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Adiantum pedatum

Adiantum pedatum

Common name American maidenhair fern
Family pteridaceae
Life cycle perennial (Z3-8)
Size 12-30"
Light part-full shade

Pretty fern native to eastern North America. Delicate divided fronds offset by reddish-brown to black stems. When I saw the plant in the state shown at right, in mid-May of its second year in our garden, I was reminded of a line in a famous Dutch poem by Marsman, in which the countryside is described as having "unthinkably thin poplars" ("ondenkbaar ijle populieren"). This fern is even unthinkably thinner!

American maidenhair fern
I found the declining foliage (mid-November) to be curiously attractive
Adiantum pedatum
They look so vulnerable when the fronds first return in late April

We left this plant behind in our Pennsylvania garden (and wish it well); we don't grow it in Houston.

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