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OSTRICH FERN

SHUTTLECOCK FERN

Matteuccia struthiopteris

(Formerly: Onoclea struthiopteris)
Ostrich & Sensitive Fern [Onocleaceae]

Fronds Green:
month8jan month8feb month8mar month8march month8apr month8april month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept month8oct month8nov month8dec

Fertile Fronds:
fertile8jan fertile8feb fertile8mar fertile8march fertile8jul fertile8july fertile8aug fertile8sep fertile8sept fertile8oct

Spores Ripe (next year):
spores8apr spores8april spores8may spores8jun spores8june spores8jul spores8july spores8aug spores8sep spores8sept spores8oct

category
category8Ferns
status
statusZneophyte
stem
stem8round

5th June 2012, Fyfe, Scotland. Photo: © John Brailsford
The crown at first is completely vertical, then becomes shuttlecock-shaped (hence the alternative nsme). Grows to 1.7m high, and is mainly an ornamental garden plant, but is not native although it does grow wild. It spreads laterally by stolons to form new crowns, or by spores released in early spring.


5th June 2012, Fyfe, Scotland. Photo: © John Brailsford
The fronds are dimorphic: there are two types, sterile and fertile. Those in the photograph above are sterile and do not bear spores.


5th June 2012, Fyfe, Scotland. Photo: © John Brailsford
The fronds, which are bi-pinnate, resemble ostrich plumes, hence the common name.


28th Aug 2012, Fyfe, Scotland. Photo: © John Brailsford
In Autumn some upright and shorter, up to 60cm tall, fertile fronds appear, a little like those of Royal Fern, but not held so high.


28th Aug 2012, Fyfe, Scotland. Photo: © John Brailsford
The sporangia are hidden inside highly modified leaf tissue that curls over. The fertile fronds turn a rusty brown over winter but the spores will only be released in early spring.


Not to be confused with other : Shuttlecock Ferns [a popular name for ferns, as more than one species looks like a shuttlecock]

Ostrich Fern is the only plant in the Matteuccia genus. Ostrich Fern used to be classified as a member of the Dryopteridaceae, but this was changed to the Ostrich & Sensitive Fern Family (Onocleae).

It is not poisonous. The tips of young shoots, as croziers or fiddleheads, can be eaten raw in salads, or as a wayside snack or cooked as a vegetable.


  Matteuccia struthiopteris  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Onocleaceae  

Distribution
 family8Ostrich & Sensitive Fern family8Onocleaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Matteuccia
Matteuccia
(Ostrich Fern)

OSTRICH FERN

SHUTTLECOCK FERN

Matteuccia struthiopteris

(Formerly: Onoclea struthiopteris)
Ostrich & Sensitive Fern [Onocleaceae]