Bracken

©Jon Hawkins

Bracken

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Scientific name: Pteridium aquilinum
Our most familiar fern, bracken can be found growing in dense stands on hillsides, moorland, heathland and in woodlands. It is very large and dies back in winter, turning the landscape orangey-brown.

Top facts

Stats

Height: up to 2m

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

January to December

About

Bracken is the UK's most common fern and grows in dense stands on heathland, moorland, hillsides and in woodland. It is a large fern that favours dry, acid soils and spreads by underground rhizomes. Unlike many ferns, bracken dies back in winter, leaving brown, withered fronds that pepper the landscape. In the spring, the tightly curled fronds appear, grow and unfurl.

What to look for

Bracken forms dense stands in many habitats. It can be easily recognised by its large, branched fronds which appear in spring and are green when mature, but die back to brown.

Where to find

Widespread.

Did you know?

Bracken is poisonous to grazing livestock and small mammals.