Looking for the Ostrich fern

I know quite a lot about wild plants, but little about ferns. The last couple of years I have been curious about the Ostrich fern, or Fiddleheads (Matteuccia struthioteris) as they are also called (strutseveng in norwegian). Because people are eating them, and I am very interested in edible, wild plants. I think I know now how it looks, and also were to find it, and there are thousands not far from were I live. I would never eat any plant I am not hundred percent sure about, and that should apply to all. Anyway it was too late. The name Fiddlehead is the shape of the fern when it is rolling out early in the spring, and thats the time when it is eaten. So maybe next year.
There are more photos of this fern in my green photo gallery.



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65 thoughts on “Looking for the Ostrich fern

  1. ferns are so hard to grow in Montana. I have tried so many places on our property to get them to establish, with little to no luck. Until last year. A fern I had planted over four years ago decided to come out of the ground and show itself for the first time, gorgeous all summer in our shade garden. This year it’s already a foot or so high.

  2. Be careful if you’re thinking about eating fiddleheads. I think there are look-alikes and even the edible ones come with directions to boil and boil and boil. To me it’s not worth it. They’re beautiful to look at though and you’ve done a great job of showing them in good compositions.

    • I never eat anything wild I am not absolutly sure about. Now I know for sure (was quite sure when I was there) it is the right one, but it is too late this year. I’ll try next year..

  3. We have the ostrich fern here in Maine, and also call them fiddleheads! Mainers eat them with vinegar, how about you?

  4. A very interesting post Bente. I love ferns and have a lot growing in the hedges around my garden. I hadn’t heard about eating them. You must let us all know how you get on when you try them. :-)

    • There are stories and recipies on the internet, Chillbrook, otherwise you have to wait unntil spring 2013…(don’t try any of your ferns if you are not sure about which ones you have there. And it would be too late for you too this year..)

    • Oh, what a wonderful garden, Cybermum, I am sure you enjoy it a lot! And the fern looks like the ostrich fern. In Norway this is the only wild fern with spore-bearing fertile fronds on separate stems, they are brown while the rest of the fern is green now in spring.

  5. Lovely photos of this fern. I like the top part rolled up into a ball. I have lots of similar looking ferns near my lounge window – they do so well in the deep shade in this area. Not sure whether I’d be game to eat ferns though – probably needs an expert to correctly identify them first.

    • You are absolutly right about the expertice, Victoria. I have checked now with a real expert, so I know now. In the meantime I will study them more. They live in the shade also in the forest.

  6. I’ve never had any luck with ferns, but I think they are so gorgeous. I think I’ll stick to looking at your photos. So pleasing to the eye, and they stay alive that way. :-)
    Simply beautiful. I love the second pic. Rabbit ears – hehe.

  7. My first thought was can you eat them?! Regardless, I love ferns in the bush, in the garden but when growing them they have a mind of their own – like cats – they grow when, where & how they want. Your photos are lovely.

    • You are crazy, Russel, 121 species of fern. Now I have used quite som time to learn about one of them, not to mention growing any. I think you must have really green fingers.

      • I got my green fingers from my wise old grandmother. She gave me a bad piece of ground in her yard as my garden. I didn’t see it as bad, though. I saw it as an opportunity to grow beautiful cactus and succulents. The rest is history.

  8. Absolutely beautiful and freshly green photographs. I hadn’t realized that fiddlehead ferns is the same as Ostrich ferns. In the National Indian museum down in DC, they serve Fiddlehead fern head salad at their cafe. Tastes like green.

      • LOL ! Wood ! Now that would be something. Yes, the cafe in the museum serves traditional native american foods from the different regions. All of the foodies in DC love the cafe because its uniqueness.

  9. Hello! Fiddleheads are delicious to eat, they taste a little like spinach, and that is how I prepared them when I was living in Canada many years ago.
    During the very short spring season, you could even find them frozen in the local supermarket (that was in Ottawa); a little butter in the pan was enough, letting them simmer a few minutes with pepper and (not much) salt.
    Even the kids loved them!
    The “fiddles” must be very very young to be edible though!

  10. Jag håller med om två saker, det är oerhört skoja tt äta vilda växter, och jag skulle inte äta dem om jag inte var 100% säker. Jag har funnit denhär sidan, jag hoppas att du finenr många bra saker där!
    Underbara bilder! När de är mer hoprullade, ser de ut som något från 1700-talet. :-)
    Kram och allt gott till dej!

      • Vad kul att du uppskattade det! :-) Kul att dela med sig av det man tycker om. Glad att du vill abonnera på min blogg, ja, det blir mycket naturbilder, älskar att vara ute i naturen!
        Allt gott till dej!!!

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