I would like to grow edible fiddleheads in my north-facing partial sun plot. Please advise where could I find/purchase/forage seedlings of ostrich fern in an attempt to grow and harvest fiddleheads? Thank you :)
Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners about a native plant, perennial and ornamental, parts edible, and a native food source for a few caterpillars of moths and butterflies–a beneficial addition to your garden both for humans and pollinating insects.
This site is dedicated to the Ostrich Fern, Matteuccia struthiopteris, with a range of photographs showing the fern and its fronds in the wild, in states throughout the year, demonstrating what to expect when growing the plant.
The following permaculture website describes in detail the parts of the plant, its ultimate size of 2-6 feet (0.6-1.8 meters) tall and indefinite width forming large colonies. In addition it provides recipes for fiddlehead dishes. The ferns are virtually maintenance free, and like to grow in shady, dark and damp areas. http://tcpermaculture.blogspot.ca/2012/04/permaculture-plants-ostrich-fern.html
To purchase the plant you might inquire at any large garden centre, or one of the many native plant societies or nurseries. Googling Native Plant Vendors provided a list of nurseries.
We applaud your desire to enjoy native plants aesthetically and culinary. We wish you well and a spring harvest.