BRACKEN, Pteridiurn aquilinum (L.) Kuhn. 1, plant showing leaves and rhizomes; 2, segmented leaflet; 3, undersurface of leaflet showing spore bearing margin. Perennial, growing 1 to 4 feet (0.3 to 1.2 m) tall. Reproduces by spores or by shoots from a thick, black, scaly rhizome that may grow to a length of 20 feet (6 m). Leaves or fronds arise directly from the rhizome, with many branches, each branch being made up of numerous leaflets which in turn are segmented. Spores are borne on the underside of each leaflet in a narrow, brownish marginal band. Found in open pastures, woodlands, and hillsides, particularly on acid soils. The plant is poisonous if consumed over time, but is not usually eaten unless feed is very short.