Kingdom Plantae > Division Pteridophyta > Order Polypodiales > Family Aspleniaceae.
The The Hen and Chicken fern is an Australian native usually growing on the ground but sometimes on trees.
The short, erect rhizomes have brown scales up to 16 mm long.
The fronds are erect or arching, elliptic to ovate and up to 1 metre or more long.
The stems can be up to 50 cm long, green above and dark brown underneath.
The upper surface is grooved with ridges on the sides and the lower surface has a central ridge or keel.
The bases are covered in scales.
The scaly midribs are brown near the base then green.
The main midrib has a central ridge between narrow grooves and the distal half is winged.
Each frond is usually divided twice – bipinnate.
Leaflets, with or without a short stalk, are oval or elliptic, have a pointed tip and are deeply lobed or toothed.
In some leaflets the divisions into lobes does not reach the midrib.
Sporangia are in linear sori up to 4 mm long.
Sori are found near the margins of the underside of the leaflets.
They are covered by an oblong, membranous indusium.
A few dark brown scales appear on the upper surface of some of the leaflets and these grow into small bulbils
(like miniature ferns) which fall off when they are about 5 cm high.
If they fall on moist soil they grow to a new plant.
Asplenium gracillimum occasionally develops them.