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Lacy bracken fern
Pteridium caudatum

Copyright by: George D. Gann, 16 March 2015
Portion of frond in habitat, Everglades National Park
Florida, USA

General Landscape Uses: Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations.

Availability: Grown by enthusiasts and occasionally by native plant nurseries.

Description: Large herbaceous fern.

Dimensions: Typically 3-6 feet or more in height. Spreading from underground stems (rhizomes) and forming large dense patches.

Growth Rate: Moderate.

Range: Monroe County Keys north to Brevard, Highlands and Citrus counties; West Indies, Mexico, Central America and South America. Rare in the Monroe County Keys and very rare or absent in the middle Keys.

Plant Map Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

 Map of ZIP codes with habitat recommendations from the Monroe County Keys north to Martin and Charlotte counties.

Habitats: Pinelands.

Soils: Moist, well-drained limestone or sandy soils, usually without humusy top layer.

Nutritional Requirements: Low; it grows in nutrient poor soils.

Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.

Salt Wind Tolerance: Low; salt wind may burn the leaves.

Drought Tolerance: High; does not require any supplemental water once established.

Light Requirements: Full sun.

Flower Color: N/A.

Flower Characteristics: There are no flowers; the plants reproduce by spores.

Flowering Season: All year.

Fruit: Inconspicuous spores.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from spores and division.

References: A Gardner's Guide to Florida's Native Plants

Comments: It can be very aggressive in the garden; handle with care!

Copyright by: George D. Gann, 16 March 2015
Portion of frond in habitat, Everglades National Park
Florida, USA

Copyright by: George D. Gann
emerging frond in habitat
Everglades National Park, 2012

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Other data on Pteridium caudatum available from:

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