Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hawaii - Elaphoglossum

Hawaii has eight endemic species of Elaphoglossum, which are simple, entire-leaved ferns that are often ephiphytic (growing on trees) but can be terrestrial as well. We found two species on our trip, both in a kipuka, an area of lava that is older than the lava around it, and so forms a sort of vegetated island in the middle of an otherwise desolate, young lava flow. Kipuka will often be grassy or forested, and the one we visited was the latter.

One of the species we found was Elaphoglossum paleaceum, which is easy to identify because of its nodding habit and profuse golden scales; it is pictured above and in the next two photos. The remaining photos are of the other species in the kipuka, which had an erect growth form and was not as densely scaly. Its identification was a little less straightforward... I will stick with calling Elaphoglossum sp., at least for now.

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