Kartōp (Asplenium nidus - Polypodiaceae)

Description: This large, generally epiphytic (air-plant) fern will also grow directly on the ground. It produces a dark to light green rosette of fronds that are smooth, leathery, narrow-oblong, usually 0.5-1 m (2-4 ft) long and 5-20 cm (3-8 in) wide, with a prominent, well-rounded, dark midrib underneath.

Distribution: Kartōp is very common in the tropical rain forests of many Pacific islands. It is referred to in English as the "bird's nest fern." In the forests of the Marshall Islands, kartōp can sometimes be seen growing high up in the crotch of a tree.

Uses: Small, young leaves of kartōp provide ingredients for a famine food and a source of medicine. If the leaves of taro plants are not available, the mature leaves of this fern may be used as a wrapping for fish baked in the earth oven(um). Kartōp is sometimes also planted in lines along the edges of paths for ornamental purposes.

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