Osmunda regalis
Royal fern

Osmunda regalis
Osmunda regalis
Photo courtesy Renee Brecht
Britton & Brown
Botanical name: Osmunda regalis
Common name: royal fern
Group: fern
Family: Osmundaceae
Growth type: forb/herb
Duration: perennial but deciduous
Origin: native
Plant height: 2-6'
Foliage: stipe is smooth, slender and pale green or tan; grows in a symmetrical clump. Two types of fronds: fertile and sterile. Fronds are doubly compound with wide spaces between leaflets and subleaflets.
Spores: spores are found on the dark green fertile leaflets at the end of the fronds rather than on the underside of the leaves as most ferns do.
Flowering time: mature spores mid May to mid June. Immediately afterwards the fertile portion withers and dies, but usually persists for some time (Stone, 124)
Habitat: wet, usually acid soil of woods, bog margins and swamps
Range in New Jersey: statewide, especially common in northern uplands.
Heritage ranking, if any: n/a
Misc. O. regalis is wind dispersed or can be propogated by dividing rhizomes.  The fibrous roots are used in the potting of various orchids.
Osmunda, the Saxon god Osmunder the Waterman. Legend says that he hid his family from danger in a clump of Osmunda.
Latin, "royal"