The aim of this paper was to study spore germination and growth of young sporophytes of four ferns from Atlantic Forest (Brazil). Blechnum brasiliense is a subarborescent fern, Saccoloma inaequale is an herbaceous species, while Cyathea corcovadensis and Cyathea delgadii are tree ferns. The percentages of spore germination under experimental conditions were 65.3 ± 3.6% (Blechnum brasiliense), 31.7 ± 2.5% (C. corcovadensis), 77.5 ± 5.2% (C. delgadii) and 60.5 ± 2.0 (Saccoloma inaequale). The highest percentage of sporophytes produced from spore germination was 91.5 ± 2.5% for B. brasiliense and the lowest was 35.8 ± 16.2% for C. corcovadensis. The relative growth rate (RGR) ranged from 0.17 ± 0.02 cm cm−1 month−1 (C. corcovadensis) to 0.25 ± 0.06 cm cm−1 month−1 (S. inaequale). Spores stored at 7 ± 1 °C for 6 to 8 months were able to germinate and to produce mature gametophyte and sporophytes. The herbaceous species showed greater RGR than the tree species.
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