Fern Phenology

  • Pei-Hsuan Lee
  • Yao-Moan HuangEmail author
  • Wen-Liang Chiou


Plant phenology is a study of periodic patterns in biological processes and their correlation with biotic/abiotic factors. Although phenological observations have been recorded for centuries in seed plants, the study of phenology in ferns is still in its infancy. During the past half century, phenological studies of approximately 225 fern species (ca. 2% of the world ferns) have been documented. Most of that research was conducted in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. Leaf emergence/senescence and spore maturation/release dates are the main phenological phases that have been investigated, and most of that work has been descriptive rather than quantitative. Seasonal patterns were found in most of those phenological phases especially in temperate regions with cold winters. In tropical to subtropical regions, seasonal patterns vary, and the seasonality of growth and reproduction in ferns may correlate with temperature or precipitation (or both), depending on the habitat locations. Ferns generally produce two types of leaves: fertile leaves that bear spores and sterile leaves that do not. They often differ in the timing of phenological phases, production rates, and lifespans with consequences for understanding population, community, and ecosystem dynamics. Potential avenues of future network phenological research should expand the geographic range of fern phenological studies into the tropics and focus on quantitative analyses that will identify general phenological patterns for fern growth and reproduction.


Fern phenology Phenophases Seasonality Leaf lifespan 



We thank Dr. Joanne M. Sharpe for her useful comments and English editing. This research was partially supported by grant 100AS-8.2.1-FI-G9, 101AS-13.5.2-FI-G6, and 102AS-13.3.7-FI-G2 from the Taiwan Forestry Research Institute.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pei-Hsuan Lee
    • 1
  • Yao-Moan Huang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Wen-Liang Chiou
    • 1
  1. 1.Taiwan Forestry Research InstituteTaipeiTaiwan

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