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Re: Adiantum whiteii

> Could someone please tell me if Adiantum whiteii deciduous is?  Mine grows 
> lovely each year and at the start of summer it suddenly looks like its dying 
> and just before I think now he is dead there are now fronds immerging.  Now 
> I am wondering if it might be deciduous.

I am unfamiliar with A. whitei, an uncommon fern, but a full description can be 
found under the name A. hispidulum var. whitei in the "Flora of Australia,"


It is endemic to eastern Queensland. A. hispidulum var. hispidulum, the rosy 
maidenhair, is widely distributed from New Zealand westward to Africa in 
tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate areas. In temperate locations it is 
deciduous, dying back in winter (rather than your case of summer). I grow this 
as a houseplant, and treated this way it is evergreen, flushing rosy in spring.

An earlier reference, Christopher Goudey's "Maidenhair Ferns," regards whitei 
as a hybrid between hispidulum and formosum. The latter is a much larger 
Adiantum (to 1.5 m.), more divided, and with deeply-buried rhizomes (as much as 
60 cm., rivalling Pteridium). Photos there are consistent with an intermediate 
form. A deep rhizome could be an adaptation to drought or fire. A. formosum is 
native to eastern Australia in warm-temperate or subtropical forests, 
overlapping distribution with the rosy maidenhair.

Of Adiantum whitei in cultivation, Goudey writes, "A. whitei is hardy 
[Victoria, Australia] and grows best for me planted in the ground, in a cool 
well-drained fernery. It can be propagated by division."

I could find no photos on the web.

Tom Stuart
New York

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