Fiddlehead Ferns - Knowledgebase Question

Providence, RI
Avatar for emandjoe
Question by emandjoe
March 18, 1999
The yard of the house I purchased has some ferns out back. I asked the previous owner if they were fiddlehead ferns and he said he thought the may be but said that he had never tried eating the young shoots. Is there a way to determine if they are fiddlehead ferns and therefore edible? Or perhaps all fern shoots are edible? Also I wonder if I should be wary of eating the young shoots in the spring (after boiling or steaming of course)until I know if they are fiddleheads?

Answer from NGA
March 18, 1999
It's risky to eat plants when you're not sure of the identity. There's a great website with pictures of fiddlehead ferns that might help you identify the ferns in your yard. Not all ferns are edible, so don't take a chance until you're absolutely sure! Check the site at
Hope this helps!

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