Mamaku is one of the tallest tree ferns in the world, potentially soaring 20 meters above the ground. In fact, it’s the tallest and fastest-growing native tree fern here in Maara.
Mamaku is a symbol of new life– it plays a role in the hatching of chicks and the health of mothers. In rongoa, the mamaku is important after childbirth. The bruise pith can be used as a poultice to relieve inflamed breasts. A tonic produced from boiling fronds also aids in the discharge of the whenua/placenta.
Mamaku trunks extend support to new life amongst other plants as well, acting as a perch for seedlings of several plant species, including kawakawa and rangiora. Its fallen fronds provide rich soil for larger trees to establish. Mamaku has hexagonal scars showing where earlier leaves have fallen away.