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Pasture Bracken Pteridium aquilinum

Phonetic Spelling
ter-ID-ee-um ak-will-AI-num
This plant has high severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Medium to high light shade to full sun; acidic, sandy, moist to dryish soil; long-creeping rhizomes

Poison Part: All parts, fiddleheads (curled-up leaves)

Poison Delivery Mode: Ingestion

VIDEO Created by NC State Extension's Homegrown series featuring Mark Weathington, Director of JC Raulston Arboretum.

 

 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#rain garden#drought tolerant#fern#aggressive#deer resistant#rhizomes#problem for horses
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#rain garden#drought tolerant#fern#aggressive#deer resistant#rhizomes#problem for horses
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Pteridium
    Species:
    aquilinum
    Family:
    Dennstaedtiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Root Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe, Northern Asia and Norther Africa
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Deer
    Edibility:
    EDIBLE PARTS: Unfurled fronds HARVEST TIME: Only collect fronds from areas you know have NOT been treated with pesticides. Gather young fiddleheads in the early spring, as soon as they first appear. The fronds tend to get tough and bitter as time progresses. They should still be very tightly curled. SAFE HANDLING PROCEDURES: Soak fronds in warm water to remove dirt and debris. Do not use dish detergent or any type of sanitizer. These products can leave a residue. Remove the brownish, papery scales by rubbing with the hands. Soak for several hours in lightly salted water. Cook for 20 minutes on low heat in a pan filled with about 1/2 inch water. Drain well and serve like greens.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Fern
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Creeping
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    3 feet-6 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3b, 3a, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Description:
    No fruits. This plants reproduces via spores.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Description:
    No flowers.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Fronds
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Other/more complex
    Leaf Shape:
    Deltoid
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Fronds erect or often inclined to one side, broadly triangular, usually divided into 3 sections, each with small, elongated segments with minute spore-sacs along the margin.  The terminal segment of pinnule long and narrow; often 6 to 15 times longer than wide.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Native Garden
    Rain Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Problems:
    Problem for Horses
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    High
    Poison Symptoms:
    Poisoning commonly occurs in horses having inadequate forage, or when the plant is incorporated into hay. All parts of the plant are toxic in both green and dry forms. The toxic component causes a thiamine deficiency (an essential nutrient for central nervous system function and metabolism); clinical signs develop after one to two months of chronic ingestion, and can worsen over a two to three day period. Effects include weight loss, fever, incoordination/ excessive staggering (known as "bracken staggers"), the developement of a wide stance with arched back, severe muscle tremors, inability to get up which could lead to serious injury. Death may occur within one to 2 days of onset if not treated.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Thiaminase inhibitor. Milk from cows that have ingested this fern may be toxic to humans.
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Leaves
    Stems