The Collaborative International Dictionary
n. (context botany English) royal fern, (vern osmund pedia=1) (of genus ''Osmunda'')
The species have completely dimorphic fronds or pinnae (hemidimorphic), green photosynthetic sterile fronds, and non-photosynthetic spore-bearing fertile pinnae, with large, naked sporangia. Because of the large mass of sporangia that ripen uniformly at the same time to a showy golden color, the ferns look as if they are in flower, and so this genus is sometimes called the "flowering ferns".
The genus is known in the fossil record back to the Triassic period from fragmentary foliage nearly identical to the living Osmunda claytoniana.
Paleontological evidence indicates that Osmunda claytoniana, a reputed “living fossil,” has maintained evolutionary stasis for at least 180 million years.
Usage examples of "osmunda".
I was out in the dog-days last year with this fellow of mine, looking for Osmunda, and stayed some days in a village--never mind the name.
Pleasantly situated among cork oaks and banks covered with the Osmunda fern.
It is said the name 'Herb Christopher' was also formerly applied to the flowering fern, Osmunda regalis.