Monday 7 May 2012: Love in Bracken
Bracken, Pteridium aquilinum, isn't a favourite plant when it submerges all other vegetation, but at this time of year it can look quite beautiful as the leaves unfold . I couldn't resist a double exposure with the leaves of the bracken forming a heart.
When the bracken is at this stage of growth the tops are called fiddleheads. They are considered edible in many parts of the world and can be cooked, salted or pickled. The roots are used to brew beer and to make a starch and indeed flour for bread. Having said that, the plant contains carcinogens that are linked to cancers of the oesophagus and stomach. Best not to try them. Animals will avoid eating bracken unless they have no choice!
More about bracken when it grows!