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Adiantum pedatum 09905.JPG
Western five-fingered fern ( Adiantum aleuticum )
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Class: Polypodiopsida
Order: Polypodiales
Family: Pteridaceae
Subfamily: Vittarioideae
Type species
Adiantum capillus-veneris

See text

Adiantum /ˌædiˈæntəm/ , [1] the walking fern or maidenhair fern, is a genus of about 250 species of ferns in the Vittarioideae subfamily of the family Pteridaceae, [2] though some researchers place it in its own family, Adiantaceae. The genus name comes from Greek, meaning "unwetted", referring to the fronds' ability to shed water without becoming wet.

A genus is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, as well as viruses, in biology. In the hierarchy of biological classification, genus comes above species and below family. In binomial nomenclature, the genus name forms the first part of the binomial species name for each species within the genus.

Fern group of plants

A fern is a member of a group of vascular plants that reproduce via spores and have neither seeds nor flowers. They differ from mosses by being vascular, i.e., having specialized tissues that conduct water and nutrients and in having life cycles in which the sporophyte is the dominant phase. Like other vascular plants, ferns have complex leaves called megaphylls, that are more complex than the microphylls of clubmosses. Most ferns are leptosporangiate ferns, sometimes referred to as true ferns. They produce coiled fiddleheads that uncoil and expand into fronds. The group includes about 10,560 known extant species.

Vittarioideae is a subfamily of the Pteridaceae family of ferns, in the order Polypodiales, class Polypodiopsida. This subfamily includes the previous families Adiantaceae and Vittariaceae.



They are distinctive in appearance, with dark, often black stipes and rachises, and bright green, often delicately cut leaf tissue. The sori are borne submarginally, and are covered by reflexed flaps of leaf tissue which resemble indusia. Dimorphism between sterile and fertile fronds is generally subtle.

Stipe (botany)

In botany, a stipe is a stalk that supports some other structure. The precise meaning is different depending on which taxonomic group is being described.

Rachis biological term for axis or shaft

In biology, a rachis is a main axis or "shaft".

Leaf organ of a vascular plant, composing its foliage

A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant and is the principal lateral appendage of the stem. The leaves and stem together form the shoot. Leaves are collectively referred to as foliage, as in "autumn foliage".

They generally prefer humus-rich, moist, well-drained sites, ranging from bottomland soils to vertical rock walls. Many species are especially known for growing on rock walls around waterfalls and water seepage areas.

Humus any organic matter that has reached a point of stability

In soil science, humus denominates the fraction of soil organic matter that is amorphous and without the "cellular cake structure characteristic of plants, micro-organisms or animals." Humus significantly affects the bulk density of soil and contributes to its retention of moisture and nutrients.

Soil mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids, and organisms that together support life

Soil is a mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids, and organisms that together support life. Earth's body of soil, called the pedosphere, has four important functions:

Waterfall Place where water flows over a vertical drop in the course of a river

A waterfall is an area where water flows over a vertical drop or a series of steep drops in the course of a stream or river. Waterfalls also occur where meltwater drops over the edge of a tabular iceberg or ice shelf.

The highest species diversity is in the Andes. Fairly high diversity also occurs in eastern Asia, with nearly 40 species in China.

Species native to North America include A. pedatum (five-fingered fern) and the closely related A. aleuticum , which are distinctive in having a bifurcating frond that radiates pinnae on one side only. The cosmopolitan A. capillus-veneris (Venus-hair fern) has a native distribution that extends into the eastern continent. A. jordanii (California Maidenhair) is native to the west coast.

<i>Adiantum pedatum</i> species of plant

Adiantum pedatum, the northern maidenhair fern or five-fingered fern, is a species of fern in the family Pteridaceae, native to moist forests in eastern North America. Like other ferns in the genus, the name maidenhair refers to the slender, shining black stipes.

<i>Adiantum aleuticum</i> species of plant

Adiantum aleuticum, the western maidenhair fern or Aleutian maidenhair, is a species of fern in the genus Adiantum.

<i>Adiantum capillus-veneris</i> species of plant

Adiantum capillus-veneris, the Southern maidenhair fern, black maidenhair fern, maidenhair fern, and venus hair fern, is a species of ferns in the genus Adiantum and the family Pteridaceae with a subcosmopolitan worldwide distribution. It is cultivated as a popular garden fern and houseplant.

There is a rich Adiantum flora in New Zealand with 3 endemic species (A. cunninghamii, A. viridescens and A. fulvum) in a total of 10 recorded species. Many of these are common especially in the west and south of the islands.


It is now known that this genus is paraphyletic, and that the vittarioid ferns are derived from this larger paraphyletic genus. However, if Adiantum raddianum , and possibly a few other species, are removed, the remaining plants (genus type: Adiantum capillus-veneris ) are then monophyletic.

Paraphyly Property of a group which includes only descendants of a common ancestor, but excludes at least one monophyletic subgroup

In taxonomy, a group is paraphyletic if it consists of the group's last common ancestor and all descendants of that ancestor excluding a few—typically only one or two—monophyletic subgroups. The group is said to be paraphyletic with respect to the excluded subgroups. The arrangement of the members of a paraphyletic group is called a paraphyly. The term is commonly used in phylogenetics and in linguistics.

<i>Adiantum raddianum</i> species of plant

Adiantum raddianum, the Delta maidenhair fern, is one of the most popular ferns to grow indoors. Its common name comes from its shiny, dark leafstalks that resembles human hair. The triangular fronds are semi-erect in the beginning then droop gracefully as they age and can be up to 12 inches (30 cm) long by 6 inches (15 cm) wide.


Many species are grown in the horticultural trade, including all three of the species mentioned, as well as a number of tropical species, including A. raddianum and A. peruvianum . Both A. pedatum and A. aleuticum are hardy to zone 3, and are by far the most cold-hardy members of the genus. A. venustum is also cold-hardy to zone 5. A. capillus-veneris is hardy to zone 7.

Horticulture branch of agriculture involving plants

Horticulture has been defined as the culture of plants for food, comfort and beauty. A more precise definition can be given as "The cultivation, processing, and sale of fruits, nuts, vegetables, ornamental plants, and flowers as well as many additional services". It also includes plant conservation, landscape restoration, soil management, landscape and garden design, construction, and maintenance, and arboriculture. In contrast to agriculture, horticulture does not include large-scale crop production or animal husbandry.

<i>Adiantum peruvianum</i> species of plant

Adiantum peruvianum is a fern in the genus Adiantum. It has black stems and large flat pinnules. It is frequently grown as an ornamental greenhouse or house plant, and is favored for its unusually large pinnules.

Hardiness zone Geographical regions defined by climatic conditions for horticultural purposes

A hardiness zone is a geographic area defined to encompass a certain range of climatic conditions relevant to plant growth and survival.

List of species

Related Research Articles

Pteridales order of plants

The Pteridales are ferns that have their sori in linear strips under the edge of the leaf tissue, usually with the edge of the lamina reflexed over.

Huntsville Botanical Garden non-profit organisation in the USA

The Huntsville Botanical Garden is a 112 acres botanical garden located at 4747 Bob Wallace Avenue, Huntsville, Alabama, near the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. It is open year-round for a fee. The garden is fifth on the list of Alabama's top paid tourist attractions, receiving 307,985 visitors in 2008.

<i>Adiantum diaphanum</i> species of plant

Adiantum diaphanum, the filmy maidenhair fern, is a species of fern in the genus Adiantum, native to East Asia and Australasia, from southern Japan south to New Zealand. It grows to 20 cm long at the most, with very dark green fronds covered with bristles.

<i>Adiantum bellum</i> species of plant

Adiantum bellum is a species of fern in the family Pteridaceae, and is native to Bermuda.

Walking fern Wikimedia disambiguation page

Walking fern may refer to two species of fern in the genus Asplenium which are occasionally placed in a separate genus Camptosorus. The name "walking fern" derives from the fact that new plantlets grow wherever the arching leaves of the parent touch the ground, creating a walking effect. Both have evergreen, undivided, slightly leathery leaves which are triangular and taper to a thin point. On the bottom of the leaves, sori, or spore-bearing structures, cluster along the veins. These hardy plants can be found in shady spots of limestone ledges and limy forest places.

<i>Adiantum jordanii</i> species of plant

Adiantum jordanii is a perennial species of maidenhair fern, in the Vittarioideae subfamily of the Pteridaceae. The species is known by the common name California maidenhair.

Adiantaceae family of plants

Adiantaceae is a family of ferns in the order Pteridales. This includes the family formerly known as the "Vittariaceae." Recent genetic analyses based on chloroplast genes demonstrate that the vittarioid ferns cladistically nest within the genus Adiantum, making that genus paraphyletic.

<i>Asplenium septentrionale</i> species of plant

Asplenium septentrionale is a species of fern known by the common names northern spleenwort and forked spleenwort. It is native to western North America, Europe, and Asia, where it grows on rocks. Its long, slender leaves give it a distinctive appearance, more like a grass than a typical fern. Three subspecies exist, corresponding to a tetraploid and a diploid cytotype and their triploid hybrid.

<i>Polystichum aleuticum</i> species of plant

Polystichum aleuticum, the Aleutian holly fern or Aleutian shield fern, is an endangered species of the Polystichum genus and currently consisting of a small, vulnerable population endemic found only on Adak Island, Alaska, a remote island of the Aleutian Islands chain in the northern Pacific Ocean. In 1992, 112 specimens existed in the wild, and a recovery plan was implemented.

<i>Adiantum hispidulum</i> species of plant

Adiantum hispidulum, commonly known as Rough Maidenhair Fern or five-fingered jack, is a small fern in the family Pteridaceae of widespread distribution. It is found in Africa, Australia, Polynesia, Malesia, New Zealand and other Pacific Islands. Its fronds rise in clumps from rhizomes among rocks or in the soil in sheltered areas.

<i>Adiantum aethiopicum</i> species of plant

Adiantum aethiopicum, also known as the common maidenhair fern, is a small fern of widespread distribution, occurring in Africa, Australia, Norfolk Island and New Zealand.

<i>Adiantum formosum</i> species of plant

Adiantum formosum, known as the giant maidenhair or black stem maidenhair is a fern found in Australia and New Zealand. It was one of the many species authored by Scottish botanist Robert Brown, appearing in his 1810 work Prodromus Florae Novae Hollandiae et Insulae Van Diemen. Its species name is the Latin adjective formosus "handsome" or "beautiful".

<i>Adiantum viridimontanum</i> A rare fern found only in outcrops of serpentine rock in New England and Eastern Canada

Adiantum viridimontanum, commonly known as Green Mountain maidenhair fern, is a rare fern found only in outcrops of serpentine rock in New England and Eastern Canada. The leaf blade is cut into finger-like segments, themselves once-divided, which are borne on the outer side of a curved, dark, glossy rachis. These finger-like segments are not individual leaves, but parts of a single compound leaf. The "fingers" may be drooping or erect, depending on whether the individual fern grows in shade or sunlight. Spores are borne under false indusia at the edge of the subdivisions of the leaf, a characteristic unique to the genus Adiantum.

Pseudopedate is a term used in botany to describe the leaf architecture of certain ferns in the genus Adiantum.

<i>Adiantum venustum</i> species of plant

Adiantum venustum, the evergreen maidenhair or Himalayan maidenhair, is a species of fern in the genus Adiantum of the family Pteridaceae, native to China and the Himalayas. It is a slow to establish plant that usually grows on moist rocks and soil with a good amount of humus and dead leaves. It is very hardy, largely evergreen to -10 °C, when it becomes deciduous. It is also known as black Hansraj in India for its black stalks at the fronds.


  1. Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  2. Christenhusz, Maarten J. M.; Zhang, Xian-Chun; Schneider, Harald (18 February 2011). "A linear sequence of extant families and genera of lycophytes and ferns" (PDF). Phytotaxa . 19: 7–54. ISSN   1179-3163.
  3. English Names for Korean Native Plants (PDF). Pocheon: Korea National Arboretum. 2015. p. 341. ISBN   978-89-97450-98-5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 May 2017. Retrieved 16 December 2016 via Korea Forest Service.