Random Plant: Ostrich fern

Ostrich ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris, Dryopteridaceae) photographed 05/09/2009 near Blissfield Michigan.

Since I wrote about a relatively uncommon bladder fern the other day, I thought it would be prudent to back up and cover the common ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris, Dryopteridaceae).  Every year I find these ferns in a large congregation in a wet forest in southeast Michigan.  This location isn’t as frequently flooded as a floodplain forest, but it’s consistently wetter than a mesic southern forest.  This in-between zone seems ideal for their growth.

Ostrich ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris, Dryopteridaceae) photographed 05/09/2009 near Blissfield Michigan.

These ferns are notable for their sheer size; they usually exceed three feet in height, and can grow up to about five feet.  Dense clusters like this give off a Jurassic Park vibe…among these ancient plants it’s easy to imagine dinosaurs just on the other side.

Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris, Dryopteridaceae) photographed 05/09/2009 near Blissfield Michigan.

On a more mundane note, these are probably the most common ferns found in garden centers.  Since they’re so easy to come by they’re a relatively inexpensive and exotic addition to landscaping.  Just keep them out of full sun or they’ll burn to a crisp.  I’ve found that dappled part sun or shade work well.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Botany, Random Plant and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Random Plant: Ostrich fern

  1. I love the Ostrich Ferns, great pictures! Hiking in the appalichian mountains we have alot of them in the low area woodlands. I have a few plants along the front of our house and they have done well this year.
    Ostrich Ferns Gone Wild

    Like

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