Sunday, February 6, 2011

It loves the sources built by the Moors

At the black maidenhair fern, Adiantum capillus-veneris, likes to live with the roots in water, so the spores germinate only if they fall on a permanently wet floor or wall, wells, fountains, aqueducts, canals,  oozing rocks and walls, banks of rivers and streams, reservoirs exterior walls, etc ... Usually forms a large colony with many individuals growing together as a hanging hair. Belongs to the family of Adiantaceae. Its genome contains 60 chromosomes (2n = 60, n = 30).  
Hanging fronds of Adiantum capillus-veneris in a dripping wall of a terrace of Soller Valley on the island of Mallorca. 

Black maidenhair beautiful hair covering this endearing fountain in the gardens of The Alcazar of Seville. (Double click on the photo to enlarge) 

Adiantum capillus-veneris has a radicant rhizome that grows horizontally and is densely covered with brown linear paleae. Its fronds, depending on the degree of light they receive, may be more or less long, reaching 50 cms. The petiole and rachis are black, sometimes brown-blackish, with a vivid bright of jet and very brittle. The blade is ovate-lanceolate with light green pinnae and delicate texture. Running the hand over the hair that form their fronds we notice his smoothness and softness. Formerly used in syrups and infusions to treat respiratory problems for its expectorant properties.

 Former fountain with black maidenhair built during the Muslim domination of the Balearic Islands for over 800 years, located in the beautiful Arabian Gardens of Alfabia in the Mallorcan town of Bunyola

The Adiantum capillus-veneris is widely distributed cosmopolitan, growing in tropical, subtropical and temperate zones of all the earth, which indicates its high adaptive capacity.

Close-up image of the previous source of green adorned by a large colony of Adiantum capillus-veneris. (Double click on the photo to enlarge) 

Beautiful dressed in green Arabic source in the Partal Gardens of the Palacios Nazaries of the Alhambra in Granada. It is very striking the tendency of this fern to live in sources. (Double click on the photo to enlarge)

Another ancient fountain built during the Muslim domination of Mallorca, located in the village of Randa, in a fertile valley at the foot of a small mountain in the center of the island. The ferns have their roots anchored in the thick layer of moss.

Irrigation canal collects water from the previous source, locally called Font de Randa, with a large colony of Adiantum capillus-veneris. Mallorca Arabs who built the fountain and the irrigation canals more than 8 centuries dominated the art of using water. It is only fair to acknowledge the great legacy left to those who expelled them from their beloved island. With the near certainty to take a little blood in my veins arrears of almost 3,000 descendants of the Moors Mallorcan left as slaves in their own land and were forced to be baptized, I dedicate this article in appreciation of the immense work done by converting a dry and unproductive island in an orchard

Black maidenhair ferns growing on the rocks bordering the Torrent Biniaraix in the Serra de Tramuntana in Mallorca. (Double click on the photo to enlarge).

Adiantum capillus-veneris between the stones of a bank of a banana of Tazacorte on the Canary island of La Palma. 

Fine specimen of Adiantum capillus-veneris with deeply lobed pinnae growing on the rocks bordering the Torrent de Pareis of Sa Calobra on the northwest coast of Mallorca.

Typical pinnae of black maidenhair fern. Each pinna is divided into several pinnules separated by a notch. Picture taken in a garden of Mallorcan town of Sóller. 

Underside of the pinnae of the previous photo with immature sori covered by a false membranaceous indusium, pseudoindusium, inserted at the edge of the pinnules. 

Mature sori, one on each pinnules, with raised pseudoindusium exposing the sporangia, which are already being deployed and dispersed the spores. Shows the lattice structure of the pinnae fan-shaped, typical of the genus Adiantum. 

Microscopic photograph of a sporangium of Adiantum capillus-veneris, now empty after the dispersal of spores. You can see the torn bag containing the spores. 

Trilete spores, tetrahedral-globose, finely granular of Adiantum capillus-veneris. Draws attention to its beautiful golden color.

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