Cystopteris alpina spores

Last week I was looking for images of Cystopteris alpina spores on the internet, and couldn’t find any on a couple of Google searches. Fortunately a plant of Cystopteris alpina in the greenhouse had some mature spores, so I was able to create my own images. These are taken at x 1,000 magnification – when the depth of field is very small. This means that either the projections around the spores are in focus, or the surface of the spore is in focus. What surprised me a bit was the very pronounced linear projection on the ‘inner’ curve of the bean-shaped spores. This is only visible if the spore is in the right orientation, and it seems to be quite variable.

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One thought on “Cystopteris alpina spores”

  1. Dear Alison, I sent a specimen of C. fragilis collected in Hoy, Orkney to David Tennant last year which he identified as “probable ‘var. alpina'”. In his letter to me he said he would send the specimen to you as it had apparently ripe spores which you might grow plants from. I wonder if you got them and if you did anything with them? It may be that they were of less interest than David thought but I would still be interested to hear more.

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