Pteridium aquilinum is a terrestrial species that occurs in a wide variety of habitats, ranging from sand dunes to peatlands and open meadows to forests. It is especially aggressive in disturbed or successional habitats, including those prone to periodic disturbance by natural processes such as fires. Human-mediated perturbations such as grazing and timber removal tend to stimulate its growth and spread. It occurs from sea level to ca. 3300 m in soils derived from a wide variety of substrates and with various pH levels.
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