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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 PolypodiophytaPolypodiophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of the plants commonly called ferns. The ferns are vascular plants with stems, roots, and leaves. The small and inconspicuous gametophyte and the large spore-producing fern plant are quite independent of each other.
..... Click the link for more information. , class Polypodiopsida, order Filicales, family Polypodiaceae.
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1. any of various large coarse ferns, esp Pteridium aquilinum, having large fronds with spore cases along the undersides and extensive underground stems
2. a clump of any of these ferns
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005