Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or you can choose a plant family:
Osmunda claytoniana (Interrupted fern)
Cressler, Alan

Osmunda claytoniana

Osmunda claytoniana L.

Interrupted Fern

Osmundaceae (Royal Fern Family)


USDA Symbol: OSCL2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N), SPM (N)

The fronds of interrupted fern occur in groups. Once-pinnate fertile fronds, which are slightly longer, have 2-5 pair of pinnae in the center of the frond which are twice-pinnate and utilized solely for spore bearing. Sterile fronds bend outward forming a vase-shaped circle enclosing the "interrupted" fronds. This fern can reach a height of 6 ft.


From the Image Gallery

10 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb , Fern
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Size Notes: Up to about 6 feet tall.
Leaf: Dark Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Not Applicable
Bloom Notes: Non-flowering, sporulating plant. Brown spores are produced May - Jun.


USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , GA , IA , IL , IN , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NB , NL , NS , ON , PE
Native Distribution: Nf. to Man., s. to GA & LA
Native Habitat: Rich, wooded slopes; moist ledges

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Moist to dry, acid to neutral soils.
Conditions Comments: Interrupted fern is easy to cultivate.


Description: Propagate by spores or rhizome division.
Commercially Avail: yes

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Possible ground covers under pine trees in Illinois
April 18, 2006
Have pine trees in front of house. No luck with the lawn around them....was told it's because of ground acidity. Any tips on how to get a lawn to grow there? If not, can you suggest some ground cover...
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Additional resources

USDA: Find Osmunda claytoniana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Osmunda claytoniana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Osmunda claytoniana


Record Modified: 2015-07-03
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back