In Botany, Sorus, (sori in plural), is a yellow-brown cluster of structures that produce spores (sporangia). It is found usually on the lower surface of the leaves of ferns. Sorus is sometimes surrounded by a secondary external layer in some varieties of fungi and lichens. Fern sorus is easily identified by its brownish-yellow colour.
In house ferns, when sori develop on the leaves and are in a young stage, are mistaken for tiny insects and for a fungus disease when they develop further. In reality, sorus meaning is organs that are important for the normal reproduction process of the plant.
In smut and rust fungi, sorus meaning is a spore that is mass-produced on the infected plant’s leaf. In certain algae species, the definition of sori includes reproductive structures. In red algae, it sometimes takes the form of depression into the thallus. The sorus is made up of small, circular bodies known as sporangia. Within the clusters, the sporangia have several haploid spores.
[Image will be Uploaded Soon]
During its development stage, sorus in some plants is covered and protected by a thin flap or a scale of tissue called an indusium. It forms an umbrella-like cover over the sorus. It protects the sporangial cluster from drying, exposure, drying, and other dangers. Sometimes, in the absence of an indusium, sori are covered by protective structures like the edge of a leaf. These structures partially surround the sporangia that are considered ‘naked’ in such cases. When the sporangia are matured, the indusium shrivels to allow for the unhindered release of the spores. These spores are then released when the sporangia bursts. After they are released from the sporangia, these spores produce and grow into the gametophytic generation.
The arrangement, location, and shape of sorus are used by botanists to identify their different variants. In some plants, sori may be circular, linear, or arranged in oblique rows to the costa. The location of sori may be slightly away from the margin on the frond lamina. Fern taxa can be distinguished in some cases, by the presence or absence of indusium.
Some species of ferns produce a unique frond that is fertile and generates only sori. Such fronds are not photosynthetic and can be easily distinguished from sterile fronds due to their appearance.
Evolution of Sori
There are broadly three stages in the progressive evolution of sori:
Simple Sporangia Clusters: They are more or less separate (Gleicheniaceae) or are coalesced (family Marattiaceae). They all mature at the same time
Graduate Sporangia Clusters: The outermost clusters mature first and the innermost mature at the last
Mixed Sporangia Clusters: There is a presence of all ages with the younger ones arising from the same meristematic zones just like the older ones.
This sequence or change has an adaptive significance and is most likely related to the spore production duration. The more advanced sori have a mixed character and it extends the period beyond that for simple simultaneously maturing sori or solitary sporangia.
Adiantum is a fern species found in the temperate and tropical regions of the world. They are popularly known as ‘Walking fern’ or ‘Maiden hair fern’. Some Indian species of Adiantum include Adiantum pedatum, Adiantum capillus-veneris, Adiantum venustum and Adiantum caudatum. The leaves of Adiantum have marginal sori covered with a faux indusium. Reproduction in Adiantum occurs through the production of spores as it is homosporous.
The sporangia produce these spores. Although the Adiantum sorus is marginal, a protective membranous structure called false indusium is formed by the reflex margins of the pinna. The development of sporangium in Adiantum fern is of leptosporangiate type. Adiantum sorus does not have any distinct shape and is considered a mixed type sori.