By Associated Press - Tuesday, November 18, 2014

LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) - Invasive species officials on Kauai are taking steps to eradicate a non-native fern that can replace indigenous species.

The Kauai Invasive Species Committee confirmed reports of giant invasive mule’s foot fern growing along Kuhio Highway near Kalihiwai Bridge, The Garden Island ( reported.

“We are currently in the process of moving forward on this plant, but we need to go through the proper channels for permission to eradicate this plant and also try to find some way to slow the traffic down (the side of the road is very narrow) before we can walk down into that area,” said committee field crew supervisor Larry Kaneholani by email.

Mule’s foot fern is native to Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia, Australia and New Guinea. It has invaded Hawaii, Costa Rica and Jamaica, according to the Global Invasive Species Database.

Cultivated as an ornamental in some locations, in can establish dense stands that displace native plants and reduce biodiversity.

Kilauea resident Tom Taylor saw the plant 200 yards east of the bridge on the edge of the northbound lane.

“You can’t miss it,” he said.

The fern was found a few years ago in a small ditch between Maluhia Road and the Kahili Mountain turnoff and eradicated.

The fern is growing in a few locations on Kauai, Kaneholani said.

“The other two sites are growing on private property where it is the ‘center piece’ of their landscape,” he wrote. “I don’t know how widespread it is here on Kauai but it’s slowly turning up in more places, Kalihiwai being the fifth sighting.”


Information from: The Garden Island,

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