Cinnamon Fern, Osmunda cinnamoneum

Cinnamon Fern

Osmunda cinnamoneum

Sun Shade:
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Zones: 3, 4, 5
Soil Conditions: Acid, Loam
Soil Moisture: Medium, Moist, Wet
Color: Non-Flowering
Fragrance: No
Height: 2-3 feet
Spacing: 2-3 feet


Cinnamon Fern, Osmundastrum cinnamomeum, is a native fern which occurs in moist, boggy ground along streams and on shaded ledges and bluffs. Typically grows in clumps to 2-3 feet tall, but with constant moisture can reach 5 feet in height. Separate spore-bearing, stiff, fertile fronds appear in early spring, quickly turning brown. The familiar "fiddleheads" also emerge from the base of the plant and unfurl into large, erect, pinnately-compound, yellowish-green, sterile fronds (2-4 feet long) which remain attractive throughout the summer and turn yellow in autumn. The common name of this plant is in reference to the cinnamon colored fibers found near the frond bases.

Habitats include low sandy woodlands, borders of low sandy woodlands, wet sand prairies, sandy swamps, peaty bogs, seeps and springs in wooded areas, moist sandstone ledges in partially shaded areas, and sandstone ravines. This fern is found in high quality natural areas. It is occasionally cultivated in moist shade gardens.

Easily grown in medium to wet soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers moist, rich, humusy, acidic soils, but adapts to lesser conditions.

Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  Excellent selection for wet areas along ponds, streams, water gardens or in bogs.
  Keep the soil around the ferns moist at all times.
  This large fern has fertile leaves that are unusually showy as they become reddish brown at maturity.
  Osmunda fiber used in the potting of orchids comes from the roots of these ferns.
Further Information

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