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Matteuccia struthiopteris | Shuttlecock or Ostrich Fern - 15-25cm - 3lt

Matteuccia struthiopteris | Shuttlecock or Ostrich Fern - 15-25cm - 3lt

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Matteuccia struthiopteris, commonly known as the ostrich or shuttlecock fern, is a striking perennial fern native to temperate regions across the Northern Hemisphere. This plant is renowned for its large, graceful fronds that bear a resemblance to the elegant feathers of an ostrich or shuttlecock, hence the name. 

This fern typically grows in moist, well-drained soils and thrives in partial to full shade, making it an ideal plant for woodland gardens or shaded borders. It can reach a height of up to 1.5 metres (5 feet) and spreads through underground rhizomes, forming dense colonies over time. The plant's fronds are of two types: the sterile fronds, which are the showy, arching fronds that give the fern its name, and the fertile fronds, which are shorter, erect, and appear in the centre of the plant.

In spring, the young fronds, known as fiddleheads, emerge as tightly coiled spirals. These fiddleheads are not only a visual delight but are also edible. In some cultures, they are harvested and consumed as a delicacy, often compared to asparagus in flavour. However, care should be taken to properly identify and prepare them, as not all fern species are safe to eat.

Matteuccia struthiopteris is relatively low-maintenance once established. It is hardy and can withstand temperatures down to -20°C, making it suitable for various climates across the UK. Regular watering, especially during dry periods, and mulching to retain soil moisture are recommended to keep the plant thriving. Pruning is generally not necessary, though old fronds can be removed to maintain a tidy appearance.

Overall, this fern is a versatile and attractive plant that adds a lush, tropical feel to gardens. Its majestic fronds and adaptability make it a popular choice among gardeners and landscapers alike.

  • Common Name

    Shuttlecock Fern

  • Family


  • Type

    evergreen fern

  • Pot Size


  • Height (cm)


  • Native To

    Eastern Asia

  • Flower


  • Foliage

    long, arching, and feather-like, green

  • Maturation period

    5–10 years

Key Info

Size & Spacing

Mature Height


Mature Width


Shape / habit


Preferred Location


East–facing or South–facing or North–facing or West–facing, sheltered

Soil Type

acid, alkaline, neutral, full shade, partial shade

Soil moisture

moist but well–drained, poorly–drained, well–drained

Growing Period




all year


no fruit

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Arundel Arboretum is a shrub and tree retail nursery with over 40 years of experience.

About Us

During this time, we have developed a large stock of trees, mature evergreen shrubs, conifers, Japanese maples, cedars and olives. What sets us apart from a generic garden center is solid unwavering focus on trees and some bigger shrubs. You will find thousands of trees, hundreds of varieties and lots of experts who are working on the nursery and more than willing to help you to choose a plant for you.

What you will not find is hot tubs, garden furniture and plastic garden gnomes. In a nutshell, trees is what we know and trees is what we do, and only trees (and some shrubs to go with the trees).

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Arundel Arboretum Ltd Scotland Barn Chichester Road Arundel West Sussex BN18 0AD

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