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Pteridium aquilinum (Bracken)

Beginner
skill rating
3 hours care
per year
1.2m
Max height
2m
Max spread
5-10 years
To maturity
Low
Toxicity

Plant details

Botanical name

Pteridium aquilinum

Other names

Bracken, Adder's spit, Brake fern, Eagle brake, Eagle fern, Fern of God, Hog brake, Pasture brake, Western brackenfern, Decomposition brackenfern, Hairy brackenfern

Genus

Pteridium Pteridium

Species

P. aquilinum - P. aquilinum is a vigorous, coarse, rhizomatous, deciduous fern with arching to nearly horizontal, triangular, bi- or tri-pinnate, mid-green fronds.


Pteridium aquilinum is: Deciduous

Habit

Clump-forming, Arching

Toxicity

Historically, young fiddleheads have been considered edible but studies indicate that the leaves are carcinogenic and deplete the body of vitamin B1. Large concentrations of spores may cause stomach cancer.

Flower

Insignificant or absent in All seasons

Foliage

Mid-green in Spring; Mid-green in Summer; Mid-green in Autumn

How to care

Watch out for

General care

Pruning

Dead or damaged fronds may be removed as necessary

Propagation methods

Division, Spores


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Where to grow

Pteridium aquilinum (Bracken) will reach a height of 1.2m and a spread of 2m after 5-10 years.

Suggested uses

Woodland, Underplanting, Banks and Slopes

Cultivation

Grows best in poor to moderately fertile, moist or moist but well-drained, sandy, acid soil in sun or partial shade. Extremely vigorous and hardy so site carefully as will become invasive. Tends to be difficult to control due to deep, creeping rhizomes.

Soil type

Clay, Loamy, Sandy

Soil drainage

Moist but well-drained, Well-drained

Soil pH

Acid, Neutral

Light

Partial Shade, Full Sun

Aspect

North, South, East, West

Exposure

Exposed, Sheltered

UK hardiness Note: We are working to update our ratings. Thanks for your patience.

Hardy (H4)

Companion plants

Botanical name

Pteridium aquilinum

Other names

Bracken, Adder's spit, Brake fern, Eagle brake, Eagle fern, Fern of God, Hog brake, Pasture brake, Western brackenfern, Decomposition brackenfern, Hairy brackenfern

Genus

Pteridium Pteridium

Species

P. aquilinum - P. aquilinum is a vigorous, coarse, rhizomatous, deciduous fern with arching to nearly horizontal, triangular, bi- or tri-pinnate, mid-green fronds.

Foliage

Deciduous

Habit

Clump-forming, Arching

Toxicity

Historically, young fiddleheads have been considered edible but studies indicate that the leaves are carcinogenic and deplete the body of vitamin B1. Large concentrations of spores may cause stomach cancer.


Colour

Flower

Insignificant or absent in All seasons

Foliage

Mid-green in Spring; Mid-green in Summer; Mid-green in Autumn

General care

Pruning

Dead or damaged fronds may be removed as necessary

Propagation methods

Division, Spores


Monthly care advice


Where to grow

Pteridium aquilinum (Bracken) will reach a height of 1.2m and a spread of 2m after 5-10 years.

Suggested uses

Woodland, Underplanting, Banks and Slopes

Cultivation

Grows best in poor to moderately fertile, moist or moist but well-drained, sandy, acid soil in sun or partial shade. Extremely vigorous and hardy so site carefully as will become invasive. Tends to be difficult to control due to deep, creeping rhizomes.

Soil type

Clay, Loamy, Sandy

Soil drainage

Moist but well-drained, Well-drained

Soil pH

Acid, Neutral

Light

Partial Shade, Full Sun

Aspect

North, South, East, West

Exposure

Exposed, Sheltered

UK hardiness Note: We are working to update our ratings. Thanks for your patience.

Hardy (H4)

USDA zones

Zone 10, Zone 9, Zone 8, Zone 7, Zone 6, Zone 5, Zone 4, Zone 3

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This plant likes... Garden match
Soil types: Clay, Loamy, Sandy Tell us...
Soil drainage: Moist but well-drained, Well-drained Tell us...
Soil pH: Acid, Neutral Tell us...
Light: Partial Shade, Full Sun Tell us...
Aspect: North, South, East, West Tell us...
Exposure: Exposed, Sheltered Tell us...
Hardiness: Hardy (H4) Tell us...

GARDENS WITH THIS PLANT

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Philip Slade

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