Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hawaii - Tree Ferns

From Snowbird and the Botany conference, I flew directly to Hawaii with my advisor. We're spending about ten days here collecting data on the Hawaiian lobeliads and, in my case, happily fern-spotting. There are about 225 species of ferns native to the Hawaiian islands, and we've seen many just in the few days we've been here. The most striking and obvious are the tree ferns, which are everywhere. The most common ones are several species of Cibotium (Cibotiaceae) and Sadleria (Blechnaceae). The fiddlehead above, my favorite of the photos I've taken so far on this trip, is a Cibotium. Here are some more views of it:

I haven't yet learned to tell apart the species. Sadleria is easier: the species pictured below is S. cyatheoides. The "cyathe...etc" in its name is found in many names that concern tree ferns, like Cyatheales, one of two large orders of leptosporangiate ferns that contains the two largest tree fern families, Dicksoniaceae and Cyatheaceae (there it is again!). Neither Sadleria nor Cibotium is in these families; Cibotium is in its own family, Cibotiaceae, which is in Cyatheales, but Sadleria is in the family Blechnaceae, which is in the other large order of leptosporangiates, Polypodiales. 

Sadleria doesn't look much like the Blechnum species I'm familiar with (like Blechnum spicant), but a characteristic of many genera in the family Blechnaceae is the presence of linear sori, which you can see on the abaxial (under) sides of these pinnae.

Other cool tree-like ferns can be found in the order Marattiales, which is a group in the "lower", eusporangiate ferns. 

No comments: