Snapshot: Hawaiian wood fern

Considering I’ve been blogging mostly about Hawaiian plants since 2010, I’m surprised at myself for not having talked about ferns as much. In the wet forest habitats that I often frequent, ferns of all types are characteristic components of these areas. I’ll try to make a point to highlight them more now that I’ve gotten my second wind at this whole blogging thing.

‘i’i (Dryopteris fusco-atra) is a small terrestrial fern native to wet forests throughout Hawai’i. Here, in the Southern Ko’olau mtns, it is not very common. Dryopteris ferns are typically called wood ferns elsewhere and here in Hawai’i there is an extensive radiation. Indeed, possibly the largest Dryopteris in the world can be found on the island of Maui. Ferns can be hard to id, but this pretty species has long black scales on the stipe which is fairly different from other ferns found in the same habitat.

The populations are doing ok. Being terrestrial, they are susceptible to pig damage. This individual is actually growing at the base of an invasive cinnamon tree. I’m partial to the whole shuttlecock look, and am working to expand the population of this gorgeous fern at our restoration site.

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