Bracken Fern

Pteridium aquilinum

General Information:

P. aquilinum is a perennial fern that can grow up to 4 feet tall and is found on all continents except Antarctica. Due to its wide foliage groundcover, the fern is an excellent shelter for small animals. Even though P. aquilinum grows in coastal environments, it is not flood tolerant. It is typically found in woods, fields, areas with disturbed soils, burned-out areas, and marshlands. It does not produce flowers, so it reproduces using spores.

Medicinal Uses:

The roots have been used in teas for stomach cramps, chest pains, internal bleeding, diarrhea, colds, and to expel worms. The roots themselves are antiemetic, antiseptic, appetizer and tonic. Young shoots have been eaten as treatments for cancers. The fiddleheads (curled-up leaves) have traces of low toxicity if ingested. 

Did You Know:

The fern often becomes dominant after disturbances such as fire, logging, and grazing.