Sodding Suggestions- Native Cinnamon Fern

Cinnamon FernOsmunda cinnamomea



Scientific Name: Osmunda cinnamomea

Common Name: Cinnamon Fern

Hardiness: USDA Zones 1-11

How Sold: In bunches.  Contact us today to purchase some for your yard project!

Landscape Use: Grow cinnamon fern at the margins of a pond or stream, or in moist borders. As an accent, a clump of cinnamon fern adds a lush, tropical look and a dramatic effect to moist, shady areas.

Description: Cinnamon fern grows like a big shuttlecock from the ascending tips of thick, creeping semi-woody rhizomes. Most ferns carry their reproductive spores on the undersides of the fronds; cinnamon fern (and other species of Osmunda) have separate and distinctive fertile fronds in addition to the typical sterile fronds. The large sterile fronds grow 3-5 ft (1.2-1.5 m) tall.  At first the fiddleheads are cinnamon brown and covered with a dense wooly pubescence, but the fronds turn pale green as they unfold and mature. Later in the year, they turn golden brown before dying back in winter. The fertile fronds, which lack leafy pinnae, emerge in spring from the center of the plant, standing a little above the vase like cluster of sterile fronds. They are green at first but soon turn rich cinnamon brown. Fertile fronds are covered with abundant masses of brownish sporangia. The fertile fronds die back after shedding their spores in late summer. The roots of cinnamon fern are black, wiry and fibrous, eventually forming a tough, thick mat. Cinnamon fern is readily identified by the distinctive cinnamon colored non-leafy fertile fronds, or if fertile fronds are absent, by the presence of a conspicuous tuft of orange hairs on the underside of each pinna at its base.

Interesting Facts: American Indians used a decoction of cinnamon fern to treat rheumatism, headache, chills, colds and snakebite. Frond tips were eaten both raw and cooked. The fiddleheads are edible, and said to taste like a blend of broccoli, asparagus and artichoke.

Planting Instructions: Ferns prefer soils high in organic matter that are well-drained but do not dry out. Most will tolerate poor soils and a pH of 4 to 7. Dig saucer shaped hole. The depth is determined by measuring the height of the roots from root flare to bottom. The width is 2-3 times the root ball diameter. Plant the root ball with the growing tips just barely showing through the loose soil surface. Water thoroughly to settle the soil and give plants a good start. Ferns are notoriously slow to send up new growth after planting, but good things come to those who wait.

Care & Maintenance: Cinnamon fern is a long-lived perennial which thrives in partial shade in a moist, humus rich acidic soil. Light: Cinnamon fern thrives in dappled shade, but with plenty of water it can take nearly full sun. Moisture: Cinnamon fern requires a constantly moist soil or very frequent watering.

Diseases & Pests: None serious enough to worry about, other than the occasional slug attack. Fight back with bait or diatomaceous earth sprinkled around the base of the fronds.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *