Maidenhair Ferns (Adiantum sp.) are perennial evergreen foliage plants typically recognized by their shiny, smooth, black stipes, though some neotropical species carry dull, bristly stipes — they are the only genus of the family Adiantaceae. To most Americans, the Southern Maidenhair (Adiantum capillus-veneris L.) is what comes to mind when thinking of maidenhair ferns, though there are over 200 species of maidenhair fern in the world and most do not resemble the Southern Maidenhair. The Southern Maidenhair is a popular non-flowering indoor plant in California, but it grows easily outdoors in Davis, given sufficient moisture, loamy soil, and bright or dappled shade. Propagation is by division and from spores.
A California native, the fine, lacy foliage of Southern maidenhair has a graceful, delicate character and grows to about a foot in height, its fronds arising in clusters from creeping rhizomes. It can be found in forest, woodland, chaparral, valley grasslands, and canyons, and typically appears in wetlands up to 4000 feet.
For a listing of other plants found growing in Davis, visit our Town Flora.