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Matteuccia struthiopteris

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Plant types and subtypes: Ferns, Ground Covers

Light Requirements: part-shade, shade

Water Use: medium, high

Soil Moisture: moist, wet

Soil Description: acid, neutral, rich, loam, clay, sand

Height: 2'-6'

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 3, 4, 5, 6

Additional Tags: bog plant, clumping, colonizing, edible, fall interest, naturalizing, ornamental foliage, pond margin plant, shade garden plant, stream margin plant, woodland plant

Matteuccia struthiopteris (ostrich fern)
  • Matteuccia struthiopteris (ostrich fern)
  • Matteuccia struthiopteris (ostrich fern)
  • Matteuccia struthiopteris (ostrich fern)
  • Matteuccia struthiopteris (ostrich fern)

Pricing & Availability

Description

Matteuccia struthiopteris

Also known as:

ostrich fern

,

Scientific Synonyms:

Matteuccia pensylvanica, Onoclea struthiopteris, Onoclea struthiopteris, Pteretis nodulosa, Pteretis pensylvanica

Description

One of the largest fern species, the ostrich fern can easily reach a height of 5 feet or more. Large fiddleheads emerge in spring as the fern emerges from dormancy. These will develop in to large, slightly scaly, sterile fronds that will persist through early fall. Smaller fertile fronds grow from the center crown of the plant, are more spike-like and will retain a bronze color and an attractive appearance well into winter. This is a majestic, stately fern.

Cultivation

Matteuccia struthiopteris, with its exotic, palm-like appearance, is a wonderful addition to any moist woodland area or shade garden. It tolerates most soil types, but it will do best in slightly acidic, moist to wet soil that is rich in organic matter. The ostrich fern prefers cooler climates where it will tolerate some sun. It can be grown under hotter conditions so long as the soil is kept consistently moist. It spreads by underground rhizomes to form dense colonies. Under optimal growing conditions, this fern will provide a spectacular ground-cover. If used in flower beds, it can be combined with early blooming perennials, and by early summer, will provide a dramatic backdrop for later bloomers. Care should be taken that it not become invasive. Zones 3-6

Propagation

Propagate by division when plant is dormant, in either early spring or fall. It may also be propagated by spores.

Additional Notes

The edible fiddleheads of the ostrich fern are the State vegetable of Vermont and may be prepared in much the same way as asparagus. They are considered a spring delicacy in much of the Northeast

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
CT, DC, IA, IL, IN, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SD, VA, VT, WI, WV

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Exploitably Vulnerable: NY
  • Rare: IN
  • Special Concern: RI

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision
Division Pteridophyta Ferns
Class Filicopsida
Subclass
Order Polypodiales
Family Dryopteridaceae Wood Fern family
Genus Matteuccia ostrich fern
Species Matteuccia struthiopteris ostrich fern