Bay Journal


  • By Kathleen Gaskell on September 01, 2001
  • Comments are closed for this article.

In his poem, “The Brook,” Alfred Tennyson wrote:

“I come from haunts of coot and hern,

I make a sudden sally

And sparkle out among the fern,

To bicker down a valley.”

Ferns crop up all over the watershed, but how much do we really know about them? Test your knowledge here.

1. Approximately how many species of fern and their allies are found in the world?

A. 5,000

B. 10,000

C. 17,000

D. 25,000

2. Ferns are vascular plants. Vascular plants differ from nonvascular species in what way?

A. They contain chlorophyll

B. Their internal structure can transfer nutrients and water in the soil to upper leaves as well as provide the mechanical support for the plant.

C. They breathe oxygen

D. They have stems and roots

3. How do ferns differ from vascular plants?

A. They do not produce flowers

B. They do not use seeds to reproduce

C. They are parasitic

D. A & B

4. True or false: Almost all ferns are perennials.

5. The common name for newly sprouting fern leaves is:

A. Fiddleheads

B. Canestems

C. Fernlivvens

D. Fronds

6. A term for plants that do not produce seeds is:

A. Dudgams

B. Cryptogams

C. Disbudlossians

D. Bryocods

7. Ferns are found almost everywhere except:

A. Arid deserts

B. Mountain tops

C. The Arctic

D. All of the above

8. The Christmas fern, which is common in the watershed, gets its name from:

A. Its evergreen scent

B. Its evergreen subleaflets are shaped like Christmas stockings

C. It’s found exclusively in pine forests

D. A & C

9. Ferns and their allies are among the earliest terrestrial plants to appear on Earth. They first showed up around:

A. 120 million years ago

B. 240 million years ago

C. 360 million years ago

D. 480 million years ago

10. When we talk about ferns and their allies, who are these “allies?”

A. Horsetails

B. Club mosses

C. Quillworts

D. All of the above


1-B 2-B 3-D 4-true 5-A 6-C 7-A 8-B 9-B 10-D

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About Kathleen Gaskell

Kathleen A. Gaskell, the layout & design editor for the Bay Journal, has been involved with several environmental programs for children.

Read more articles by Kathleen Gaskell


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