This fern grows on every continent except for Antarctica. It favors dry acidic poor soils. I have seen this fern in oak woodlands where scarlet, white and black oaks dominate a landscape with an understory of low-bush blueberries and huckleberries.
The bracken fern also grows in disturbed areas where it appears to be weedy. Its rhizomes (roots) can grow up to ten feet deep to find moisture. This is an adaptation that enables it to grow in dry woodlands.
Its fiddleheads, covered in silvery hairs, emerge each spring and unfurl on a single stalk that forms a broad triangle. It does not form dense thickets like other ferns, but you tend to see it many in one area.
If you see a fern in dry oak woodlands, whether you are in Europe or Australia,it just might be the bracken fern.