Bracken or Northern bracken is a large fern species. Its underground rhizome stretches out over a wide area. The large, triangular leaves rise individually from the rhizome. The sporangia of Bracken are located on the edges of the undersides of the leaves and the spores ripen in July-August.
Bracken thrives on open mesic and sub-xeric heath forests, roadsides, clear-cut areas, pasturages and streamed spruce mires. Its area of distribution covers Eurasia except for its most northern parts, North Africa and eastern and western North America.
Bracken is a poisonous plant but nevertheless has been used as medicinal herb to treat e.g. gouty arthritis. Bracken has also been used as fuel, mattress filling, animal bedding and substitute for soap.
As a common species Bracken requires no conservation to secure its occurrence.
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Long beech fern