Royal Fern, Osmunda regalis

Royal Fern

Osmunda regalis

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


Royal Fern, Osmunda regalis, is a tall, deciduous, native fern which usually occurs on moist bluffs and ledges and along streams (sometimes growing in the water). Typically grows in clumps to 2-3 feet tall, but with constant moisture can reach 6 feet in height. Broad fronds have large, well-separated pinnae (leaflets) which give this fern an almost pea-family appearance. Fronds typically turn yellow to brown in autumn. Spores are located in brown, tassel-like, fertile clusters at the tips of the fronds, thus giving rise to the additional common name of flowering fern for this plant.

Habitats include sandy savannas, moist sandy thickets, borders of moist sandy woodlands, wet to moist sand prairies, swamps, sandy or gravelly seeps, remnant bogs, rocky edges of streams, rocky bluffs, and semi-shaded sandstone cliffs. This fern is found in high quality natural habitats.

Best grown in medium to wet soils in part shade. Prefers moist, rich, humusy, acidic soils, but adapts to lesser conditions. Also prefers cool summer climates where it tolerates close to full sun as long as given consistent moisture. Full sun exposure is not recommended.

Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  Excellent selection for wet areas along ponds, streams, water gardens or in bogs.
  Osmunda fiber used in the potting of orchids comes from the fibrous roots of these ferns.
  Do not allow the soil to dry out.
  Can grow in full sun if given plenty of moisture.
Further Information

 Wisconsin Fruit Trees
 Wisconsin Edible Berry Shrubs
 Widsconsin Edible Plants-Eat On The Wild Side
 8 Dandelion Recipes
 Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries