Common Name
Sword Fern

Hawaiian Name

Scientific Name
Nephrolepis cordifolio


Kalama Garden 

Whole Plant


Location On Campus

These ferns are found in the Kalama Garden.

Natural Habitat

These kinds of ferns can be found on the heights of Kanehoa, and from sea level to elevations of 1066 m. They can either be found in sunny or shady areas, and wet or dry lands.

Cultural Information

This fern is endemic to Hawai'i. It can be used for many things such as decorations and for the wrist and ankles of hula dancers.

Plant Description


  • Grows rapidly in dry soil
  • Color is brown and partially white
  • Very rough texture


  • Herbaceous
  • Forms scales
  • Brown in color
  • Smooth texture


  • Compound leaves
  • Green and stiff
  • Looks like a feather
  • Can also be yellow and red in color
  • Sizes can range from 5 to 10 cm
  • The texture is sort of bumpy and sort of smooth


  • White and very tiny
  • Found along the edges of the leaf

Life Cycle/

  • Asexual reproduction
  • Creeping rhizomes on the leaves


  • Spreads vigorously
  • Spores are can be sown in the summer when ripe
  • Spores can also be stored in seed packets and sown later at a later date


Bornhorst, Heidi. Growing Native Hawaiian Plants. Honolulu: The Bess Press, Inc., 1996.

Neal, Marie. In Gardens of Hawai'i. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press,1965.

Valier,Kathy. Growing Native Hawaiian Plants. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press,1995.

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