Ontario Ferns website

Cinnamon Fern
Osmundastrum cinnamomeum
(formerly Osmunda cinnamomea)

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum) Other scientific names: Osmunda cinnamomea

French names: Osmonde cannelle

Family: Flowering Fern Family (Osmundaceae)

Distinctive features: Whitish velvety coating on lower stems and fiddleheads. Swamps. Central cinnamon-colored fertile frond.

Similar species:
  •   Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) - all fronds grow from a single black knob; grows in areas that are not as wet; fertile frond is black later in the year; lower stems are not white-velvety.

  •   Interrupted Fern (Osmunda claytoniana) - grows in drier places; lacks a separate fertile frond.

  •   Marsh Fern (Thelypteris palustris) - also grows in wet areas; lacks the small tufts at the base of the leaflets; fronds grow singly.

  •   Virginia Chain Fern (Woodwardia virginica) - uncommon; fronds grow singly.

Fronds: Twice divided;  Long, classic fern shape; small tufts at the base of the leaflets.

Height: 1-2 m (3-5 ft)

Habitat: Wet Areas;  Open areas in swamps and wet areas.

Uses: Fiddleheads are edible. But limit the quantity that you eat, as all ferns contains some carcinogens.

Edible: Edible, but Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) is much better.

Native/Non-native: Native

Status: Very common.

Notes: Frequently confused with Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris).

Photographs: 247 photographs available, of which 27 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Range Map is at the bottom of the page

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

Close-up of the leaves on a herbarium specimen. Note the crooked stem - Cinnamon Fern can be mistaken for Marsh Fern (Thelypteris palustris) because of this.

(Royal Botanical Gardens herbarium, Burlington, Ontario)..

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

Note the small tufts at the base of each leaflet - this is a strong indicator for Cinnamon Fern.

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

Fiddleheads in the early spring. Some people eat these fiddleheads.

For more info on edibility of fiddleheads, please visit the Wildwood Survival website, Edible Plants.

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

Cinnamon Ferns in fall (early November).

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

Cinnamon Ferns in early winter.

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

Cinnamon Ferns in winter.

Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

And let's conclude with a final photo of Cinnamon Ferns in a swamp. Beautiful!


Range map for Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum)

PLEASE NOTE: A coloured Province or State means this species occurs somewhere in that Province/State.
The entire Province/State is coloured, regardless of where in that Province/State it occurs.

(Range map provided courtesy of the USDA website and is displayed here in accordance with their Policies)