Osmunda regalis
Common Name: royal fern
Type: Fern
Family: Osmundaceae
Native Range: Cosmopolitan
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: Non-flowering
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize, Rain Garden
Tolerate: Rabbit, Heavy Shade, Wet Soil

Culture

Best grown in medium to wet soils in part shade. Prefers moist, rich, humusy, acidic soils, but adapts to lesser conditions. Also prefers cool summer climates where it tolerates close to full sun as long as given consistent moisture. Full sun exposure is not recommended for the hot St. Louis summers.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Osmunda regalis, commonly called royal fern, is a tall, deciduous, Missouri native fern which usually occurs on moist bluffs and ledges and along streams (sometimes growing in the water), primarily in the southeastern Ozark region of the State. Typically grows in clumps to 2-3' tall, but with constant moisture can reach 6' in height. Broad fronds have large, well-separated pinnae (leaflets) which give this fern an almost pea-family appearance. Fronds typically turn yellow to brown in autumn. Spores are located in brown, tassel-like, fertile clusters at the tips of the fronds, thus giving rise to the additional common name of flowering fern for this plant. Osmunda fiber used in the potting of orchids comes from the fibrous roots of these ferns.

Genus name honors Osmundus or Asmund, c. 1025, a Scandinavian writer of runes who helped prepare the way for the Swedish acceptance of Christianity.

Specific epithet means royal or of outstanding merit.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Excellent selection for wet areas along ponds, streams, water gardens or in bogs. Also grows well in shaded borders, woodland gardens, wild gardens or native plant gardens.