Vascular – Exotic
Naturalised. New Zealand: North Island (Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty and Wellington).
Mostly urban in shaded sites on concrete and mortar or in wasteland on calcareous substrates. Often on shaded clay banks and overhangs - especially on limestone, calcareous sandstone and other marine sourced sedimentary rocks.
Tufted, terrestrial fern. Rhizome short-creeping, suberect, branched, to 5 mm diameter; scales concolorous, yellow-brown, with entire margins. Fronds tufted, to 360 mm long. Stipe to 180 mm long, glossy, glabrous, brittle. Lamina 50-200 × 40-150 mm, light green to yellow-green, 2-3-pinnate, deltoid, delicate, membranous. Pinnae rectangular or elliptic; rachis flexuous, wiry. Pinnules ovate to deltoid, shortly stalked throughout, symmetric and cuneate-flabellate or subdimidiate, glabrous; distal margins irregularly and deeply lobed, denticulate when sterile; stalks not articulated; veins red-brown near junction with stalk, otherwise pale. Sori 1-10 along distal margins, 1 or 2 per lobe; soral flaps oblong to subreniform, not or scarcely indented into lamina margin, glabrous. Spores 64 per sporangium pale brown; perine scabrous; largest diameter (43-)48.1(-60) microns.
Distinguished from the other Adiantum indigenous or naturalised in New Zealand by the ultimate segments flabellate, and stalked centrally, and by the reflexed oblong, entire (without notching) indusia
N.A. Spore producing
N.A. Spore producing
Easily grown and widely cultivated through the warmer parts of New Zealand. Does best in a lime-enriched, damp soil ins shaded conditions. Often self-establishes, especially on mortar within brick walls and around concrete steps.
subtropical and warm temperate regions
adiantum: From the Greek a- ‘without, lacking’ and diantos ‘moistened’, the fronds of this fern are supposed to remain dry after submersion in water
capillus-veneris: From the Latin capillos ‘hair’ and Venus, the goddess of love, meaning Venus’ hair
Where to Buy
Commonly available from most garden centres and nurseries.
Fact sheet Prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange (Updated 9 March 2014). Description adapted from Bostock (1998).
References and further reading
Bostock, P.D. 1998: Adiantaceae. Flora of Australia 48: 248-263.
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Adiantum capillus-veneris Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/adiantum-capillus-veneris/ (Date website was queried)