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Hapu'u Pulu Hawaiian Tree Fern
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I find the geometric nature of this beautiful delicate Hāpuʻu tree fern to be absolutely fascinating . . .
Hāpuʻu pulu Hawaiian Tree Fern
Kula Maui Hawaii
Copyright © 2014 Sharon Mau - All Rights Reserved
Cibotium glaucum (Sm.) Hook. and Arnott
Synonym: Cibotium splendens (Gaud.) Krajina
Common name: Hāpuʻu, Hāpuʻu pulu, Hawaiian tree fern
Hāpuʻu is native to most of the Hawaiian islands. It is
one of more than 800 species of tree ferns, descendants
of prehistoric vegetation found worldwide in semi-wet
to wet forests from sea level to over 5000 ft elevation.
Hāpuʻu was once common in wetter areas of all the
major Hawaiian islands. Until recently, large numbers
of Hawaiian tree ferns were harvested for orchid media
and landscape use. Over-exploitation has reduced Hāpuʻu
Presently all tree ferns are considered threatened spe
cies, because so many of them are found only in the
rapidly diminishing rainforests of the world. It is illegal
to ship tree ferns or tree fern products internationally
Hāpuʻu pulu grows to 15–20 feet tall and has about a 15-foot
spread. It is the most common tree fern in Hawaii and is
a landscaping favourite, creating a tropical appearance
and feeling with its lacy, arching, fresh, apple-green
coloured leaves. It is very slow growing. The average rate
of growth of young Hāpuʻu ferns is about 31⁄2 inches per year.
The rate of growth slows as the plant gets older.
Hāpuʻu is a fern and does not produce flowers. The
spores (“seeds”) are produced by fruiting bodies on the
underside of the leaves.
Hāpuʻu fronds (“leaves”) have an intricately divided,
tripinnate form and are 3–9 ft long. The fronds emerge
from a stout, fibrous, dark brown base (“trunk”). The
growing point, stalks, and young unfurled fronds of
Hāpuʻu pulu are covered with a silky, red-brown, wool
like fiber called pulu, which was used in ancient times
for dressing wounds and embalming and for stuffing
pillows and mattresses.
The fronds of Hāpuʻu i‘i, another native Hawaiian
tree fern, have a thick growth of stiff, dark hair on the
petioles. Hāpuʻu i‘i is slightly larger than Hāpuʻu pulu
and its frond stems are more leathery. Otherwise, the
two species of häpu‘u are nearly identical in appearance.
Cibotium (from the Greek kibootion, meaning chest or box) is a genus of 11 species of tropical tree fern distributed fairly narrowly in Hawaiʻi (four species, plus a hybrid, collectively known as Hāpuʻu
The original version of this excerpt was written by
David Hensley, Rhonda Stibbe, Norman Bezona, and
Fred Rauch. Additional information resource excerpts quoted from Wikipedia
July 9th, 2014
Viewed 35 Times - Last Visitor from Kaneohe, HI on 01/23/2015 at 11:24 PM
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