Are fern fiddleheads toxic?

Q: Are these ferns toxic or edible?

A: I believe this is Christmas fern, Polystichum acrostichoides. Since deer don’t bother it in the woods, I believe it is inedible.

Bracken fern, Pteridium aquilinum, often seen on disturbed roadsides, has the reputation of being somewhat poisonous.

Some gardeners grow ostrich fern, Matteuccia struthiopteris, in wet places in their landscapes. It is commonly believed to be edible. The fiddleheads (emerging fronds) that appear from a rounded clump each spring can be snapped off when small and then sauteed or boiled. Some compare the taste to asparagus.


Bracken fern

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