Online Encyclopedia

MAIDENHAIR

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 428 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MAIDENHAIR, in botany, the common name for a fern, Adiantum Capillus-Veneris, characterized by the spreading hair-like branches of the frond, the ultimate pinnules of which are i to 1 in. long with a rounded crenate outer edge and repeatedly forked veins; the sori (or masses of spore-capsules) are in the crenatures of the pinnules, and are protected by a kidney-shaped involucre. The plant is widely distributed in temperate and tropical regions, and is occasionally found in the western counties of England, the Isle of Man, and west Ireland, growing on damp rocks or walls especially near the sea. The genus Adiantum is a large one containing many handsome species both tropical and temperate, well known in greenhouse and hothouse cultivation. MAIDENHAIR-TREE is a popular name for Ginkgo biloba, a remark-able and handsome gymnospermous tree, the fan-shaped leaves of which with their forked veins recall those of the maidenhair (see GYMNOSPERMS).
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