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Southern Maiden Hair Back to Plant Page
Adiantum capillus-veneris

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About Southern Maiden Hair (Adiantum capillus-veneris) The southern maidenhair fern, is a species of fern in the genus Adiantum with a semi-worldwide distribution. In the United States, it grows as far north as southern Missouri and southernmost Kentucky. In California it occurs in numerous locations and habitats throughout the state, but always where it is moist but not saturated and somewhat shaded. Often found near springs, seeps or stream banks, and even in desert palm oases. It is hardy to zone 7 and grows to 20-70 centimeters tall (8-28 inches). The foliage is delicate and lacy featuring dark stipes that accentuate the green leaves. Like most ferns, it forms a clump that will gradually grow in size if it has room. It may become summer dormant if it gets too much sun or not enough water, but it should come back when favorable conditions return. Easily obscured by other plants, put it where you can see it. It is commonly grown as a houseplant.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
0.23 - 1.7 ft (0.07 - 0.5 m)

Max. Width
2 ft (0.6 m)

Upright, Fountain


Growth Rate

Evergreen, Summer Semi-Deciduous

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Rocky streambanks, springs, seeps, and other moist but not saturated areas, usually with part shade or full shade

Full Shade, Part Shade

Elevation ?
3' - 7419'

Annual Precip. ?
3.7" - 92.4"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 3.12"

Coldest Month ?
32.3° F - 60.7° F

Hottest Month ?
57.5° F - 87.8° F

Humidity ?
0.78 vpd - 40.33 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates clay but does best in moist loamy soil

Soil PH
4.0 - 8.0


Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 25° F

Sunset Zones ?
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7*, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13*, 14*, 15*, 16*, 17*, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Companion Plants
Trees - Oaks (Quercus species), Cottonwood (Populus species), Ponderosa Pine, California Fan Palm (Washingtonia filifera)

Other shade plants - Deer Fern (Blechnum spicant), Horsetail (Equisetum species), Polypody Fern (Polypodium species), Sword Fern (Polystichum species), Chain Fern (Woodwardia fimbriata), Meadow Rue (Thalicturm species), Yerba Buena (Clinopodium douglasii), Western Columbine (Aquilegia formosa), Monkeyflower (Mimulus cardinalis or guttatus)

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

Water Requirement ?
Moderate - High
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Moderately Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Common uses
Groundcovers, Deer Resistant

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Common Maidenhair

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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