Pteridium aquilinum or bracken is, as Osmunda regalis, widely spread around the world.
Its name pteris (fern) and aquilinum (eagle) is because if we make a cross-section of the base of a stem, we see an eagle with two heads in the section.
The black rhizome can become very long (50 m) and very old (1,000 years) which enables it to rapidly colonize the land.
The fronds can reach up to 3 m.
It grows in forests, acidic to very acidic soils, mainly in clearings.
Loses its fronds in winter.
Northern bracken fern
Western bracken fern
Europe, Africa, America, Asia
The fiddle heads can be eaten raw, cooked or used for producing beer.
Raw, they contain thiaminase which can cause beri-beri (vit. B deficiency) if consumed in large quantities.
USDA Zone 3, -40 °C
Prefers acidic and poor soils, sandy or rocky.
1 to 2 m
The sporangia are rare and sporulation usually sterile.
- requires little care
- can be invasive