I am trying to solve this mystery plant. Could anyone verify if it is a fern at the very least?

The photo was taken at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden in Berkeley, California two years ago. I have contacted the garden's horticulturist but he is on vacation and this is in sort of a time crunch.

Updated: From my memory the spread was quite big maybe a few feet, 2 or 3 feet, in width and the plant was as high as 3 feet? The width may be smaller but I do for sure remembering having to be on my tip toes to take this photo because i wanted this angle and I am 5 2" so it had to be somewhat tall. For sure though, this photo was taken in July.

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  • 2
    Have you any other photos showing the whole plant? What time of year was this taken, was it fall? It's impossible to tell from this photo the height, spread and growth habit of the plant, and if no one ID's it, that information will be essential
    – Bamboo
    Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 21:54
  • What time of year is important, hope you have more pictures. A close up of those leaves, underneath should be spores. Definitely a fern if so...
    – stormy
    Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 18:49
  • Fern This is the same exact picture you said you took at the gardens? Not an answer as this picture was part of an identity question. We'll be back with an answer..
    – stormy
    Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 19:00
  • Hi, sorry i do not have any other photos unfortunately. This is the only one i have. From my memory the spread was quite big maybe a few feet, 2 or 3 feet, in width and the plant was as high as 3 feet. Photo was taken in July. @Bamboo thank you, apologies for leaving that info out. first time posting here. Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 19:36
  • Hi @stormy the photo was taken in July and unfortunately I dont have anymore photos. Thank you for your help. Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 19:37

1 Answer 1


One of the horticulturalists at the garden got back to me. In case anyone else is interested it is Pteridium esculentum.


  • I wondered if it was one of the brackens - but it doesn't look like this most of the time, does it - shame, in all the pics I checked, none have quite this array of colours. Thanks for letting us know.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 22:01

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