Interrupted Fern, Osmunda claytoniana

Interrupted Fern

Osmunda claytoniana

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


Interrupted Fern, Osmunda claytoniana, is a native fern which usually occurs on moist, wooded slopes of ravines, moist sandstone ledges and wet woodlands. Typically grows in a spreading-vase form to 2-3 feet tall, but with constant moisture can reach 5 feet in height. Broad fronds are "interrupted" in the middle by spore-bearing pinnae (leaflets) which typically fall off in mid-summer, thus giving rise to the common name.

Habitats include sandy woodlands, openings in sandy woodlands, drier areas of swamps, rocky or sandy wooded slopes, sandstone ledges along ravines, and shaded sandy areas along small lakes or streams.

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
  Grows well in shaded woodland or wild gardens.
  Effective along ponds or streams.
  Do not allow the soil to dry out.
  Will grow in full sun if given plenty of moisture.
  Heavy rhizomes are the source for Osmunda fiber used in the potting of orchids.
Further Information

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