Habit

Colony forming fern of rainforests and watercourses with erect fronds to 1 m.

Very attractive fern in most types of rainforest, delicate in appearance but tough and hardy if it has moisture. Grows in colonies in rainforest or open forest, or on alluvial flats near streams.

Adiantum (ad-ee-AN-tum) From the Latin for unwetted; referring to to the water-repellant petals formosum (for-MOH-sum) meaning beautiful.

Long purplish-black stipes emerge from long, creeping rhizomes.

Fronds often emerge pale green and darken with age.

Photo: Robert Whyte Location: Walton Bridge Reserve, The Gap.

Propagation

Dark green glabrous (smooth) foliage in a triangular outline with black, shiny stipes. Upper margin lobed and often toothed. Stems often zigzag. Rhizome long-creeping, deeply buried.

Requires mulch, abundant water, high humidity, prefers an acidic soil. Suitable for pots.

Spreads by long rhizomes. Propagate by spores or plant division.

In New Zealand this fern is under threat. The known wild populations are rather localised and vulnerable to weeds.

Flower closeup. Photo: Robert Whyte