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Ferns to plant near water

Cinnamon Fern
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Roméo Meloche)  
Osmunda cinnamomea

Two native species of ferns are particularly well suited to sites next to ponds. The key factor in successfully cultivating them is constantly moist, acidic soil, for cinnamon fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum, syn. Osmunda cinnamomea), and very moist soil, for royal fern (Osmunda regalis).

Royal fern

A royal fern planted in a site with normal conditions will be a pale and stunted shadow (barely 30 cm high) of what it can achieve in the wild (1 to 1.5 m). The bipinnate fronds turn orange and gold in the fall, and the deeply divided fronds make it impossible to confuse with any other native ferns.

Cinnamon fern

Cinnamon fern is easy to recognize thanks to its woolly white fiddleheads and, of course, its cinnamon-coloured spore-bearing parts that appear early in the season (June).


Based on an article by Michel-André Otis in Quatre-Temps magazine, Vol. 18, No.2.

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