Black Maidenhair.

Botanical name: 

Also see: True Maidenhair - English Maidenhair - White Maidenhair - Black Maidenhair - Golden Maidenhair

Adiantum nigrum.

Another of the small plants of the fern kind, and more of the shape and form of the common ferns, than any yet described. It is like the common fern of the divided kind, only very small. It grows to eight or ten inches high. The stalks are thick, black, and flossy. The leaves are very beautifully divided into a great many parts: these are short, of a dark shining green, and deeply notched at the edges, and they terminate in a sharp point, not blunt as some of those already mentioned. The seeds lie on the edges of the under part of the leaves, in form of a brown dust. It is not uncommon by wood sides, and in shady lanes.

A decoction of it works powerfully by urine, and it has the same virtue with the rest in the cure of coughs.

Of these four, for they possess the same virtues, the preference is given to the first described, or true kind; next to the English maidenhair; and in defect of both these, to the black kind. The white maidenhair is preferred to any against the gravel, and in suppression of urine; but for the common use in coughs and hoarsenesses, it is the least esteemed of all.

There is another plant, called by the name of maidenhair, which is yet to be described, it makes one of what are commonly called the five capellary herbs, but it is so distinct from the others, that it is best kept separate. They are all kinds of fern: this is a sort of moss.

The Family Herbal, 1812, was written by John Hill.