Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris)

Hardy fern also known as Shuttlecock Fern.  Will grow in any moist soil with some shade.  Tolerates deep shade.  Plants spread via rhizomes and can reach 60cm/2ft high.

One of the few ferns that are considered safe to eat.  The curled young shoots (fiddleheads) can be harvested in spring from when they are first seen to when they reach about 5cm/2in high – and are still tightly curled.  These can be eaten as a cooked vegetable – boiled for no less than 15 minutes and have a flavour somewhere between broccoli and asparagus.


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