July Flora Spotlight:
Maidenhair Fern 

Maidenhair Fern
Adiantum pedatum 

The Maidenhair Fern is one of the most beautiful and elegant of our native ferns. The name Adiantum means "not wetting" in Greek, referring to the fronds' ability to shed water. Crosiers (coiled young fiddleheads) emerge pink in spring. The 12-20 inch bright green, finger-like fronds appear on shiny, blue-black thin stems. This distinct structure sets maidenhair apart from all other ferns. Its swirls and whorls and delicate leaf pattern always seems to move and sway in the slightest breeze. It gives a sense of motion to the shade garden and is one of the best ferns for offsetting larger leaved shade perennials. It softens them.

Adiantum pedatum is a deciduous, clump-forming fern and is most frequently found on rich wooded slopes, ravine bottoms and damp shady woods. Maidenhair Ferns prefer moist, shady conditions, but will grow in sunnier spots if kept moist. It also tolerates limestone soils (pH 6.8-7.2). It spreads slowly by creeping rhizomes and in time will become a beautiful finely textured ground cover! 

Some interesting facts. Native Americans made a tea to treat upper respiratory problems such as coughing. The shiny strong dark stems are used to make baskets.

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