Real-time X-ray microscopy was used to study the influence of hydrogen-bubble formation on the morphology of ramified zinc electrodeposit. The experimental results show that when intense hydrogen bubbling occurs at high potential, the morphology of the ramified zinc deposit changes from dense-branching to fern-shaped dendrite. The fern-shaped dendrite results in part from the constricted growth due to hydrogen bubbles but also from the highly concentrated electric field. The fern-shaped dendrite morphology was observed during the early stages of electroplating for both the potentiostatic and galvanostatic modes; however, the deposit plated in the galvanostatic mode densified via lateral growth during the later plating stages. This indicates that potentiostatic plating for which the hydrogen-bubble formation steadily occurs throughout the electrodeposition process is better than galvanostatic plating for fabricating fern-shaped deposits, which are ideal electrodes for Zn-air batteries due to the relatively large specific area. (C) 2008 The Electrochemical Society.