Bogs and Acidic Peatlands of Southern New England by Marsha C. Salett
Taxonomy
Osmunda cinnamomea L.
OSMUNDACEAE (Royal Fern Family)
EtymologyOsmunda, possibly after the Saxon god, Osmunder, the Waterman; cinnamomea is Latin for cinnamon.
DescriptionOne of the most common ferns in New England, cinnamon fern is a large, coarse, and erect twice-cut -- or bipinnate -- fern that frequently grows in dense clusters up to 4' tall. The cinnamon-brown, stick-like fertile fronds are surrounded by separate, leaf-like sterile fronds.
Wetland indicator statusFACW
Plant Height1.5-5 feet
LeavesSterile and fertile fronds different; both twice-cut. Sterile frond: broadly lanceolate, 2-4' long, to 12" wide, green; with 20- 25 pairs of pinnate leaflets (pinnae) that are alternate or not quite opposite; tufts of rusty, woolly hair at base of leaflets; lower stem is also woolly. Fertile frond: stick-like, erect, 2-3' tall, green turning to brown; all pinnae bear large, woolly sporangia (spore cases).
Fruiting PeriodMay-June.
HabitatSwamps, bogs, fens, marshes, stream margins; wet, acidic soils.
RangeLabrador to Minnesota, south to Florida, Texas, and New Mexico.
(c) 1998-2006 Marsha C. Salett