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Re: Osmunda regalis var Purpurea

Hi Judith and Matt

Other fern members here in Australia had good contact with Jimmy Dyce in the 80s too, and I suspect over time the name could have been changed slightly.

Never recall seen a O. spectabilis in the frond.

I do have a O. regalis here sold as 'evergreen' with only green new growth, from Brazil but is quite tatty by the end of winter and never actually checked it against others.

Sometimes ferning can be frustrating, but very rewarding in the spring which starts next week here and thank you again.

Both your comments are greatly welcomed.


Judith I Jones wrote:

Hello Keith,
   I brought spores of Osmunda regalis var. regalis 'Purpurascens' to the
US from Jimmy Dyce's garden in England in 1983 and introduced it to the US
market.  I have always assumed that English var. regalis was similar to
North American var. spectabilis (syn var. gracilis in early English fern
works) in having both green and red stemmed forms.  I just briefly checked
several classic Victorian fern references and no mention is made of a purple
or reddish stemmed variation being recognized.  Reginald Kaye includes it in
his classic 1968 "Hardy Ferns" and wonders if it should be considered a
legitimate botanical variety.  Reg stated it came 100% true from spores but
I have found that there is some reversion in the crops being grown now and
care should be taken to sort out the green and red stemmed forms.  Martin
Rickard attributes it's possible origin to the Atlantic Isles.  I will have
to check some more references to see if I can discover where it first pops
up in print.
   I do have Osmunda regalis var. brasilensis from New York Botanical
Garden and it has reddish and not purply-reddish stipes and rachis and is
fairly evergreen in our zone 8.  It more closely resembles var. spectabilis
than var regalis.
   North American var. spectabilis is quite variable in its overall size
and pinnule size.  Customers have been sending me samples for many years and
I have very dwarf small pinnuled forms up to those almost as large pinnuled
as var. regalis.  They vary in having green and red or purplish stipes and
   I hope this helps a bit with your question.
Judith I. Jones, Fancy Fronds

----- Original Message ----- From: "Keith Rogers" <kerogers@iprimus.com.au>
To: <ferns@hort.net>
Sent: Wednesday, August 25, 2004 1:37 AM
Subject: [ferns] Osmunda regalis var Purpurea

Hi Guys

Any thoughts on the origins of Osmunda regalis var Purpurea .

It has purple new croziers and appears almost variegated with almost
white midveins.

Keith Rogers
Mannum South Australia

Keith's Fern Page is at

Supporting the Fern Society of South Australia inc on

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