Matteuccia struthiopteris 

(matt-tuuk' kee-ah struu-thee-op' ter-iss)

Common name:Ostrich Fern

Family: Woodsiaceae

Height x width: 4-7' x 2-3'

Growth rate: moderate

Fronds: of two types--outer sterile lacy fronds, inner fertile (spores); pinnules revolute (rolled under); 8-12" across; 30-70 pinnae alternate and narrowly lanceolate and slightly pinnately cut

Sori: clustered

Hardiness: zones 2-8 (marginal in heat of zone 8)

Soil: highly organic, moist to swampy or boggy, slightly acid

Light: part to full shade

Pests and Problems: leaf scorch from drying out

Landscape habit, uses: background in shaded borders, massed in large woodlands, screen for early spring ephemerals; wet sites

Other interest: new shoots have attractive large "fiddleheads" in spring; common name refers to shape of sterile inner fronds like ostrich feathers; spreads by underground rhizomes forming clusters of new fronds at intervals; grows tallest in swampy sites, usual height is 4'

Other culture: low maintenance

Propagation: spring division, spores in late summer

Species: former name pennsylvanica may be seen for this species; orientalis is similar but has smaller fronds and sterile inner ones are almost prostrate

Cultivars: none


©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

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