Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tenderness and fragility: Anogramma leptophylla

The annual cycle Anogramma leptophylla fern is tenderness in capital letters, tenderness of tender, fragile, tiny, fleeting, transparent, light weight. Its life does not usually exceed 8 months since the spore germinates to death the fern.

I will tell the life cycle of this wonder of nature. Start at the beginning, the dispersal of spores per sporangium at the end of spring.

Sporangium of Anogramma leptophylla after spore dispersal. Crosslinked structure is the transparent bag, traditional style of the family of Hemionitidaceae and two spores that have been attached. The bag, which acts like a womb, is torn to permit the release of spores. The ring of cells has two functions. While spores are being formed placenta acts as a feeding them and surrounding them in a protective embrace. At the same time accumulating energy in the form of tension, so that, once the spores are ripe and environmental circumstances are favorable, the ring bursts with unusual force, tearing the transparent bag containing the spores and they shoot out as far as possible in search of new territories.

Spores of Anogramma leptophylla with a beautiful dark garnet color and quite large. The strength of the sporangium ring that acts as a catapult, with the wind and rain, leading to the spores as far as possible. Since its dispersion coincides with the end of the spring, once dispersed, are dormant holding the torrid heat and drought of the long summer months.

If they are lucky and have fallen on a wet and shaded substrate, with the first rains of autumn germinate and give rise to a gametophyte that is big enough in kidney or heart form of a dark green color. If autumn rains continue, the gametophytes produce gametes: female oosphere and male anterozoides. Swimming in soil moisture, attracted by chemotaxis by malic acid secreted by a mature oosphere, swimming flagellates anterozoides are looking for the source of the pheromone that both attracts and fertilize once reached. The fertilized oosphere emits a small frond, the sporophyte or true fern and we have a new Anogramma leptophylla. In the photo shows a dark green gametophyte with a small frond of lighter color, which comes directly from the fertilized oosphere found in the archegonium of the gametophyte.

In this picture are a group of gametophyte or prothallus on a base of moss, which acts like a sponge and absorbs moisture from morning dew, facilitating the development of Anogramma. We also see a new or sporophyte frond that has sprung from a fertilized oosphere. Picture taken in October at a wall patch Sóller Valley.

Here are several true fern sporophytes or a little more developed, with the sterile fronds, which accumulate energy and nutrients, then to issue one or two fertile fronds with sporangia very vigorous and upright. Picture taken in December in the Torrent de Pareis on the northwest coast of the island of Mallorca.

Young Anogramma leptophylla with sterile fronds well developed, growing in a crack of a rock accompanied by a Sherardia arvensis.

Fully developed vigorous specimen with the sterile fronds at the bottom and a long, fertile fronds erect to 20 cm., photographed at Caldeira do Faial in the Azores Archipelago in mid-May.

Several Anogramma leptophylla on a base of liver in a crevice of a rock, sharing the habitat with several Sedum and a pair of Campanula erinus. They are dry and sterile fronds at the base. Photograph taken in May at the Natural Park Sierra de Grazalema in Cadiz.

Vigorous specimen growing in the intense darkness of a laurel forest from the beautiful Forest of the Tiles of the Isla de la Palma. In this case the growing fronds pendulous looking for the little light that filters through the treetops. Photograph taken in early May.

Specimen of Soller Valley that grows between the stones of the wall of a terrace. The fertile frond is about 15 cms. and its underside is filled with spores about to be dispersed. Picture taken in late April.

Underside of the frond above with mature sporangia about to disperse the spores. (Double click on the photo to enlarge)

Beautiful picture of the sporangia on the underside of a fertile frond Anogramma leptophylla.

Sporangia themselves earlier in detail. Sporangia can be seen in three colors: the reds are immature and will mature in the coming days, blacks are at their optimum ripeness and are "giving birth" spores contained in a transparent bag, which is torn to unwind sharply ring surrounding the sporangium and dispersed the spores as a small catapult as far as possible. Finally, transparent (which are green) are the uterus and birthed, the empty bags remaining after spore dispersal.

Once you've managed to complete their life cycle, leaving the earth the seeds of the next generation, Anogramma leptophylla going to acquire a pale straw color and die in late May or early June.

The spores remain in aestivation, patiently awaiting the first rains of autumn and back again. That's the simple life of this small fern.

Hallucinatory hybrid with branched hairs

Yes, the Asplenium X helii nothosubsp. lainzii is an allotetraploid hybrid really amazing, the ultimate rarity of genetics, a cross that seems impossible. At the same time their parents are also two pteridological  rarities genetically speaking, two fertile autotetraploid: Asplenium petrarchae ssp. petrarchae and Asplenium trichomanes ssp. quadrivalens, with a doubling in their nuclear genome.

Asplenium X helii nothosubsp. lainzii patch on a wall facing west to the deep shadow of several olive and mastic in December. All around you can see several copies of one parent, the Asplenium trichomanes ssp. quadrivalens. Photo taken in a patch of Puig den Ramis Valley of Soller on Mallorca.
This hybrid has been found on the island of Mallorca, Tarragona and the Sierra de Cazorla in Jaen, living in the same habitat with their parents. When grown in a brightly lit place with a clear heliofobia, applying their fronds to the stones in an attempt to avoid strong light. Its fronds are up to 20 inches with the blade lanceolate longer than the petiole.

Fine specimen of Asplenium X helii nothosubsp. lainzii in the way of "Ses Tres Creus" Valley of Soller on Mallorca Island, photographed in February. It grows in a patch wall oriented toward the northwest in the shade of an old locust tree. (Double click on the photo to enlarge)

Another copy of this incredible hybrid on the road "Sa Coma Soller Valley. It grows in a patch wall facing north in the shade of an almond tree.

And here's their complex family tree:

Asplenium petrarchae ssp. bivalens          Asplenium trichomanes ssp. trichomanes
                 ( PP                                                                        ( TT )
                              l                                                                                                                           l
                              l                                                                                                                           l
               ( Apomeiosis )                                                                                        ( Apomeiosis )
                              l                                                                                                                          l                      
                              l                                                                                                                          l
                             V                                                                                                                        V 
A.  petrarchae ssp. petrarchae ----> X <---- A. trichomanes ssp. quadrivalens
              ( PPPP )                                     l                                ( TTTT )
                                                                 ( Hibridación interespecífica ) 
                                              Asplenium X helii nothosubsp. lainzii      .........................
                                                                   ( PPTT )

His grandparents are two normal diploid ferns. At some point in their evolution, perhaps millions of years ago, suffered a mutation in the gene encoding the meiosis, called apomeiosis, which blocked the meiosis in sporangia (reduction of chromosomes in half) and in its place produced a normal mitosis. A consequence of this anomaly spores produced by the mutated sporangia haploid rather than diploid were normal. When germinated giving rise to diploid gametophytes, which produce diploid gametes (oosphere and anterozoides) and after fertilization arose a tetravalent hybrid fern with two identical genomes in the nucleus of cells.

Just so you understand, the case of grandparents autotetraploid is like a human sperm were diploid instead of haploid and carry 46 chromosomes instead of the 23 normal and turn the female egg and carry well beyond the 46 diploid chromosomes the mother. Upon egg fertilization generate a tetraploid with 46 pairs of chromosomes, that is, with 92 chromosomes, all of the father and all of the mother. In human genetics this aberration would not be viable reproductive and egg tetravalent die. In contrast, in the ferns and flowering plants in many of these aberrations are relatively frequent and perfectly feasible, at least in the first generation individuals.

His cousin brother, Asplenium X orellii also allotetraploid, son of Asplenium Asplenium trichomanes majoricum and ssp. quadrivalens, has a phenotype very similar macroscopically, but no hairs or glandular trichomes, while the X Asplenium helii nothosubsp. lainzii is covered with pilosity abundant in the petiole and the proximal third of the blade, inherited from his father Asplenium petrarchae ssp. petrarchae.

Frond of Asplenium X helii nothosubsp. lainzii with a phenotype is exactly half that of their parents. Rachis dark brown almost black, green only in its apical end, it has inherited from his father Asplenium trichomanes ssp. quadrivalens. The pinnae also look through, although they are more like those of its parent petrarchae Asplenium ssp. petrarchae.

Another frond of this remarkable hybrid. In this issue the pinnae are typically of a parent Asplenium petrarchae ssp. petrarchae, but lack of hairs, but the most proximal. (Double click on the photo to enlarge)

To turn one of its fronds see that the sori are rather scarce and have a similar distribution to that of Asplenium petrarchae ssp. petrarchae. Draws much attention to the spine bright and very dark, almost black, heritage Asplenium trichomanes ssp. quadrivalens. (Double click on the photo to enlarge)

Macro image with details of sori on the underside of a frond with indusium and sporangia up and made after the dispersal of spores. (Double click on the photo to enlarge)

However, what more aid to their identification are the trichomes or glandular hairs, more abundant in the proximal third of the blade and petiole and characteristically multicellular, some of them branched. His father Asplenium trichomanes ssp. quadrivalens no glandular hairs and its parent Asplenium petrarchae ssp. petrarchae has an abundant pilosity, but their hairs or trichomes are unicellular, consisting of a single cell and are never branched tubular.

Glandular trichomes multicellular branching characteristic, exclusive of Asplenium X helii nothosubsp. lainzii, used for its unequivocal identification. To view you need a jeweler's loupe or even better a microscope. (Double click on the photo to enlarge)

Another multicellular glandular hair and bushy Asplenium X helii nothosubsp. lainzii.

Unbranched unicellular glandular hair of his father Asplenium petrarchae ssp. petrarchae, much larger than the hairs of their offspring.

Another beautiful glandular trichomes of Asplenium petrarchae ssp. petrarchae. It is characteristic slightly purple coloration. Tell it the bulb end of the trichome excretory.
Asplenium X helii nothosubsp. lainzii, like most interspecific allotetraploid hybrid, is sterile, because their sporangia are unable to produce viable spores at the time of meiosis. The two genomes that coexist in the nucleus of their cells are so different, so incompatible, that can not be matched to generate haploid spores with a genetic endowment compatible with life and die before maturity, being reduced to very sticky black masses broken .

Sporangium of Asplenium X helii nothosubsp. lainzii with aborted spores and decomposed, which could not be dispersed because they are stuck together. (Double click on the photo to enlarge)

Microscopic image property of the spores of sterile hybrids. They look like black dough broken spores and lumpy.

Intimate anatomy of giant horsetail

Giant horsetail or Great horsetail, Equisetum telmateia is a somewhat atypical fern, very primitive, with some structures, both macroscopic and microscopic have changed very little in many millions of years and still remember the primitive algae that evolved, colonizing the land firm from the sea. It has an underground rhizome in spring flows two ways of stems: the highly branched sterile, long and with chlorophyll and unbranched fertile, much shorter, without chlorophyll, which develop before the sterile and end up in a structure called a strobilus, where spores are formed within the sporangia distributed in the form of honeycomb.

Sterile stems of Equisetum telmateia in May, on the outskirts of the city of Horta on Faial Island in the Azores Archipelago.

Sterile stems of vigorous Equisetum telmateia in November, in bed Torrent Major of Soller Valley on the Island of Mallorca.

Sterile stem of Equisetum telmateia with branched internodes.
Detail of internode of a sterile stem of giant horsetail.

Strobilus of a fertile stem, with the sporangiophores in the form of honeycomb cells, each of which with several sporangia and spore-filled sacs on the inside.

Strobilus detailed above, with the sporangiophores to be separated as they mature and reveal the green sporangia filled with spores.

Cross section of a strobilus with the interior of the stem that is empty and around the sporangiophores with sporangia directed inward. (Double click on the picture to enlarge)

Sporangia in the form of sacks of green spores and begin its spread, tearing the thin membrane that contains them and so the wind can drag away.

Mature spores of Equisetum telmateia bags out of the sporangia to start the adventure of a lifetime. The spores can be male or female. When germinating produce male and female gametophytes and in turn they produce male and female gametes. After fertilization of the oosphere of a female gametophyte by antherozoids of a male gametophyte, is born a new Equisetum telmateia. (Double click on the picture to enlarge)

The spores have 4 elaters, which are as expansions in the form of belts, which act like the blades of a helicopter and, aided by the wind carry the spores as far as possible to colonize new territories.

Two Equisetum telmateia spores that have a fairly large and at first light green color that changes to brown over time.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Zulema, tears of a young moorish girl

Grazalema, the arabian Great Zulema viewed from the surrounding forests.

Zulema, the young moorish girl more beautiful of Grazalema, at her eleven tender years had been many months crying uncontrollably. Her sadness was immense, deep, impossible to describe with words. She was born free. Her father, Musharraf, adored her, she was the apple of his eye, his confited date, his jewel. Her mother, Habiba, the favorite wife of her father, had not been able to give more children, but was happy to see how much Musharraf loved his girl. The other two wives, Christian slaves captured by her husband in a northern border town, had filled of boys the rooms of the small palace where they lived. Habiba was a little jealous of these children, should have given birth to her, but did not hate. With the help of her old black slave Nahina, brought as a child from the far Sudan, she had allowed the Christians to give birth them and to raise them and she felt a little bit their mother. Musharraf did not love their Christian wives, nor their children. His heart was all for his daughter Zulema, dark like her grandmother, the African mother of Musharraf, who he adored.

Zulema did not understand what had happened, refused to accept her new Christian name Beatriz, her captor had changed her real name. She refused to obey the orders of her master's wife, an infidel, a Christian fat and ugly that reeked of stale sweat and scorched pork fat. She was not a slave, was born free and her name was Zulema.

Isabel and Maria, the two Christian wives of her father and their mongrel children had survived the conquest of their village by Christians of north. They were free again. The friar who accompanied the conquistadors had baptized their children and had given them Christian names. Zulema had also been baptized and renamed, but still treated like a slave.

Her parents had been brutally murdered before her eyes of child and from that day's smile had faded out of her face. No talking. He did not play. Always walked with her watery eyes downcast and sad, black as jet. Understand the strange language of her captors. She had learned by listening to the two Christian slaves from her father, who spoke Castilian among them when they were alone with the children, but did see that did not understand the orders because their dignity as free girl stopped him. I will never be a slave, never be repeated again and again. She felt painfully alone, surrounded by strangers who looked with scorn, insulted and spat on him for being delinquent. Her brothers did not want her and made as if they did not knew her, they were afraid of being rejected by their father's Muslim blood running through their veins.

Abies pinsapo, fir of  Ronda, endemic to Andalucia, which form immense forests around Grazalema.

Whenever she could he escaped into the great forest of fir trees that surrounded the beautiful white town that bore her name, Zulema, that Christians had changed by Great Zulema. They sought the shade intimate, fresh and welcoming of an old spruce, fir and sat her on the dead leaves with her back against the thick trunk. Then she closed her eyes and felt the warm invisible embrace of her father, his strong arms and pressed without doing damage to her made her so happy. Musharraf loving voice echoing in her ears from the memory, "Zulema, my girl, one day be the queen of these forests."

There, mired in a strange ecstasy, on a flight to the memory indelibly etched in her memory, managed to be happy again, she forgot her misery, her sadness, her loneliness. She was loved, respected, felt the breath mint from her father which whispered to nice words and two large tears of joy welled in her eyes, down her cheeks and fell on the dead leaves, watering the roots of old fir tree, which shaking with emotion, as if it has in its trunk the soul of her father.

Zulema stood soon comforted and walked around patting each and every one of the plants that grew there. She called it by moorish names and they seemed to understand her words. There was a small herb, very furry fur, which wanted Zulema especially kind, a very small and fragile ferns whose fronds are broken just touched. She knew its weakness and she was identified with that insignificant seedling and yet so beautiful.

Pleurosorus hispanicus, a treasure of Andalucía 

Musharraf had taught like a great treasure hidden in question. With his strong hand of father had taken one of her fingers and made him stroke the hairy surface of its fronds. She had lit her glance and with their large eyes had turned to her father and told him: "How soft is, it seems velvet!". "Yes, my child, like velvet, like you," he had answered him. 

Surface and underside of the fronds of Pleurosorus hispanicus, with its dense glandulous pilosity.

As if their survival depended on their memories, Zulema remembered all the words of her father and repeated over and over again that she had made walks in the company of Musharraf, who had instilled a love for their land, pine forests, streams coming down from the mountain after heavy rains, animals, plants, even the most insignificant of herbs. In the arms of her father had admired the pristine beauty of Saxifraga white flowers, ferns habitat companion velvet.

Pleurosorus hispanicus and Saxifraga bourgeana, on the outskirts of Grazalema village.

Flowers of Saxifraga bourgeana.

Musharraf arms also had learned to love and recognize birds by their song that paradise without seeing them. Her heart was beating fast with excitement when her father taught him the contents of a birds nest with newborns, innocently open their beaks. Would never forget. Her memories with all those details were to her as the most precious of all treasures. It was her handle in order to survive.

Her evil Christian missis insulted her and continually abused, especially when she escaped into the forest. Then sent their daughters to look and forced to return home, where she received a big beating. To break her indomitable character, her missis punished can not leave the house for weeks and humiliated with the most painful and hard work.

Zulema wanted to die, did not think of anything else. Would never be happy. The days were endless, endless torture. The nights, however, was her moment of escapism. In dreams she walk again in the arms of her father, she smelled the smell of man, his breath mint, she felt the strength of his embrace, the warmth of his body, heard the beautiful words that Musharraf would whisper in her ear and was happy again , in dreams, but happy.

It took several years. Her character is tamed by pure resignation and her missis aged, becoming less severe with her. The daughters of the house were married and went to live with their mothers in law and Zulema remained single, because no boy of the village loved her, being moorish.

While they did not want her as wife, deep secretly desired because she was the most beautiful of the village with her long black hair covered by a white cotton veil, her eyes of jet, her lips like a rose half open, her brunette skin, her figure slender Moorish princess, soft hips, her elegant walk, her voice sweet as honey of olive flower. Yes, they desired Zulema, but they were cowards.

Abies pinsapo male flowers

In the Great Zulema, her village, others were enslaved Moors, baptized yes, but basically treated as slaves, as the same Zulema. One of these Moors was called Taufik, a strong and handsome young man, who had been baptized as Christians Fernando. Was the same age that Zulema and, like her, still single, because no one Christian girl wanted him as husband. For years he was secretly in love with her and secretly followed her escapades in the spruce forest. He had seen many times what she made in her ritual in memory of her father. He had heard as Zulema sing the birds and grasses in their native language, which was also his. Other times he had seen mourn bitterly and he also wept without her noticed their proximity. He knew her love for the little velvet fern. Desperately wanted to hold her, caress her, kiss her, tell her he loved her, but dared not, because nothing could offer. He had nothing. He was homeless. He was a slave.

Yes, Taufik was very sad, crying when no one saw him devastated. As Zulema also wanted to die. One August afternoon, a sultry heat, was a shelter from the sun under the dense canopy of old spruce Zulema. He sat where she sat and began to mourn bitterly. He ended up falling asleep and being asleep, in dreams he felt the trunk of the fir hugged him and got scared. Wanted to get up and escape, but could not. Fear paralyzed him and it was then he heard a whisper that he spoke with a man's voice seemed familiar. "Taufik, my son, I know how much you want my daughter Zulema. Do not cry anymore. Years ago I promised to Zulema one day be the queen of these forests. Arise, dig with your hands where you were sitting and you'll find a silver box filled gold coins. They're for you. With them buying this forest and built a palace for Zulema. Then marry her and make her happy. "

Stunned, as delirious, Taufik said the tree: "How do I tell her I love her? I've never spoken to her and I have no father or brothers who can ask for her hand for me. " And the tree replied: "Fear not, I'll tell you what you have to do to win her heart. Do you see the hairy sorts of herbs growing on this rock oozing? Start a leaflet carefully because it is very fragile and give it to Zulema where you see her. There's no need to talk, just give it. "

Underside of a frond of Pleurosorus hispanicus, endemic to Andalusia and North Africa.

Taufik felt the blood was boiling in his veins and that his heart would explode from his chest. Had finally found a hope for happiness with his beloved. He dug at the foot of the old fir tree and found the silver box with gold coins. He sought out the owner of those mountains and bought the fir forest that she loved. Then paid the freedom of several slaves baptized him and asked them to build a palace, a small but beautiful palace as a jewel, along the old fir. Zulema and he did not need anything else to be happy.

Taufik knew that Zulema will be surprised to see these men built a palace in her beloved woods and he waited to attend. He saw from afar come to light passing gazelle and loved as he had never loved. Would be his.

Zulema got to where he was, her head bowed and covered by white cotton veil, spoke softly but firmly: "What are you doing in my forest?". The voice of Zulema so close it seemed to Taufik the most beautiful in the world. His heart beat wildly in his chest, as he had never been so close to his beloved, and with two tears of happiness in their moorish eyes said, "I'm building a palace for you. I want you to be my wife. Your father gave me your hand in dreams and believe me told me to give you this sheet. " Then reached out his open hand towards her and taught her hairy little sheet of velvet grass and then Zulema knew that this was the will of her beloved father. She  looked up towards Taufik and she looked him directly with her eyes of jet. Her look like a spear pierced the dark eyes of the boy and reached into his soul so she knew he was good and noble and she wanted as her husband. She took the leaf and put it in her hand. "Find me when you have finished the palace and be your wife," she said. Taufik felt as if floating on a cloud, like the clouds almost every day visiting the beautiful white village of Great Zulema, his beloved wife.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Phyllitis sagittata, genuine Mediterranean

The Phyllitis sagittata, a synonym for Asplenium sagittatum, cousin of the Phyllitis scolopendrium, is a beautiful little known fern and dangerously poor living in coastal areas around the Mediterranean from the south and east of the Iberian Peninsula, through the Balearic Islands, southern France, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, mainland Italy, Malta, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Greece, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel.

Called "Lengua de ciervo" in Spain (Tongue fern, in English) by the curious shape of their fronds of entire blade with two divergent auricules at their base. Their habitats are the cracks of rocks north-facing, cool, shaded and moist, with a predilection for the oozing, as well as caves, streams and ravines. It can also live with some sun exposure if their roots get constant moisture during the drier months.

Vigorous Phyllitis sagittata in May view from above growing in a sandstone block wall that runs along a canal in the Albufera of Mallorca. Crenate edge of the fronds is a phenotypic variant of this fern.

Another old copy of Phyllitis sagittata with crenate edge. Photo provided by an experienced naturalist of the Natural Park of the Albufera of Mallorca, Pere Vicens, discoverer of the population of this fern in a canal in the park.

Bifid fronds beautiful specimen of a snake's tongue, photographed at the Font del Teix on the Serra del Montsià in south of Catalonia. Photo courtesy of the botanist Rafel Curto.

Small Phyllitis sagittata with smooth edge fronds growing in the crevice of a rock in the  Soller Valley on the Island of Mallorca. Although it seems very young, actually not. Its appearance is due to low humidity conditions in which they live, that require very small leathery fronds sprout adapted to the harsh rocky habitat where it fell and germinated spore from which they sprang.

Rocky crevice where small Phyllitis sagittata growing earlier in the Soller Valley at 200 meters, facing north. The layer of moss that surrounds it makes it easier to survive as a sponge to absorb moisture from morning dew. In turn the rock above it acts as a moisture scavenger bell in the cool mornings shutters, so that water condensed on the surface it falls drop by drop into the crevice where the fern has sunk its roots.

This small fern in recent years has had to bear, in addition, the voracity of the feral goats, which as a highly destructive pest is destroying the most endangered flora of Mallorca.

This was a few years ago after being browsed by a goat. Luckily I was this little piece of frond to keep breathing, because otherwise their roots had been strangled and was dead.

In a desperate effort to survive a few turned their tiny rhizome reserves and sprout again after a month. My joy at seeing these new fronds was immense, and therefore presumed dead. I said "My baby, you're a champion of survival, and goats can not with you." It is the only copy of its kind in many acres, a little gem, a hope. Since then I keep several branches covered by black spiny gorse, Calicotome spinosa, which discourage the goats to eat it again.

The little champion does what she can to perpetuate itself. In this photo you can see the sori full of spores on the underside of one of their tiny fronds. Hopefully some of them fall into a rocky crevice substrate and sufficient moisture to germinate and give a daughter.

About 15 kilometers from the small champion, in a wet and gloomy ravine through which the Torrent of Pareis on the northwest coast of Mallorca live this old matriarch of large fronds extended to the light, whose beautiful sori show through to the light. A growing around dozens of its young daughters, who are a hope for the future. (Double click on the photo to enlarge)

Phyllitis sagittata tiny daughters of the old matriarch above, growing in a cave of the gorge with very little light a few yards from his mother, accompanied by Asplenium trichomanes ssp. quadrivalens.

Underside of a frond 10 cm. length with the beautiful symmetrical distribution of the sori along the veins of the blade.

Details of the sori, arranged in parallel, if not more than 13 mm in length with the bivalve indusium entire margin. Mature sporangia are distinguished as small brown balls, ready to disperse the spores. (Double click on the photo to enlarge)

Sporangium of Phyllitis sagittata after dispersing the spores. While all are appreciated parts: the left sporangiophore which serves as umbilical cord and feeds the sporangium, the ring of cells that acts as a placenta and nourish the spores during their formation and clear bag that in the microphotography is torn and empty, where the spores are growing as if it were a womb.

And finally here you can see sagittata Phyllitis spores. As in all diploid ferns are small.

In Andalusia, the tongue fern is in serious danger of extinction, with only a few known populations with few individuals in the Natural Park Sierra de Grazalema and the Natural Park de los Alcornocales in the provinces of Cadiz and Malaga. Is listed as vulnerable in the Red List of Vascular Flora of Andalusia..

Luckily this beautiful fern so ours, so Mediterranean, it can reproduce with relative ease by culture of spores, which is a hope to prevent their complete extinction.

And here you have the test, an almost microscopic Phyllitis sagittata newly germinated after fertilization of  the oosphere of a gametophyte by an antherozoid of another gametophyte at 17 ½ months from sowing the spores. You can see their tiny fronds of light green and around many gametophytes whose oosphere has not been fertilized, each equipped with the rhizoids to absorb water and nutrients from the substrate. Photo taken inside the lunch where I was farming. The spores came from an old tongue fern of  the Albufera of Mallorca. (Double click on the photo to enlarge)

And finally the result after two long years of cultivation: a dozen small Phyllitis sagittata newly transplanted to individual flowerpots. Within a year or less, will be able to be transplanted near his mother, to strengthen the population of the Albufera of Mallorca.