Osmundastrum cinnamomeum – Cinnamon Fern


Formerly in the genus Osmunda. We are often asked the question “Why are botanists constantly changing the names of plants?” The answer is “in order to have names reflect evolutionary history or phylogeny.” Once botanists could examine the DNA of species they could more accurately determine evolutionary relationships among closely related species than they could in the past using primarily morphological traits. In examining the DNA of the closely related Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis), Interrupted Fern (Osmunda claytoniana) and Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda cinnamomea) they were able to determine that Cinnamon Fern diverged separately from all the other members of the family Osmundaceae. Botanists then had the choice of putting all the members of the family, including two species in the genus Todea, and four species in the genus Leptoteris, into the genus Osmunda, or renaming Osmunda cinnamomea. They chose to rename just one species, instead of six. For more information see Osmundastrum and Osmundaceae.

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Royal fern family, Osmundaceae

Photo by Charles de Mille-Isles from Mille-Isles, Canada, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Updated 30 March 2023

Additional information

Pot Size

1.25-Quart, 5-Pint, 1.5-Gallon