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Cornish Red Data (2009)

The descriptive text, below the map, is from the Cornish Red Data Book (2009). The map on this web page depicts the organisms distribution and shows the records made pre-2000 and those made since.

Adiantum capillus-veneris - Maidenhair Fern

Range & Status

Native; Mediterranean-Atlantic element; also in central and eastern Asia and North

America. Native populations are found in coastal locations along the western seaboard of Great Britain and Ireland.

Regional Distribution

There are eight sites on coastal cliffs, where the fern is undoubtedly native, such as

at Lelant (SW53). It is also found as an established introduction in coastal sites which sometimes appear native. These colonies may have arisen from spores of native plants, and the true native distribution may be difficult to establish.

Habitat & Ecology

On moist, crumbling cliffs, in the dimly-lit damp walls of caves and adits, railway cuttings, and mortared walls in coastal towns.


Formerly threatened by fern collectors.

00 Conservation

Some of the sites are SSSI and National Trust owned.

Click here to see Aphotoflora images by David Fenwick


I.J. Bennallick, S. Board, C.N. French, P.A. Gainey, C. Neil, R. Parslow, A. Spalding and P.E. Tompsett. eds. 2009. Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 2nd Edition.Croceago Press.

The Cornish Red Data Book Project was led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Federation for Biological Recorders (CISFBR). The full text and species accounts (minus the maps) are available on the CISFBR website.