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 Collecting spores      

Ferns can be propagated in a few different ways. Some have creeping rhizomes, others have breeding knots. To propagate the others we depend on spores. For someone who has never propagated with spores it may be a complicated job, but it is not.
It requires precision and a patience though.

In 23 steps we show you how to collect and treat the spores for a succesful propagation.

step 1

Depending on the fern species the spores mature in different times of the year. Inspect the underside of the leaves regularly.
  step 2

The spores are contained in sporangia which are borne in clusters called sori.  Not all leaves bear spores and some cultivated ferns don't bear spores at all.
step 3

Look well at the colour of the sori. If the sori have bright, light colours and a shiny surface the spores are not ripe .  
  step 4

If the sori are darker we have more chance that we are at the right time for picking.
step 5

Often sori may be protected by an umbrella-like indusium. When spore ripe the indusium folds back. The spores are able to escape now.
This is the moment to pick your spores.
  step 6

If you wait to long the sori are empty and the colour is not dark anymore but mostly more light brown. You are to late, look at another leaf as not all the leaves ripen at the same time.
step 7

Again from left to right: Ripe unripe overripe.
  step 8

After picking a leaf with ripe spores we have to clean the leaf from spores of other ferns and mosses.
step 9

After cleaning we cut the leaf in smaller parts, saving the parts with good spores. The scissors should be cleaned before using.
  step 10

Lay the cleaned parts on an clean and dry towel.
step 11

Dry the leaves thoroughly by pushing firmly.
  step 12

and .another time after turning them over.
step 13

Take a clean sheet of white paper.
  step 14

Fold in the leaves.
step 15

And close the paper this way.
  step 16

Write down the exact name of the fern on the folded paper.
step 17

Also write down the date op picking. And if you give the spores to someone else put your name on the envelope.
  step 18

After some time, mostly days the leaves are dry and drop there spores.
stap 19

You see a brown powder.This powder consists not only of the spores but also of the spore cups, the sporangia.
  stap 20

Cleaning the spores gives more chance of a good result.
stap 21

Hold the paper at an angle and tab lightly. This way the heavier parts will slite down, while the spores will stick to the paper.
  stap 22

The unwanted parts can now easily be removed with tweezers.
stap 23

As a result you have clean spores to sow.
  The spores are now ready to be sowed, see:

 Growing ferns from spores.