Under standard culture conditions (temperature and illumination), spore germination and gametophyte development occurs in a consistent pattern.

Figure 1. C-Fern life cyle and timing of developmental event in cultures starting from single-celled spores.

Developmental timing depends culture under standard temperature and light conditions, i.e. in the C-Fern Growth Pod a temperature of 28 °C and light provided by 15 W fluorescent bulb in a reflective fixture. Under these conditions, the principal developmental events occur in a predictable sequence.

  • Spore germination is first evident three to four days following spore soaking (DFS)
  • Spore germination is complete by six to eight DFS.
  • Male and hermaphroditic gametophytes are sexually mature at 10 to 12 DFS. (This is the best time to observe fertilization or to perform cross or self fertilization for sporophytes. As gametophytes age,  effective spermatozoid production decreases.)
  • Multicellular embryonic sporophytes are evident under microscope by about 15 DFS
  • Subsequent sporophyte development over the next 75 days, i.e. the production of sterile leaves (fronds) followed eventually by the production of fertile leaves with the production and release of spores.