Dec. 27, 2021

ostrich fern, Matteuccia struthiopteris

The fronds and the feathers certainly share a form. But unlike the feathers, you can eat these. Ostrich fern is perhaps the best source of fiddleheads. Fiddleheads are the tender unfurling leaves in the spring. They make a very nice nibble if you first scrape off the brown scales. But the green shoots you see here in the center come later. They are very tough developing fertile fronds that will soon turn dark and release spores. Then they will make passable additions to dried flower arrangements. The whole effect is a good addition to our gardens. Ostrich fern grows around the world in the north, here in AK, CT, IA, IL, IN, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SD, VA, VT, WI, WV, and all of Canada except LB. Alger Co MI, 7/14/14. Sensitive fern family, Onocleaceae.