegonium
the egg producing female organ on a prothallus
articulate
jointed, a natural breaking point usually on a stipe
auricle
an ear like lobe, frequently on a pinnae adjacent to its juncture with the rachis
axis
the main structural support of a frond or its subdivisions
basiscopic
pointing towards the base, frequently as on a lower pinnule
biauriculate
with two ear like lobes usually at the pinnae attachment to the rachis
bicolorous
having two colors, usually applies to the scales
bipinnate
twice divided
blade
the expanded leafy part of a frond above the stipe; sometimes called the lamina
bulbil
or bulblet – a small bulb like growth on a frond  that reproduces vegetatively
calcareous
type of soil or rocks containing lime
catadromous
with the first branch of a pinnae aimed away from the frond’s apex
ciliate
bearing hairs (cilia)
circinate
coiled with the apex of the emerging frond at the center of the coil
clathrate
lattice like often in reference to scales
concolorous
of one color
cone
modified leaves that carry sporangia
cordate
heart shaped as in the base of a blade
costa
the midvein of a pinna
crenate
with scalloped margins, rounded teeth
crested
with frond, pinnae or pinnule tips forking
crisped
with wavy margins
crosier
the curled unfurling frond, also called the fiddlehead (sometimes spelled crozier)
crown
the growing point of a stem producing fronds usually in a circle
cultivar
a cultivated variety of a species
deciduous
with fronds that die back at maturity, usually in the late fall or winter
deltoid
triangular
dentate
with teeth along the margins, (diminutive – denticulate)
dimorphic
having two types of fronds, sterile and fertile different in form
disjunct
from a different geographical area
discombobulated
“the feeling an uninitiated fern amateur might have when encountering  technical terms” Palmer, 2003
distal
toward a tip, away from the main body
elliptic
oval, widest in the middle and rounded at the ends
elongate
long relative to width
endemic
native to a particular country or region
entire
undivided, with smooth margins
epiphyte
growing on another plant, usually a tree, but not parasitic
evergreen
carrying fronds throughout the winter
exindusiate
without indusia
falcate
sickle shaped
false indusia
with frond margins rolled over the sori
farina
waxy powder, usually white or yellow, found on the undersides of blades
fastigiate
narrowly erect
fertile
bearing spores
fiddlehead
crosier, the unfurling curled frond
fimbriate
fringed
flabellate
fan shaped
free
not united usually in reference to veins
frond
the leaf of a fern including the stipe and blade
gametophyte
the sexual plant, the prothallus, produced from spores bearing both sperms and an egg, which after fertilization will produce the sporophyte.
gemma
an asexual bud that is carried on the stem, plural, gemmae
glabrous
smooth
glaucous
dull bluish-green with a very thin, white wax-like coating
hair
composed of a single cell or row of cells only one cell thick
hastate
shaped like an arrowhead
heterosporous
having two types of spores usually differing in size
homosporous
having one type of spore
hydathode
a small vein tip on the upper surface of a blade often discharging water or mineral salts
imbricate
overlapping of similar parts
incised
deeply cut
indusiate
having indusia
indusium
a small membrane or tissue covering the sori, plural indusia
jointed
breaking at certain points
lacerate
torn
laciniate
cut into narrow lobes
lamina
the blade of a frond
lanceolate
lance shaped
leaflet
a small division of a frond
linear
narrow and parallel sided
lobe
a rounded but not separate segment
medial
midway between the midrib and margin, usually in reference to the sori
midrib
(or mid vein) the central vein of a blade or its subdivisions
monomorphic
having one type of frond
mucronate
with a short pointed tip
node
the point on a stem where new growth is attached
nothospecies
a species derived from existing species, usually originating following hybridization between species.
palmate
like a hand
peltate
circular, centrally attached, usually in reference to indusia
petiole
a stalk, the stipe
phyllopodium
the crater-like scar left when a jointed frond falls from the rhizome, plural phyllopodia
pinna
a primary division of a fern blade, plural pinnae
pinnate
having pinnae in rows on both sides of an axis, once divided
pinnate-pinnatifid
once divided with deeply lobed pinnae, but not cut to the midrib
pinnatifid
deeply lobed but not cut to the axis
pinnule
the secondary division of a twice divided blade
proliferous
having propagable buds or plantlets
propagule
a structure capable of forming new plants
prothallus
the gametophyte, a small fertile plant bearing sperms and an egg, plural prothalli
proximal
toward the base
pteridophyte
a fern
quadripinnate
four times divided
rachis
the midrib of the blade, a continuation of the stipe
reniform
kidney shaped
reticulate
describes veins that meet in a network
rhizome
a stem from which fronds are produced, can be erect to short or long creeping
scale
a multicellular flat growth, usually only one cell thick
segment
a small division of a divided frond
serpentine
soil or rocks high in magnesium and low in phosphorous and calcium with limited plant life
serrate
with teeth as on a saw blade
sessile
without a stalk
simple
undivided
sinus
a space between two lobes or segments
sorus
a group of sporangia, plural sori
spinulose
having spines along a margin
sporangiaster
a structure, usually consisting of a short stalk terminated by a cluster of bulbous and/or glandular cells and interspersed among sporangia in a sorus
sporangium
the fern’s spore bearing structure, plural sporangia
spore
a one celled reproductive unit formed in the sporangium, produces a prothallus
sporeling
a very young fern, name given to one just developing from a prothallus
sporocarp
a hard nut like structure containing the sporangium of aquatic ferns
sporophyte
the familiar fern, the generation that produces spores
stalk
a supporting structure
stalked
attached with a stalk
stellate
branching in a star like fashion, often referring to hairs
sterile
not producing spores
stipe
the stalk connecting the blade to the rhizome, petiole
stipule
an outgrow usually on both sides of the base of the stipe
stolon
a runner, capable of rooting at the tips and forming new plants
strobilus
a cone like reproductive structure at the tip of a fertile branch, plural strobili
symbiotic
two mutually supportive organisms growing together
ternate
arranged in threes
terrestrial
growing in soil
tripinnate
three times divided
truncate
ending abruptly, perpendicular to an axis
undulate
wavy
vascular bundles
the internal conduction system carrying water and nutrients
vegetative frond
lacking fertile material
vein
strands of vascular tissue in the foliage, may be netted or free
whorled
three or more leaves growing at the same level around a stem
wing
frond blade tissue along a stipe or rachis
xerophyte
a plant growing in a dry area