Help, my Cold Hardy Ferns are under attack by something attaching little brown dots to the underside of the leaves. Leaves begin to curl up and become darker in color. See photo.
Those are the sporangia which contain the spores; this is how ferns reproduce.
No attack at all, just mother nature at work.
Wow, how stupid am I?? Thanks, I didn't know the little fellows "laid eggs"!
lol... if you have the fern in a humid environment, the spores will 'release' (the capsules get darker and harder, then they 'burst' open spewing the spores all over) and many months later become ferns. It is a very interesting process. For many months (some shorter some longer) you won't see anything - then look for what appears to be algae slime (a green glow to the substrate) this is not the fern yet. The male spermliteraly moves to fertilize the female egg, then the real fern starts to grow... (sorry I have books but too lazy to go get them) The 'fuzz' will turn into little ferns and then hundreds if not thousands.... keep everything humid. Best Sherry
In NC, I don't think you have to go out of your way to provide the humidity, even!
Ferns are fun. The algae-ish phase of the fern life cycle is called the gametophyte. It's analogous to pollen or ovules in flowering plants, but in ferns the stage last a lot longer & does its own photosynthesis, etc. & if you're ever sitting around with fern gametophytes and nothing to do, you can actually watch the fern sperm swimming around if you get a slide set up right.
Wow! Thanks Sherry and Patrick. I now know more about ferns than I realized was needed. I just wanted some pretty green things in and amongst my Hostas!! If all you both say comes true, I may be in the fern retail business.