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NZ Plants

Asexual reproduction

Ferns have various methods of reproducing vegetatively without the use of spores or sperm and eggs.


Network of branching rhizomes with frond stalks (stipes)
(photo, L Jensen)

Hypolepis sp. Younger portions of a branching rhizome may become isolated by decay of the older portions so that each becomes a new plant.



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Mature fronds, the distal midrib (rachis) of the frond lacks leaflets
(photo, L Jensen)

Asplenium flabellifolium, necklace fern, walking fern - The midrib (rachis) of the frond extends beyond the uppermost leaflets and elongates; when it touches the ground it roots and gives rise to new plants.

Older plantlet with young frond
(photo, L Jensen)

Asplenium flabellifolium - The tip of the extended rachis of the parent frond (right) has touched the soil and formed a new plant with roots and frond.


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Buds, shoots, stolons

Trunk, with dormant bud
(photo, L Jensen)

Dicksonia squarrosa, wheki, rough tree fern - Large buds often form on the trunk that remain inactive while the plant is growing and healthy.

Underground runners give rise to young plants
(photo, L Jensen)

Dicksonia squarrosa - If the original plant dies the buds on the trunk or on underground stolons will enlarge and give rise to new plants.

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Bulbils and plantlets

Frond upper surface with plantlets
(photo, I MacDonald)

Asplenium bulbiferum, manamana, mouki, hen and chicken fern. Many spleenworts form 'bulbils' (buds) on their fronds.

Plantlet, mature second frond
(photo, L Jensen)

Asplenium bullbiferum - A bulbil has a short stem bearing several small fronds. When it touches the soil, it forms a new plant with roots and additional fronds.

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