Bracken ferns are classified as autotrophic because they can make their own food through photosynthesis. They have special organelles in their cells called, chloroplasts. These chloroplasts use red and blue light for photosynthesis which makes the plant appear green. We see green because it is the only color that is reflected. Photosynthesis has two parts: light reactions which occur in the thylakoid and dark reactions which happen in the stroma. Both of these reactions happen in the chloroplasts. In the thylakoid light reactions make chemical energy from light energy, therefore they must take place in the light. The energy made is stored as ATP. The dark reactions in the stroma don't need direct light, however, it does require the energy made in the light reactions to continue. The Calvin cycle is also part of the dark reactions. The Calvin cycle takes carbon dioxide and ATP to make glucose. Glucose is the form of energy plants require. If this energy is not used then it is stored as starch.

Photosynthesis is an interesting concept. If you want to know more click here.

The equation for photosynthesis is:   

6CO2 + 6H2O + sunlight --- sugar + 6O2 +H2O



Bracken ferns are vascular plants. This means they have the vascular tissues: xylem and phloem. Xylem transports the water and minerals These water carrying cells have strengthened cell walls. Phloem cells distribute sugars, amino acids, and other organic products through cells that arranged in tubes. Vascular plants are a huge evolutionary step because xylem and phloem enabled plants to grow taller. Bracken ferns are about 1 foot tall, depending on their environment. Without xylem and phloem they would not be able to get more than 20 cm off the ground.  

Roots are also very important in regards to obtaining energy. Vascular plants have roots. Roots have a two fold purpose: they absorb water and nutrients while anchoring the plants which allows them to grow taller. Roots increase the surface area of plants, allowing them to get more nutrients faster for the plant to grow and sustain itself. Rhizomes are a horizontal shoot that runs directly below the surface and gives rise to roots and new fronds.  


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