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ASK THE GARDENERS. Questions & Answers

Q Will you please give the fern species under the term ``fiddlehead'' which is used to make greens and the delicious soup? Is there more than one species and are there any which look like fiddleheads but which should not be used? B.E.B.H.

South Hadley, Mass.

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Frankly, we were unaware that there is more than one species that is called ``fiddlehead,'' so we referred to the Field Guide to North American Edible Wild Plants, by Thomas S. Elias and Peter A. Dykeman, with photographic illustrations. We find there are three that form the distinctive ``fiddleheads'' that come up in the spring. They are: Ostrich fern (Matteucia struthiopteris, also M.pensylvanica and Pteretis nodulosa) with which we are familiar; Bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum); and Cinnamon fern (Osumunda cinnamomea). The authors tell us there are no poisonous look-alikes.

If you have a question about your garden, inside or out, send it, along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope, to the Garden Page, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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