Osmunda is a small genus of just 9-10 deciduous fern species whose name comes from the word "Osmunder", the Saxon name for the Norse god of war, Thor. Saxon legend states that Thor hid his family in a clump of Osmunda and locals named the fern after him.
More Information About Osmunda
Osmunda are large ferns, and most produce separate fertile and infertile fronds. The reproductive fronds are cinnamon colored and contain the spore structures, while the infertile fronds are typically ferny. This dimorphic nature led primitive cultures to call osmunda a flowering fern but these are not true flowers in the anatomical sense. One species, Osmunda cinnamomea, (the cinnamon fern) produces root fibers that are harvested and sold as an orchid potting medium. The brownish color of the fibers and of the fertile fronds are the source of the name cinnamon fern. Immature cinnamon fern fronds (fiddleheads) can be boiled and eaten as a vegetable.
Growing and Caring for Osmunda (Cinnamon Fern)
Like most garden ferns, cinnamon ferns prefers woodland conditions...part shade and rich, consistently to average moist soil. Some species are bog plants that live at water's edge in soggy soils. Osmunda pairs well with other large woodland plants like hosta, ligularia, and hardy palm trees.
Plant Delights Nursery has a huge collection of over 1,000 ferns planted in our garden and offer one of the largest and most esoteric selections of ferns for sale in the US. If you are looking to buy ferns, especially rare, cold hardy, garden ferns, Plant Delights should be your first stop. Providing beauty and texture to the garden, ferns are great garden plants and are a staple of any well-designed garden.
Check out our blog posts about cinnamon fern.