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a genus of ferns of the family Pteridiaceae. They are herbaceous perennial plants with a creeping, branched root-stock. The solitary fronds are leathery, twice and thrice pinnate, and on long, thick stalks; they are often pubescent beneath. The sporangia are covered by the curled leaf margins.
There are two species of Pteridium. The common brake, or bracken (P. aquilinum), is distributed almost throughout the world, in coniferous and mixed forests. It forms a thick cover on felled trees and is encountered on mountains (Carpathians, Caucasus). P. tauricum, a liana with reddish pubescence on the underside, grows in the foothills and in the lower mountain zone of the Crimea and the Caucasus. The young leaves are sometimes used as food. The starch-rich rootstocks are eaten by livestock; they are poisonous to cattle and horses.