Osmunda regalis, Interrupted fern, Osmunda japonica
Cinnamon fern osmunda cinnamomea
- Cinnamon fern osmunda cinnamomea
- Osmunda garden plants
- Section Osmunda Euosmunda
- Section Plenasium
- Section Claytosmunda
The species have completely dimorphic fronds or pinnae (hemidimorphic), green photosynthetic sterile fronds, and non-photosynthetic spore-bearing fertile pinnae, with large, naked sporangia. Because of the large mass of sporangia that ripen uniformly at the same time to a showy golden color, the ferns look as if they are in flower, and so this genus is sometimes called the "flowering ferns".
The genus is known in the fossil record back to the Triassic period from fragmentary foliage nearly identical to the living Osmunda claytoniana.
Paleontological evidence indicates that Osmunda claytoniana, a reputed “living fossil,” has maintained evolutionary stasis for at least 180 million years.
Osmunda garden plants
Section Osmunda (Euosmunda)
The following species actually belong in the separate genus Osmundastrum, even though they have long been regarded as part of Osmunda:
One of the species, the cinnamon fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum) forms huge clonal colonies in swamp areas. These ferns form massive rootstocks with densely matted, wiry roots. This root mass is an excellent substrate for many epiphytal plants. They are often harvested as osmundine and used horticulturally, especially in propagating and growing orchids.
The derivation of the genus name is uncertain. A leading theory is that it is from an English folk tale of a boatman named Osmund hiding his wife and children in a patch of royal fern during the Danish invasion. Other theories propose that it is from Middle English and Middle French words for a type of fern.