Bogs and Acidic Peatlands of Southern New England by Marsha C. Salett
Taxonomy
Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis (L.) Willd.
OSMUNDACEAE (Royal Fern Family)
EtymologyOsmunda, possibly after the Saxon god, Osmunder; regalis is Latin for royal.
Synonyms (Common Name)Flowering Fern, Locust Fern
DescriptionRoyal fern is a large, open, twice-cut -- or bipinnate -- fern that can grow up to 6' tall and become very bushy. With leaflets that are widely spaced on smooth, segmented stalks, royal fern resembles a locust sapling more than its relatives in the royal fern family.
Wetland indicator statusOBL
Plant Height3-6 feet
LeavesSterile and fertile fronds different. Both: twice-cut; large, to 6' tall and 2' wide, green; 5-7 pairs of oblong leaflets (pinnae), are not quite opposite; leaflets divided into 7-10 pairs of alternate subleaflets (pinnules); subleaflets oblong, with rounded or blunt tips, up to 2 3/4" long, cut completely to the midrib of the leaflet, unstalked or nearly so. Fertile frond: divided into sterile and fertile portions with light brown fertile leaflets (pinnae) in terminal cluster up to 12" long.
Fruiting PeriodMay-July.
HabitatBogs, swamps, marshes, moist woods.
RangeNewfoundland to Saskatchewan, south to Florida and Mexico.
(c) 1998-2006 Marsha C. Salett