Fiddlehead ferns

steflinkJune 12, 2005

Hello everyone: I'm moving to a place that has a partially wooded backyard and I would love to plant some fiddlehead ferns. Are these easy to find?

Also--any idea if I can plant them in the fall?

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I've never grown them myself, but if you're planning on eating them, ONLY PLANT OSTRICH FERNS. They are the only type that is safe to eat.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2005 at 8:12PM
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waplummer(Z5 NY)

Ostrich ferns are reputed to be carcinogenic so eat them at your peril. Some of the most common and easiest native ferns are: Christmas fern, maidenhair fern, lady fern, cinnamon fern, the wood ferns - marginal, goldies and others. For accent the Japanese painted fern is many people's favorite. Most of these should be easy to find in a good nursery or garden center.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 10:39PM
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Ostrich ferns are still the only ones that are supposedly safe to eat. The properties you mention are somewhat disputed at this time, but always prefaced with the instructions that fiddleheads MUST BE COOKED before eating.

The other ferns you mention above - native or not - are not edible varieties.

For more information on fiddleheads, as well as a source for buying them frozen & a source for recipes, try the link below. The folks there are extremely nice, answer e-mail questions promptly, & aim to please. (They also sell fresh wild mushrooms & ramps in season as well.)

Here is a link that might be useful: Earthly Delights

    Bookmark   June 15, 2005 at 9:41AM
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:) as to the ostrich ferns... yes, you can plant them in the fall- and they can take half a day of sun, in fact they rather like it.

they're readily available in most places...but ideally, the way to get them is to help someone with an established bed 'groom' theirs, that way, you come home with half a dozen plants for the price of the spade :)

    Bookmark   June 15, 2005 at 12:17PM
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waplummer(Z5 NY)

I never said or implied that the other ferns were edible. the originator did not mention whether he was interested in edible plants. These other ferns are more restrained than Ostrich ferns and offer a diversity of form and color.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2005 at 6:42PM
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madmouser(7 TN)

There's an excellent article on growing ferns put out by the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. See the link below.
A lot of ferns put up new shoots that look like fiddleheads. I planted several varieties this spring and I'm really enjoying the different textures and looks. I ordered mine from Big Dipper Ferns -- -- and would recommend them. They've got a wide variety and the plants were well packaged and settled in quickly and are growing rapidly. I decided to start with the ones that are described as easy to grow in the BBG article and so far, they are.

Here is a link that might be useful: BBG article on ferns

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 1:53PM
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