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MATTEUCCIA struthiopteris

Image of Matteuccia struthiopteris

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Dryopteridaceae

Botanical Name

MATTEUCCIA struthiopteris

Plant Common Name

Ostrich Fern

General Description

Ostrich fern is a herbaceous plant native to northern woodlands and wetlands in Europe, East Asia, and North America. In spring its tightly curled "fiddleheads" unfurl to majestic sterile fronds clustered in vase-shaped clumps. It also produces fertile spore-bearing fronds that give the appearance of stunted, desiccated sterile fronds. They remain standing after the fertile fronds decline in fall. Plants spread vigorously by thick underground rhizomes.

To reach its impressive full size, ostrich fern needs moist humus-rich soil and partial shade. In such conditions it can quickly engulf and overwhelm less vigorous companions, so site it carefully. The stout rhizomes can also heave paths and driveways. Use it as a large-scale groundcover where it can spread with impunity, or naturalize it in moist woodland or along a stream.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    2 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20

  • Plant Type

    Fern

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade, Full Shade

  • Height

    2'-6' / 0.6m - 1.8m

  • Width

    18"-36" / 45.7cm - 91.4cm

  • Native To

    North America, Europe, Eastern Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Thicket/Colonizing

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    None

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Bold

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bog Garden, Groundcover, Mixed Border, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes