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Protocol Information

Native Plant Nursery
USDI NPS - Glacier National Park
West Glacier, Montana 59936
(406) 888-7835


Family Scientific Name: Pteridaceae
Family Common Name: Maidenhair Fern family
Scientific Name: Adiantum aleuticum (Rupr.) Paris
Common Synonym: Adiantum pedatum L.
Common Name: Western Maidenhair fern
Species Code: ADIALE
Ecotype: Subalpine seep spring, Glacier National Park, MT.
General Distribution: A. aleuticum is now recognized as a distinct species from A. pedatum. It occurs in a variety of habitats throughout its range; from sea coastal cliffs, moist ravines and forests, to subalpine boulder fields, up to 10,400 ft elevation.
It ranges from Newfoundland, Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta, all of the United States west of the Rocky Mountains, Maine, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico.
It is disjunct in wet rock fissures at high elevations in the Intermountain and Rocky Mountain States and in Mexico.
Propagation Goal: Plants
Propagation Method: Seed
Product Type: Container (plug)
Stock Type: 800 ml containers
Time To Grow: 1 Years
Target Specifications: Stock Type: Container sporophyte
Height: 15 cm, 5 to 7 mature fronds
Caliper: n/a
Root System: Fully developed rhizomatous root mass in container.
Propagule Collection: Spore bearing fronds are collected in late August. An indusium is present> Collect fronds when indusium begins to lift and spore color is tan to brown.
Propagule Processing: Fronds are placed in a room without air movement, spore surface down on butcher paper. Spores will appear as a fine dust on the paper after several days of drying.
Pre-Planting Treatments: Collect spores from the surface of paper and surface sow in sterilized flats filled with sterile, finely milled peat moss that has been moistened with distilled water. Water spores with distilled water and seal flats with clear plastic wrap to seal in moisture and prevent fungal contamination.

Place flats under 60 watt soft incandescent lights set at 12 hour per day illumination. Maintain temperature at 20 to 23C. Germination of spores will occur after 15 days. The thread like germ filaments can be seen with the aid of a microscope and will appear as a fine green threads on the surface of the medium. 

Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:

Sealed flats are grown under grow lights for 2 to 3 months.
Continued growth under greenhouse conditions at 20C to 25C for 2 to 3 months, followed by growth in the outdoor shadehouse for 6 months.
Establishment Phase: Germination of the spores occurs 10 to 15 days after sowing. The heart shaped prothalli continue to grow for 6 to 8 weeks. Examination of the prothalli under a microscope will reveal the presence of the reproductive structures; the antheridia (male) and archegonia (female), located along the margins and notch of the prothalli.
At this stage, it is critical to maintain a thin film of water over the surface of the prothalli for fertilization to occur.It is critical to maintain sterile conditions during germination and establishment. Trays must be inspected for fungal contamination on a regular basis. If fungal contamination occurs, remove infected portions of the medium and treat trays with a highly diluted (1/4 recommended rate)fungicide drench. Treat with dilute fungicide only if prothalli are well developed. Reseal flats immediately and water only with distilled water.
Once sporophytes appear, clear plastic is removed from the trays and aseptic conditions are no longer necessary.
Length of Establishment Phase: 4 months
Active Growth Phase: Appearance of sporophytes occurred 4 months after spore germination. Individual plants are transplanted from flats to pots when they are 4 cm tall. After establishment in the greenhouse, they are moved to the outdoor shadehouse in late spring. Plants are fertilized with controlled release Osmocote 13-13-13 and Micromax micronutients mixed into medium.
Length of Active Growth Phase: 7 months
Hardening Phase: Plants are fertilized with 10-20-20 NPK liquid fertlizer in September and October. Plants are watered before winterization.
Length of Hardening Phase: 1 month
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Total Time To Harvest: 1 year
Harvest Date: September
Storage Conditions: Overwinter in outdoor shadehouse under insulating foam and snow.
Length of Storage: 5 months
Other Comments: Vegetative Propagation Method: Yes, divisions.
Type of Cutting: Rhizome divisions.
Plants are easily divide in early spring by separating rhizomes with at least one leaf shoot or bud and transplanted into containers.

Plants have been held successfully for two years in 3.5 inch pots in the nursery. Root mass on plants in the field and in the nursery is of smaller volume than other fern species.

This species is somewhat tolerant of partial sun exposure if the microsite has constant moisture and cooling humidity. Full shade is necessary for other sites.

Nursery grown plants produced spore bearing fronds 2 years after germination.

References: Flora of the Pacific Northwest, Hitchcock and Cronquist, Univ. of Washington Press, 7th printing, 1990.

Ferns to Know and Grow, Foster, F.G., Timber Press, 1984.

Glacier Park Native Plant Nursery Propagation Records, unpublished.

Flora of North America, Volume 2 Pteridophytes and Gymnosperms, FNA Editorial Committee, Oxford University Press, 1993.

Citation:
Wick, Dale; Evans, Jeff.; Luna, Tara. 2008. Propagation protocol for production of container Adiantum aleuticum (Rupr.) Paris plants (800 ml containers); USDI NPS - Glacier National Park, West Glacier, Montana. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://www.nativeplantnetwork.org (accessed 27 November 2014). Moscow (ID): University of Idaho, College of Natural Resources, Forest Research Nursery.