Ostrich fern, credit: vblinov/Essentials Collection/Getty Images


  • Approximately 1 m in height
  • Two forms of fronds: long feather-like green fronds and short brown fronds
  • Bright green emerging fronds (fiddleheads) tightly coiled with a scaly brown paper-like covering and a U-shaped groove in celery like stem


  • Moist areas, near water (streams, lakes), swamp edges, some open forests

Harvesting Time

  • Mid-spring

Uses and Related Information

  • A popular way to prepare fiddleheads is to boil them and then fry or sauteé with butter and seasoning
  • Cooked fiddleheads can be added to salads or soups and taste similar to asparagus
  • Fiddleheads should be collected when less than 15 cm in height and still tightly curled
  • They keep in the fridge for about two weeks or can be stored either dried or frozen

ostrich fern, credit: vblinov/Essentials Collection/Getty ImagesCautions

  • Consume only cooked ostrich ferns, because raw preparations may cause stomach irritation
  • To ensure the plants survival take no more than half the fiddleheads on it

fiddleheads, credit: Victor Crich