Also known as Matteuccia Struthiopteris. The fonds produce millions of tiny spores that can be blown by the wind, and drop to a new location to form new ferns. Ostrich fern fiddle heads can be consumed in quantities unlike the Bracken fern which contains carcinogens. Fiddlehead Greens are a Super Nutritious Food, high in iron, potassium, niacin, riboflavin (Vitamin B), magnesium, phosphorus and Vitamin A and C. The frond or leaf of the ostrich fern is a tapered at both ends to form what looks to many people like a giant plume or feather of an ostrich. This is how it received its names. The "Ostrich Fern" goes completely dormant in the winter yet comes back with full vigor every spring. Although it is not obvious, it is crucial to have a drop of water on the plant at the proper time and place to allow sperm to swim to an egg and complete the fern's life cycle.
The inner bark is used by the Menominee as a poultice for boils, ulcers and wounds.
The fiddle heads are edible only when they are young (about 2 weeks old), they become poisonous once unfurled. The brown scales do not necessarily need to be removed before eaten.