It is found throughout New Zealand in lowland to montane forest and scrub
The family Aspleniaceae consists of about 650 species of terrestrial and epiphytic ferns worldwide, with 19 species in New Zealand, six of which are endemic. The plants' young shoots were considered one of the best fern shoots by Maori, who ate them steaming in the hangi. They are described as having a slightly bitter asparagus-like flavour.
A tufted fern with deep-green feathery fronds, and the unusual characteristic of producing young plantlets on old ferns, hence its common name Hen & Chicken Fern. With fronds from 20-150cm long it reaches an overall height of up to 1m, forming a striking and graceful shape in forest undergrowth.
Dislikes water-logged or wet soils particularly in warmer areas, preferring a moist, rich, free-draining soil. It can tolerate drier conditions. When grown in the shade, its fronds are a dark green; with more light these tend to turn somewhat yellowish. Use either for underplanting among larger trees, including deciduous, or amongst shrubs and other ferns. It also makes an excellent indoor plant in a cool, shaded position.