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Family: Osmundaceae

Kingdom: Plantae Rank: Family Parent: Polypodiales Status: Valid

Common Names:

  • CINNAMON FAMILY - English, United States of America
  • ROYAL FERN FAMILY - English, United States of America

Morphological Description

Family Recognition in the Field: Leaves usually large, wholly or partly dimorphic (fertile leaves or pinnae conspicuously different from sterile); sporangia not in discrete sori.


Notes: A nearly cosmopolitan family with 3 genera and up to ca. 36 species (Whetstone & Atkinson 1993), with some cultivated as ornamentals. It is one of the oldest living fern families, extending back to the late Permian Period (286245 million years ago), and in some respects it is intermediate between eusporangiate and leptosporangiate ferns. The eusporangiate ferns, consisting of only two families, Ophioglossaceae and Marattiaceae, usually have thousands of spores per sporangium, the Osmundaceae have hundreds, and the other leptosporangiate ferns have 128 or more typically 64 or sometimes 32 (Lellinger 1985; Jones & Luchsinger 1986). Morphological and molecular evidence indicates the Osmundaceae is the most basal leptosporangiate fern family (or alternatively stated, it is the sister group of a clade containing all other leptosporangiate ferns) (Li & Haufler 1994; Pryer et al. 1995; Hasebe et al. 1995; Doyle 1998; Yatabe et al. 1999).