Apr. 16, 2019

bracken, Pteridium aquilinum

Bracken is another one of the really really big plants. It may not compete with the mighty oak for height, but it sure will compete with the roots. In oak and pine woods, there are often patches of this fern for as far as the eye can see. They will have spread by underground rhizomes, so one plant can cover a lot of ground. The fertile fronds are rarely seen. Bracken seems to produce just enough of these to keep things going. The spores are extremely light, and can travel great distances in the wind. Bracken occurs in those woods, and at times in open, mostly sandy areas in every state (that's right, HI too), every province except LB, NT, NU, and YT, and on SPM; also other continents except Antarctica. Taylor Co FL, 10/20/15.