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Hello fellow APDers!

  I am a second year university student and have just learned something
quite interesting in my Vascular Plants (Botany) course.  Salvinia is a
fern!  That's right, it grows from a rhizome, just like good old Java
fern.  Until recently (1994), it was in it's own order (Salviniales),
but in a paper by Rockwell and Stocky (my Bot prof), it is now in the
order Hydropterales along with all the other heterosporous ferns.  
  They reproduce via spore, which are stored in tough walled sacs called
sporocarbs.  These are located under water in the root area (not
actually roots).  Although I can't quite see any sporocarbs on mine (not
sure what sp., common name is Giant Duckweed), I suspect they grow when
the water level drops (another genus in the order develops sporocarbs
when the soil starts to dry).  Another interesting fact about their
reproduction is that they only posses one sex per sporocarb.  I'm not
sure if I should go into more detail about this, so if more is wanted
I'll send it.
  They posses four pinnae or leaves.  Although we only see three on the
water's surface and some roots underwater, the roots are actually the
fourth leaf.  This leaf is dissected (i.e.. no lamina), only the
vascular tissues are present (this blew my mind!).  The tiny 'hairs' on
the leaves are called trichomes, which help keep the plant afloat.

  This class (Tuesday's Botany class that is) totally peeked my interest
in the course.  Until today I was regretting I took the course, but now
that I am starting to learn more about plants I'm familiar with, I think
my interest (and hopefully mark) in the course will rise.

I hope you guys find this as interesting as I do!

Jason Miller
Sherwood Park, AB
(780) 464-9635