The spores of one fern are launched from the sporangium using a mechanism based on surface tension and evaporation.
"A mechanism based on the surface tension of water is used by a fern that forcibly discharges its spores from the sporangium--evaporation decreases the volume of water and increases the surface curvature in a series of cuplike dead cells until the sustainable cohesion is exceeded; water then vaporizes and tension is relieved by a movement analogous to that involved in throwing a spear (Steward 1968)." (Vogel 2003:449)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
- Steven Vogel. 2003. Comparative Biomechanics: Life's Physical World. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 580 p.
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