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Osmunda regalis (Royal fern)
Brundage, Stephanie

Osmunda regalis

Osmunda regalis L.

Royal Fern

Osmundaceae (Royal Fern Family)


USDA Symbol: osre

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

The form and texture of this fern are unique. The fronds are cut twice into large rounded leaflets, resulting in foliage that resembles that of the pea family. Delicate, bright green fronds, often with a silvery cast, are crowned with golden, fruiting pinnae on wine-colored petioles. Fronds are 2-6 ft. in length and often 18 in. in width. Rootstock elevated up to 6 inches above the soil surface, with black roots extending deep.


From the Image Gallery

17 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb , Fern
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Size Notes: Fronds up to about 6 feet long.
Leaf: Dark Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Not Applicable
Bloom Notes: Not a flowering plant. Reproduces by spores.


USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NB , NL , NS , PE
Native Distribution: Nf. to Ont., s. to FL & TX. North America, South America, and western Eurasia. Zones 5 to 11.
Native Habitat: Swamps; marshes; stream banks; moist depressions in savannas & prairies

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Various wet soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Limestone-based
Conditions Comments: Tolerates year-round shallow water.


Use Ornamental: An accent fern for the water garden, bog, or pond area
Use Other: Bristly crown of rootstock a source of osmunda fiber, a potting medium for orchids.
Interesting Foliage: yes


Propagation Material: Root Division
Description: Propagate by spores or rhizome division.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Native plants to stop pond bank erosion
June 04, 2008
I recently purchased a home with a small pond in which a nearby stream daylights. The former owner placed large field stone around the pond and the small stream; however, the area around the pond and...
view the full question and answer

From the National Organizations Directory

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

Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Longwood Gardens - Kennett Square, PA
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 1294 - The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-02-21
Research By: TWC Staff

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