Pteridium aquilinum

Scientific name: Pteridium aquilinum


Common names: “Bracken fern” “Eagle fern” “pasture brake” “fern of God” “adder’s spit”

Plant Type: Deciduous perennial fern


Zone: 3-10

Light: Full sun – part shade

Exposure: Sheltered

Soil: Sandy peaty acidic, grows well in poor soils

Moisture: Moist-wet, drought tolerant once established


Image result for pteridium aquilinum

Plant Size: H 3-4′ W 3-5′

Leaf and Stem shape: new fiddleheads emerging from the ground in spring, growing into large pinnately compound fronds with small spore dots on the leaflet undersides called soriImage result for pteridium aquilinum

Maintenance: Low – zero, fronds die back on their own in the winter, can be cut back, can be divided anytime

Landscape use: Typically not planted, native plant garden, informal woodland, difficult areas

Propagate: By spores and rhizome division

Pests & Disease: None

Comments: BC native, fiddleheads and rhizomes used as a food source by first nations, some studies have suggested bracken fiddleheads to cause cancer but evidence is not conclusive, there are 12 varieties in 2 subspecies, the ferns grow all around the world

Related image


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s