Plants often get their names from folklore! The Maidenhair Fern genus is derived from the Greek word for "unwetted" because rainwater runs off the fronds. The arrangement of leaflets on the fern mirrors the hair of Venus, from Roman mythology. She was a creature of the sea, amply developed and with remarkable dry hair. Thus the common name maidenhair fern we use today.
Care Level: I'm Easy
Pet Friendly: Yes
Ferns are non-toxic, though the ASPCA does not have a specific listing for Maidenhair
Maidenhair fern is the source of a pleasantly aromatic volatile oil long used as a rinse or shampoo that rendered black hair very shiny, hence the name Maidenhair. The tough, water-repellent, shiny black stems were used by Native American peoples in basketweaving. The genus name means "repels water," for indeed raindrops weigh down the fronds & drop onto the ground leaving the fronds nearly dry.