Common Name
Rasp Fern

Hawaiian Name

Scientific Name
Sadleria cyatheoides



Whole Plant



Sprouts of a leaf

Curly Leaf

Location On Campus

 The ‘äma‘u fern is located in the Kalama Garden.

Natural Habitat

'Äma'u is a plant which grows in wet forests and in open or shady areas.

Cultural Information

The 'äma'u fern is endemic to Hawai‘i. The fronds of the 'äma'u are used for thatching the roofs of houses. It was believed that when the 'äma'u fern grows straight up, a flood is coming soon. 'Äma'u is also used for lei making, medicine, and for food. This fern has been utilized to prolong the usefulness of used tapa.

Plant Description


  • Thick and sticky
  • Grow underground


  • Grow straight up
  • 2 to 3 cm wide
  • Dark brown and rough


  • Shaped like palm trees
  • New leaves are red and become green when they mature
  • Very sticky


  • Found on the bottom of the fronds
  • Found in clusters


  •  Likes moisture, shade, fertilizer, no hard wind, and soil
  • Dislikes wind, sun, sour dirt, cold weather, bugs, and diseases

Web Site Links

 Plants of Hawaii

There are pictures of the 'Ämaÿu plant and a brief description of what type of plant it is.

 Superba Ferns

There is information on how to grow and take care of the 'Äma'u fern.

 Hawaiian Native Plant Genera

There is information on the fern Sadleria Cyatheoides. Very helpful information.


 Hawaiian Native Plant Genera. Dr. Gerald Carr, Web Manager. University of Hawai'i. March 20, 2003 <

Kepler, Kay Angela.  Hawaiian Heritage: Revised edition plants. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1998.

Valier, Kathy. Ferns of Hawaii. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1995.

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