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Woodland ferns are not only beautiful, but they have a magical way of reproducing. The ferns’ tiny spores turn heart shaped, and if the soil is moist enough, these heart shaped male and female spores swim to each other to create a new baby fern! So next time you visit some woodlands in the summer, and come across a patch of ferns, check the backs of them for a series of scabby little bumps. Take one frond of the fern with the largest, ripe-looking bumps, home with you. These bumps are called the sori. Now you are ready to watch the magical way these spores get together to produce a baby fern.

First, get a flower pot and fill it with moist, sterile potting soil. Then put your fern frond on a piece of paper or paper plate. Take it out and place it in the sun, sori side up. You will actually see the sun pop open the little spore bags on your paper. A magnifying glass would be helpful in watching the magical process that will take place.

Now carefully pick up your paper with the fine powdery stuff on it, and shake it over the pot of soil. The tiny spores landing in the damp soil, will begin a new life cycle.

Keep watching closely with your magnifying glass and you will see a series of little green heart shapes appear. These little green heart shapes hold the male and female parts of the fern. Keep the soil moist enough, and you will soon see these two heart shaped parts swim to each other and create a new baby fern plant!

Now place your pot in a shady area of the garden or deck. Keep it moist but not soggy. Soon, you will have a beautiful woodland fern growing in your pot. And you will have witnessed the magical way that woodland ferns reproduce.