Giant Ostrich Fern


Giant Ostrich Fern


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Description Reviews

The Giant Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) is a large fern species native to North America, Europe, and Asia. It is known for its tall fronds, which can reach heights of up to six feet (1.8 meters) and widths of up to three feet (0.9 meters).

Giant Ostrich Fern Used In Landscaping

These ferns prefer moist, shady environments and are commonly found growing near streams, rivers, and other bodies of water. They are often used in landscaping as decorative plants but can grow wild in many parts of the world.

Giant Ostrich Fern's Other Uses

The Fern is also known as the "shuttlecock fern" due to the shape of its fronds resembling a badminton shuttlecock. It is a deciduous fern, meaning its fronds die in winter, and new growth emerges in spring. It is a highly adaptable species and can grow in various soil types, from sandy loam to heavy clay. It is a fast-growing fern and can quickly spread through underground rhizomes to form large colonies. The fronds are used in floral arrangements and as a decorative foliage plant in gardens. Native Americans used these ferns for medicinal purposes, such as treating wounds and rheumatism. The fern is a popular plant for shade gardens and is often used in landscaping to provide a lush, tropical look. It is a tough plant that can survive temperatures as low as -40°F.

They initially received its name based on the appearance of its maturing fronds. The plant's fiddleheads (the name given to a fern's tightly wound, immature fronds) begin their growth by coiling delicately from the earth each spring.

Giant Ostrich Fern's Fronds

Mature fronds are long-tapering to their base but short-tapering to their tips and possess a distinct, plume-like quality. They also tend to undulate and so often resemble ostrich feathers. These ferns are both crown and colony-forming plants.

The Giant Ostrich Fern Is Hardy

When appearing in the wild, they prefer to grow along riverbeds and sandbars, reaching their runners out to form new crowns that become dense colonies. As such, they are resistant to destruction by floodwaters.

However, care must be taken when planting them in sunny areas, as direct sun exposure can damage their otherwise attractive appearance. While the fern is a popular ornamental plant and has even gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit, it also possesses edible fiddleheads, considered a delicacy in many regions.

Growers have been harvesting these ferns for centuries. The best harvests from ferns can be had from late April to early June, starting from the fiddleheads' first emergence and continuing until their stem height reaches approximately 6 inches or 15 cm.

Giant Ostrich Ferns should also be picked while tightly coiled. Once harvested, they can be prepared much like broccoli stems or any other firm, green vegetable. While their taste is unique and wild, it has often been compared to a mix of asparagus, artichokes, and green peas.

Hardy planting zone: U.S.D.A. plant hardiness zones 3-7.

Mature height: Three to six feet (with a spread of nearly equal size).

Bloom season: Non-flowering.

Sun or shade preferred: While the giant ostrich fern will tolerate partial sunlight, it should typically be planted in full shade in northern climates.

Customer Reviews

Based on 1 review
Robert Schroeder
Ostrich ferns

Ferns arrived as ordered. The bulbs were moist and looked in good shape. We planted them yesterday, so we're excited to see them pop out of the ground