Mar. 19, 2022

royal fern, Osmunda regalis

Royal fern is one of our taller ferns, with fertile fronds up to two meters. The roots of this and other Osmunda twine together to form a dense mass. That material is often used as growing medium for cultivating epiphytes, particularly orchids. The not-yet-uncurled infant fronds are among the fiddle heads that can be eaten. Peoples as far apart as the Iroquois and Seminole used this plant to treat a variety of maladies, but they were just about the only ones to do so. This is a world wide plant, with North American plants sometimes segregated as O. spectabilis. Royal fern grows in damp non-neutral pH soil, and is particularly frequent around bog margins. With us it is found in AL, AR, CT, 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, MB, NB, NF, NS, ON, PE, QC, and on SPM. Lenawee Co MI, 6/13/12. Royal fern family, Osmundaceae.