Fern Ostrich

#1 Fern Ostrich

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Latin Name: Matteuccia struthiopteris

Height: 2 - 4 feet

Spread: 2 - 5 feet

Sunlight: Part Sun; Part Shade; Full Shade

Hardiness Zone: 3-7


The most common and recognizable of the ferns, this Ostrich Fern is a very tough and hardy native. It features tall, lacy fronds long that resemble the plumes of an ostrich. By midsummer, these sterile fronds give way to shorter, fertile fronds. In fall, the foliage can take on tones of bronze-gold. It spreads by shallow underground rhizomes and may require some control. For best performance, plant this fern in a location with at least a few hours of shade with rich, moist soil. While it can tolerate full sun, it needs constant moisture to do so. It provides great textural effect in the shade garden. In spring, the unfurled fronds are known as fiddleheads and often sold as a gourmet delicacy in some areas of its native region.