Bracken fern identification
Bracken fern is a native perennial fern. On farms it is classified as a weed because it competes with pasture for moisture, nutrients and light and is poisonous to stock.
Bracken fern has an extensive root system up to several metres long that spreads in search of nearby moisture and nutrients. It does not produce flowers or seeds; instead it has spores called ‘sori’ forming on the underside of the fronds, which are dispersed in late summer or autumn. After sprouting, the fronds can grow erect up to 1.5 m long but in most cases they range from 0.6 m to 1 m.
Bracken fern is generally found in open forest in all types of temperatures. It can compete with pasture species and in dense stands can shade and dominate other vegetation as well as harbour feral animals.