Genus Pteridium
Fern Family (Polypodiaceae)

Bracken Fern

Bracken Fern
(Pteridium aquilinum)

Large course ferns which often grow from underground rootstocks, and therefore occur in extensive patches. The fronds are leathery and stiff.

These were growing in a large patch under the shade of an aspen grove.

Cliffbrake and Rockbrake ferns

Several species of small ferns may be found growing from cracks in large rocks and cliffs. Here are two kinds growing together. The one with the typical fern-like fronds is the Parsley Fern or Rock-brake (Cryptogramma crispa).

The other one is Brewer's cliffbrake (Pellaea breweri). It appears to have leaves similar to those of a flowering plant. However, ferns do not produce flowers or seeds. Instead, spores are formed on the underside of the fronds.