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Brittle maidenhair
Adiantum tenerum

Copyright by: Keith Bradley

General Landscape Uses: A delicate accent fern on exposed moist limestone in rock gardens and on the banks of water features such as natural pools.

Ecological Restoration Notes: Limited to exposed moist limestone in rockland hammocks with constantly high humidity. The lowered water table in Miami-Dade County makes this a difficult species to incorporate into restoration projects.

Availability: Grown by enthusiasts.

Description: Medium herbaceous fern with delicate leaflets (pinnae).

Dimensions: About 12-18 inches in height. About as broad as tall.

Growth Rate: Moderate.

Range: Miami-Dade County; disjunct in central and northern peninsular Florida; West Indies, Central America and Venezuela.

Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

Habitats: On moist limestone in rockland hammocks.

Soils: Moist limestone rock, with or without an accumulation of humusy material.

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.

Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate flooding by salt or brackish water.

Salt Wind Tolerance: Low; salt wind may burn the leaves.

Drought Tolerance: Low; requires moist substrate and high humidity and is intolerant of long periods of drought.

Light Requirements: Light shade.

Flower Color: N/A.

Flower Characteristics: There are no flowers; the plants reproduce by spores.

Flowering Season: All year.

Fruit: Inconspicuous spores.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from spores.

Comments: In the right situations, this rock-loving fern will recruit readily in the garden. It is listed as endangered by the state of Florida.

Copyright by: Keith Bradley

Copyright by: Keith Bradley

Copyright by: George D. Gann
in habitat, Dominican Republic, 2011

Copyright by: George D. Gann
in habitat, Everglades National Park, Florida, 2005

Copyright by: Keith Bradley

Copyright by: Keith Bradley

Other data on Adiantum tenerum available from:

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