“There’s something wrong with my fern! It has dots all over the leaves. It must be some sort of disease! What should I spray it with?”
I was sitting at our county extension’s Master Gardener Help Desk, answering questions when the call came in. The caller was quite agitated, afraid that her prize fern was on the verge of passing into the great garden in the sky. It took me some time to calm her down and explain that those black dots, neatly lined up in rows, were in fact a sign of health, and that her fern was not only thriving, but was on the brink of parenthood. Yes, those little bumps contained a zillion baby ferns, so to speak, in the form of spores.