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The Plant Guide

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Pteridium aquilinum

teh-RID-ee-um ak-will-EYE-num Audio

A native fern with triangular-shaped, stiff, upright fronds that can tolerate dry soil and full sun. Bracken can make very large colonies and are found in a variety of habitats ranging from dry and wet forests to meadows and bogs. They grow up to 4.5 feet tall.

Noteworthy CharacteristicsPoisonous to livestock. Native. Deep rhizomes allow them to survive fire and a variety of growing conditions.

CarePrefers moist, slightly acidic soil and dappled shade, but can tolerate full sun and dry, strongly acidic soil.

PropagationLift the plants while they are dormant and sever the rhizomes with a sharp knife (do not tear apart without cutting). Replant the divisions at the same soil depth and water thoroughly. Propagation also by spores.


  • Genus : Pteridium
  • Zones : 10, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • Plant Height : 3 to 6 feet
  • Light : Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Uses : Ground Covers
  • Maintenance : Low
  • Moisture : Medium Moisture
  • Growth Rate : Moderate
  • Plant Type : Perennials
  • Characteristics : Showy Foliage
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Spring Interest
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