Cinnamon Ferns (Osmunda cinnamomea) have unfurled during the warmth of the last few weeks. I love walking along woodland paths bordered by these feathery green plants. The fronds appear stately as they hold their spiky ‘cinnamon’ spores high; a scepter covered with the possibility of new life.
Quite often I will find Cinnamon Ferns and Skunk Cabbage growing in the same area.
“The Osmundastrum cinnamomeum fern forms huge clonal colonies in swampy areas. These ferns form massive rootstocks with densely matted, wiry roots. This root mass is an excellent substrate for many epiphytal plants. They are often harvested as osmunda fiber and used horticulturally, especially in propagating and growing orchids. Cinnamon Ferns do not actually produce cinnamon; they are named for the color of the fertile fronds.”
Cinnamon ferns are called fiddleheads in the beginning stages of their unfurling. Here are a few photos of the stages of their growth.
Chefs can create gourmet dishes out of fiddleheads. I’m not sure which variety of fern they use, but think it must be a well-remembered dining experience by anyone who tries this culinary treat.