Osmunda claytoniana

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: interrupted fern 
Type: Fern
Family: Osmundaceae
Native Range: North America, Himalaya, China
Zone: 3 to 8
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
Tolerate: Rabbit, Heavy Shade


Easily grown in medium to wet soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers moist, rich, humusy, acidic soils, but adapts to lesser conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Osmunda claytoniana, commonly called interrupted fern, is a Missouri native fern which usually occurs on moist, wooded slopes of ravines, moist sandstone ledges and wet woodlands, most frequently in counties north of the Missouri River. Typically grows in a spreading-vase form to 2-3' tall, but with constant moisture can reach 5' in height. Broad fronds are "interrupted" in the middle by spore-bearing pinnae (leaflets) which typically fall off in mid summer, thus giving rise to the common name. Heavy rhizomes are the source for Osmunda fiber used in the potting of orchids.

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 honors John Clayton (1686-1773), who came to Virginia from England in 1705.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Grows well with hostas in shaded woodland or wild gardens. Also effective along ponds or streams. Interesting accent for the shaded border.