Cinnamon fern

Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated February 2018.

Scientific name: Osmunda cinnamomea  L.reclassified as Osmundastrum cinnamomeum (L.) C. Presl

Common name(s): cinnamon fern

Link(s): USDA PLANTS Profile, NPIN Profile, Go Botany

Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)


– perennial

-Osmundaceae family

-can grow up to 2 feet

– may be confused with Osmunda claytoniana; see left sidebar of Go Botany webpage


-moist soils

-shade to part sun

-woods and thickets

-acidic soils

-organic soils

Natural History:

-young unexpanded fronds are edible

-the root can be used medically

-Ferns first appear in the fossil record about 360 million years ago in the middle Devonian period

-Ferns are native to every part of North America



Plants for a Future. “Osmunda Cinnamomea – L.” Pfaf Plant Search, 2021,

Rutgers, the State University of NJ. “Crop Vignette: Ferns.” IR4 Project, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2021,