Young fronds of Matteucia struthiopteris

Young fronds of Matteucia struthiopteris

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Credit: DR JEREMY BURGESS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: The shuttlecock fern, Matteuccia struthiopteris, April, Norfolk UK. Native to Europe and E. Asia, M. struthiopteris is unique amongst hardy ferns in forming a permanent stem. The fronds are borne annually from buds at the top of this stem, which reaches a height of 10cm or so. The green fronds are tightly furled within the bud, and protected by papery bracts ( here brown). The unfurling occurs sequentially, but eventually each frond matures to an elongated feathery structure, giving the plant the resemblance to a green shuttlecock. The fronds are deciduous and sterile, and are shed during the winter. The shuttlecock fern is an attractive garden plant for shade, with a tendency to become invasive in damp conditions.The picture shows the unfurling tips of sterile fronds in Spring. The brown stalks surrounding the developing buds are remnants of the previous year's fronds.

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Keywords: biological, biology, botanical, botany, bract, fern, frond, hardy fern, matteucia struthiopteris, shuttlecock fern, sterile frond

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