Osmunda claytoniana

From a series assembled and written by Alexis over the summer:

The prehistoric plant series continues today, and we progress through the geologic time scale to the Triassic period. Much thanks to Keith Board for sharing his photo of Osmunda claytoniana, which was taken in a swamp forest at the Indiana Dunes State Park in Porter County, Indiana. Keith is a contributor at this neat blog, Get Your Botany On!.

Osmunda is a genus of about six terrestrial fern species. Osmunda species grow in open, wet environments such as bogs, swamps, and lake edges. The genus has a wide distribution throughout the globe, though it is limited by climates that are too cold or dry (Tryon & Tryon’s Ferns and Allied Plants (1982)).

Osmunda claytoniana has the “oldest known fossil record of any living fern”, and can be traced back to the Triassic period. This species can also be considered a living fossil, because it appears almost identical to a fossil fern species from 200 million years ago, Osmunda claytoniites. It has gained the common name interrupted fern because of the appearance of its fronds, on which the brown fertile pinnae “interrupt” the green sterile pinnae.

Osmunda claytoniana

5 responses to “Osmunda claytoniana”

  1. Connie Hoge

    What a beautiful picture of a fern! I know that it grows in open areas, but the photo makes it look like a mysterious woodland fern that grows where the fairies go.
    BPotD is my favorite “daily”, not just for the botany lesson, but really because of the art. It’s not just botany of the day, it’s botany Photo of the day. Usually the photographs are fantastic, as is this one. We have these in Maryland, but I’ve never “seen” one looking quite like this. Not that it isn’t “accurate”, but I mean to say that you help me to see differently.
    Thank you.

  2. Dawn Hanna

    Thanks for the stunning image. It’s one that really does justice to one of the most fascinating and most overlooked forms of flora — ferns and fern allies. For a great introduction to most of North America’s ferns (sadly, not the fern allies), check out the Hardy Fern Library website. Here’s a link to find out more about Osmunda claytonia. http://hardyfernlibrary.com/ferns/listSpecies.cfm?Auto=115

  3. elizabeth a airhart

    one can not doubt the age of this fern the photo shows it
    one knows one is among ones elders on this planet
    the write is fine as usual -i have been over to mr boards
    web site hope to go over often my family came from crawfordsville
    tis full of the moon connie hodge time to go a danceing

  4. James Murphy

    One of the most beautiful photographs of a fern I have ever seen.

  5. Kathy Driggers

    I so agree, Connie. And the photo itself is so clean and pristine, it appears to be a painting.

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