Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Adiantum capillus-veneris

Southern maidenhair fern, Common maidenhair fern, Maidenhair fern, Venus hair fern

Pteridaceae (Maidenhair Fern Family)

Adiantum capillus-veneris (Southern maidenhair fern)
Marcus, Joseph A.
This plant has specific growing requirements that must be met to be successful in a garden setting. Though it lacks the fan-like pattern of Northern maidenhair, the fine, lacy foliage of Southern maidenhair has the same a graceful, delicate character. This fern grows from 6 inches to 1 foot in height; its fronds arising in clusters from creeping rhizomes.

Listed as an endangered species in North Carolina (known as southern maidenhair-fern there) and threatened in Kentucky (known as venus hair fern there). Mostly found in the lower half of the U.S.and some parts of the tropics, the only Canadian site is near Fairmont Hot Springs, B.C.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Fern
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Venation: Dichotomous
Size Notes: Height 6-20 inches.
Leaf: Green
Size Class: 0-1 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Not Applicable
Bloom Notes: Not a flowering plant. Reproduces by spores.


USA: AL , AZ , AR , CA , CO , FL , GA , HI , KY , LA , MD , MS , MO , NV , NM , NC , OH , OK , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA
Canada: BC
Native Distribution: VA to FL, w. to KY, s. MO, s.w. CO & CA; south to South America. Also Eurasia.
Native Habitat: Limestone kept moist by moving water in shade

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium , High
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet , Moist
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Moist, well-drained sand, loam or limestone. Can occur as an attached mass growing directly on rock outcroppings where moisture is present
Conditions Comments: It prefers moisture year-round. Without watering, it will go dormant by July. Where water and drainage are adequate, the plant makes a lush ground cover. It is often used in crevices of rock walls and well-drained cobbles, especially in cool, north exposures.


Use Ornamental: Ground cover in the right circumstances, bog edge plant
Interesting Foliage: yes
Deer Resistant: High

Last Update: 2013-09-09