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Bracken Fern

Scientific name

Pteridium aquilinum


The Bracken Fern is a large, hardy fern species that can grow up to 1 m in height. The leaves are large, triangular fronds, which are pinnately divided 2-3 times and have spores along the edge of leaves. The leaves emerge as fiddleheads between March and May. The fiddleheads can be edible for humans but may contain toxic, carcinogenic properties so should be carefully researched and prepared before consumption. This plant can grow aggressively and should be planted with lot's of space. Fossils of Bracken Fern have been found that are over 55 million years old.

Planting conditions

Bracken Fern grows best in normal to moist conditions with partial sun exposure. It prefers well-drained, acidic sand or humus soil types. It is tolerant to poor soil and can grow well on disturbed sites. It can tolerate drought but young plants should be watered occasionally until established. It is intolerant to alkaline soil and basic pH levels. It can tolerate full shade but may reproduce less. This plant can be naturally found near open forests, in fields of along dry, partially shaded shorelines.


  • Plant height:
    • Max 1.5m
    • Max 2m
    • Max 3m
    • Any
  • Moisture level:
    • Dry
    • Normal
    • Moist
  • Light conditions:
    • Full sun
    • Partial sun
    • Shade
  • Soil type:
    • Sandy
    • Loamy
    • Humus
    • Rocky
  • pH:
    • Acidic
    • Normal
  • Depth:
    • Potted
    • Bareroot
  • Eco Zone:
    • 2a
    • 2b
    • 3a
    • 3b
    • 4a
    • 4b
    • 5a
    • 5b
    • 6a
    • 6b
  • Plant type:
    • Fern
  • Height:
    • 1 m
  • Spread:
    • 1 m