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Osmunda claytoniana

Previously known as:

  • Claytosmunda claytoniana
  • Osmundastrum claytoniana
Phonetic Spelling
os-MUN-duh klay-ton-ee-AH-na
Description

Interrupted Fern is a native, deciduous, compact fern found in central and eastern parts of Canada and the United States around upland forests where the climate is moist to rather dry. This plant is wiry and clump forming and will grow to more than 2 feet in a spreading vase form. It is short lived and has the habit of dying off in the center of the clump, but with continued growth around the outside edge. Interrupted Fern is one of the first ferns to grow in the spring and spreads slowly by means of horizontal rhizomes. It has fertile leaflets that develop in the middle of fronds. The genus name honors Osmundus or Asmund, c. 1025, a Scandinavian writer of runes who is said to have helped prepare the way for the Swedish acceptance of Christianity. The species name honors John Clayton (1686-1773), who came to Virginia from England in 1705.

Interrupted Fern is easy to grow and prefers moist, average to humus rich, acidic soil, in sun or shade. However, it will adapt and grow in dry, stony soil. When the fertile leaflets appear during the spring, their unusual appearance can make the plant look like it is afflicted with some kind of disease. These leaflets wither away, leaving an interruption between the upper and the lower leaflets on each fertile leaf, thus the common name.

This plant is seldom damaged by deer or rabbits. It can be grown as a companion plant with hostas in shaded woodlands or wild gardens or along ponds or streams. It also makes an interesting accent for a shaded border.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems: No significant problems.

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Annuals, Perennials, Vines, and Groundcovers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens. 

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Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fern#cover plant#small mammals#NC native#deer resistant#clumping#native fern#food source herbage#Coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#bird friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fern#cover plant#small mammals#NC native#deer resistant#clumping#native fern#food source herbage#Coastal FAC#Piedmont Mountains FAC#bird friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Osmunda
    Species:
    claytoniana
    Family:
    Osmundaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The heavy rhizomes are the source for Osmunda fiber used in the potting of orchids.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern Canada and the United States
    Distribution:
    Netherlands
    Wildlife Value:
    It provides shelter for small mammals.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Heavy shade, 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
    Perennial
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Clumping
    Mounding
    Spreading
    Vase
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Frequent Standing Water
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Description:
    No fruits. This plants reproduces by means of spores.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Description:
    No flowers.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Fronds
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Other/more complex
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Rhomboidal
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    A rosette of ascending leaves about 2 to 4 feet tall. Each blade is elliptic-oblong in shape, its structure is pinnate-pinnatifid, and consists of 20 or more pairs of leaflets. The leaflets are longest toward the middle of each leaf (if they are sterile), becoming smaller toward both the top and the bottom. The pinnatifid leaflets are deeply lobed and narrowly lanceolate. There are 10 or more pairs of lobes per leaflet; that become gradually smaller toward the tip of each leaflet. The lobes are oblong and smooth along their margins; their tips are well-rounded. The upper surface of the leaves is medium green and glabrous, while the lower surface is pale green. The central stalk of each leaf is light green and terete. The petioles are mostly terete and lack scales. During the spring, rachis, petiole, and underside of fertile leaves are covered with white- or brown-woolly hairs. At this time, fertile leaves also have 2-7 pairs of leaflets toward the middle that are densely covered with spores and somewhat constricted or contorted in appearance. The tiny spores are released through narrow openings during the spring or summer. Infertile leaves leaflets have a normal appearance.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Near Septic
    Riparian
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Native Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Attracts:
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Heavy Shade
    Rabbits
    Wet Soil