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Matteuccia struthiopteris - (L.)Tod.

Common Name Ostrich Fern
Family Polypodiaceae
USDA hardiness 2-7
Known Hazards Although we have found no reports of toxicity for this species, a number of ferns contain carcinogens so some caution is advisable[200]. Many ferns also contain thiaminase, an enzyme that robs the body of its vitamin B complex. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase[172].
Habitats Light shade on rocky stream banks, forming extensive colonies[187]. Wooded ravines in Turkey, 650 - 1200 metres[93].
Range N. Temperate zone. Occasionally naturalized in Britain.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade
Matteuccia struthiopteris Ostrich Fern


Robert H. Mohlenbrock @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA NRCS. 1995. Northeast wetland flora: Field office guide to plant species. Northeast National Technical Center, Chester.
Matteuccia struthiopteris Ostrich Fern
USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA NRCS. Wetland flora: Field office illustrated guide to plant species. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

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Summary

Form: Irregular or sprawling.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of fern
Matteuccia struthiopteris is a FERN growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 2. Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

Onoclea germanica. Pterinodes struthiopteris. Struthiopteris germanica.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Ground Cover;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves;  Root.
Edible Uses:

Young fronds - raw or cooked[62, 102, 116, 172]. Used before they fully unroll, they are thick and succulent[183]. Sometimes sold in speciality markets, the flavour can be compared to asparagus[200]. Another report says that they are a famine food that is only used in times of need in China[177]. Rootstock - peeled and roasted[106, 172, 183].

Medicinal Uses



Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Birthing aid;  Miscellany.

A decoction of the leaf stalk base from sterile fronds has been taken in the treatment of back pain and also to help speed up the expulsion of the afterbirth[257].

Other Uses

Miscellany.

Plants make a good ground cover[200] when spaced about 60cm apart each way[208]. They spread slowly and the fronds tend to die off earlier in the autumn than most ferns[208].

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Specimen, Woodland garden. Requires a moist but well-drained position and light shade[1, 187]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Dislikes full sun, the leaves turning yellow and burning in such a situation[200]. Prefers a pH between 5 and 6.5[200]. Dormant plants are hardy to at least -20°c[200]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233]. A very ornamental plant[1], it establishes rapidly[187]. It has a short rhizome but produces long stolons, by which it spreads rapidly once established[187], and it can be invasive[200]. Fertile fronds are produced after the first flush of vegetative fronds and persist throughout the following winter. The spores are shed in mid-winter[200]. Grown commercially for its decorative fronds[106]. These fronds are also available as a food from speciality markets[183, 200]. Plants can be forced in the winter to provide an early supply of the young shoots[183]. Special Features:Attractive foliage, North American native, Invasive, There are no flowers or blooms.

Propagation

Spores - surface sow as soon as they are ripe in mid-winter and keep the soil moist. It is best to keep the pot in a sealed plastic bag to hold in the moisture. Pot up small clumps of the young plants as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow on in light shade until large enough to plant out. Division during the dormant season between October and March[1]. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants

 

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Expert comment

Author

(L.)Tod.

Botanical References

93200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

feliz   Mon Jan 30 2006

its so cool

ostrich fern

david n   Wed Apr 8 2009

The Oxford Companion to Food describes the fiddleheads as a "wild delicacy"

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Subject : Matteuccia struthiopteris  
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