Flora of Scotts Creek Watershed
Adiantum aleuticum - Five-finger Fern
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Family Name: Pteridaceae
Common Names: Five-finger Fern, Western Maidenhair, Five-finger Maidenhair, Aleutian Maiden-hair
Origin: Native to California
Habitat: Moist shaded rock crevices and cliffs, rich moist woods, wet rocky banks. Found below 3400 m.
Life Form and Duration: Perennial Fern
Comments on overall growth: Delicate, Fronds clustered, erect.
Foliage Type: Deciduous
Foliage Description: Rootstalks are short, thick, creeping, covered with brownish scales. Stipes (leaf stems) are stout, dark, highly polished, reddish-brown to purplish-black, scaly at base, 6-60 cm long. Laminae (leaf blade of the fern, excluding the stipe but including all divisions) are oblanceolate to broadly lanceolate in form. 4-40 cm long and 4-30 cm wide. Mostly forked into 2 equal parts, each half with 3-8 pinnae (divisions). The pinnae are overall in shape narrowly elliptic-lanceolate, tapering towards the tip. Additional divisions are the pinnules (the actual blade portions) which are oblong, short stalked, not overlapping, margin furthest from point of attachment is lobed.
Indusia and Sori Description: Elongate sori covered by oblong lobes of the pinnule margin folded over in an indusium-like form.
Spore Production: June-October
Plant Use: Historically used by Native Americans in preparing an ointment to treat skin inflammations.
Common Associates: Found under Sequoia sempervirens, Pseudotsuga menziesii, Umbellularia californica, Alnus rhombifolia