Osmunda claytoniana

 

Botanical Name :Osmunda claytoniana
Family: Osmundaceae
Genus: Osmunda
Section: Claytosmunda
Species: O. claytoniana
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Polypodiopsida /Pteridopsida (disputed)
Order: Osmundales

Synonyms: Osmunda interrupta.

Common Name : Interrupted Fern

Habitat : Osmunda claytoniana is native to E. Asia – China, Japan, Himalayas. Eastern N. America. It grows on wet places in C. Japan. Open slopes, rarely in forests, 2800 – 3300 metres in Kashmir.

In eastern North America it occurs in: the Great Lakes region; eastern Canada – in southern Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec (north to tree line); and east to Newfoundland; eastern United States – upper New England south through the Appalachian Mountains and Atlantic seaboard, into the Southeastern United States in Georgia and Alabama; and west across the Southern United States to Mississippi River, and back up the Mississippi embayment through the Midwestern United States to the Great Lakes.
Description:
Osmunda claytoniana is a fern. It’s fronds are bipinnate, 40–100 cm (16–39 in) tall and 20–30 cm (8–12 in) broad, the blade formed of alternate segments forming an arching blade tightening to a pointed end. The lower end is also slightly thinner than the rest of the frond because the first segments are shorter. Three to seven short, cinnamon-colored fertile segments are inserted in the middle of the length, giving the plant its name.

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In their absence, the plant in all its stages appears similar to Osmundastrum cinnamomeum (cinnamon fern). The base of the segments distinguishes the two species: where O. cinnamomeum has typical felt-like hairs, the few hairs present on O. claytoniana are extremely short, usually requiring a magnifying glass to see well.

Like other species in the family Osmundaceae, it grows a very large rhizome, with persistent stipe bases from previous years. It forms small, dense colonies, spreading locally through its rhizome, and often forming fairy rings
Cultivation:
Likes a soil of swamp mud and loamy or fibrous peat, sand and loam. Succeeds in most moist soils, preferring acid conditions. Requires a constant supply of water, doing well by ponds, streams etc. Plants thrive in full sun so long as there is no shortage of moisture in the soil and also in shady situations beneath shrubs etc. Requires a shady position. Plants are hardy to at least -20°c, they are evergreen in warm winter areas but deciduous elsewhere. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer. A very ornamental plant.

Propagation:
Spores – they very quickly lose their viability (within 3 days) and are best sown as soon as they are ripe on the surface of a humus-rich sterilized soil in a lightly shaded place in a greenhouse. Keep the compost moist, preferably by putting a plastic bag over the pot. Plants develop very rapidly, pot on small clumps of plantlets as soon as they are large enough to handle and keep humid until they are well established. Do not plant outside until the ferns are at least 2 years old. Cultivars usually come true to type. Division of the rootstock in the dormant season. This is a very strenuous exercise due to the mass of wiry roots.

Edible Uses:
The young fronds are eaten. Cooked as a vegetable. The centre of the clump, below ground level, is the source of a small edible pith called ‘fernbutter’

Unlike those of the ostrich fern, the interrupted fern’s fiddleheads are not readily edible, due to their bitter taste and a tendency to cause diarrhea. The base of the stipe and very young buds are edible. Overuse may kill the crown.
Medicinal Uses: The roots are used as an adulterant for Dryopteris felix-mas in the treatment of internal worms.Resources The Iroquois used the plant as treatment for blood disorders and venereal diseases.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osmunda_claytoniana
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Osmunda+claytoniana

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