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Adiantum capillus-veneris
Adiantum capillus-veneris
Adiantum capillus-veneris
Adiantum capillus-veneris (Southern Maidenhair Fern)
Pteridaceae. Synonyms: Adiantaceae, Aspidiaceae, Polypodiaceae. 
(Male Fern Family) 

Montane. Rocks. Summer.
Location not disclosed to protect the plants.

This delicate fern is widespread in the world and is found in the United States across the southern tier of states from California to the Carolinas.  In the Four Corners area it ranges from not present to rare to relatively common.  It is most often found in and near seeps. 

Serrated and fan-shaped pinnae (the individual leaflets) descend from a purple rachis in a patchwork of green.  The rachis can be straight or, as shown here, it can zigzag.  In either case, the terminal pinnae are single and the lower pinnae are cut again into pinnules (click to see).

Adiantum capillus-veneris was named and described by Linnaeus in 1753. "Adiantum" means "unwetted, shedding raindrops", "capillus" is Latin for "hair", and "veneris" is Latin for "pertaining to Venus". See the excellent Cal Names for an alternative definition for Capillus-veneris.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Adiantum capillus-veneris