Asplenium ×lucrosum (False Hen & Chickens)
(Unranked): Eupolypods II
Species: Asplenium ×lucrosum (hybrid)
Common name: False Hen & Chickens fern.
Asplenium ×lucrosum is a sterile hybrid between Asplenium bulbiferum and Asplenium dimorphum. The “×” preceding “lucrosum” indicates it is a hybrid. The name “lucrosum” reflects its lucrative cultivation for horticulturalists dealing in ferns.
The two parent species – Asplenium bulbiferum and Asplenium dimorphum – don’t occur together naturally, Asplenium bulbiferum being naturally found only in New Zealand and Asplenium dimorphum only on Norfolk Island. However, by 1831 both had been taken to grow in Britain. This is probably where they hybridised, producing Asplenium ×lucrosum, which is now cultivated around the world.
Asplenium ×lucrosum inherited the production of bulbils from New Zealand’s Asplenium bulbiferum. This part of the frond is trying to make spores. Like many hybrids, the Asplenium ×lucrosum is unable to reproduce sexually, its spores being abnormally formed. However, it can be propagated vegetatively via its bulbils. This is how it is produced for sale, and also how it has become a minor weed in some parts of New Zealand.
Photographed at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth.
The bulbils from which the fern can be propagated vegetatively.
Asplenium ×lucrosum is unable to reproduce sexually, its spores being abnormally formed.