Flowering Fern.

Botanical name: 

Osmunda regalis.

There is something that at first sight appears singular in the manner of this fern's flowering, but when particularly examined, it is not different in any thing material from the other. It grows three feet high, and the leaves are very regularly constructed, and very beautiful; they are composed in the manner of the other ferns, each of several small ones, and these are broader and bigger than in any of the other kinds, not at all indented on the edges; and of a bluish green colour, and afterwards yellowish. Many leaves arise from the same root, but only some few of them bear seeds. These principally rise about the middle, and the seeds stand only on the upper part: they cover the whole surface of the leaf, or nearly so in this part, and the little pinnules turn round inwards, and shew their backs rounded up. These are brown from being covered with the seeds, and they have so different an appearance from all the rest of the plant, that they are called flowers. The root is long and covered with fibres. The plant grows in boggy places, but it is not very common wild in England.

A decoction of the fresh roots promotes urine, and opens obstructions of the liver and spleen; it is not much used, but I have known a jaundice cured by it, taken in the beginning.

The Family Herbal, 1812, was written by John Hill.