Asplenium bulbiferum - Hen and Chicken fern

Latin Name Asplenium bulbiferum

Common Name Hen and Chickens Fern / Mother Spleenwort (Mouku in maori)

The Hen & Chicken Fern is very popular, both as an indoor and an outdoor plant. It’s long, delicate looking fronds are easily recognizable by the small bulbils which develop on the upper surface of the fronds. These can be replanted to produce more plants.

The fern also produces spore on the underside of the fronds and so it has a double assurance which is a very unusual for a fern to be able to have this double-barrelled guarantee.

This variety is best suited to damp, shady areas – but can adapt to a wide range of situations and is very suitable as an indoor pot plant.
There are different mutations of the hen and chicken fern, the naturally occuring bush variety gets a name pikopiko due to the young edible shoots it produces - becoming increasingly popular as a speciality NZ delicacy. However you would need a good number of plants (grow in shade) to produce a feed of pikopiko.

The other mutant variety generally found in Garden Centres is a cross between the native pikopiko and a Norfolk Island fern which it is believed happened way back in the 1830's and was the result of a keen English Botanist taking both plants back to good old Blighty and succesfuil crossing them. This variety has a more slender darker stem and lacier fronds.

New Zealand Native fern

There are closely related aspleniums additional to what I have described above and you can refer to Maori Princess and Southern Belle both listed under products section.


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