Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Cinnamon Fern
Osmunda cinnamomea

Family: Osmundaceae
Genus: Osmunda (os-MUN-duh) (Info)
Species: cinnamomea (sin-uh-MOH-mee-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Osmunda cinnamomea var. cinnamomea
Synonym:Osmunda bipinnata
Synonym:Osmundastrum cinnamomeum
Synonym:Anemia bipinnata
Synonym:Osmunda imbricata

12 vendors have this plant for sale.

45 members have or want this plant for trade.

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36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Partial to Full Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Soil pH requirements:
4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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There are a total of 33 photos.
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5 positives
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive treebird101 On Apr 9, 2013, treebird101 from Bedford, IA wrote:

I grew up most of my life in Pennsylvania where cinnamon ferns grow everywhere. They will grow well in moist shady areas but are in their greatest splendor in sunny, boggy or swampy areas. I have to dispute the maximum height on these ferns. I've seen mature Cinnamon ferns reach heights of 12 ft with my own literal measuring with a tape measure. Of course this was in my home state of Pennsylvania where forest and wild life are much more valued than here in Iowa. You also get plenty of precipitation from the great lakes. I tried bringing some back from a particular location where they reached a height of 12 ft but I could not duplicate the environment here in Iowa to get them to the height and size they were back home, too dry in Iowa and nothing but corn fields and crop sprays. Its crazy to see how farming can pulverize so much land and take away all the beauty of forest and fern life in a state. It is documented that the Ostrich Fern is the largest of the fern species in Northern states but if you seen what I've seen in my life, the beauty and size majesty goes to the Cinnamon Fern. I've only ever seen Ostrich Ferns reach a Maximum of 5 ft.

Neutral Cretaceous On Mar 24, 2007, Cretaceous from El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

This fern is native to the eastern-half of the USA (including Texas), Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela, Bermuda, Cuba, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico.

It is considered an endangered species in the state of Iowa, and is listed as exploitably vulnerable in the state of New York.

Neutral sanity101 On Aug 30, 2005, sanity101 from Dublin, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

While this fern does grow here (clay/loam soil under dense deciduous shade, watered regularly), it does not thrive as do many other fern varieties such as lady fern or royal fern. The relatively coarse leaves look very unique and prehistoric.

Positive kdjoergensen On May 18, 2005, kdjoergensen from Waxhaw (Charlotte), NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

Very handsome fern, and quite tough, too. Georgous brown colored cinnamon "sticks" (fiddles) in spring. I love this fern.

Positive handhelpers On May 3, 2005, handhelpers from Coopersburg, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

deer resistant

Positive lmelling On Oct 23, 2004, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

I've grown this fern in Ithaca, NY zone 5 at the front corner of my sloped garden. It tolerates almost full sun here if grown in moist conditions. It was shielded only from midafternoon sun but received morning, early afternoon and evening sun. I've recently moved several to the back of my lot because they became so large and numerous that it obstructed my view of the other flowers.

It will spread quite nicely over a period of years on it's own. Transplants easily, just make sure to plant it in a moist location and keep it watered until established.

Positive MotherNature4 On Jul 27, 2004, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

This lovely fern of the woods is quite common, and has been used for medicine by Native Americans. The croziers (fiddleheads) are used for food, and are quite delicious sauteed in a little butter.

Neutral Terry On Mar 10, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

This fern is long lived once established. Arching fronds are bluish green and sterile. In the summer, fertile fronds appear in the center of the plant. They are cinnamon-colored and edible.

Prefers damp, moist heavily shady areas but will do well with adequate water in almost any landscape. May be evergreen, semi-evergreen or deciduous, depending on variety and winter temperatures.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Enterprise, Alabama
Tuskegee, Alabama
Wetumpka, Alabama
Flagstaff, Arizona
Morrilton, Arkansas
New Canaan, Connecticut
Bartow, Florida
Cedar Key, Florida
Fort Pierce, Florida
North Port, Florida
Cordele, Georgia
Cornelia, Georgia
Hinesville, Georgia
Machesney Park, Illinois
Plainfield, Illinois
Bloomington, Indiana
Greenfield, Indiana
Greenville, Indiana
Bedford, Iowa
Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Mashpee, Massachusetts
Dearborn Heights, Michigan
Lansing, Michigan
Stephenson, Michigan
Marietta, Mississippi
Saucier, Mississippi
Piedmont, Missouri
Norfolk, Nebraska
South Plainfield, New Jersey
Croton On Hudson, New York
Hillsdale, New York
Ithaca, New York
Jefferson, New York
Pittsford, New York
West Kill, New York
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Hatteras, North Carolina
Highlands, North Carolina
Kinston, North Carolina
Bowling Green, Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio (2 reports)
Oxford, Ohio
Waynesburg, Ohio
West Union, Ohio
Coopersburg, Pennsylvania
Scranton, Pennsylvania
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Bluffton, South Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
Swansea, South Carolina
Viola, Tennessee
Fort Worth, Texas
Port Arthur, Texas
Leesburg, Virginia
Rocky Mount, Virginia
Kalama, Washington
Spokane, Washington
Madison, Wisconsin

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