Tree ferns

Philip Thomas (
Thu, 20 Jul 1995 00:57:53 -1000 (HST)

Dear AJHicks et al.:

Tree ferns (Cibotium spp. here in Hawaii) are not technically listed as
threatened/endangered, but neither are most CP--and they are obviously
having many problems. 'Growing like crazy' in Hawaii, maybe
so---reproducing, now there's another story. Reproducing at anything
like the rate that habitat is being encroached upon directly or by
irrevocable impact of alien species---NO WAY IN HELL! On top of all
this, the 'collectors' (READ: POACHERS!) go in and strip years-old plants
from the wild. They (the ferns) can't take it! It's no different than
someone going in and commercially collecting flytraps (or sphagnum!),
except that: tree ferns take much longer to mature, and tree ferns are
actually a much more integral part of their ecosystem than are flytraps.
(Tree ferns are 'nurseries' for keikis [babies] of innumerable species of
native Hawaiian plants, perhaps critical for the survival of some/many.)
I'll be happy to provide literature references RE: the importance &
decline of tree ferns (at least from Hawaii) if you're really
interested. I don't know about their specific status in other countries,
but the use of tree ferns for a growing medium is heart-wrenching to me.
(Remember, it's as good or better for the NATIVE PLANTS that use it in
its NATIVE HABITAT as it is for orchids!)

Enough from my soapbox!

-Philip Thomas

*Aloha For Now! ;)