northern maiden hair fern

Adiantum pedatum (northern maidenhair fern) is named for its slender, shining fronds reaching out from a circular center like a wild head of hair. Even those who dismiss ferns as “all looking alike” will appreciate this species for bringing a delicate grace and beauty to shady gardens.

This species of fern is native to moist forest in eastern North America. It grows 12-30 inches tall and is deciduous. The pedate hand waves its airy fingers horizontally from atop a purple black stem of 1 to 3 feet in height. Although deciduous, it can hold its fronds into late fall. The crosiers (coiled young fiddleheads) emerge pink in spring. Genus name comes from Greek word adiantos meaning unwetted in reference to the water repellent foliage.

Botanical Name Adiantum pedatum
Common Name northern maidenhair fern
Family Pteridaceae
USDA Zone 3 thru 8
Light Requirement Part Shade to Full Shade
Season(s) of interest spring, summer, fall
Height and Spread 1-2.5ft x 1-1.5ft (30-75cm x 30-45cm)
Flower Color Non-Flowering
Attracts Wildlife Rarely Browsed by Mammalian Herbivores
Additional Information Native to Chicago Region.
Location in Lurie Garden East Dark Plate