Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum
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Filicophyta

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Kingdom:Plantae
Phylum/Division:Filicophyta

Description

Filicophytes or ferns are spore-producing vascular plants. They do not produce flowers, fruits or seeds. They are characterised by a unique life cycle, alternating between sporophyte (spore-producing body) and a separate gametophyte (gamete-producing body). The large asexual body (sporophyte) is differentiated into stem, roots and leaves whereas the small gametophyte is not differentiated. Ferns, together with lycophytes (fern allies), are also known as pteridophytes.

Ferns (in the sporophytic stage) have coiled young fronds  (also called fiddle heads) and brown spots (called sori) containing spores found under mature fronds. The dispersed spore eventually germinates under suitable conditions and develop into a prothallus (gametophyte) which is very small and bears the male and female sex organs (antheridia and archegonia). Sperms produced by the antheridium require a film of water to swim to the archegonia and fertilize the eggs in it. Once fertilisation is completed,  a young fern develops and the prothallus dies.

In Singapore, a total of about 170 species of ferns have been previously recorded in 1968. However, it is estimated in the year 1992 that only about 100 species are still extant in Singapore. Many exotic ferns have also been introduced mainly as ornamentals due to their attractiveness, some of which have become invasive plants.

Pteridopsida (or Polypodiopsida) are often referred to the leptosporiangiate ferns. Leptosporangiate ferns are ferns of …
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