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          Osmunda cinnamomea (Cinnamon fern)
          Cressler, Alan

          Osmunda cinnamomea

          Osmunda cinnamomea L.

          Cinnamon Fern

          Osmundaceae (Royal Fern Family)


          USDA Symbol: OSCI

          USDA Native Status: L48 (N), PR (N), CAN (N), SPM (N)

          The fronds of cinnamon fern occur in groups, rising from a shallow, black rootstock. Fertile fronds appear first as silvery, furry fiddleheads, ultimately becoming stiff, erect, and covered with specialized pinnae, which turn their upper portions into a thick spike of fruit dots - turning from green to chocolate brown. Sterile fronds bend outwards forming a vase-shaped circle enclosing the cinnamon fronds. The fern can reach a height of 6 ft.

          The contrasting stature of fertile and infertile fronds can make for dramatic accents in a landscape.


          From the Image Gallery

          29 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

          Plant Characteristics

          Duration: Perennial
          Habit: Herb , Fern
          Leaf Retention: Deciduous
          Leaf: Sterile leaves up to 5 feet long, 1 1/2 pinnate, each segment of the leaf more or less rounded at the tip; leaf stalk up to 1 foot long, covered with dense cinnamon-colored hairs.
          Flower: Spore-bearing sori densely crowded on the back of much reduced fertile leaves; sporangia cinnamon-colored.
          Size Class: 3-6 ft.

          Bloom Information

          Bloom Color: Not Applicable
          Bloom Time: May , Jun
          Bloom Notes: This is a non-flowering plant that reproduces by spores.


          USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
          Canada: NB , NL , NS , ON , PE
          Native Distribution: Lab. to MN, s. to FL, TX, Mex, and Central America. Zones 4 to 11.
          Native Habitat: Boggy areas; shaded ledges; bluffs

          Growing Conditions

          Water Use: Medium , High
          Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
          Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
          Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
          CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
          Soil Description: Muddy, acid soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Acid-based, Calcareous
          Conditions Comments: Can grow in full sun if it is in standing water all the time. Otherwise, must have at least partial shade and at least moist soil.


          Use Ornamental: Bog or pond area, Water garden
          Use Wildlife: Fuzz which covers the young fiddleheads is a favorite nesting material for birds.
          Use Other: Bristly root crown, called osmunda fiber, used as a potting medium for orchids.
          Attracts: Birds


          Propagation Material: Root Division
          Description: Propagate by fresh, green spores or rhizome division.
          Commercially Avail: yes

          Find Seed or Plants

          View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

          Mr. Smarty Plants says

          Groundcover to reduce erosion for shady area in New York
          May 05, 2009
          We live on a lake with gravelly and clay soils, lots of wind and little sun. I am looking for a native ground cover that will help reduce erosion over some of the steep slopes facing south (under shad...
          view the full question and answer

          Native plants to stop pond bank erosion
          June 04, 2008
          I recently purchased a home with a small pond in which a nearby stream daylights. The former owner placed large field stone around the pond and the small stream; however, the area around the pond and...
          view the full question and answer

          From the National Organizations Directory

          According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

          Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
          Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS


          Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
          Bibref 1231 - Guide To the Ferns of Grey and Bruce Counties, Ontario (1999) Owen Sound Field Naturalists
          Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
          Bibref 1294 - The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.

          Search More Titles in Bibliography

          Additional resources

          USDA: Find Osmunda cinnamomea in USDA Plants
          FNA: Find Osmunda cinnamomea in the Flora of North America (if available)
          Google: Search Google for Osmunda cinnamomea


          Record Modified: 2015-07-15
          Research By: TWC Staff

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