Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis

Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis or royal fern, is one of my favourite ferns. Native to much of eastern North America, I first encountered it near Ottawa a couple summers ago and subsequently in North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. It is not yet in the collections at UBC Botanical Garden, though we hope to procure some wild-collected spores for growing in the Carolinian Forest Garden.

In the past, this was sometimes thought to be equivalent to the Eurasian and African Osmunda regalis. It was also sometimes considered to be its own species, Osmunda spectabilis. Currently (according to USDA GRIN taxonomists), it is recognized as one of three varieties of Osmunda regalis, with the third being the South American Osmunda regalis var. brasiliensis.

Preferring moist habitats such as wet forests or streambanks, royal fern can reach up to 2m (6 ft.) in height under ideal conditions (such as in gardening situations).

Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis
Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis

8 responses to “Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis”

  1. Connie Hoge

    Stunning! Love the dew drop.

  2. Nina Klinck

    Here in Vermont, this beauty grows on the edges of woods frequently along a dirt road in the ditch where the water is.It is a sight to see in big clumps. My favorite fern next to Adiantum, the Maidenhair.

  3. Robert Frost

    I agree with Nina, this is one of my favorites right up there with Maidenhair. This fern does well in Dallas, Texas. I have planted it along streambanks in full sun at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. I also saw it in a private garden in Wichita, Kansas.
    As a whole, the Osmundas are difficult to ‘germinate’. You will need green spores. They are difficult to clone as well.

  4. Albertine Ellis-Adam

    It may also a good idea to look for gametofytes; they use to grow in clumps.
    Success.

  5. phillip

    Nina…having lived in Vermont myself…my favorite, after a harsh long winter was the fiddlehead fern looking like an ostrich peeking out of the ground..

  6. elizabeth a airhart

    if you would see the lady fern
    in all her graceful power
    go look for her where woodlarks learn
    love-songs in a summer bower
    major robert campell
    the adders tongue fern was used in witchcraft
    fiddlehead fronds were often placed over doorways
    to ward off lighting and not to forget the fairy’s
    who like to use the fronds as fans when they dance in the night

  7. Wendy McClure

    With a little searching I found pictures of the very interesting fertile fronds. Hope you can also show sporangia with future fern photos.

  8. Daniel Mosquin

    Wendy, if I get fortunate enough to see them and photograph them. This time the one photo I had didn’t turn out.

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