Overview

Comprehensive Description

Comments

When the fertile leaflets are conspicuous during the spring, they provide this fern with an unusual appearance – almost like it is afflicted with some kind of disease. Later, these leaflets wither away, leaving a gap (or 'interruption') between the upper and the lower leaflets on each fertile leaf. When only infertile leaves are present, they are difficult to distinguish from the infertile leaves of Cinnamon Fern (Osmunda cinnamomea). Generally, the petioles of Cinnamon Fern are more brown-woolly than those of Interrupted Fern, especially later in the year, when the latter fern becomes hairless (or nearly so). The leaflets of Cinnamon Fern have persistent tufts of woolly hair at their bases along the rachis, while the leaflets of Interrupted Fern are usually glabrous at their bases from the summer onward. Instead of restricting its sporangia toward the middle of its fertile leaves, Cinnamon Fern produces reddish brown fertile leaves that are covered entirely by sporangia from top to bottom.
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Description

This perennial fern develops a rosette of ascending to nearly erect leaves about 2-4' tall. In outline, each blade is elliptic-oblong in shape, while its structure is pinnate-pinnatifid, consisting of 20 or more pairs of leaflets. The leaflets are longest toward the middle of each leaf (if they are sterile), becoming smaller toward both the top and the bottom. The pinnatifid leaflets are deeply lobed and narrowly lanceolate. There are 10 or more pairs of lobes per leaflet; the lobes become gradually smaller toward the tip of each leaflet. The lobes are broadly oblong and smooth to slightly undulate along their margins; their tips are usually well-rounded. The lateral veins on the lobe undersides are forked. The upper surface of the leaves is medium green and glabrous, while the lower surface is pale green. The rachis (central stalk) of each leaf is light green and terete. The petioles are mostly terete and lack scales; they are about one-third as long as the blades of the leaves. During the spring, rachis, petiole, and underside of fertile leaves are covered with white- or brown-woolly hairs; later they become glabrous or nearly so. At this time, fertile leaves also have 2-7 pairs of leaflets toward the middle that are densely covered with sporangia (spore-bearing structures). These middle leaflets are black or brown from the sporangia and somewhat constricted or contorted in appearance. The tiny globoid sporangia release their spores through narrow openings during the spring or summer. Infertile leaves that lack sporangia are also produced; they are more glabrous overall and their middle leaflets have a normal appearance. The root system is fibrous and rhizomatous; vegetative offsets are occasionally produced from the rhizomes. The leaves of this fern are deciduous and they die down during the autumn. Cultivation
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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

The native Interrupted Fern is uncommon to occasional in northern and west-central Illinois, while in the remaining areas of the state it is rare or absent (see Distribution Map). Habitats include sandy woodlands, openings in sandy woodlands, drier areas of swamps, rocky or sandy wooded slopes, sandstone ledges along ravines, and shaded sandy areas along small lakes or streams.
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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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St. Pierre and Miquelon; Man., N.B., Nfld., N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que.; Conn., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Ky., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Mo., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Pa., R.I., Tenn., Vt., Va., W.Va., Wis.; Asia
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Leaves pinnate-pinnatifid; petioles ca. 1/3 length of blades, winged, with light brown hairs, becoming glabrate. Sterile leaves elliptic to oblong, ca. 0.5--1 m; pinnae broadly oblong, lacking persistent tuft of hairs at base; ultimate segments with base truncate, margins entire, apex rounded. Fertile leaves with greatly reduced, sporangia-bearing medial pinnae that wither early, giving appearance of no middle pinnae (hence the vernacular name, interrupted fern). Sporangia greenish, turning dark brown. 2 n =44.
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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

The native Interrupted Fern is uncommon to occasional in northern and west-central Illinois, while in the remaining areas of the state it is rare or absent (see Distribution Map). Habitats include sandy woodlands, openings in sandy woodlands, drier areas of swamps, rocky or sandy wooded slopes, sandstone ledges along ravines, and shaded sandy areas along small lakes or streams.
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Sporulation early spring--midsummer; 0--2300m.
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Associations

Faunal Associations

The caterpillars of Papaipema speciosissima (Osmunda Borer Moth) and Olethreutes osmundana (Tortricid Moth sp.) feed on Interrupted Fern and other Osmunda spp. Because the foliage of this fern is bitter and probably toxic, it is rarely eaten by mammalian herbivores. The large leaves provide cover for ground-nesting birds and other animals, particularly when large colonies of plants are formed. Photographic Location
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Osmundastrum claytonianum

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Osmundastrum claytonianum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Osmunda claytoniana

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Osmunda claytoniana

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 6
Specimens with Barcodes: 13
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Wikipedia

Osmunda claytoniana

Osmunda claytoniana, the Interrupted Fern, is a fern native to Eastern Asia and eastern North America, in the Eastern United States and Eastern Canada.

The specific epithet is named after the English-born Virginian botanist John Clayton.[1] "Interrupted" describes the gap in middle of the blade left by the fertile portions after they wither and eventually fall off.[2]

The plant is known from fossils to have grown in Europe, showing a previous circumboreal distribution. Fragmentary foliage resembling Osmunda claytoniana has been found in the fossil record as far back as the Triassic, and is known as †Osmunda claytoniites. O. claytoniana is a paramount example of evolutionary stasis. Paleontological evidence indicates it has remained unchanged, even at the level of fossilized nuclei and chromosomes, for at least 180 million years.[3]

Distribution[edit]

The fertile middle pinnae give the frond an "interrupted" gap.
North America

In eastern North America it occurs in: the Great Lakes region; eastern Canada - in southern Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec (north to tree line); and east to Newfoundland; eastern United States - upper New England south through the Appalachian Mountains and Atlantic seaboard, into the Southeastern United States in Georgia and Alabama; and west across the Southern United States to Mississippi River, and back up the Mississippi embayment through the Midwestern United States to the Great Lakes.

Asia

In eastern Asia, the fern is found in the subtropical and temperate Asia in: the Eastern Himalaya, South Central China and Eastern China, Taiwan, the Korean Peninsula, the Ryukyu Islands, and Japan.

Ecology[edit]

Osmunda claytoniana is found in humid zones, mostly in forests, but also in more open habitats and biomes, although rarely in bogs. The Interrupted Fern is often found alongside Ostrich, Cinnamon and Sensitive Ferns.

Description[edit]

Osmunda claytoniana fronds are bipinnate, 40–100 cm (16–39 in) tall and 20–30 cm (8–12 in) broad, the blade formed of alternate segments forming an arching blade tightening to a pointed end. The lower end is also slightly thinner than the rest of the frond because the first segments are shorter. Three to seven short, cinnamon-colored fertile segments are inserted in the middle of the length, giving the plant its name.

In their absence, the plant in all its stages appears similar to Osmundastrum cinnamomeum (Cinnamon Fern). The base of the segments distinguishes the two species: where O. cinnamomeum has typical felt-like hairs, the few hairs present on O. claytoniana are extremely short, usually requiring a magnifying glass to see well.

Like other species in the family Osmundaceae, it grows a very large rhizome, with persistent stipe bases from previous years. It forms small, dense colonies, spreading locally through its rhizome, and often forming fairy rings.

Interrupted fern in evening light

Hybrids[edit]

Osmunda × ruggii, is a hybrid between O. claytoniana and O. spectabilis (American Royal Fern). The hybrid is considered important because it suggests a closer genetic relationship between O. claytoniana and O. spectabilis than between O. claytoniana and O. cinnamomeum (a fact which has led to moving O. cinnamomeum out of Osmunda and into its own genus Osmundastrum). Osmunda × ruggii is sterile and is known from only about two natural populations, despite the many areas in which both O. claytoniana and O. regalis are found.[4]

Uses[edit]

Medicinal

The Iroquois used the plant as a traditional healing medicinal plant, for blood and venereal diseases and conditions.[5]

Culinary

Unlike those of the Ostrich Fern, the Interrupted Fern's fiddleheads are not readily edible, due to their bitter taste and a tendency to cause diarrhea. The base of the stipe and very young buds are edible. Overuse may kill the crown.[citation needed]

Cultivation[edit]

Osmunda claytoniana is cultivated as an ornamental plant for use in traditional, native plant, and wildlife gardens; for woodlands and natural landscaping; and for habitat restoration projects. Their spreading colonizing habit can be used for some slope stabilization and erosion control measures.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fernald's "Gray's Manual of Botany" (1950)
  2. ^ University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum, Interrupted fern profile
  3. ^ Bomfleur B, McLoughlin S, Vajda V (March 2014). "Fossilized nuclei and chromosomes reveal 180 million years of genomic stasis in royal ferns". Science 343 (6177): 1376–7. doi:10.1126/science.1249884. PMID 24653037. 
  4. ^ "4. Osmunda ruggii R. M. Tryon". 
  5. ^ Univ. Mich.-Dearborn College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters: Native American Ethnobotany: Osmunda species (scroll for O. claytoniana) . accessed 12.1.2011
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Notes

Comments

Osmunda claytoniana is sparingly cultivated as an ornamental.
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