The 'Ēkaha, or Bird's Nest Fern is one of the more unusual ferns that grows on the Big Island. Whereas most ferns in Hawai'i tend to grow from the ground, Bird's Nest Ferns tend to grow in the crooks of trees - though can also appear on the ground. Many people don't realize they are walking below these fantastic and beautiful ferns.
A single fern frond is from 2 to 4 feet in length. The fronds grow outward from a center point making the entire plant about 6 to 7 feet wide and about 4 feet high. Often older brown leaves droop beneath the 'nest' - another tell-tail sign.
There are a number of places where you can see Bird's Nest Ferns on the Big Island. Akaka Falls has a few in the trees, and the Lava Tree Park in Puna has at least one Bird's Nest near the beginning of the walk. However, the overall best place to see the Bird's Nest Fern is the Honolulu Landing to Kumukahi Lighthouse Scenic Drive. About in the middle of the drive you can see countless examples of Bird's Nest in the trees above you - truely spectacular.