Sign 17

GPS 92.9112 W 45.0056 N This point is a four-way intersection in the Oak / Maple forest area of Sunfish Lake Park. To the Southeast is the trail to Sign 20 on the South shore of the un-named central pond. To the South is the trail to Sign 16 on the way to the parking lot. To the Northwest is the trail to Sign 8 near the power line corridor and the northern boundary of the Park. To the Northeast is the trail to Sign 9 near the center of the northern boundary of the Park.

Sign # 17  Fabulous Ferns

Pay close attention to the surrounding vegetation and you might notice a lot of ferns in this area of the park. Ferns are a type of plant that doesn’t produce seeds or flowers. Ferns have two different types of life cycles. They have a plant form that produces spores. These spores are tiny reproductive cells covered by a thick shell that can often resist unfavorable conditions.  Sori are groups of sporangia which are structures that contain spores and in most ferns are found on the underside of the fern leaves at certain times of the year. With favorable conditions, a spore will land in the soil and form a prothallus (the second type of life cycle), a tiny, heart shaped plant that then engages in a type of sexual reproduction involving sperm and eggs. An embryo is formed from which the tiny fern will then grow. Many ferns also spread through rhizomes, underground stems that allow the ferns to form colonies. Some ferns produce what are called ‘fiddleheads’. These are spiral-shaped, rolled up parts of the plant that expand and develop into leaves (called fronds) as the plant emerges from the ground.