Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Maidenhair Fern

Southern Maidenhair Fern
(Adiantum capillus-veneris)

During one of my many hikes along the Guadalupe River
I found a game trail to wander along
which led me through a magical section of limestone ledge
secreted away beneath the canopy of trees.

Cheating just a little, I e-mailed the pictures to Little Sister, 
my own personal Fern Lady, who promptly identified the ferns as
Southern Maidenhair Ferns,
also known as Venus'-hair Fern
or Black Maidenhair Fern (for the shiny black stems).

Mostly found in the lower half of the United States,
Southern Maidenhair Fern has a fluffy, lacy foliage.

Because moisture is always present at this site,
it is attached directly on the rock
and lends graceful character
to an otherwise harsh environment.

"Maidenhair fern is the source of a pleasantly aromatic volatile oil long used as a rinse or shampoo that rendered black hair very shiny, hence the name Maidenhair." 

"The Maidenhair Fern is so named because its roots have fine and delicate hairs, like the hair of Venus."

However it actually became named,
the Maidenhair Fern is delicate and elegant
and delightful to happen upon. 
Simply put, it was
 'eye-candy' during the brown months of winter!


Kay said...

The trail you found does look magical. I like the alternate versions of the origin of the name of the fern. Your journeys in Texas are so interesting--made so especially by lovely photos! I'm waiting for you to get down to my end of the state.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

I love ferns. I found a fern id guide that I hope to use this coming summer. Your photos are a sweet reminder that summer will come!

Rambling Woods said...

It does look magical...I want to look into planting some native ferns in the yard..but I think they are delicate as to not wanting to be trampled by ducks.. and yes, that is an issue in my yard....Michelle

Just Ramblin' said...

You find such interesting things to share as you traverse the trails. That's one reason I so enjoy reading your blog. I always learn and see nature with a different perspective. Thank you. Nola

Dixxe said...

I visited Zion Natl. Park in southern Utah last yr. There is an area they call the Hanging Garden and its tons of Maidens Hair fern and columbine drapped down the sides of the weeping cliffs. Such a beautiful and delicate looking plant, but must be very hardy to live in such a harsh spot as a rock face!

Audrey said...

You are so lucky to be able to go walking in the winter. Guess I could here - but today my nose would freeze.

Bob Bushell said...

A gentle walk, and a brilliant day for photographing.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Karen: What a neat place to visit, so nice to see the ground without a snow/ice cover.

Travis Erwin said...

Thanks for the education.

Denise said...

I found this post so interesting Karen. Thanks so much, the fern is so pretty.

Johnny Nutcase said...

i'm no good with fern id's but I really love them! This one I do know and it's such a pretty little one!

Carver said...

The maidenhair fern is so beautiful and I love seeing it in the wild.

Marvin said...

Beautiful shots of the trail and the fern. Ferns appear so delicate, but so long as they've got enough moisture, they're tough.

Carrie P. said...

that is so cool because I have never seen that fern in the wild like that. I have owned a plant a long time ago.