Bracken Fern (Pteridium aquilinum)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Bracken Fern
Give a thumbs up Brake
Give a thumbs up Bracken
Give a thumbs up Northern Bracken Fern
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General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Fern
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Dry
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 3 -40 °C (-40 °F) to -37.2 °C (-35)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 10b
Plant Height: 2-7 feet, depending on conditions
Plant Spread: 3 feet
Leaves: Good fall color
Deciduous
Underground structures: Rhizome
Uses: Groundcover
Will Naturalize
Dynamic Accumulator: P (Phosphorus)
K (Potassium)
Fe (Iron)
Mn (Manganese)
Zn (Zinc)
Cu (Copper)
Co (Cobalt)
Resistances: Humidity tolerant
Drought tolerant
Propagation: Other methods: Division
Conservation status: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation status:
Conservation status: Least Concern
Tall growth of Bracken under the shelter of the Quaking Aspens.

Photo gallery:
Location: Grandview Heights Land - Castlegar, B.C. Date: 2006-08-01Tall growth of Bracken under the shelter of the Quaking Aspens.
By HemNorth
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Location: BelgiumDate: 2007-05-22unfolding new frond..
By bonitin
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Location: BelgiumDate: 2007-05-22
By bonitin
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Location: My forest in Cedarhome, WADate: 2013-05-23
By Bonehead
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Location: BelgiumDate: 2007-05-22
By bonitin
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Location: BelgiumDate: 2007-05-23in woodland..
By bonitin
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Location: Grandview Heights Land - Castlegar, B.C. Date: 2006-08-01The Bracken lines the road in a gentle swath.
By HemNorth
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Location: Lancaster County, PennsylvaniaDate: 2015-05-16a colony growing in groundcover in a yard
By ILPARW
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Location: BelgiumDate: 2007-05-22unfolding new frond..
By bonitin
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Location: BelgiumDate: 2007-05-23covering woodland floor..
By bonitin
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Location: Cedarhome, WashingtonDate: 2010-11-06Fall color
By Bonehead
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Location: Cedarhome, WashingtonDate: 2013-05-23Underneath side of frond
By Bonehead
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Location: Cedarhome, WashingtonDate: 2014-04-11Emerging in spring
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Location: Black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) on Olympic National Park Cape Alava TrailDate: 2010-07-24Photo courtesy of: Miguel Vieira
By admin
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Location: Lancaster County, PennsylvaniaDate: 2015-05-16foliage
By ILPARW
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Location: Lake Forest Park, WashingtonDate: 2014-06-29Photo courtesy of: J.Brew
By admin
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This plant is tagged in:
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Comments:
Posted by dave (Jacksonville, Texas - Zone 8b) on Apr 1, 2014 11:24 AM

This fern is a dynamic nutrient accumulator with deep roots that mine nutrients from the subsoil and concentrate those nutrients in its leaves. When the leaves die back, all those nutrients are now available in the upper soil layers for other plants to utilize. It accumulates Potassium, Phosphorus, Manganese, Iron, Copper, Cobalt, and Zinc.

This plant is widely known in permaculture circles where it is called by the incorrect name Pteridium aquifolium.

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Posted by Bonehead (Planet Earth - Zone 8b) on Dec 7, 2013 10:39 AM

Native in the Pacific Northwest, found in meadows, roadsides, and forest understory. The rhizomes are deep which allows it to survive forest fires. This fern is found worldwide, in all continents except Antarctica and in all environments except deserts. Fossil records date it more than 55 million years old.

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Sep 26, 2018 2:44 PM

This species is most easily recognized by its tall, erect petioles (leaf stems) and its large triangular fronds. It is usually about 3 to 4 feet high, but can range from 1 to 5 feet. It is found over much of the world, and in North America it ranges from southeast Alaska, through most of Canada, into all of the states of the USA, except Nebraska. This species spreads very aggressively with one clump able to send out a rhizome to 6 feet beyond itself. I don't recommend it for any kind of regular landscape, and I have never seen it sold by any kind of nursery. I took two photos of a colony in southeast Pennsylvania that must have been present as wild before the property was made into a large yard with a house in the 1950's, and the ferns were poking through a Japanese Pachysandra groundcover. It is a pretty woodland plant in the wild that I've also seen in northern Minnesota.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Plant identification by BradenOverstreet1 Feb 11, 2018 6:50 AM 8
2017 Spring Plant Swap CHAT by RickM Jun 2, 2017 3:39 PM 443
New & Overwhelmed! by dmarie17 Oct 11, 2016 5:22 PM 212
Fall Swap Haves and Wants Thread by Catmint20906 Sep 9, 2016 9:21 PM 201
Looking for Bracken Fern by RickM Jul 29, 2016 3:32 AM 1
Florida Ferns by plantladylin Jan 25, 2015 10:13 AM 31
New data field: Dynamic Accumulators by dave Jul 28, 2014 9:00 PM 3
Salt tolerant plants by eclayne Feb 8, 2013 9:39 PM 130

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