Interrupted fern

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

Scientific name: Osmunda claytoniana L.

Common name(s): interrupted fern

Links: USDA PLANTS Profile, NPIN Profile, Go Botany

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


– perennial

-Reproduces by spores and creeping rootstocks

-leaves are

  • 2′-6′ long
  • covered with densely matted wool-like hairs when young
  • leaf blades oblong to lance-shaped 1′-4′ long

-Spores borne on non-leafy stalks, mid-way up interrupting leaf blade, greenish at first, becoming dark brown and brittle with age

– may be confused with Osmundastrum cinnamomeum; see left sidebar of Go Botany webpage




-shores of rivers

Natural History:

-named after the distinct interruptions present in the center of many fronds

-Ferns became popular indoor plants during the Victorian Era



Go Botany. “Osmunda Claytoniana L.” Osmunda Claytoniana (Interrupted Fern): Go Botany, 2021,