A, Fertile shoot, springing B, C, Sporophylls bearing sporangia, from the rhizome, which which in C have opened.
Some shoots are sterile while others are fertile, bearing at the apex the so-called fructification - a dense oval, oblong conical or cylindrical spike, consisting of a number of shortly-stalked peltate scales, each of which has attached to its under surface a circle of spore-cases (sporangia) which open by a longitudinal slit on their inner side.
The bright yellow naked groups of sporangia (soli).
Bary.) (X 400.) undergoes segmentation into more or less numerous globular masses, each of which secretes an enveloping cell-wall and becomes a spore (endospore), and branched systems of sporangia may arise as before (Thamnidium).
In Peronospora, Saprolegnia, &c., the ends of the branches swell up into sporangia, which develop zoospores in their interior (zoosporangia), or their contents become oospheres, which may be fertilized by the contents of other branches (antheridia) and so form egg-cases (oogonia).