The maidenhair fern is the common name for any of the species of ferns in the taxonomic genus Adiantum. Like all ferns, it is extremely fragile when it comes to its environment. The maidenhair fern reproduces sexually; both sperm and egg are involved in the reproduction of the plant. The maidenhair was used along time ago by the Native Americans. They used it to relieve pain in joint, to stop bleeding, for its dye, and its stems for making baskets. The Bible talks about the creation of plants in Genesis 1:11 NKJ - Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so.
The maidenhair fern is approximately 1-2 feet tall. The maidenhair is known by its very thin stems that are usually black to brown in color. The fern has stems which grown underground, these stems are know as rhizomes. The leaves of the fern are called fronds, the haploid spore on the back of the frond are called sporangia. The sporangia group together and become clusters called sori. Ferns are a true vascular plant.[Miller P.562]
Ferns reproduce using spores. The spores germinate and grow into haploid gametophyte. When the haploid gametophyte is young, it will grow root like rhizoids. When it grows into a mature gametophyte, it will grow into a thin, green, heart shaped structure. The sporophyte and the gametophyte grow separately. On the underside of the gametophyte, the antheridia and archegonia grow. In order for the sperm to swim and fertilize the eggs, a small amount of water is needed. Through the fertilization, a diploid zygote is produced. The zygote will then produce an all new plant.[Miller p.562]
The Maidenhair often grows in rocky forests that are at a low elevation. The maidenhair fern likes to grow in shady and moist environments. These conditions are often found in areas around waterfalls, along streams, and on cliffs. The soil that it grows in is usually in humus rich environments.[Pojar, Jim. Plants of the Pacific Northwest. Lone Pine publishing, 1968] The fern gowns in areas that are moist, and out of the way of direct sunlight. It likes to grow in sandy, organic soil with a PH of about 4.5-6.5.
The maidenhair fern is used for many different things. It is used to help relieve problems inflammation of the throat. It is also used for kidney stones, bladder gravel, and liver problems. It can be made into a tea to drink to help with these problems. It is also used to get rid of worms from the body. The Native Americans used the maidenhair to make a remedy that was used topically to stop the bleeding from a wound. It may have also been used by them to be applied to joints to relieve soreness or pain. The black stems from the maidenhair were used as a dye. The stems were also used in the making of baskets.
- Pojar, Jim. Plants of the Pacific Northwest. Lone Pine publishing, 1968
- Prentice Hall Biology,Kenneth R. Miller and Joseph S. Levine. Pearson Education, Inc., Pearson Prentice Hall, Boston Massachusetts, 2008
- Adiantum pedatum USFWS BayScapes Conservation Landscaping Program. National Forest Service.
- Maidenhair Fern Adiantum pedatum Connecticut Botanical Society
- Maidenhair Fern Mountain Rose Herbs
- Maidenhair Fern Hikers Notebook.