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Marcus, Joseph A.
Adiantum capillus-veneris L.
Southern maidenhair fern, Common maidenhair fern, Maidenhair fern, Venus hair fern
Pteridaceae (Maidenhair Fern Family)
Synonym(s): Adiantum capillus-veneris var. modestum, Adiantum capillus-veneris var. protrusum, Adiantum modestum
USDA Symbol: ADCA
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.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Fern Leaf Retention: Evergreen Leaf Venation:
Dichotomous Size Notes:
Height 6-20 inches. Leaf:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Not Applicable
Bloom Notes: Not a flowering plant. Reproduces by spores.
, VA Canada: BC Native Distribution: VA
w. to KY,
& CA; south to South America. Also Eurasia. Native Habitat:
Limestone kept moist by moving water in shade
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium , High
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
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.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Ground cover in the right circumstances, bog edge plant
Interesting Foliage: yes
Deer Resistant: High
Root Division Description:
Propagated by rhizome
division or spores. Commercially Avail:
Dead foliage can be cut back whenever necessary to keep plants fresh looking.
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Ground cover for trails in Northeast Texas
January 09, 2008
I have several acres of wooded land in Northeast Texas, Southern Lamar County. Both sandy and black land. I have created trails through the woods and would like to plant a native ground cover or gras...
view the full question and answer
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
Record Last Modified: 2013-09-09
Research By: TWC Staff