Cinnamon Fern – Osmunda cinnamomea

Cinnamon Fern
Cinnamon Fern

Cinnamon fern grows brown fertile fronds
in the center of its tall green vase.
These fertile fronds are segmented tubes
that twist and clasp each other as they grow,
a hundred worms stuck to a central spine
and trying to climb. In the end they become alien
organic cannons filled with spores–
tubes break at the tips, spill BBs into breeze.
I looked at them today. The spores are small
and my eyes grow wonder wide
at my new magnifying eyes—the spheres of life
repeat so many times and ways
it spins my mind. I orbit awe.

By John Caddy

 

This perennial member of the Royal Fern Family is a native to the Western Hemisphere, it occurs throughout South America, Central America and on through to Minnesota in the north and southern New England in the Northeast. If you are thinking of looking for this fern in the wild search out wet, moist habitats like wet woods, the shore of lakes and rivers and in bogs and swamps. Finding it might be tricky as it is considered Endangered or Vulnerable is some places.

 

Native Americans used this fern in decoction to treat rheumatism, headaches, chills, colds, and snakebite. The Cherokee used a decoction of the root on warmed hands for treatment of arthritis, as a febrifuge, and the chewed root applied to snakebite.

 

The Cherokee also used the cooked early fronds in spring as a vegetable. The fiddleheads are edible and reportedly taste like a blend of broccoli, asparagus, and artichoke.

 

In Florida it is a “Commercially Exploited Species.’ This means it cannot be removed, for any reason, from the wild without permit. It is available legally through many native plant nurseries.

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