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Osmunda regalis

(Flowering Fern)


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Interesting Facts

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Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in Bulgarian:

Царска папрат

Common Names in Corsican:


Common Names in Czech:

Podezřeň královská

Common Names in Danish:

Almindelig Kongebregne

Common Names in Dutch:


Common Names in English:

Flowering Fern, Osmunda regalisOld World Royal Fern, regal fern, Royal Fern

Common Names in Finnish:


Common Names in French:

fougère royale, osmonde royal, Osmonde royale

Common Names in Galician:

Fieito real

Common Names in German:


Common Names in Lithuanian:

Karališkoji osmunda

Common Names in Manx:


Common Names in Norwegian:


Common Names in Polish:

Długosz królewski

Common Names in Swedish:


Common Names in Walloon:

Royåle osmonde


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Family Osmundaceae

Plants terrestrial , herbaceous, frequently in clumps . Stems creeping, beset with old petiole bases and black fibrous roots ; scales absent; older stems seldom persisting. Leaves monomorphic or dimorphic . Blades 1--2-pinnate (2-pinnatifid) ; rachises grooved . Pinnae monomorphic or dimorphic. Indument of reddish to light brown hairs . Veins dichotomous, running to margins . Sori absent; sporangia born on slightly modified fertile segments of blades also possessing fully expanded pinnae, or sporangia covering blades lacking green expanded pinnae, clustered in marginal zones, indusia lacking. Spores green, all alike. Gametophytes green, aboveground, obcordate to elongate .

Genera 3, species 16--36 (1 genus with 3 species and 1 hybrid in the flora ) : nearly worldwide, temperate and tropical regions .

Osmundaceae are considered intermediate in several respects between eusporangiate and leptosporangiate ferns. In the absence of sori, simultaneous maturation of spores, and development of sporangia from several initial cells , they are much like eusporangiate ferns. Their large prothalli with projecting antheridia are similar to those of leptosporangiate ferns.[1]

Genus Osmunda

Plants terrestrial . Stems creeping; tips often somewhat erect . Leaves dimorphic ; fertile leaves erect, often notably smaller than sterile leaves in length and width . Blades 1--2-pinnate; pinnae monomorphic to dimorphic, pinnatifid or pinnate.

Species 10: nearly worldwide, tropical and temperate regions .[2]

Physical Description

Habit: Erect with spreading , vase-shaped form. Deciduous. Forms massive clumps in boggy locations. • Growth Form: RhizomatousShape and Orientation: Erect

Flowers: None. • Bloom Period: Late SpringFlower Color: Brown • Flower Conspicuous: Tassel-like spore clusters

Seeds: Seed Spread Rate: Slow • Seedling Vigor: Medium • Fruit/Seed Abundance: Low • Fruit/Seed Conspicuous: No • Cold Stratification Required: No

Foliage: Foliage Color: Green • Summer foliage: Large, coarse , light green fronds with smooth edges form dense clumps . Fertile leaflets atop sterile fronds. Divided bright green foliage has rust colored flower spikes. • Foliage Porosity Summer: Moderate • Foliage Porosity Winter: Porous • Foliage Texture: Fine • Fall Conspicuous: No • Leaf Retention: No


Active Growth Period: SpringGrowth Rate: Fast. • After Harvest Regrowth Rate: None • Mature Height (feet): 4.5 • Size: to 6 ft . tall, 4 to 6 ft. wide. • Vegetative Spread Rate: Slow • Lifespan: Lifespan


Landscape Uses: Excellent landscape plant near water features. Nice groundcover, specimen, or accent plant. • Care: Deer resistant. Follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system . Feed frequently during growing season with a general purpose fertilizer . Cut back old fronds after new growth begins in spring .


North America, West Indies, Bermuda, Central America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa. [source]

Typically found at an altitude of 0 to 2,107 meters (0 to 6,913 feet).[3]


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Duration: PerennialCoppice Potential: No • Progagated by Bulbs: No • Propagated by Bare Root: No • Propagated by Container: Yes • Propagated by Corms: No • Propagated by Cuttings: No • Propagated by Seed: Yes • Propagated by Sod: No • Propagated by Sprigs: Yes • Propagated by Tubers: No • Fruit/Seed Period Begin: SpringFruit/Seed Period End: Summer • Fruit/Seed Persistence: Yes


Culture: Space 24-36" apart.

Soil: Prefers humus , wet, acidic soil. Adapts to various soil types and situations. • Adapted to Medium Textured: Adapted to Medium Textured Soils • Adapted to Coarse Textured Soils: Yes • Anaerobic Tolerance: Medium • Salinity Tolerance: None • CaCO3 Tolerance: Low • Minimum pH: 4.3 • Maximum pH: 5.2 • Fertility Requirement: Medium

Sunlight: Sun Exposure: Prefers part shade. Thrives in either full sun or shade. Sun tolerant with ample moisture. • Shade Tolerance: Tolerant

Moisture: Drought Tolerance: Low • Minimum Precipitation: 35 • Maximum Precipitation: 60 • Moisture Use: Medium • Water Requirements: Keep surface of soil moist, but not soggy.

Temperature: Minimum Temperature (F): -33°F. • Minimum Frost Free Days: 110 • Heat Zones: High: 9 (>120 to 150 days) Low:1 (< 1 days) (map) • Cold Hardiness: 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b. (map)


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Name Status: Accepted Name .

Last scrutiny: 15-Mar-2000

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Osmunda

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 30 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:

O. cinnamomea (Cinnamon Fern) · O. cinnamomea f. crenulata (Cinnamon Fern) · O. cinnamomea f. frondosa (Cinnamon Fern) · O. cinnamomea f. glandulosa (Cinnamon Fern) · O. cinnamomea f. incisa (Cinnamon Fern) · O. cinnamomea f. latipinnula (Cinnamon Fern) · O. cinnamomea f. trifolia (Cinnamon Fern) · O. cinnamomea L. var. glandulosa Waters (Cinnamon Fern) · O. cinnamomea L. var. imbricata (Kunze) Milde (Cinnamon Fern) · O. cinnamomea var. cinnamomea (Cinnamon Fern) · O. cinnamomea var. glandulosa (Cinnamon Fern) · O. cinnamomea var. imbricata (Cinnamon Fern) · O. claytonia (Interrupted Fern) · O. claytoniana (Claytons Interrupted Fern) · O. claytoniana f. tomentosa (Interrupted Fern) · O. claytoniana var. vera (Interrupted Fern) · O. lancea (Osmunda LanceaJapanese Lancea Flowering Fern) · O. lunaria (Moonwort Grapefern) · O. regalis (Flowering Fern) · O. regalis f. abyssinica (Royal Fern) · O. regalis f. linearis (Royal Fern) · O. regalisvar. purpurascens (Flowering Fern) · O. regalis palustris (Royal Fern) · O. regalis spectabilis (Long-Sporing American Royal Fern) · O. regalis var. spectabilis (Flowering Fern) · O. regalis 'Cristata' (Crested European Royal Fern) · O. ruggii (Rugg's Osmunda) · O. spectabilis (Osmunda SpectabilisAmerican Royal Fern) · O. virginiana (Rattlesnake Fern) · O. × ruggii (Rugg's Osmunda)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal November 12, 2007:



  1. R. David Whetstone, T. A. Atkinson "Osmundaceae". in Flora of North America Vol. 2. Oxford University Press. Online at [back]
  2. R. David Whetstone, T. A. Atkinson "Osmunda". in Flora of North America Vol. 2. Oxford University Press. Online at [back]
  3. Mean = 133.250 meters (437.172 feet), Standard Deviation = 226.180 based on 2,107 observations. Altitude information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
Last Revised: 2014-11-21