Ostrich Fern has very tall, ostrich-plume-shaped fronds and grows in symmetric vase-shaped clumps. Fertile stalks are found in the center of the ring. The fertile "beads" are green when young and brown when ripe. This is the only species of fern of which the fiddlehead (unfurled fern) is edible. Fiddleheads are harvested in the spring before the young fronds start to unfurl. They are cooked like a vegetable. It is at its most beautiful in spring when the large, pale green, lacy fronds start to unfurl. It spreads aggressively by rhizomes to form colonies.
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