- Polypodiopsida (ferns)
- A group of early vascular plants that produce spores (no flowers or seeds)
- Brake / Maiden-hair Family (Pteridaceae)
- Perennial fern
- Grows from short creeping rhizomes (horizontal underground stems)
- Divided into leaflets (compound) with 2 levels of division (pinnation)
- Leaflets (leaf-like structures of compound leaf) are round or fan-shaped, slightly lobed, and finely-toothed
- Stems are dark brown to black, smooth, and wiry
- Reproduces from spores (a small, usually single-celled, reproductive body)
- When mature, leaflet margins roll under, hiding 1-5 sori (sacs containing spores)
- Height generally 8-18 in.
- Native to California
- Grows in soil and rock crevices on shaded hillsides and in moist woodlands
- See Calflora for observations of this plant
- Outside California, grows from Oregon to Baja California, Mexico
- Grows at elevations to 3,775 ft.
Uses (San Mateo County Parks prohibits removal of any natural material)
- Native people had a variety of uses for California maidenhair fern
- Decoction of the plant used for internal pain, purifying blood, and expelling afterbirth (California Ohlone)
- Stems used to keep pierced ears from closing or as ear decoration (California Pomo)
- Used roots for binding baskets and stems for basket designs
- Adiantum (ad-ee-AN-tum) – from the Greek for “unwettable,” referring to the fronds shedding water
- jordanii (JOR-dun-ee-eye) – a tribute to Rudolf Jordan, Sr. (1818-1901), a German immigrant to California, who collected this fern and had it identified by German botanist Karl Mueller, who named the species after Jordan
- Maidenhair – implies fine hairs, which may refer to the slender stems or the many fine roots
- New fronds grow at the beginning of the wet season and dry up in late fall
- Host to the fungus-like microorganism Phytophthora ramorum, which causes Sudden Oak Death (SOD)
- At Edgewood, the 2 species known to be highly susceptible to SOD are coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia var. agrifolia) and Pacific madrone saplings (Arbutus menziesii)
- For a complete list of known hosts and host associates see USDA Risk Analysis for Phytophthora ramorum, pp.6-9
- To distinguish from other Edgewood ferns, look for fan-shaped, delicate leaflets
- Found in woodlands on moist, shaded hillsides and stream banks
- See iNaturalist for observations of this plant
American Fern Society. About Ferns.
Anthropology Museum, California State University, Sacramento. Enduring Traditions: Baskets in Native California, a Mobile Classroom Outreach Trunk.
California Department of Parks and Recreation. 2019. California Indian Baskets.
U.S. Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture. What Are Ferns?.