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Spore and Sporeling Survival in Bracken (Pteridium Aquilinum (L.) Kuhn)

Elsie Conway
Journal of Ecology
Vol. 41, No. 2 (Aug., 1953), pp. 289-294
DOI: 10.2307/2257042
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2257042
Page Count: 6
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Spore and Sporeling Survival in Bracken (Pteridium Aquilinum (L.) Kuhn)
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Abstract

1. Few records exist of the finding of young sporeling plants of Pteridium aquilinum (the common bracken fern) in the field in Scotland. 2. Since spore production in Scotland is heavy, this fact suggests that the prothallus and young sporeling are exceedingly vulnerable stages in the life cycle. 3. Late dispersal of the spores may account to some extent for the inability of the young sporophyte to establish itself before the onset of winter. 4. Young bracken sporelings are more susceptible to frost than are the young plants of other ferns, such as Dryopteris filix-mas. 5. Biological factors may limit the development of young bracken plants. Several species of soil collembola (both surface and deep-soil forms) have been seen devouring spores, prothalli and leaves of young sporophytes. The rhizoids of the prothallus were frequently a focus of attack. 6. A new species of Tilachidium was identified as an attacking agent of bracken prothalli. The fungus gives rise to large areas of necrotic tissue near the central region where archegonia are formed; and such diseased prothalli seldom produce embryos. Though frequently found on the prothallus and on very young sporophytes, this fungal pathogen has not been proved to attack older, well-established sporophytes.

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