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Osmunda spectabilis Willdenow. American Royal Fern. Phen: Mar-Jun. Hab: Bogs, marshes (including tidal), moist forests, floodplains, wet meadows, swamp forests, ditches, and other wetlands. Dist: NL (Newfoundland) west to MB, south to s. FL, e. TX; Mexico south through Central America to s. South America; West Indies.

Origin/Endemic status: Native

Taxonomy Comments: American O. spectabilis is more closely related to Asian O. japonica (=O. regalis var. japonica) and O. lancea than to European, African, and sw. Asian (typic) O. regalis (Metzgar et al. 2008; Tsutsumi et al. (2011); Arana & Ponce (2015); Tsutsumi et al. 2021). Specific rank therefore appears fully warranted for American royal ferns. Lehnert, Monjau, & Rosche (2023) presented an informal and provisional taxonomy in which O. spectabilis is recognized as having three "informal morphotaxa of unresolved taxonomic status": 'spectabilis, 'palustris', and 'piresii'; populations in our region all represent the informal morphotaxon 'spectabilis'.

Synonymy: = Il, K4, Va, Arana & Ponce (2015), Lehnert, Monjau, & Rosche (2023), Sylvestre, Costa, & Arana (2022); = Osmunda regalis L. var. spectabilis (Willd.) A.Gray – AqW, Ar, Bah, C, ETx1, F, Fl1, FNA2, G, GrPl, K1, K3, Mo1, NE, NY, Pa, RAB, SFla, Tat, Tn, Tx, TxFerns, W, WH3, WV; < Osmunda regalis L. – Meso1, S13, Sf

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Wetland Indicator Status:

  • Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain: OBL
  • Eastern Mountains and Piedmont: OBL
  • Great Plains: OBL
  • Midwest: OBL
  • Northcentral & Northeast: OBL

Heliophily ?: 5

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image of plant© Keith Bradley | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Erik Danielson source | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Gary P. Fleming | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Joey Shaw source | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Alan Cressler: Osmunda spectabilis, Sporangia, Big Creek Swamp, Hilochee Wildlife Management Area, Lake County, Florida 2 by Alan Cressler source | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Erik Danielson source | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Alan Cressler: Osmunda spectabilis, Freshwater Marsh, Maritime Forest, Jekyll Island, Glynn County, Georgia 11 by Alan Cressler source | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Alan M. Cressler | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Erik Danielson source | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Scott Ward | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Bruce A. Sorrie | Original Image ⭷

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