How Is a Fern Different From a Daisy?

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Fern leaves are called fronds; they consist of a leaf stalk, called a stipe, that is tightly curled when young and that uncurls as it matures. Flat-leaf blades grow from the stipe; in many fern species, these blades are divided into smaller leaflets, and in some species, the leaflets are further divided into even smaller leaflets. Daisy leaves vary in form by species, but all of the species have leaves typical of flowering plants, with a central rib that attaches to the plant's stem and from which a network of veins extends through the leaf.


The flowers of a daisy are the plant's reproductive organs. In all daisy species, the flower structure consists of a cluster of tiny true flowers grouped into a disc in the center of the flower head. A ring of specialized flowers surrounds the disc; each of these specialized flowers produces a single ray-like petal that extends outward from the flower head, creating the distinctive sun-shaped daisy flower form. Ferns, in contrast, do not produce flowers; instead, they reproduce via seed-like structures called spores.


In both daisies and ferns, the roots anchor the plant to the ground or, in the case of epiphytic ferns that grow on trees, the tree bark; the roots also take in water and nutrients from the soil or growing medium. In many fern species, the fronds sprout from underground stems called rhizomes; the roots grow directly from the rhizome and extend into the soil without branching. Daisy roots, by comparison, will usually branch into smaller and smaller rootlets as they extend into the soil.


Daisies reproduce via seeds that develop from each of the true flowers in the flower head; a hairy structure on each seed acts as a parachute, allowing the seed to be borne on the wind to a new location where it will sprout into a new plant. Ferns produce spores in structures on the underside of their fronds called sporangia. The spores are usually dispersed to a new location by wind or water, and in ideal conditions, a spore will develop into a tiny plant called a gametophyte. The gametophyte then develops sperm and egg cells; the sperm cells fertilize the egg cells, and the fertilized egg develops into a new mature fern plant called a sporophyte.
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