Pteridium aquilinum

bracken fern


FNPS provides this link to assist users in finding sources for native plants. In doing so, FNPS is not attesting to the accuracy of any information on the FANN webite. Some members of FANN may provide services that do not further the FNPS mission, and this link should not be considered to be an endorsement of any specific nursery, services that it provides that do not support the FNPS mission, or the quality of its products or services.

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 in Florida

USDA Zones:

USDA zones are 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.