Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A tenacious fern

Deep inside caves, plant life is either extremely scarce or otherwise totally absent, which is due to the fact that plants need sunlight in order to manufacture food and therefore survive. However, the occasional thin ray of light may sometimes manage its way through, and this is an opportunity upon which mosses and ferns capitalize without fail.

The picture above shows the common maidenhair fern (Adiantum capillusveneris L.) taking advantage of such an instance at Għar Ħassan. The scant sunlight and nutrient-poor limestone soil are enough for the small but hardy plant.

Adiantum is a feature of many 'traditional' Maltese gardens due to its preference for shaded areas. The vernacular name in Maltese is Tursin il-Bir (lit. water-well parsley). Of course, true parsley is a flowering plant, and has nothing to do with the species in question.


  1. What a small one!! I love this plant. It looks so delicate! I used to love cutting bits of it from my mum's plant and place them in books.

  2. True, it's a beautiful addition to any garden! It looks delicate but it's basically the only wild fern which can withstand the hot Maltese summer, so its appearance is rather deceiving!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...