This species is sometimes confused with Adiantum poirettii[
Adiantum assimile Sw.
Adiantum trigonum Labill.
Common Name: Common Maidenhair Fern
Adiantum aethiopicum is an evergreen fern producing a cluster of stems mainly 20 - 80cm tall from a creeping, much-branched rhizome[
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use in traditional medicine.
Although we have found no reports of toxicity for this species, a number of ferns contain carcinogens so some caution is advisable[
Many ferns also contain thiaminase, an enzyme that robs the body of its vitamin B complex. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase[
Africa - S. Africa. Australasia - Australia, New Zealand.
Damp, open situations, often along creeks, where it often forms large colonies[
Adiantum aethiopicum is native to southern Africa, most Australian states and New Zealand, experiencing climates ranging from tropical to cool temperate.
Prefers a position in partial shade, growing best in sandy or loamy soils[
The fronds are astringent and emetic[
]. A decoction is used in the treatment of coughs[
An infusion of the leaves is used as an emollient in the treatment of coughs and diseases of the chest[
A decoction of the rhizomes is said to be abortifacient[
Spores. Plants can be produced quickly by this method and make specimens of better shape and greater vigour than division of existing plants[
]. Plants, and even most cultivars, will breed true[
Division of the rootstock.