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Able to thrive in damp and shady corners, the ostrich fern is an excellent way to patch any gaps of moisture in your yard where other less suited plants will not grow. In the scientific world, it is better known as Matteuccia struthiopteris. Some different common names for this fern is fiddlehead fern or shuttlecock fern; found in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in both central and northern Europe, northern Asia, and northern North America. It can typically be found growing in riverbanks and sandbars since it grows from a vertical crown. This fern can form dense colonies which make it resistant from being destroyed by floodwaters. The ostrich fern has a hardiness zone of three through seven and can grow to a height of six feet. The fern's spread can also reach three to six feet of vase-shaped clumps. These clumps resemble the tail-feathers of the bird for which it's named and is a soft green color that compliments deeper hues perfectly. After ostrich ferns have had time to thrive, it is possible to harvest thefiddleheads that they produce. These are the first shoots of the ostrich fern, which grow in spring before the frond clumps emerge. Their name comes from their shape these treats can be cooked up and served as a delicious and traditional springtime snack, thus providing an excellent variation for any garden that needs a more flavorful spring.
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Named for the curved stem’s resemblance to an ostrich neck; these ferns are native to the Northeastern United States. They can be grown from spores or plants alike, and they are among the hardiest plants in their family. Ostrich ferns are known to reach an average height of 5 feet, but they reach up to 7 feet in many cases. They are loved by gardeners and landscapers alike because they provide a full, glossy coat of green fronds throughout the entire body of the vase-shaped plant. Throughout the country, fiddleheads, the immature leaves of the plant, are often cooked up and served as a delicacy for their grassy, nutty flavor.
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