Osmunda - Osmundaceae

Osmunda regalis L.

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: BT. Wursten

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Hubbard






Osmunda capensis C.Presl
Osmunda regalis L. var. capensis (C.Presl) Milde
Osmunda schelpei A.E.Bobrov
Osmunda transvaalensis A.E.Bobrov

Common name

Royal fern


Rhizome erect to suberect; fronds tufted, glabrous, 60-120 × 30-45 cm. Stipe up to 30 cm long. Lamina up to 1 m, bipinnate and ovate in outline. Sterile pinnules oblong-lanceolate in outline; apex rounded; base asymmetrically truncate; margin minutely serrate. Fertile pinnules situated on the end of the lamina and covered with sporangia.



regalis: regal, royal; referring to the majestic growth of the plant or to King Osmund (Osmunda) of the South Saxons


Along streams in woodland and forest with the rhizome continuously in water

Distribution worldwide

Africa, temperate parts of Europe, Asia, America, Madagascar, Mascarene Islands

Distribution in Africa

Algeria, Angola, Burkina Fasso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Dem. Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Morocco and Western Sahara, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan and South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania , Tunesia, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 49 - 50. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 36. (Includes a picture).
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta. Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 44 - 46. (Includes a picture).