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    (Click here to return to Plants & Creatures)

    (Found In Hawai'i
    and Elsewhere)
    Common Name:Uluhe (oo-loo-hay)
    Uluhe Fern Shoot With Leaves
    Scientific:Dicranopteris linearis
    Size:Up to 20 ft tall
    Habitat:Sea level to 5,500 ft

    The Uluhe (false staghorn) fern can be found all over the east (wetter) side of the Big Island. The ferns grow well from sea level on up to 5,500 ft, but the most spectacular Uluhe ferns are found in Volcano and the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.

    The Uluhe begins growth as a shoot that comes straight out of the ground - with the fern tightly coiled at the shoots end. The shoot is about the thickness of a drinking straw. As the shoot grows the end uncoils and the fern leaves begin to appear. As the leaves mature they split into two sets of leaves, and from those another shoot can appear that will make another two sets of leaves. This can continue as the plant grows becoming almost vine like.

    As the Uluhe matures it continues to grow upwards, grabbing onto just about any plant life it can. Since each shoot puts out two sets of leaves, and the leaves can put out further shoots, the fern grows quite dense and can choke out the plants it is growing on. Luckily the fern has a fairly short lifespan and as a mature plant will die almost completely back while new shoots appear from the ground.

    The Uluhe In Ancient Hawaiian Medicine
      The Hawaiians would soak the fern in water and drink the liquid as a cure for constipation.

    New Uluhe Shoot Appears

    Young Uluhe Leaves

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    Nene photo in top graphics by Brenda Zaun