• Matteuccia strutiopteris - Ostrich Fern


    "Easy to grow fern with erect crown and stout, erect rhizome which sends out slender underground runners that form a new plant. Naturally occur in heavy, moist soil but adopt to light, rich soil and prefers constant moisture. Needs partial to full shade but tolerates sun with cool temperatures and adequate moisture. Fiddleheads are edible." (North Carolina Extension) 

    Matteuccia Struthiopteris by Dr. John Hilty
    Sensitive Fern family (Onocleaceae)


    "The preference is light shade or dappled sunlight, wet to moist conditions, and a somewhat acidic soil that is peaty and/or sandy. Average moisture conditions are tolerated if this fern is watered during dry spells. The leaves are delicate and easily damaged. In more heavily shaded areas, Ostrich Fern often fails to produce fertile leaves." (Hilty) 

    Faunal Associations: 

    "Caterpillars of the Ostrich Fern Borer Moth (Papaipema sp.) bore through the stalks and/or root system of this fern. This rare moth has been found in the New England area of the United States, where the Ostrich fern is more common, although it has not been found in Illinois. At the present time, this moth has not been scientifically described. Another insect, the aphid Amphorophora ampullata, feeds on Ostrich Fern and other ferns (Blackman & Eastop, 2013). Because Ostrich Fern has large leaves and often forms colonies, it can provide substantial protective cover to various kinds of wildlife where it is locally common." (Hilty)

    1. "Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) fiddleheads." By The Cosmonaut - Own work This image was created with darktable., is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 ca, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=89978871
    2. "Matteuccia struthiopteris" by Vzb83 in the University of Helsinki botanical garden, is licensed by CC BY-SA 3.0

    North Carolina Extension plant description: Onoclea Struthiopteris (Ostrich Fern) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox. https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/onoclea-struthiopteris/. Accessed 2 Feb. 2022.

    John Hilty botany, cultivation, faunal associations:  John Hilty, "Ostrich Fern", Illinois Wildflowers, the publisher, Copyright 2004-2019. Accessed 29 January 2022

    Botanical Illustration: Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz 1885, Gera, Germany, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8963

    Type: Fern
    Family: Onocleaceae
    Native Range: Europe, eastern Asia, eastern North America
    Zone: 3 to 7
    Height: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
    Spread: 5.00 to 8.00 feet
    Bloom Time: Non-flowering
    Sun: Part shade to full shade
    Water: Medium to wet
    Maintenance: Medium
    Suggested Use: Naturalize, Rain Garden
    Tolerate: Rabbit, Heavy Shade, Erosion, Clay Soil, Wet Soil

    Information and images compiled by Erik N. Vegeto

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