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
View this plant in a garden




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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:

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


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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 19, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

Forms a graceful, vase-shaped clump that does not spread. In my climate (Boston Z6a) this is always deciduous. Where conditions are right, this can reach 5' tall but not much taller. I usually see it about 3' tall in the wild. (A hardy plant growing to 12' tall in Pennsylvania is misidentified as a fern, perhaps in reality Aralia spinosa.)

The new fiddleheads are covered in a silvery down which makes them exceptionally showy while they are uncoiling. The down disappears as the fronds expand.

The common name comes from the fertile fronds, whose appearance has been compared to cinnamon sticks. They emerge in spring, and only last a couple of weeks before disintegrating.

Fronds usually turn a lovely yellow in fall.

Grows largest and ... read more


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 t... read more


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.


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.


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.


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

deer resistant


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.


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.


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.