Native to northern parts of North America, Europe, Asia. Tolerates extreme cold but cannot take long, hot, dry summers. Good choice for the Upper South and mountainous regions where summer nights cool off and there is ample moisture. Forms a clump that looks like a shuttlecock narrow at the base, spreading out at the top. Can reach 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide in rich, moist soil; spreads by underground rhizomes. Attractive in woodland garden or growing beside a pond or stream. The unfolding young fronds (fiddleheads) are edible and can be served as a cooked vegetable.