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1 Gallon Pot. Native. Matteuccia struthiopteris, commonly called ostrich fern, is a clump-forming, upright to arching, rhizomatous, deciduous fern which typically grows 2-3′ tall in cultivation, but may reach 6′ tall in moist, cool climates in the wild. The showy parts of this fern are the finely dissected, medium green, vegetative (sterile) fronds which, as the common name suggests, exhibit the feathery appearance of long ostrich plumes. The vegetative fronds emerge at the narrow base of the clumps in spring as the familiar “fiddleheads” from where they unfurl to a maximum length of 4′. These vegetative fronds usually depreciate as the summer proceeds, begin to look rather tattered by early fall and finally lose their leaflets later in the fall as the plant goes dormant for the winter. The sterile fronds form a huge vase-like crown around the much less showy fertile fronds which are erect, spike-like and dark brown. The fertile fronds arise in mid-summer and persist through the winter.