Asplenium bulbiferum

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Asplenium bulbiferum
Asplenium bulbiferum Pengo.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Polypodiopsida/Pteridopsida
Order: Polypodiales
Family: Aspleniaceae
Genus: Asplenium
Species: A. bulbiferum
Binomial name
Asplenium bulbiferum

Asplenium bulbiferum, known as mother spleenwort, is a fern species native to New Zealand only. It is also called hen and chicken fern and, in the Māori language, pikopiko, mouku or mauku. Its fronds are eaten as a vegetable. It is often confused with A. gracillimum which is a fern species native to both New Zealand and Australia. Earlier literature refers to the Australian plants as Asplenium bulbiferum s.sp. gracillimum.

Hen and chicken ferns grow small bulbils on top of their fronds. Once grown to about 5 cm (2 in), these offspring fall off and, provided the soil they land in is kept moist, develop a root system and grow into new ferns. This additional means of reproduction can be employed with greater ease than propagation by spores. The related species A. viviparum has a similar mode of reproduction.

The hen and chicken fern commonly grows in most bush areas in New Zealand and is also commercially grown and sold. It thrives in many situations from shade to partial sunlight, and is also suitable and popular as an indoor plant, including areas with low light.

New plantlets forming at the end of the fronds of the Mother spleenwort