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Unusual Java fern

A puzzling observation:
I have read many times of the propagation of Java Fern
by removal and redistribution of "leaf babies".
I have several dozen Java ferns and have never had so
much as a single new plant growing on any leaf
(new,old or decaying).Instead the roots become covered
in "root babies", but only when they are hanging free
in the water and not attached to anything.
Why the difference? 
If this is a different species, can anyone tell me how
to spot one that will reproduce on the leaves as I
would like to try for a slightly different look.

Regards Dave
New Zealand

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