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Adiantum capillus-veneris is often confused with:
Adiantum pedatum Adiantum pedatum, multiple
Adiantum raddianum Adiantum raddianum leaves
Adiantum x mairisii Adiantum x mairisii
Cyrtomium falcatum Cyrtomium falcatum
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Phegopteris hexagonoptera View of fronds from above (Niagara, CA-ON)-Late Summer
Thelypteris noveboracensis Thelypteris noveboracensis
Viola pubescens Form
Adiantum capillus-veneris has some other problems:
Sunburn

Venus'-hair Fern Adiantum capillus-veneris

Previously known as:

  • Adiantum capillus-veneris f. rimicola
  • Adiantum capillus-veneris var. modestum
  • Adiantum capillus-veneris var. protrusum
Phonetic Spelling
ae-dee-AN-tum ca-PILL-us VEN-er-iss
Description

The Southern Maidenhair is a deciduous, perennial fern in the Ribbon-fern family (Pteridaceae). It is native to temperate and tropical regions worldwide. The genus name comes from the Greek word adiantos, meaning “unwetted,” in reference to the water-repellent foliage. The specific epithet comes from Latin meaning hair (capillus) of Venus (veneris) and is reflected by its other common name, Venus maidenhair fern.

The fern spreads by short, creeping rhizomes and prefers moist, humus-rich, alkaline to neutral soil in partial shade to shade. It needs 12 inches to 3 feet of planting space and grows about 10 inches to 2 feet high and wide. It is low maintenance but requires moist but not saturated soil and fertilizer, especially when potted. This fern is listed as Endangered in North Carolina due to loss of habitat.

The Southern Maidenhair fern can be grown almost anywhere that provides suitable conditions. This includes containers, native gardens, woodlands, and shade gardens.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Fronds twice-compound, membranous
  • Pinnae in flat planes
  • Pinnules triangular, lobed
  • Sori marginal covered by revolute marginal flap
  • Stipe & rachis wiry, black

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No significant problems 

VIDEO Created by NC State Extension's Homegrown series featuring Mark Weathington, Director of JC Raulston Arboretum.

 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Alabama Lace'
    typical lacy fronds with black stems, but it is denser and spreads faster
  • 'Banksianum'
    bright green oval-shaped leaflets with black leaf stems, up to 18 inches tall
  • 'Fimbriata'
    fringed, soft green leaves
'Alabama Lace', 'Banksianum', 'Fimbriata'
Tags:
#deciduous#houseplant#shade garden#lacy leaves#interiorscape#fronds#fern#low maintenance#dappled shade#endangered#NC native#airy#neutral pH#deer resistant#native garden#dainty#delicate#alkaline soils tolerant#native fern#fantz#food source summer#food source herbage#Piedmont Mountains FACU#Coastal FACU#partial shade tolerant#tropical feel#Audubon#heavy shade tolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Alabama Lace'
    typical lacy fronds with black stems, but it is denser and spreads faster
  • 'Banksianum'
    bright green oval-shaped leaflets with black leaf stems, up to 18 inches tall
  • 'Fimbriata'
    fringed, soft green leaves
'Alabama Lace', 'Banksianum', 'Fimbriata'
Tags:
#deciduous#houseplant#shade garden#lacy leaves#interiorscape#fronds#fern#low maintenance#dappled shade#endangered#NC native#airy#neutral pH#deer resistant#native garden#dainty#delicate#alkaline soils tolerant#native fern#fantz#food source summer#food source herbage#Piedmont Mountains FACU#Coastal FACU#partial shade tolerant#tropical feel#Audubon#heavy shade tolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Adiantum
    Species:
    capillus-veneris
    Family:
    Pteridaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Temperate and tropical regions worldwide
    Distribution:
    Temperate and tropical regions worldwide
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Deer, Heavy Shade
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 10 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 10 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Fern
    Houseplant
    Native Plant
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Clumping
    Creeping
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Description:
    No fruits. Spores display from June to July.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Description:
    No flowers.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Fronds
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Other/more complex
    Leaf Shape:
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Delicate, bright green fronds are bipinnate to tripinnate, arching or pendent with 3 to 6 pairs of pinnae. Segments are fan-shaped and .25 to .75 in. long. weakly glaucous beneath, membraneous; pinnae often decompound, flabellately branched; pinnules/leaflets somewhat triangular, broadly cuneate, lobed, sterile lobes cut deeply. Stipe/petiole wiry, shiny black or tinged purple. SORI round to elongated, covered my revolute pinnule marginal flap.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Black
    Brown/Copper
    Purple/Lavender
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Naturalized Area
    Small Space
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Shade Garden
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Heavy Shade