|  Share | Cite


bracken or brake, common name for a tall fern ( Pteridium aquilinum ) with large triangular fronds, widespread throughout the world, often as a weed. It is considered poisonous to livestock when eaten in quantity, but the rootstocks and the young shoots, cooked, are used for food. Bracken is also a source of tannin and is used for thatching and as bedding for livestock. A beverage is made from the roots. The names bracken and brake are sometimes also applied to other large, coarse ferns and, as general terms, to a thicket of such plants. Bracken is classified in the division Polypodiophyta, class Polypodiopsida, order Filicales, family Polypodiaceae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on bracken from Infoplease:

  • bracken: meaning and definitions - bracken: Definition and Pronunciation
  • John Bracken - Bracken, John Bracken, John, 1883–1969, Canadian political leader, b. Ontario. A noted ...
  • Peg Bracken - Biography of Peg Bracken, Former advertising executive who published the best-selling cookbook, “I Hate to Cook Book.” She sold more than three million copies and rel…
  • Eddie Bracken - Eddie Bracken Age: 87 stage, screen, and film actor who played the comic hero in the Preston ...
  • brake, in botany - brake brake, in botany: see bracken.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Plants