These ferns may be the first plants known to share work like ants

The plants may form a type of communal lifestyle never seen outside of the animal kingdom. High in the forest canopy, a mass of strange ferns grips a tree trunk, looking like a giant tangle of floppy, viridescent antlers. Below these fork-leaved fronds and closer into the core of the lush knot are brown, disk-shaped plants. These, too, are ferns of the very same species. The ferns — and possibly similar plants — may form a type of complex, interdependent society previously considered limited to animals like ants and termites,…