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Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris)
Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris)

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Zone
Zones A1-A3, 1-10, 14-17, 32-45
Partial SunNo Sun
Partial, Shade
Ample WaterRegular Water
Ample, Moderate

Matteuccia struthiopteris

Ostrich Fern
Polypodiaceae
Ferns

Native to northern regions of North America, Europe, Asia. Is hardy to extreme cold and does not grow with full vigor in mild-winter areas. Clump is narrow at base, then spreads out at top like a shuttlecock. Plant can grow 6 ft. tall and 3 ft. wide in moist, moderate climates, but it may reach only a quarter or a third of that size in mountain regions with short growing season, low humidity.

Plant spreads by underground rhizomes. Attractive in woodland or beside pond or stream. Needs rich soil. Unfolding young fronds (fiddleheads) are edible; cook them in boiling water for 10 minutes or steam them for 20 minutes, until tender but still slightly crisp. This is the state vegetable of Vermont.

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