Matteuccia struthiopteris (L.) Todaro
var. pensylvanica (Willd.) C.V.Morton
ostrich fern
Family: Dryopteridaceae

sterile frond
fertile frond

Matteuccia struthiopteris has separate and very different sterile and fertile fronds together in conspicuous clusters. Sterile leaves are long, the largest exceeding 100 cm. The petiole is relatively short and the blade is long-tapering to the base with the lowest pinnae very short. Fertile fronds are shorter than the sterile, often in the range of 30-50 cm, becoming dark brown and stiff when mature and often persisting throughout the following winter. The combination of large, conspicuously clumped fronds, long-tapering to the base and separate fertile fronds is distinctive and unique in the Wisconsin flora. Osmunda cinnamomea is somewhat similar, but the fronds are only slightly narrowed at the base.

M. struthiopteris ranges from Alaska across Canada and south to the Dakotas, Iowa and West Virginia. In Wisconsin it is common throughout the state, in wet forests and often in deep mucky soils or on springy sites and sometimes forming large populations.

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List of all Pteridophytes

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