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Fernsehen zur Startseite Fernsehen. The classification of Smith et al. In addition they defined 11 orders and 37 families. Lycopodiophytes club mosses, spike mosses, quillworts.
Ophioglossales grapeferns etc. Hymenophyllales filmy ferns. Subsequently, Chase and Reveal considered both lycopods and ferns as subclasses of a class Equisetopsida Embryophyta encompassing all land plants.
This is referred to as Equisetopsida sensu lato to distinguish it from the narrower use to refer to horsetails alone, Equisetopsida sensu stricto.
They placed the lycopods into subclass Lycopodiidae and the ferns, keeping the term monilophytes, into five subclasses, Equisetidae, Ophioglossidae, Psilotidae, Marattiidae and Polypodiidae, by dividing Smith's Psilotopsida into its two orders and elevating them to subclass Ophioglossidae and Psilotidae.
Christenhusz and Chase developed a new classification of ferns and lycopods. They used the term Polypodiophyta for the ferns, subdivided like Smith et al.
This was a considerable reduction in the number of families from the 37 in the system of Smith et al. For instance a number of families were reduced to subfamilies.
Subsequently, a consensus group was formed, the Pteridophyte Phylogeny Group PPG , analogous to the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group , publishing their first complete classification in November They recognise ferns as a class, the Polypodiopsida, with four subclasses as described by Christenhusz and Chase, and which are phylogenetically related as in this cladogram: .
In the Pteridophyte Phylogeny Group classification of PPG I , the Polypodiopsida consist of four subclasses, 11 orders, 48 families, genera, and an estimated 10, species.
Polypodiopsida sensu Smith et al. In , Christenhusz and Chase explicitly argued against recognizing as many genera as PPG I.
Fern-like taxa Wattieza first appear in the fossil record in the middle Devonian period, ca. By the Triassic , the first evidence of ferns related to several modern families appeared.
The great fern radiation occurred in the late Cretaceous , when many modern families of ferns first appeared. Ferns are widespread in their distribution, with the greatest richness in the tropics, and least in arctic areas.
The greatest diversity occurs in tropical rainforests. Fern species live in a wide variety of habitats , from remote mountain elevations, to dry desert rock faces, bodies of water or open fields.
Ferns in general may be thought of as largely being specialists in marginal habitats, often succeeding in places where various environmental factors limit the success of flowering plants.
Some ferns are among the world's most serious weed species, including the bracken fern growing in the Scottish highlands, or the mosquito fern Azolla growing in tropical lakes, both species forming large aggressively spreading colonies.
There are four particular types of habitats that ferns are found in: moist, shady forests ; crevices in rock faces, especially when sheltered from the full sun; acid wetlands including bogs and swamps ; and tropical trees , where many species are epiphytes something like a quarter to a third of all fern species.
Especially the epiphytic ferns have turned out to be hosts of a huge diversity of invertebrates. It is assumed that bird's-nest ferns alone contain up to half the invertebrate biomass within a hectare of rainforest canopy.
Many ferns depend on associations with mycorrhizal fungi. Many ferns grow only within specific pH ranges; for instance, the climbing fern Lygodium palmatum of eastern North America will grow only in moist, intensely acid soils, while the bulblet bladder fern Cystopteris bulbifera , with an overlapping range, is found only on limestone.
The spores are rich in lipids , protein and calories , so some vertebrates eat these. The European woodmouse Apodemus sylvaticus has been found to eat the spores of Culcita macrocarpa and the bullfinch Pyrrhula murina and the New Zealand lesser short-tailed bat Mystacina tuberculata also eat fern spores.
Ferns are vascular plants differing from lycophytes by having true leaves megaphylls , which are often pinnate. They differ from seed plants gymnosperms and angiosperms in reproducing by means of spores and they lack flowers and seeds.
Like all land plants , they have a life cycle referred to as alternation of generations , characterized by alternating diploid sporophytic and haploid gametophytic phases.
The diploid sporophyte has 2 n paired chromosomes , where n varies from species to species. The haploid gametophyte has n unpaired chromosomes, i.
The gametophyte of ferns is a free-living organism, whereas the gametophyte of the gymnosperms and angiosperms is dependent on the sporophyte.
Ferns are not as important economically as seed plants, but have considerable importance in some societies. Some ferns are used for food, including the fiddleheads of Pteridium aquilinum bracken , Matteuccia struthiopteris ostrich fern , and Osmundastrum cinnamomeum cinnamon fern.
Diplazium esculentum is also used in the tropics for example in budu pakis , a traditional dish of Brunei  as food. Tubers from the "para", Ptisana salicina king fern are a traditional food in New Zealand and the South Pacific.
Fern tubers were used for food 30, years ago in Europe. Ferns are generally not known to be poisonous to humans. Ferns of the genus Azolla , commonly known as water fern or mosquito ferns are very small, floating plants that do not resemble ferns.
The mosquito ferns are used as a biological fertilizer in the rice paddies of southeast Asia, taking advantage of their ability to fix nitrogen from the air into compounds that can then be used by other plants.
Ferns have proved resistant to phytophagous insects. The gene that express the protein Tma12 in an edible fern, Tectaria macrodonta , has been transferred to cotton plants, which became resistant to whitefly infestations.
Many ferns are grown in horticulture as landscape plants, for cut foliage and as houseplants , especially the Boston fern Nephrolepis exaltata and other members of the genus Nephrolepis.
The bird's nest fern Asplenium nidus is also popular, as are the staghorn ferns genus Platycerium. Perennial also known as hardy ferns planted in gardens in the northern hemisphere also have a considerable following.
Several ferns, such as bracken  and Azolla  species are noxious weeds or invasive species. Further examples include Japanese climbing fern Lygodium japonicum , sensitive fern Onoclea sensibilis and Giant water fern Salvinia molesta , one of the world's worst aquatic weeds.
Ferns have been studied and found to be useful in the removal of heavy metals, especially arsenic, from the soil.
Other ferns with some economic significance include: [ citation needed ]. The study of ferns and other pteridophytes is called pteridology.
A pteridologist is a specialist in the study of pteridophytes in a broader sense that includes the more distantly related lycophytes.
Pteridomania is a term for the Victorian era craze of fern collecting and fern motifs in decorative art including pottery , glass , metals , textiles , wood , printed paper , and sculpture "appearing on everything from christening presents to gravestones and memorials.
The dried form of ferns was also used in other arts, being used as a stencil or directly inked for use in a design. The botanical work, The Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland , is a notable example of this type of nature printing.
The process, patented by the artist and publisher Henry Bradbury, impressed a specimen on to a soft lead plate.
The first publication to demonstrate this was Alois Auer 's The Discovery of the Nature Printing-Process. Fern bars were popular in America in the s and 80s.
Ferns figure in folklore, for example in legends about mythical flowers or seeds. Although alleged to be exceedingly difficult to find, anyone who sees a fern flower is thought to be guaranteed to be happy and rich for the rest of their life.
Similarly, Finnish tradition holds that one who finds the seed of a fern in bloom on Midsummer night will, by possession of it, be guided and be able to travel invisibly to the locations where eternally blazing Will o' the wisps called aarnivalkea mark the spot of hidden treasure.
These spots are protected by a spell that prevents anyone but the fern-seed holder from ever knowing their locations.
Several non-fern plants and even animals are called ferns and are sometimes confused with ferns. These include:. Some flowering plants such as palms and members of the carrot family have pinnate leaves that somewhat resemble fern fronds.
However, these plants have fully developed seeds contained in fruits, rather than the microscopic spores of ferns. Adiantum lunulatum.
Unidentified tree fern in Oaxaca. Tree Fern Spores San Diego, CA. Unidentified fern with spores showing in Rotorua , NZ.
Ferns in one of many natural Coast Redwood undergrowth settings Santa Cruz, CA. Facebook Twitter. Give Feedback External Websites.
Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article requires login. External Websites. USDA Forest Service - Fern Structure. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students.
Warren F. Walker See All Contributors Warren F. Author of several articles on reptile anatomy and locomotion, as well as numerous laboratory manuals and textbooks that have See Article History.
Alternative Titles: Filicophyta, true fern. Ferns, like all tracheophytes, have vascular systems to bring water up to their leaves.
Tree fern Cyathea medullaris. Time-lapse photography of fern growth.