|| ||Rhizome thick, creeping, with opaque scales|
|| ||10-50 cm long, 2-3 pinnate; petiole to 25cm long, black shining; lamina bright green; pinnules variable in shape and size, on capillary stalks|
|| ||No flowers, reproduction by spores; sori (clusters of sporangia), in parallel linear groups, on the lower side of the pinnules|
|| ||Whole year
|| || Humid habitats|
|| ||Mediterranean Woodlands and Shrublands, Semi-steppe shrublands, Shrub-steppes, Deserts and extreme deserts, Montane vegetation of Mt. Hermon|
|| || Euro-Siberian - Med - Irano-Turanian|
Derivation of the botanical name:
Adiantum, adianton, αδιαντον, "unwettable", maiden's hair plant. The leaflets shed water, if plunged into water the fronds remain dry.
Greek: "Quod denso imbre cadente destillans foliis tenuis non insidet humor", "Because the leaves are not wetted even by a heavily falling shower of rain."
capillus-veneris, capillus, "the hair"; veneris, generative of venus, Venus goddess of love, Applied by the Romans to Greek Aphrodite, Egyptian Hathor, etc.
Maidenhair fern in Roman mythology was said to represent the hair of Venus when she arose from the foam of the sea with dry hair, thus the name maidenhair.
The Hebrew word: שערות שולמית, "Shulamit's hair", maidenhair. שערות-שולמית על שום דמיון הצמח לשערות נערה, ובדומה לשם בלשונות אחרות
Hesiod, (Greek: Ἡσίοδος Hēsíodos), Greek poet and rhapsode, c. 700 BCE., Theogony (Greek: Θεογονία, Theogonía, the birth of Gods) 176-206: "Then the son (Kronos) from his ambush stretched forth his left hand and in his right took the great long sickle with jagged teeth, and swiftly lopped off his own father's members and cast them away to fall behind him. And not vainly did they fall from his hand; for all the bloody drops that gushed forth Earth received, and as the seasons moved round she bare the strong Erinyes and the great Giants with gleaming armour, holding long spears in their hands and the Nymphs whom they call Meliae (8) all over the boundless earth. And so soon as he had cut off the members with flint and cast them from the land into the surging sea, they were swept away over the main a long time: and a white foam spread around them from the immortal flesh, and in it there grew a maiden. First she drew near holy Cythera, and from there, afterwards, she came to sea-girt Cyprus, and came forth an awful and lovely goddess, and grass grew up about her beneath her shapely feet. Her gods and men call Aphrodite, and the foam-born goddess and rich-crowned Cytherea, because she grew amid the foam, and Cytherea because she reached Cythera, and Cyprogenes because she was born in billowy Cyprus, and Philommedes (9) because sprang from the members. And with her went Eros, and comely Desire followed her at her birth at the first and as she went into the assembly of the gods. This honour she has from the beginning, and this is the portion allotted to her amongst men and undying gods, -- the whisperings of maidens and smiles and deceits with sweet delight and love and graciousness".
Bion (Greek Βίων), Bion of Smyrna, Greek poet of c. 100 BCE: "And Aphrodite unbinds her locks and goes wandering through the woodlands, distraught, unkempt, and barefoot. The thorns tear her as she goes, and gather her holy blood, but she sweeps through the long glades, shrieking aloud and calling on the lad, her Assyrian lord."
Quintus Smyrnaeus (or Quintus of Smyrna) (Greek: Κόιντος Σμυρναίος), a Greek epic poet c.4th CE), Fall of Troy 5. 72 ff:
"Out of the sea was rising lovely-crowned Kypris, foam-blossoms still upon her hair; and round her hovered smiling witchingly Himeros (Desire), and danced the Kharites (Graces) lovely-tressed."
- The standard author abbreviation L. is used to indicate Carl Linnaeus (1707 – 1778), a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, the father of modern taxonomy.
History and Folklore: