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Cyclosorus interruptus

leaf Main Plant Information

Genus

Cyclosorus

Species

interruptus

Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • Neke

Hawaiian Names

  • Neke

Common Names

  • Swamp cyclosorus
  • Willdenow's maiden fern

Synonyms

  • Aspidium gongylodes
  • Aspidium resiniferum
  • Aspidium unitum
  • Christella interruptus
  • Cyclosorus gongylodes
  • Dryopteris gongylodes
  • Dryopteris interrupta
  • Nephrodium resiniferum
  • Polystichum gongylodes
  • Pteris interrupta
  • Thelypteris gongylodes
  • Thelypteris interrupta

leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status

Indigenous

Endangered Species Status

No Status

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Non-Woody, Spreading

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Fern/Fern-like, Medium, 1 to 3

Life Span

Long lived (Greater than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Accent
  • Container
  • Erosion Control
  • Ground Cover
  • Water Features

Additional Landscape Use Information

Neke is one of the easiest of all native ferns to grow and is even regarded as passively invasive, especially in confined areas. [5]

This is one of the few native Hawaiian ferns that will grow in full sun as long as it has wet feet--that is, with constantly wet or soggy soil conditions. Neke needs space to sprawl and is therefore suitable for large water features or restoration projects. [Kay Lynch, Lāʻau Hawaiʻi]

The fibrous roots make neke an excellent plant for natural erosion prevention in wet areas such as along a fresh water bank. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Plant in areas that for whatever reason stay wet, like the opening of a downspout. [Rick Barboza, Hui Kū Maoli Ola]

Neke can be used a container plant in part to full sun with regular watering. [3]

Source of Fragrance

  • Leaves

Additional Fragrance Information

Some people may have noticed that neke, when brushed, crushed or cut has a pleasant, light scent, reminiscent of new mown hay. [Kay Lynch, Lāʻau Hawaiʻi]

Plant Produces Flowers

No

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Coarse

Additional Plant Texture Information

Neke fronds range from 15 to about 25 inches long and have fine white sharp-tipped hairs.

Leaf Colors

  • Medium Green

leaf Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

Caterpillars will occasionally chew the leaves of neke, but otherwise this fern is mostly pest free. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

leaf Growth Requirements

Fertilizer

Neke do appreciate light foliar feedings of kelp or fish emulsion montly or every other month in contained water features. But never fertilize plants in their natural habitat such as open ponds or near streams. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

Pruning Information

Remove brown fronds and control by cutting back the surface rhizomes.

Water Requirements

  • Wet

Additional Water Information

Plant neke in fresh water situations.

Soil must be well drained

No

Light Conditions

  • Full sun
  • Partial sun

Additional Lighting Information

Neke appears most vigorous in full sun with good moisture.

Spacing Information

Rhizomes spread quickly in optimal growing conditions and can be spaced one or more feet apart.

Tolerances

  • Waterlogged Soil
  • Wind

Soils

  • Organic

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Kauaʻi
  • Oʻahu
  • Molokaʻi
  • Lānaʻi
  • Maui
  • Hawaiʻi

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

  • 150 to 1000, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 1000 to 1999, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 2000 to 2999, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 3000 to 3999, Greater than 100 (Wet)

Additional Habitat Information

This species has a wide distribution throughout the Indo-Pacific region and found in Sri Lanka, southern India, Burma to Indochina, Malaysia to the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand (North Island hot springs), and Pacific Islands to tropical and subtropical New World.

Neke grows terrestrially in swamps or bogs and in freshwater marshes, fens, bogs, mucky wetlands and abandoned taro patches near sea level.

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

Neke (Cyclosorus interruptus) belongs to the Marsh Fern family or Thelypteridaceae.

Etymology

The generic name Cyclosorus refers to the round sori (Greek kyklos, circle + soros, heap) or spores located under the fronds.

The specific name interruptus, not continued or interrupted. The meaning applied to this species is obscure.

Background Information

There has been some question as to whether neke is actually indigenous or has been inadvertently introduced by early Polynesians since it is common in kalo loʻi on some islands. The early Hawaiians did pack mud around kalo (taro) corms for canoe transport and may have included mud with neke spores as well. [1,2] Even so, it is currently recognized as being an indigenous fern.

Waineke, near Kōkeʻe on Kauaʻi, was named for this fern. [Kay Lynch, Lāʻau Hawaiʻi]

Early Hawaiian Use

The stiff fronds were used in lei making. [4]

Additional References

[1] "The First Collection of Hawaiian Plants by David Nelson in 1779" by Harold St. John, pages 316, 318.

[2] "The Impact of the Prehistoric Polynesians on the Hawaiian Ecosystem" by Patrick V. Kirch.

[3] "Container Gardening in Hawaii" by Janice Crowl, page 53.

[4] "Nā Lei Makamae--The Treasured Lei" by Marie A. McDonald & Paul R. Weissich, page 101.

[5] "Hawai‘i Wetland Field Guide" by Terrel A. Erickson and Christopher F. Puttock, page 91.

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