Adiantum chilense var. sulphureum

common maidenhair fern


Adiantum chilense var. sulphureum

(Kaulf.) Kunze ex Hicken 1763

pronounced: ADD-ee-an-tum chill-ENSE variety sul-FER-ee-um

(Pteridaceae — the maidenhair fern family)

synonym — Adiantum aethiopicum

L. 1753

pronounced: ADD-ee-an-tum ee-thee-OH-pik-um

common name: common maidenhair fern

See Adaiantum spp. for a description of the genus.

native 4Chilense is botanical Latin for 'from Chile'; sulphureum is from the Latin sulphureus, yellow like sulphur, and æthiopicus is Latin for Ethiopian. The mother species appears to be a native of Chile, but the variety shown here seems to be native to Africa, Australia, Norfolk Island and New Zealand. It grows in river and creek banks and in damp semi-shaded positions in open forest, in spreading clumps of fronds from 10 - 45 cm in height. The rhizomes are wiry and branched, and they creep near the soil surface and spread extensively underground. The fronds are 2 – 4-pinnate, stalks of the ultimate segments attached at the centre of their bases; the segments are 3 – 8 cm long, membranous, pale green, the outer margin lobed or finely toothed, the stipe reddish brown to dark brown to very dark red-brown. The fern is capable of forming large colonies.

Some Aboriginal tribes used the fern medicinally, making from the fronds a soothing syrup for coughs and colds.

Information about medicinal qualities of plants, or about their use as medicines, is for interest only, and is not intended to be used as a guide for the treatment of medical conditions.

Photographs taken in Picnic Bay, 2014.
Page last updated 29th September 2018