Asplenium nidus is rosette shaped fern with all of the fronds growing from a central area. The fronds are undivided and sword-shaped. They can be 60 to 120 cm long and 7 to 20 cm wide. They are light green with a dark brown or black midrib. The spores cases are arranged in lines along the veins of the fronds. (Bornhorst, Heidi L. 1996. Growing Native Hawaiian Plants.) (Valier, Kathy. 1995. Ferns of Hawai'i.)
In Hawai`i, the juice of `ekaha leaf shoots was mixed with other plants to treat general weakness and mouth sores in children. (Akana, A. 1922. Hawaiian Herbs of Medicinal Value)
Asplenium nidus is a common fern found in wet lowand tropical forests of Africa, Asia and many Pacific Islands. Its large leaves are used as decoration and for several medicinal treatments.
Asplenium nidus is indigenous to Hawaii, other parts of Polynesia, and to areas as far west as Africa. These ferns grow either terrestrially (on the ground) or epiphytically (on trees or rocks). In Hawaii, they are found at elevations up to 760 meters. (Valier, Kathy. 1995. Ferns of Hawai'i.)
In old Hawai`i the leaves of `ekaha adorned hula altars and were used in canoe tree cutting ceremonies. The black midrib was used to decorate pandanus (lauhala) mats. (Emerson, N. B. 1909. Unwritten Literature of Hawaii; the Sacred Songs of the Hula) (Bornhorst, H. L. 1996. Growing Native Hawaiian Plants)
We currently have 46 herbarium specimens for Asplenium nidus in our collection. Click on any specimen below to view the herbarium sheet data.