Native plants

Hen and chicken fern

Scientific name: Asplenium bulbiferum
Maori name: Pikopiko
Other names: Mother spleenwort, Mouku, Mauku

Fern - native to the Wellington Region
Suits: damp, shade, partial shade, shelter, coastal forest garden, small garden or balcony, wetlands and water features

About Hen and chicken fern

One of our most popular native ferns long, green graceful, delicate fronds are easily recognizable by the small "chickens" which grows on the surface of the fronds. The "chickens" are a vegetative, non-sexual mode of reproduction and can grow into new individuals, as a clone of their parent. These readily from the parent when about 5 cm tall and spreads on moist grounds. Usually seen in lowland and coastal forest where it is a common species of the ground-layer. Great to plant under othe rnative trees.
Hen and chicken fern also works well in pots, but prefers shade or partial light. It is fast growing and needs to stay moist to keep grand and green.

Commonly sold by many plant nurseries. However some plants sold as this species are in fact a sterile hybrid. The fern fiddleheads are edible and sometimes known as bush asparagus, pale green in color with brown speckles, steamed and eaten as a vegetable.

Provides for lizards

  • Ground cover for retreat
  • Clump forming for camouflage and insects

Read more about gardening for lizards.

More detail