General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Fern
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Partial or Dappled Shade
Partial Shade to Full Shade
Water Preferences: Wet Mesic
Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 7a
Plant Height: 3 to 6 feet (.9-1.8 m)
Plant Spread: 3 to 5 feet (.9-1.5 m)
Leaves: Deciduous
Underground structures: Rhizome
Suitable Locations: Bog gardening
Uses: Groundcover
Salad greens
Will Naturalize
Resistances: Rabbit Resistant
Humidity tolerant
Propagation: Other methods: Division
Stolons and runners
Containers: Needs excellent drainage in pots

Image
Common names
  • Ostrich Fern
  • Fiddlehead Fern
  • Shuttlecock Fern
  • Garden Fern

Photo Gallery
Location: my brothers garden, Vichte, Belgium
Date: 29th April 2006
Freshly unfolding fronds, in setting sunlight..
Location: My garden in N E Pa. 
Date: 2013-01-06
Fertile fronds over the winter.
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2020-05-09
Location: Tennessee
Date: 2008-04-25
Tennessee.gov/Tennessee State Parks
Location: Oxfordshire, England
Date: 2017-05-07

Date: 2021-10-06
Photo by Hamwild
Location: Temple, Texas
Date: 2021-08-28
First leaf and first 'fiddlehead' emerging from 1 week old planti
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania
Date: 2015-04-22
very first sign of growth, late April in Pennsylvania
Location: my back yard
Date: 2012-04-22
Location: Oxfordshire, England
Date: 2016-05-07
Lovely beside a stream
Location: Oxfordshire, England
Date: 2016-05-08
Location: my garden, Gent, Belgium
Date: 2007-04-09
Unfolding fern frond
Location: my brothers garden, Vichte, Belgium
Date: 2006-04-29
Photo by Hamwild
Location: Primorsky Kraj, Russia
Date: 2001
Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). Wild plant in natural h
Location: Primorsky Kraj, Russia
Date: 2011-05-23
Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). Wild plant in natural h
Location: Primorsky Kraj, Russia
Date: 2011-05-23
Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). Wild plant in natural h
Location: Primorsky Kraj, Russia
Date: 2011-05-23
Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). Wild plant in natural h
Location: my back yard
Date: 2014-05-29
Location: my front yard
Date: 2011-07-18
Location: Stroud Land Preserve in southeast PA
Date: 2012-12-04
fertile fronds in winter
Location: Lucketts, Loudoun County, Virginia
Date: 2013-06-02
Location: Primorsky Kraj, Russia
Date: 2011-05-23
Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). Wild plant in natural h
Location: Primorsky Kraj, Russia
Date: 2011-05-23
Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). Wild plant in natural h
Location: my front yard
Date: 2014-05-30
Location: Ontario, Canada Zone 5a
Date: 2008-05-25
just starting to emerge in the Spring
Location: My garden in Gent, Belgium
Date: 2011-11-17
Fertile fronds with mature spores..
Photo by glengarry23

Photo Courtesy of Prairie Nursery. Used with Permission
  • Uploaded by Joy
Location: West Chester, Pennsylvania
Date: 2011-05-10
group in a garden
Location: West Chester, Pennsylvania
Date: 2014-05-12
colony in circle with fronds mostly unfolded
Location: my garden, Gent, Belgium
Location: Lucketts, Loudoun County, Virginia
Date: 2013-04-19
Emerging spring growth, overwintered fertile fronds

Courtesy Crownsville Nursery
  • Uploaded by vic
Location: Primorsky Kraj, Russia
Date: 2001
Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). Wild plant in natural h

Image Courtesy of Bloomin Designs Nursery Used with Permission
  • Uploaded by vic
Location: Primorsky Kraj, Russia
Date: 2011-05-23
Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthipteris). Wild plant in natural ha

Date: May 2005
photo by Kropsoq
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2014-05-03
colonizing - 1 originally, now over a dozen
Location: My garden in N E Pa. 
Date: 2009-05-09
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2014-09-27
Location: Des Plaines, IL
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2014-05-03
new leaf unfurling
Location: Stroud Land Preserve in southeast PA
Date: 2012-12-04
colony with the fertile fronds upright
Location: Apple Valley MN
Date: 2018-05-04
Location: my garden, Gent, Belgium
Date: 2007-04-17
Growing besides my pond..
Location: my garden, Gent, Belgium
Date: 2008-04-16
Great plant for water borders! Growing by my pond..
Location: Primorsky Kraj, Russia
Date: 2005-08-31
Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). Wild plant in natural h
Location: Primorsky Kraj, Russia
Date: 2003
Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). Wild plant in natural h
Location: Primorsky Kraj, Russia
Date: 1998
Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). Wild plant in natural h
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2015-10-21
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2011-04-29
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2011-05-06
Location: My Northeastern Indiana Gardens - Zone 5b
Date: 2012-07-04
This specimen has been in the ground here for one year.
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania
Date: 2015-05-07
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2015-04-15

Date: 2013-04-01
Location: My garden in Gent, Belgium
Date: 2011-11-17
Fertile frond with mature spores..

Date: 2013-04-01
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2011-04-19

Date: 2013-04-30
Young ostrich fern

Date: 2014-07-02

Photo Courtesy of Prairie Nursery. Used with Permission
  • Uploaded by Joy

Date: 2014-07-02
Location: Manitoba, Canada
Date: 2017-06-07

Courtesy Crownsville Nursery
  • Uploaded by vic
Location: my garden, Gent, Belgium
Date: 2011-04-01
heart of the fern with frond buds ready to unfold
Location: Pembroke, GA
Date: 2016-08-21
Photo courtesy of Santa Rosa Gardens. Used with permission.
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2012-03-29
Location: Primorsky Kraj, Russia
Date: 2006-06-04
Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). Wild plant in natural h
Location: Primorsky Kraj, Russia
Date: 2006-06-04
Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). Wild plant in natural h
Location: central Illinois
Date: 2012-03-31
Location: Primorsky Kraj, Russia
Date: 2006-06-04
Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). Wild plant in natural h

Photo Courtesy of Lazy S'S Farm Nursery.
  • Uploaded by Joy

Photo Courtesy of Lazy S'S Farm Nursery.
  • Uploaded by Joy

Photo Courtesy of Lazy S'S Farm Nursery.
  • Uploaded by Joy

Courtesy Crownsville Nursery
  • Uploaded by vic
Location: Primorsky Kraj, Russia
Date: 2001
Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). Wild plant in natural h
Location: Primorsky Kraj, Russia
Date: 2001
Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). Wild plant in natural h
Location: Primorsky Kraj, Russia
Date: 2001
Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). Wild plant in natural h
Location: Primorsky Kraj, Russia
Date: 2001
Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). Wild plant in natural h
Location: Primorsky Kraj, Russia
Date: 2003
Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). Wild plant in natural h
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Comments:
  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Sep 21, 2018 8:32 AM concerning plant:
    Ostrich Fern is a common species that is native from Virginia way up to the Artic Circle and to northern Eurasia in swamps and moist open woods. It is commonly sold by many garden centers and commonly found in northern landscapes. It has bright green, soft, thin textured sterile fronds to about 5 feet long that are widest towards the top and tapering at the base. It also has shorter, stiff, fertile fronds that hold the sori (spore producing structures) that stay upright and brown into the winter. It needs soil that is constantly moist or wet to keep from having the fronds becoming tattered and browned in late summer. Most every year at my parent's home in northeast Illinois, the Ostrich Ferns I planted at the base of some shrubs would become browned, tattered, and falling down in late summer when it was normally dry. This species does spread a lot and quickly by its rhizomes (underground stems).
  • Posted by Brynhildr (Ohio) on Sep 14, 2018 9:05 PM concerning plant:
    Not sure of variety. Mine are about 2 1/2 ft. tall, spread readily.
  • Posted by threegardeners (Brockville, Ontario, Canada - Zone 5a) on Oct 26, 2011 6:16 PM concerning plant:
    These can be found growing in moist, rich soil.

    When the new fronds are roughly 2 inches tall they can be harvested (just take 2 out of every 5 emerging heads) and boiled (after rinsing and removing the brown husk). They are also delicious sauteed in butter.

    They can also be eaten raw as a snack or in salads.

    Note: never eat any wild plant unless you are 100 % certain of its identity.
  • Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Jan 14, 2012 3:37 PM concerning plant:
    A fern of northeastern swamps and wooded river bottoms in alkaline soils, Ostrich Fern forms large colonies of big, erect, vase-shaped clumps sometimes reaching 6 feet in height. In cultivation, however, expect moderate spreading and half that height. Individual fronds are plume-like and widest above the middle and they form bold, v-shaped clumps. While the sterile fronds (the more numerous leaves) are deciduous and die to the ground for the winter, the fertile leaves remain as short, dark, compact, woody fronds. In the spring, you may enjoy eating the fiddleheads of the Ostrich Fern which taste something like asparagus. (Sunlight Gardens)
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antsinmypants On May 17, 2022 Transplanted
Into shade gardens 3 & 4.
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Discussion Threads about this plant
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Beautiful by Paul2032 Sep 1, 2013 11:58 PM 1

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