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Bracken

Pteridium aquilinum

Plant Data

Order:
Polypodiales
Family:
Dennstaedtiaceae (Pteridium)
Type:
Fern
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.
Maximum Size:
2 metres tall
Foraging Notes:
Bracken is edible but adult ferns can be slightly poisonous. Eating bracken raw is also inadvisable because it contains thiaminase which decomposes vitamin B1. High in fibre and protein.
Never consume a wild plant unless you are 100% certain that it is safe to eat and you know that you have identified it correctly.
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
Habitats:
Heathland, moorland, mountains, woodland.