Its name makes it sound much more menacing than it really is. (Or at least to me it does – I associate it with the Kraken!)
The Common Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) is actually a type of fern. It grows on just about every continent (except Antarctica) in temperate and tropical climates. According to Britannica.com, the Common Bracken is the “most broadly distributed of all fern species and among the most wide-ranging of all vascular plants.” And it’s growing in our front yard.
We certainly didn’t plant. It’s an invasive species, spreading by underground rhizomes and spores. It doesn’t seem too aggressive so far, though fortunately, and I kind of like having more ferns in the garden. I think they’re quite pretty.
Bracken fiddleheads are arguably edible, but I recommend you read this Atlantic article first before trying them.