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 Tree Fern;   Hapu`u `i`i;  Hapu`u;  Male Tree Fern

 Cibotium menziesii   formerly  C. chamissoi

 Family:  Dicksoniaceae

 

This is the largest of Hawaii's endemic tree ferns distinguished from the other species by the reddish or black bristly growth along the full length of the frond stem.  It can grow up to 35 feet tall but is usually 7-25 feet with a trunk up to 2 1/2 ' in diameter and arching fronds as long as 12 feet. As in the other species, the trunk has an inner core of starchy material that was used as food and which, unfortunately, is favored by feral pigs.  The outer part of the trunk is composed of stiff hard fibers.  The tree ferns are being decimated by the commercial uses of the trunk as potting media, decorative uses, shade for anthuriums, and for the nursery trade.  Local residents mistakenly call this species the male tree fern. 

 

 Tree Fern;   Hapu`u;  Hapu`u-pulu;

                                              Blond Tree Fern; Female Tree Fern

 Cibotium glaucum   formerly  C. splendens

 Family:  Dicksoniaceae

 

This is another of the endemic species of tree ferns characterized by the soft brownish-yellow cotton-like growth on the stem fronds.  This growth called "pulu" was used by the Hawaiians as a dressing for wounds and for embalming the dead.  In the 1800's pulu was gathered commercially for use as stuffing for pillows and mattresses, this is now illegal.  A high quality starch was also processed from the pith of the tree fern species.  The young coiled frond shoots are harvested for food especially by Asians.  Processing the shoots is a laborious work of cleaning, sackings, boiling and more soaking with frequent changes of water to extract the bitter sap.  The result is a delicious product that is prepared in various ethnic dishes.  Harvesting of the shoots is done during certain seasons of the year and should be done discriminately to minimize harvest impact on the plants.  Over-harvesting for orchid media and landscaping use and clearing for development have drastically reduced the populations of this endemic tree fern.  It's trunk can reach 25 feet tall but is most often 6 to 10 feet with fronds as long as 9 feet.                                                                     Cibotium sp.

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