Fern, Bracken (Pterdium Aquilinum)


Pteridium aquilinum (bracken, brake or common bracken), also known as “eagle fern,” is a species of fern occurring in temperate and subtropical regions in both hemispheres. The extreme lightness of its spores has led to its global distribution.

Common bracken is a herbaceous perennial plant, deciduous in winter. The large, roughly triangular fronds are produced singly, arising upwards from an underground rhizome, and grow to 1–3 m (3–10 ft) tall; the main stem, or stipe, is up to 1 cm (0.4 in) diameter at the base.

An adaptable plant, bracken readily colonises disturbed areas. It can even be aggressive in countries where it is native, such as England, where it has invaded heather  (L.) Hull) stands on the North Yorkshire moors.

The plant contains the carcinogenic compound ptaquiloside, and communities (mainly in Japan) where the young stems are used as a vegetable have some of the highest stomach cancer rates in the world. Consumption of ptaquiloside-contaminated milk is thought to contribute to human gastric cancer in the Andean states of Venezuela.

Source: Wikipedia