Colours and shapes
The fern’s leaves emerge from a horizontal stem below ground (the rhizome) and come in colours ranging from bright to dark green and from bronze to red. There are too many different ferns to describe, so we'll tell you about some of our favourites. Species like the Maidenhair fern have delicate, segmented leaves, while others like Asplenium have leaves that grow all in one piece. The leaves of the Boston fern begin life tightly rolled up, then when they unfurl they produce a fantastic feather of bright green. All you have to do is give these fronds enough room to thrive.
The Maoris of New Zealand traditionally used silver ferns to find their way in the dark. The silvery underside of the leaves reflects the light of the moon and stars. The leaves would appear to glow, and so helped light the way. This fern variety is very common in New Zealand and it became the country’s national symbol.
The fern is unusual as, like all other plants that reproduce with spores, it transformed from a water plant into a land plant in prehistoric times. Ferns are so old, they can be found in 400 million year old fossils. In those days these plants could reach an extraordinary height of 15 metres.