Pteridium aquilinum

bracken fern


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Use this link to get more info about this plant from the USF Institute for Systematic Botany

Plant Specifics

Form: fern
Life Span: long-lived perennial
Size: Height: 1-4 ft    Width: spreads many
Phenology: evergreen,winter dormant
Noted for: Interesting foliage


Recommended Uses: Groundcover. This is one of the few ferns that can handle sun. Height will depend on variety with bracken ferns from South Florida typically being much larger than those from further north.
Considerations: In rich soils, may be overly aggressive.
Propagation: Division.
Availability: Native nurseries, Friends
Light: light requirement   light requirement  
Moisture Tolerance:
Salt Tolerance: Not salt tolerant
Soil or other substrate: Sand, loam, lime rock
Soil pH Range: Acidic but adaptable


Native Habitats: Dry sites. Oak-pine-hickory woodslands. Tolerant of disturbance and of acidic soils.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range

USDA Zones:

Map is based on minimum winter temperatures

Suitable to grow in:


Other Comments: This is one of the world's most widespread species. Multiple subspecies exist with Florida having several. Because of its tolerance of acidic soils, this is sometimes used for reclamation of acidic soil areas.