Pteridium aquilinum

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Bracken Fern


Plant Specifics

Size:1-4 ft tall by spreads by rhisomes forming large patches
Life Span:Long-lived perennial
Flower Color:NA
Fruit Color:NA
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.
Availability:Friends, Native nurseries
Light: Full Sun,  Part Shade
Moisture Tolerance:
always floodedextremely dry
 (Usually moist, occasional inundation ----- to ----- Not wet but not extremely dry)
Moisture Tolerance: Usually moist, occasional inundation ----- to ----- Not wet but not extremely dry
Salt Water Flooding Tolerance:Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water.
Salt Spray/ Salty Soil Tolerance:Low/no tolerance of salty wind or direct salt spray
Soil or other substrate:Loam, Lime rock, Sand
Soil pH:Acidic but adaptable


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

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida
USDA Zones

Suitable to grow in:
10A 10B 11 8A 8B 9A 9B 

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures


General Comments:
  • This is one of the world's most widespread species. Multiple subspecies exist  within Florida with two being widespread.
  • Because of its tolerance of acidic soils, this is sometimes used for reclamation of acidic soil areas.
  • Adapted to relatively frequent fire.