Adiantum pedatum (Northern Maidenhair Fern, Five-fingered Fern) is a maidenhair fern native to moist woodland in eastern North America. Adiantum aleuticum was once considered a subspecies. Both Adiantum pedatum and aleuticum have fronds distinctively bifurcated and with pinnae on only one side. The species is easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in part shade to full shade. It prefers moist, humusy, acidic soils in full shade, and spreads slowly by creeping, branching rhizomes to form large, beautiful colonies over time.
In our opinion, this is one of our most beautiful and elegant ferns. It typically grows 1.5 to 2' tall and is most frequently found on rich wooded slopes, ravine bottoms and damp shady woods. Features finely-textured, somewhat frilly fronds which have curved stalks and are palmately-divided (i.e., fronds divide into finger-like projections). Wiry stems are reddish-brown to black. Crosiers (coiled young fiddleheads) emerge pink in spring.
The genus name comes from the Greek word adiantos meaning un-wetted, as the fronds repel water. The species name means cut like a bird's foot, referencing the shape of the fronds.
It has no serious insect or disease problems, 'tho high summer heat may cause fronds to get a little crispy by mid to late summer, particularly if good soil moisture is not maintained and/or plants are grown in too much sun.
This is an attractive ornamental fern for the shaded border, woodland garden, shaded rock garden or native plant garden.