Wart fern

Tahitian names

Metuapua'a (A, T, S), Mo'omo'o (A), Papamoko (M), Kikipa (T)

Interesting facts

Metuapua’a (Microsorum grossum) is a plant with dozens of synonyms. This plant is recognized as one of the most useful plant in traditional medicine in the Society Islands but also throughout Pacific Ocean. It’s employed in “fati” remedies, all about: broken bones, sprains, shocks, bruises… A “hidden illness”. But it is also used in the baths to heal the “ira”: fever, convulsions, and nervousness, especially amongst children. In French Polynesia but also in Cook Islands, Metuapua’a is used for its purgative properties. Fronds without spores are prepared for baths to heal skin problems (heat rashes, eczema). Root has healing properties, and if it’s mixed with coconut milk (Cocos nucifera) it is used for intimate hygiene of women in Marquesas Islands. According to Grepin these roots, in combination with other plants, are used to treat cough and asthma. Large quantities of this fern can be abortive (Petard, 1972). Be careful with the dosages of this fern, several intoxications have been reported.



Biogeographical status


Life form


Abundance on Tetiaroa

very common

Ecosystem on Tetiaroa

mixed forest

sources & credits

Butaud J.F., 2013. Guide floristique, Vallées tahitiennes. Direction de l’environnement, 2e édition, 60 p.

Butaud J.F., 2013. Guide floristique, Tuamotu de l’ouest. Direction de l’environnement, 2e édition, 51 p.

Butaud J.F., 2014. Guide floristique, Rimatara, Rurutu, Tubuai, Raivavae. Direction de l’environnement, 1e édition, 132 p.

Grepin F., Grepin M., 1870-1880. La médecine traditionnelle par F. Grepin et M. Grepin. Direction des Centres d'Expérimentations Nucléaires. Service Mixte de Contrôle Biologique, 151 p.

Ho R., 2007. Etude des ecdystéroïdes de fougères médicinales de Polynésie française, metuapua’a (Microsorum scolopendria et Microsorum membranifolium): composition chimique, biodiversité et biosynthèse. Thèse de doctorat en chimie moléculaire, école doctorale Milieux Insulaires Ultra-Matins (ED 469), 262 p.

Jost X., Ansel J.L., Raharivelomanana P., Butaud J.F., 2016. Ethnobotanical survey of cosmetic plants used in Marquesas Islands (French Polynesia). Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine.

Moretti C., Butaud J.F., Girardi C., Ollier C., Ingert N., Raharivelomanana P., Weniger B., 2015. Médecine et pharmacopée végétale traditionnelles aux îles Marquises (Polynésie française). Ethnopharmacologia, n°53, août 2015

Petard P., 1972. Raau Tahiti: The use of Polynesian medicinal plants in Tahitian medicine. South Pacific Commission, Noumea, New Caledonia, 66 p.


S: Society | T: Tuamotu | M: Marquesas | G: Gambier | A: Australs | FP: French Polynesia