Bracken buds
Bracken buds

These bracken (Pteridium) buds look pugnacious, which sums up the character of bracken fern quite well.

Bracken makes a shady canopy and this, together with suppressive (allelopathic) chemical diffusions, inhibits other plants.  It provides a good habitat for sheep and deer ticks.

Cultures throughout history have eaten bracken fiddleheads.  Current research indicates that bracken contains carcinogens linked with oesophageal cancers so recommends against consumption by humans or livestock.

There are small areas of bracken fern in the wood, mostly in patches along the tracks.  Its presence is good for butterflies –  it is a food plant by larvae of many fritillary butterfly species.


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