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I saw many of these plants while hiking on a hill facing the ocean in northern Taiwan. I've included a snapshot of a nearby part of the same trail to show it's rugged, wet, green, and rocky, and another photo of some what looks to be the same kind of plant without these things, and one that has a reddish coloring.

Any idea what these little (~10 mm long) "leaf-shaped" brown/orangish things are, growing from points along two regular rows of bumps that are repeated everywhere? Is this reproduction, if so how does it work?

Also curious, any thoughts on what kind of plant to call this? I don't need a species identification necessarily, but is it a kind of fern?

plant northern Taiwan seashore

plant northern Taiwan seashore

plant northern Taiwan seashore

below: Additional photos, click for full size.

plant northern Taiwan seashore plant northern Taiwan seashore

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These are really cool, and I am absolutely not certain of this, but I would hazard that they might be some kind of bulbil? Ferns (if I have started my ID correctly) can use them to asexually reproduce. For example the New Zealand endemic Asplenium bulbiferum grows little bulbils on the adaxial surface of its frond.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for that term! With it, one can search and find all kinds of crazy/weird looking things growing out of other things. Search for it along with fern and photos on pages like this and especially this and this show structures somewhat reminiscent of what I saw. I wish I could go back to the same site and see how those have grown, but that's not going to happen any time soon. $\endgroup$ – uhoh May 20 '18 at 13:56
  • $\begingroup$ Also this and this and this and this! $\endgroup$ – uhoh May 20 '18 at 14:00
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh no problem, glad I could help $\endgroup$ – NatWH May 20 '18 at 14:01

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