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Asplenium bulbiferum. Mouku. Hen and chicken fern.

Name document

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Whole plant: MOUKUmoukimaukumanamana 

Young plant: tururu-mauku 

Sprouts, undeveloped fronts: manehau (Best 1942), pikopiko 

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Young, undeveloped fronds eaten (Colenso 1868a, 1880; Best 1902, 1907, 1942; Makereti 1938)

A favourite kinaki (relish) for potatoes. Small baskets of eel or kokopu covered with pūwhā or mauku for cooking - leaves eaten as greens (Best 1902)

The juice was drunk and the root eaten (Taylor 1870). [?? Mouku also used for king fern and the baked stem of Cordyline pumilio. Ed.]

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In ancient times, "the leaves of the mauku (Asplenium bulbiferum) woven into a sort of rude mat, and a very poor and perishable one it must have been. ... worn at night only, being warmed at a fire and used as a covering. They were too perishable to be worn outside." (Best 1898: 643) [?? mauku is also Cordyline pumilio, a more likely choice for making a garment. Ed.]

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An infusion of the roots was used as a wash for cutaneous complaints. (Taylor 1870)

A wash obtained from the root is used for sore eyes. (Kerry-Nicholls 1886)

Leaves contain antioxidant flavonoids (Cambie, Ferguson 2003)

See Riley 1994 for information on medicinal uses of related plants elsewhere in the world.

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Chemical compounds in Cambie 1988, with references.

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Sayings in Best 1899. "Rua-tahuna kākahu mauku" and "Rua-tahuna paku kore"

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Best 1907 (p.249) records this tradition from Pio of Awa [sic]. "Persons go to the forest to fell a tree for a canoe. The first thing is to kindle the ahi purakau . When it burns up, a chip, a piece of bark, is put on the fire, as also some mauku (a fern - Asplenium bulbiferum). The fire is kindled at the base of the tree. Then the karakia is recited ..... Then the tree is felled. Best also says "A Ngati-Awa note in my note-book says that when a canoe was dubbed out in the forest, fronds of the mauku fern were fastened thereon, though the meaning of the act is not explained"

See also Asplenium oblongifolium

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28 May 2007
2 July 2020
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