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Ferns of the Sierra (1960) by Robert J. Rodin


PTERIDIUM
Brake Fern

BRACKEN or BRAKE FERN

Pteridium aquilinum var. pubescens Underw. (Fig. 43)

Pteris aquilinum
Pteris aquilinum var. lanuginosum

A single frond 2 to 4 feet high arises annually from the end of each branch of long black rhizomes. Fronds triangular in outline, much compounded. Sori continuous around leaf margins with rolled leaf margin serving as an indusium.

The rhizome was used in textiles and baskets by California Indians for its black color (Kroeber). The tender fronds were also eaten both raw and cooked by Miwok Indians (Godfrey).

This coarse fern is acid-loving and may be found in shady wooded areas, where fronds are usually widely scattered, or may grow in open meadows where plants are more likely to develop into dense stands. It is widely distributed, being known from Quebec and the Great Lakes Region to Alaska, in South Dakota, Texas and California.

Fig. 43 BRAKE FERN (Pteridium aquilinum var. pubescens)
[click to enlarge]

Fig. 43 BRAKE FERN (Pteridium aquilinum var. pubescens). Upper: One of our most common ferns in a wooded area. Also common in open meadows. Lower: Under side of one portion of a pinna with almost continuous marginal sori.



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