Matteuccia struthiopteris
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Hardiness Zone: 3-7 Height: 2-6 feet; 0.6-1.8 metres Spread: 3-8 feet; 1.0-2.4 metres Sun: Part shade to full shade Water: Medium to wet Wildlife: Seasonal cover and hiding places for ground frequenting birds. They also serve as protection for frogs and toads. Tolerates: Rabbit, Heavy Shade, Erosion, Clay Soil, Wet Soil Culture: Ostrich fern prefers moist, rich, well-drained, neutral to acidic soils in full to partial shade. Do not allow to dry out. Spreads freely by rhizomes. Propagate by division every few years in the spring. Noteworthy Characteristics: One of the most common native ferns, plants form large, upright clumps of big green fronds. In spring the unfurling fiddleheads are often harvested as a gourmet treat. Roots are spreading, and plants can form quite a large patch in time. Cinnamon-brown fertile fronds push up from the centre of each clump in summer, and these remain attractive all winter long. Garden Uses: Woodland garden; massed in wet areas near streams or ponds.