Matteuccia struthiopteris   Ostrich Fern DD I

Matteuccia struthiopteris whole Matteuccia struthiopteris close

In just one part of the woods near Witherslack in Cumbria grows and abundance of this introduced fern. Clearly it has escaped from a once landscaped garden but now flourishes naturally in these damp woods. This fern has sterile frond (shown) and late in summer it grows a fertile frond with thin in-rolled leaflets looking quite different from the infertile ones.

The unusual sounding name comes from the genus being named after a nineteenth century Italian Physicist Carlo Matteucci and, because the fertile fronds look a bit like the feathers of an ostrich, the species name for fern (pteris which is Greek) is preceded by a suffix derived from the Greek meaning "of an ostrich": Strutheios.

Witherslack woods, Cumbria 10th May 2005

Added on September 16th 2005, updated 19th December 2010

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