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Bracken fern is preferred by many because it can easily adapt to many different types of climates and conditions.

Bracken Fern

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- Botanical Name - Bracken Fern - Pteridium aquilinum Hardy Planting Zones - 3-10 Sun or Shade – Sun and Partial Shade Mature Height - 2-4' Mature Width - 18-24" Bloom Season – Spring Gardener Status - Beginner

Bracken Fern's botanical Latin name is Pteridium Aquilinum

It is more commonly referred to as Bracken Fern or Fiddlehead Fern. This variety is a particular species of fern that is identified by its large divided leaves and lush green color though towards the base of the plant it does have some reddish and yellow hues that appear. This plant can grow upwards to a height of four feet when matured, and it increases very rapidly if its living conditions are just right.

Bracken Fern is a very tolerable plant able to survive in hardiness zones 4-7

It can tolerate full sun but prefers a place with some shading. It does not do well in total shade. Its soil requirements are also much like its sun requirements in that it can handle different sorts of soil conditions. Optimally, it prefers slightly acidic and moist soil but can survive in dry, highly acidic soils. It does not, however, do well in a soil where drainage is inferior.

 Ferns, in general, do not reproduce and spread with seeds or fruits. Instead, they reproduce with the use of spores or sex cells. The larger varieties of ferns use spores while smaller ones use sex cells. The Bracken, in particular, reproduces twice a year via the use of spores. The Bracken Fern does not produce flowers of any kind.

Bracken Fern has been used as a food source for ages and by many civilizations

By harvesting the young fronds, also known as fiddleheads, one can consume these in the same manner as any natural vegetable could be eaten. Some ways these are prepared are raw and uncooked, dehydrated or pickled. Some countries incorporate these delicious green fiddleheads in some of their main dishes. Some other very exciting ways to consume Bracken Fern is by using the plant parts to brew beer or even bake bread.

Botanical Latin Name: Pteridium aquilinum

Common name: Bracken fern

Sun Exposure: Sun to shade

Mature Height: 2 to 6 feet

Spread: Requires a lot of space because it spreads rapidly

Spacing: 2 to 6 feet

Growth Rate: Fast growth rate. Young plants can be found 6 to 7 weeks after the spores are shed.

Flowering Time: A bracken fern plant produces spores by the end of the third or fourth growing season. Frost killed fronds are replaced by the middle of summer.

How Long It Flowers: It produces tiny brown spore clusters through September

Flower Color: Brown spores and green leaves

Soil Requirements: Well-drained soil

Pruning: Once or twice a year. Cut back the fronds for the first three years.

Flower Form: The bracken ferns do not produce seeds or fruits but their young fronds, in certain cultures, are considered edible. These ferns are commonly found on the side of hills. They are highly invasive if not kept in check. The ferns are noted for their divided leaves.

This is a great plant that makes an addition to any home. Many homeowner's love ferns and with this fern, it can be widespread and show a lot of green foliage. This fern is preferred by many because it can quickly adapt to many different types of climates and conditions. This fern looks excellent planted around a water garden or pond.

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Bracken Fern




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