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Bracken

Pteridium aquilinum

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.

Plant Data

Order:
Polypodiales
Family:
Dennstaedtiaceae (Pteridium)
Type:
Fern
Maximum Size:
2 metres tall
Habitats:
Heathland, moorland, mountains, woodland.
Flower:
Bracken is a fern so does not have flowers. Instead, it reproduces using spores.
Fruit:
Spores.
Leaves:
Large triangular fronds, divided into 3 parts. Each part is bipinnately subdivided. The leaves when young look like 'shepherd's crooks', or 'croziers'. In autumn, the leaves turn yellow-brown and persist throughout winter.
Aroma:
When bruised it gives out Hydrogen Cyanide and smells of bitter almonds.
Other Names:
Brackenfern, Brake, Common Bracken, Eagle Fern, Eastern Bracken.
Frequency (UK):
Abundant  
Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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