Matteuccia is a genus of ferns with one species, Matteuccia struthiopteris (common names ostrich fern,<ref name=BSBI07>Template:Cite web</ref> fiddlehead fern or shuttlecock fern). The species epithet struthiopteris comes from Ancient Greek words, Template:Lang (Template:Grc-tr) "ostrich" and Template:Lang (Template:Grc-tr) "fern".
It is a crown-forming, colony-forming plant, occurring in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in central and northern Europe,<ref>Altervista Flora Italiana, Felce penna di struzzo, Matteuccia struthiopteris (L.) Tod.</ref> northern Asia,<ref>Template:EFloras</ref> and northern North America.<ref>Template:BONAP</ref> It grows from a completely vertical crown, favoring riverbanks and sandbars, but sends out lateral stolons to form new crowns. It thus can form dense colonies resistant to destruction by floodwaters.
The fronds are dimorphic, with the deciduous green sterile fronds being almost vertical, Template:Convert tall and Template:Convert broad, long-tapering to the base but short-tapering to the tip, so that they resemble ostrich plumes, hence the name. The fertile fronds are shorter, Template:Convert long, brown when ripe, with highly modified and constricted leaf tissue curled over the sporangia; they develop in autumn, persist erect over the winter and release the spores in early spring.
Cultivation and uses
The ostrich fern is a popular ornamental plant in gardens. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref> While choosing a place of planting it should be taken into account that this fern is very expansive and its leaves often lose their beauty throughout the summer, especially if not protected from wind and hail. The tightly wound immature fronds, called fiddleheads, are also used as a cooked vegetable,<ref name=umaine>http://umaine.edu/publications/4198e/</ref> and are considered a delicacy mainly in rural areas of northeastern North America. It is considered inadvisable to eat uncooked fiddleheads.<ref name=umaine/>
The sprouts are also picked all over Japan, ("kogomi" in Japanese)<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> where they are a delicacy.
Matteuccia struthiopteris is the only species in the genus Matteuccia. Some sources include two Asian species, M. orientalis and M. intermedia, but molecular data shows that M. struthiopteris is more closely related to Onocleopsis and Onoclea (sensitive fern) than it is to M. orientalis and M. intermedia, and so the latter should be moved to a genus Pentarhizidium which contains those two species. <ref>Template:Cite journal</ref> Formerly classified as a member of the Dryopteridaceae, Matteuccia has been reassigned to the new much smaller family Onocleaceae.
- Hyde, H. A., Wade, A. E., & Harrison, S. G. (1978). Welsh Ferns. National Museum of Wales.