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Osmunda regalis

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Plant types and subtypes: Ferns

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade, shade

Water Use: medium, high

Soil Moisture: moist, wet

Soil Description: acid, neutral, rich, average, loam, clay, sand

Height: 2'-5'

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Additional Tags: bog plant, clumping, fall interest, naturalizing, ornamental foliage, pond margin plant, shade garden plant, stream margin plant, swamp plant, water garden plant, wetland plant, woodland plant

Osmunda regalis (royal fern)
  • Osmunda regalis (royal fern)
  • Osmunda regalis (royal fern)
  • Osmunda regalis (royal fern)
  • Osmunda regalis (royal fern)

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Description

Osmunda regalis

Also known as:

royal fern

,

locust leaf fern

,

flowering fern

Scientific Synonyms:

Description

Royal ferns grow in clumps, with large, widely separated leaflets, which give this species a somewhat coarser appearance than most other ferns. The spores are located on the upper portion of the central, fertile fronds and form flower bud-like clusters. The fronds turn yellow or brown in fall. Osmunda regalis is one of the larger North American ferns reaching a height of 5 feet or more.

Cultivation

Royal ferns are found along streams, ponds and in damp woodlands. They prefer acid, rich, moist to wet soil, but adapt to a variety of growing conditions, so long as the soil is kept moist. An application of mulch around the crown is recommended to help maintain soil moisture. They can grow in full sun if in bog-like conditions; they will even thrive in shallow water. Zones 3-10

Propagation

Divide established clumps in spring or fall. May also be propagated by spores.

Additional Notes

Osmunda regalis is an unusual looking fern that is certain to draw attention in a shade garden. The well separated leaflets have been said to resemble those of the locust tree, hence the common name locust fern. The spore bearing fronds so resemble flower buds, it is also known as the flowering fern, though this is a misnomer. Like other members of this genus, this fern produces a fiber (osmunda) which is favored by birds as a nesting material, and has also been collected as a potting medium for orchids.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, AR, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Exploitably Vulnerable: NY
  • Threatened: IA

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision
Division Pteridophyta Ferns
Class Filicopsida
Subclass
Order Polypodiales
Family Osmundaceae Royal Fern family
Genus Osmunda osmunda
Species Osmunda regalis royal fern