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Osmunda cinnamomea

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
os-MUN-dah sin-nah-MOH-mee-ah
Description

Osmundastrum cinnamomeum, commonly called cinnamon fern, is a native fern which occurs in moist, boggy ground along streams and on shaded ledges and bluffs.  It typically grows in clumps to 2-3' tall, but with constant moisture can reach 5' in height. Separate spore-bearing, stiff, fertile fronds appear in early spring, quickly turning brown. The familiar "fiddleheads" also emerge from the base of the plant and unfurl into large, erect, pinnately-compound, yellowish-green, sterile fronds (2-4' long) which remain attractive throughout the summer and turn yellow in autumn. The common name of this plant is in reference to the cinnamon-colored fibers found near the frond bases. Osmunda fiber used in the potting of orchids comes from the roots of these ferns.

It is easily grown in medium to wet soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers moist, rich, humusy, acidic soils, but adapts to lesser conditions. This plant has compact, horizontal rhizome, its growth is vigorous.  It may go dormant with dry soil.  It is slow to establish but long-lived. 

Seasons of Interest: 

  Leaf: Spring, Summer, Fall                         

 

Cinnamon fern features circular clusters of arching fronds. Sterile fronds are lanceolate, pinnate-pinnatified with dense rusty hairs beneath the base of each pinna. The pinna are narrow, lance-shaped, pointed, deeply cut and nearly opposite. Bright green, lacy, broad leaves appear in early spring. Cinnamon-colored spore cases appear on the stalks in the late spring and die by mid-summer.

 

Cultivars:
Tags:
#deciduous#fall color#native plants#woodland garden#wet sites#deer resistant
Cultivars:
Tags:
#deciduous#fall color#native plants#woodland garden#wet sites#deer resistant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Osmunda
    Species:
    cinnamomea
    Family:
    Osmundaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Mountain, Piedmont, Coastal Plains
    Wildlife Value:
    It provides excellent ground cover.  It has scale-like hairs (the fuzz on stems) used by songbirds to line their nests.  Birds like the Kentucky Warbler nest in clumps of these ferns.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    This plant is highly resistant to damage from deer.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Fern
    Native Plant
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Horizontal
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Frequent Standing Water
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Black
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Feel:
    Soft
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Orange
    Leaf Type:
    Fronds
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Other/more complex
    Leaf Shape:
    Rhomboidal
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Barrier
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Wet Soil