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Gardening in the Rainy Zone.
MAIDENHAIR FERN, FIVE-FINGER FERN
syn. A. pedatum subsp. aleuticum
Pronounced: ad-ee-AN-tum a-LEW-tih-kum
Western North America, Eastern Asia.
Sunset zones: 1-7, 14-21.
USDA zones: 3-8.
Heat zones: 8-1.
Height: 30 inches (75 cm).
Width: 30 inches (75 cm).
Triangular leaf segments on arching, semi-evergreen fronds on black to deep reddish-brown stems.
Slowly creeps to form a 30-inch clump.
Full sun to partial shade.
Fertile, moist soil, even grows on serpentine soil.
Sow spore as soon as ripe. Divide in spring. Pruning Methods:
In early spring cut back dead fronds.
Rainy Side Notes
You can find Adiantum aleuticum growing in a variety of places, from stream banks, bogs and coastal cliffs to serpentine barrens. This fern will grow in full sun. The name Adiantum means unwetted because the foliage sheds water. Light and airy, this fern is paired well under our native vine maples or nestled in a crevice of a rock wall.
A. pedatum ssp subpumilum is a dwarf maidenhair, growing only three to four inches tall.
Some Native Americans of Washington state used maidenhair ferns in their basket weaving. One tribe, the Hesquiat, used the leaves to gain strength. Their dancers used the fern frequently during the winter months. At one time, it was exported to Europe and used to make syrup called 'capillare'.
Used in the modern age as a gentle medicinal, maidenhair fern is used to treat respiratory tract, hypoglycemia and menstrual disorders. Reportedly, a cup of tea can be used by those who have a problem with smog or air pollution. The tea, used as either an infusion or decoction, makes a hair rinse that adds body to the hair. Mixed with chamomile or yarrow, it not only leaves your hair with body, it will have great luster too.