E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Asplenium trichomanes L.
maidenhair spleenwort (limestone maidenhair spleenwort)
Aspleniaceae (Spleenwort family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jim Riley  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #77)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Asplenium trichomanes
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Species Information

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Evergreen with clustered fronds.
Narrowly lanceolate, 10-25 cm long, 0.7-1.5 cm wide; rachis winged with two wax-papery lines, reddish-brown throughout (except the green tip on youngest leaves); pinnae in pairs, egg-shaped to oblong egg-shaped, 5-15 mm long, 3-8 mm wide.
A variable species. Two chromosome races (diploid ssp. trichomanes and tetraploid ssp. quadrivalens D.E. Meyer) were reported from North America (Moran 1982, Wagner et al. 1993), but their distribution in British Columbia is poorly known and requires further study.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry to mesic rocks in lowland and montane zones; frequent in coastal BC, infrequent east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains in S BC south of 51degreeN; circumpolar, N to S AK, E to AB and disjunct in ON to NF and S to GA, LA, TX, NM, AZ and CA; Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Asplenium trichomanes

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 20 267 820
Slope Gradient (%) 10 67 130
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
20 93 305
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 6
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CWH(32), ICH(4), IDF(1)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-tolerant/intolerant, montane to subalpine, circumpolar fern (transcontinental in North America). Occurs on water-shedding and water-receiving sites within subalpine boreal, cool temperate, and cool mesothermal climates. Sporadic in shrub or forest communities on steep colluvial slopes where it inhabits shaded, humid microsites on rocks, boulders, and stones that have very shallow, friable soils high in organic matter. Characteristic of colluvial sites.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Asplenium melanocaulon

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References