Osmunda spectabilis

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Common name: royal fern [1], American royal fern [2]

Osmunda spectabilis
Osmunda spectabilis IWF.jpg
Photo by John Hilty at IllinoisWildflowers.info
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta – Ferns
Class: Filicopsida
Order: Polypodiales
Family: Osmundaceae
Genus: Osmunda
Species: O. spectabilis
Binomial name
Osmunda spectabilis
Natural range of Osmunda spectabilis from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Taxonomic Notes

Synonyms: O. regalis Linnaeus var. spectabilis (Willdenow) A. Gray

Varieties: none


O. spectabilis is a perennial forb/herb of the Osmundaceae family native to North America, Canada, and St. Pierre and Miquelon (France). [1]


O. spectabilis is found in the eastern half of the United States, the Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec regions of Canada, and St. Pierre and Miquelon (France). [1]



O. spectabilis proliferates in bogs, marshes (including tidal), moist forests, floodplains, swamp forests, and other wetlands. [2] Specimens have been collected from moist loamy sand, swamp bank, clearing of floddplain on edge of creek, ditch, swampy woodland, old cypress stump, cypress depression in flatwoods, limestone ridge, cypress gum swamp, pine forest after recent burn, shaded streambank in bottomland hardwood, and edge of mesic woods. [3]


O. spectabilis has been observed flowering March through May. [4] Pinnately cpd, pinnae with tuft of hair at base; fertile fronds separate and with clusters of cinnamon colored sporangia. [5]

Fire ecology

O. spectabilis is not fire resistant and has a low fire tolerance. [1]

Conservation and Management

O. spectabilis is listed as commercially exploited by the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry, as threatened by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Parks Recreation and Preserves Division, and as exploitably vulnerable by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Land and Forests. [1]

Cultivation and restoration

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 USDA Plant Database https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=OSRES#
  2. 2.0 2.1 Weakley, A. S. (2015). Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States. Chapel Hill, NC, University of North Carolina Herbarium.
  3. URL: http://herbarium.bio.fsu.edu. Last accessed: June 2018. Collectors: Loran C. Anderson, Garrett Crow, Dora Engrid Rivera, Roy Komarek, R.K. Godfrey, Robert Lemaire, Andre Clewell, J.P. Gillespie, Richard Mitchell, L.B. Trott, S. W. Leonard, John Nelson, F.C> James, Gary Knight, Elmar Prichard, K. Craddock Burks, K.M. Meyer, A. Townesmith, R.L. Wilbur, Marilyn Gillespie, Samual Jones, John Thieret, P.L. Redfearn, Donna M. Eggers, Delzie Demaree, A.J. SHarp, Robert Britt, Jean Wooten, Sidney McDaniel, H.A. Wahl, Harry Ahles, R.P. Ashworth, James D. Ray, W.J. Cody, Van L. Rens, Scott McCoy, H.B. Parks, Eunice Mitchell, Elizabeth Vandell. States and counties: Florida (Liberty, Leon, Gadsden, Brevard, Indian River, Walton, Citrus, St. Johns, Jackson, Wakulla, Calhoun, Hernando, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Flagler, Santa Rosa, Franklin, Putnam, Holmes, Gulf) Georgia (Grady, Thomas) South Carolina (Berkeley, Beaufort) Mississippi (Harrison, Newton) Alabama (Limestone, Geneva) North Carolina (Durham, Wayne, Chowan, Scotland) Texas (Van Zandt, Nacogdoches) Indiana (Jennings) Pennsylvania (Lycoming) Missouri (Ste. Genevieve) Louisiana (Allen)
  4. Nelson, G. PanFlora: Plant data for the eastern United States with emphasis on the Southeastern Coastal Plains, Florida, and the Florida Panhandle. www.gilnelson.com/PanFlora/ Accessed: 24 MAY 2018
  5. Coile, N. C. (2000). Notes on Florida �s Regulated Plant Index (Rule 5B-40), Botany Contribution No. 38, 3nd edition. Gainesville, Florida, Florida Deaprtment of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry.