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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Osmunda cinnamomea L.
USDA Symbol: osci
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
The fronds of cinnamon fern occur in groups, rising from a shallow, black rootstock. Fertile fronds appear first as silvery, furry fiddleheads, ultimately becoming stiff, erect, and covered with specialized pinnae, which turn their upper portions into a thick spike of fruit dots – turning from green to chocolate brown. Sterile fronds bend outwards forming a vase-shaped circle enclosing the cinnamon fronds. The fern can reach a height of 6 ft.
The contrasting stature of fertile and infertile fronds can make for dramatic accents in a landscape.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb
, Fern Leaf Retention: Deciduous Leaf:
Green Fruit: Size Class:
1-3 ft. , 3-6 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Not Applicable
Bloom Notes: This is a non-flowering plant that reproduces by spores.
AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV Canada: NB
, PE Native Distribution:
Lab. to MN, s. to FL, TX, Mex, and Central America. Zones 4 to 11. Native Habitat:
Boggy areas; shaded ledges; bluffs USDA Native Status: L48(N), PR(N), CAN(N),
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium , High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Muddy, acid soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Acid-based, Calcareous
Conditions Comments: Can grow in full sun if it is in standing water all the time. Otherwise, must have at least partial shade and at least moist soil.
Bog or pond area, Water garden Use Wildlife:
Fuzz which covers the young fiddleheads is a favorite nesting material for birds. Use Other: Bristly
root crown, called osmunda fiber, used as a potting medium for orchids. Attracts:
Root Division Description:
Propagate by fresh, green spores or rhizome
division. Commercially Avail:
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Groundcover to reduce erosion for shady area in New York
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From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Delaware Nature Society
- Hockessin, DECrosby Arboretum
- Picayune, MS
Recommended Species Lists
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View Recommended Species page
Record Modified: 2012-10-03
Research By: TWC Staff