Adiantum capillus-veneris - Maidenhair Fern
Many of the most luxuriant colonies grow close to the sea in sheltered frost-free locations around flush sites on coastal cliffs, often where there is little direct sunlight. Good examples of this Nationally Scarce fern are at Carbis Bay (SW53P) on the north coast and at Lantic Bay (SX15K) on the south. It thrives better in Cornwall than elsewhere in Britain and can be seen in many man-made habitats such as two quarries at Wadebridge (SW97W), a railway cutting on the Camel Trail (SW97W, though here on Tufa), in several lime kilns at Cotehele (SX46J), on mortared walls in Penzance (SW42U) and St. Mawes (SW83L) and even in church porches, as at Landewednack on the Lizard (SW71B). In one shop at Wadebridge it was kept as an edging to the fish slabs in order to keep the fish cool, a most unusual use for this fern. Maidenhair Fern is very rare on the Isles of Scilly.
Click here to see Aphotoflora images by David Fenwick
French, C.N., Murphy, R.J. & Atkinson, M. 1999. Flora of Cornwall. Wheal Seton Press, Camborne.