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Common Fern (Bracken)

Pteridium aquilinum


Bracken are several species of large, coarse ferns of the genus Pteridium. Ferns (Pteridophyta) are vascular plants that have alternating generations, large plants that produce spores and small plants that produce sex cells (eggs and sperm). Brackens are in the family Dennstaedtiaceae, which are noted for their large, highly divided leaves. They are commonly found on moorland. Brackens are cosmopolitan, being found on all continents except Antarctica and in all environments except deserts. The genus probably has the widest distribution of any fern genus in the world. In the past, the genus was commonly treated as having only one species, Pteridium aquilinum, but the recent trend is to subdivide it into about ten species. As ferns, brackens do not have seeds or fruits, but the immature fronds, known as fiddleheads, are edible. The word bracken is of Old Norse origin, related to the Swedish word bräken, meaning fern.


Pteridium aquilinum (Bracken or Common Bracken) is the most common species with a cosmopolitan distribution, occurring in temperate and subtropical regions throughout much of the world, including most of Europe, Asia, and North America in the Northern Hemisphere, and Australia, New Zealand and northern South America in the Southern Hemisphere. It is a prolific and abundant plant in the highlands of Great Britain. It is limited to altitudes of below 600 metres in the UK, does not like extreme cold temperatures, poorly drained Marshes or Fen. It causes such a problem of invading pastureland that at one time the British government had an eradication programme. Special filters have even been used on some British water supplies to filter out the bracken spores.


From Wikipedia:

1 Species ID Suggestions

Seema 12 years ago
common fern

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Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 11 years ago

Thanks Keith! I'll add it right away!

keithp2012 11 years ago

Please add to rare color morphs mission great find with the albino leaf!

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 12 years ago

Thanks Seema!

Jacob Gorneau
Spotted by
Jacob Gorneau

Maine, USA

Spotted on Aug 26, 2010
Submitted on Feb 17, 2012

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