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Bracken
Pteridium aquilinum

Bracken is easily recognized by its large, triangular fronds. It is a very common fern, and it often grows in large colonies. Bracken is a fire-adapted species. It has deep rhizomes that survive fires, and ashes make the soil more alkaline, a favorable condition for germination of its spores.

• Family: Dennstaedtiaceae
• Habitat: sunny or partly shaded areas with infertile soil
• Height: 3-5 feet
• Location of spores: underside of fronds, following the edge of the leaflets (see second photo)
• Stipe (leaf stalk): smooth, rigid and green; dark brown at the base
• Growth pattern: random
• Persistence: deciduous

next fern
Pteridium aquilinum


Underside of a leaf, showing the spores following the edge of the leaflets.


Last updated November 25, 2005. © 2005 Connecticut Botanical Society. All rights reserved.