5 Facts About Spores – Do You Know Any of These?

spores

What are those? Photo via Flickr.

Spores are important for the reproduction of many plants and fungi throughout the world.  Here are some neat facts about them that you may not know.

Have you ever gone for a walk and come across a fern?  Then if you happened to look on the underside of the frond you may have seen tons of tiny brown bumps and wondered what they were?  Well, those are little sacks that hold the spores.  They are incredibly important for not only plant reproduction, but also for fungi.

Spores Are Small

They are super small.  In fact, they are really microscopic, meaning that they are so small you can’t see them with just your eyes.  You need to look under a microscope to see them.

Most are single cells protected by a cell wall.  Sometimes though it will include more than one cell.

Spores Purpose Is For Reproduction

Plants make them in order to reproduce and make new plants.

The two main kinds of plants are those that make seeds and those that don’t.

spores

Haircap moss with the short stalks standing up holding the spore sacks.

Spores Are Made By Both Vascular and Non-Vascular Plants

There are two very different kinds of plants that reproduce by spores – vascular and non-vascular plants. To understand this I want to explain what are vascular and non-vascular plants.

Vascular plants are those that have special tissues that allow them to move water and nutrients throughout the plant, allowing them to grow tall stems and trunks.  The main vascular plant that reproduces by spores are ferns.  Non-vascular plants are those that can not grow tall, but stay low to the ground and include mosses.

Some of Oldest Plants On Earth Make Spores

It is true.  When plants first began growing on land they developed spores.  Some of the first plants on land include mosses and liverworts.  Liverworts have been around for about 400 million years!

spores

On the underside of the mushroom you see the gills, where the spores are located. Photo via Flickr.

Spores Are Used By Plants And Fungi

Both plants and fungi use spores to reproduce.  Mushrooms are what fungi make to reproduce.  Inside those mushrooms are tons of tiny spores that can be spread in different ways to make new fungi.