Osmunda, Königin des Waldes

Yesterday’s morning name, Osmunda (a genus of ferns), here understood as a central royal figure of an opera (like Die Königin der Nacht in Die Zauberflöte) or an operetta (like Die Csárdásfürstin, Gräfin Maritza, or Die Zirkusprinzessin).


Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis

From Wikipedia:

Osmunda is a genus of primarily temperate-zone ferns of family Osmundaceae. Five to ten species have been listed for this genus.

… 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 species Osmunda regalis, or royal fern, grows in woodland bogs and on the banks of streams.

I assumed the genus name came from a botanist named Osmund — “Sir Henry Osmund, intrepid 19th-century explorer of the Amazonian swamps”, or something like that — but no. Wikipedia:

The derivation of the genus name is uncertain. A leading theory is that it is from an English folk tale of a boatman named Osmund hiding his wife and children in a patch of royal fern during the Danish invasion [“From the fury of the Norsemen, Good Lord deliver us”]. Other theories propose that it is from Middle English and Middle French words for a type of fern. [If so, where did those names come from? In any case, Oxford dictionaries are non-commital on the etymology.]

The conceit of Osmunda as an opera or operetta queen led to other associations with story and song. Two possibilities: Ozmunda, the Transgender Countess of Oz; and Ozmundias, King of Kings and Queen of Queens.

Ozmunda. It starts with Ozma of Oz:


From Wikipedia:

Princess Ozma is a fictional character from the Land of Oz, created by L. Frank Baum. She appears in every book of the Oz series except the first, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900).

She is the rightful ruler of Oz, and Baum indicated that she would reign in the fairyland forever, being immortal.

While still an infant, Ozma, the baby daughter of the former King Pastoria of Oz, was given to the witch Mombi of the North by the Wizard of Oz. Mombi transformed Ozma into a boy and called him “Tip” (short for Tippetarius) in order to prevent the rightful ruler of Oz from ascending to the throne. Thus, Ozma spent her entire childhood with Mombi in the form of the boy Tip, and had no memory of ever having been a girl. During this time, Tip had managed to create Jack Pumpkinhead who was brought to life by Mombi’s Powder of Life. In The Marvelous Land of Oz, Glinda the Good Sorceress discovered what had happened and forced Mombi to turn Tip back into Ozma; ever since then, the Princess has possessed the Throne of Oz (although many realms within Oz remained unaware of her authority).

So: two sex/gender changes: from the girl Ozma to the boy Tip to the young woman Ozma. Yielding my creation Ozmunda, the Transgender Countess of Oz, to accompany her ruler Ozma.

Ozymundias. Now to a Romantic eye cast back to the ruins of antiquity:

My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

From Wikipedia:

“Ozymandias” … is a sonnet written by English Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822), first published in the 11 January 1818 issue of The Examiner in London. It was included the following year in Shelley’s collection Rosalind and Helen, A Modern Eclogue; with Other Poems (1819) and in a posthumous compilation of his poems published in 1826.

With a bit of gender play, I get to Ozymundias, King of King and Queen of Queens.

The musical turn: from Osmunda to Rosamunde. On Rosamunde the play, incidental music by Schubert, and Rosamunde the German song (known in English as “The Beer Barrel Polka”), see my 10/31/15 posting. Along the way there’s the German fern operetta Osamunde. Very danceable music.

The musical turn: from Osmunda to Raimunda. Apparently, Raimunda is Brazilian slang for a woman with a nice body (especially, nice buttocks) and ugly face. The name has been enshrined in a 1997 song by Gang do Samba, which you can listen to here. Along the way from Osmunda to Raimunda there’s Raismunda,  a hard-driving samba hymn to women with fern-like buttocks

One Response to “Osmunda, Königin des Waldes”

  1. thnidu Says:

    “With a bit of gender play, I get to Ozymundias, King of King[s] and Queen of Queens.”

    So who rules Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island (borough of Richmond)?

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: