Plants of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Scientific Name Sadleria cyatheoides
Family Blechnaceae

Other Names 'ama'u
Status Endemic
Distribution & Habitat This is a terrestrial plant that grows in wet habitats, either open or shady forests.  It can be found growing from near sea level up to 2,135 m (Valier 1995: 79).
Locations in this Guide  
General Appearance
This is a relatively short-stature fern, unlike the tree ferns in the Park.  However, it can have a trunk that grows up to 1.5 m tall (Valier 1995: 79).

Note the abundant dead fronds still attached to the plants in these examples.

Mid-Elevation Woodland (1974 Flow)

Mid-elevation Woodland

Mid-Elevation Woodland (on 1974 flow)

The stalks are dull green and surrounded by a furry mass of golden pulu (hairlike flat scales)(Valier 1995: 79).

Fronds and Leaves
The fronds are not as finely divided as those of the tree ferns (Valier 1995: 79). They can reach a length of 3 m.

The leaves are smooth and leathery with a dark green surface and whitish green underside (Valier 1995: 79).

The young fronds are salmon colored.  They turn dark green and glossy as they age (Valier 1995: 79).

Near Park Headquarters
Near Park Headquarters Near Park Headquarters
A line of spores run along the length of the leaflet (Valier 1995: 79). Mid-Elevation Woodland (on 1974 flow)
Natural History
Miscellaneous Photos
Other Notes Separating the Sadleria species:  Lamoureux (1996: 12-13) notes that there are two species of Sadleria in the Park. He gives the following hint for identifying the two:

Hold the frond up to the light so that you can see the vein structure.

  • Sadleria cyantheoides has just one prominent midvein.  It is generally the larger of the two species, is the more common and is found in dryer areas.
  • Sadleria pallida has multiple prominent small side veins. This species is found in wetter areas.

Sadleria vs. tree ferns:  You can tell the difference between Sadleria, with its two linear rows of sporangia (on the frond underside), while the tree ferns (Cibotium) have clusters of sporangia covered by a protective flap (Stone and Pratt 1994: ?). 

References Valier, Kathy, 1995, Ferns of Hawai`i. University of Hawai`i Press, Honolulu, HI.

Lamoureux, Charles H., 1996, Trailside Plants of Hawai`i's National Parks. Hawaii Natural History Association.

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Last Updated: 08/05/03