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Nature Trail 26

Bracken, Pteridium Aquilinum

Bracken, Pteridium aquilinum, is a type of fern which grows up to 2m tall, making it the biggest fern found naturally in the UK.
It can be found in woodland, grassland and heathland, so it loves Mendip where the habitats can all be found!
It can spread through an area quite rapidly, it grows from ‘rhizomes’ which is a special type of root, but can be controlled by crushing, either by a machine or by animals, like cattle, treading on it. Although it is not a very popular plant with people, lots of wildlife loves bracken, badgers use it for bedding, invertebrates live in it and the adder, the UK’s only venomous snake, may well have evolved the diamond pattern on its skin to camouflage itself in bracken, where it waits to ambush its prey.

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