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Wicklow Mountains National Park
Frost on Bracken fronds

Bracken, Raithneach mhór, Pteridium aquilinum

Bracken is one of our best known ferns and is easily recognised by its branched leaves which are called fronds. It can be found in most habitats in the Park, including the woodlands, heaths and grasslands. Bracken is an invasive species and spreads quickly into soils that have been disturbed by man. Grazing animals will not eat it and this allows it's spread to go unchecked. It grows rapidly and can reach up to 2 metres in height in places. At its peak during the summer months it can make hillwalking more difficult. Bracken also harbours parasitic ticks which can attach to exposed skin of passing walkers. Walkers in these areas should check for the presence of ticks on their skin and carefully remove them.

Bracken dies off during the winter turning brown. The valley floors in the Park can become very frosty at this time but snowfall is usually confined to the higher slopes.