Angiopteris evecta (Forst.) Hoffm., 1796
|Common Names:||Elephant Fern, King Fern, Giant Fern, Paku Gajah|
This is a large fern with a stout fleshy and erect rhizome bearing large, tall, bipinnate fronds of up to 6 m long. The base of the petiole that is about one-third the length of the frond, is swollen and has a pair of fleshy, rounded stipules 5 x 7 cm. The frond is 6 x 2 m and arching. The stipes of pinnae and pinnules are swollen at the base. The pinnae is about 1 m long, with 30-36 pinnule along a side, 20 x 2.5 cm, the margin serrate with a blunt tooth at each vein. Sori are short, submarginal, in an irregular line of double rows of 307 sporangia that dehisce by a vertical slit. The gametophyte is mycorrhizal.
Widely distributed in the Old World tropics from Madagascar and tropical Asia, throughout Southeast Asia to Australia and Polynesia.
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Labrador Nature Reserve, Bukit Batok Nature Park and Singapore Botanic Gardens.
A plant of the wet tropics and subtropics, the plant is found in primary and secondary forests. Usually grows by streams and rivers or steep slopes.
For an account of the life history of a fern, see Pyrrosia piloselloides.
The starchy rhizome has been eaten as a starvation food in Papua New Guinea. Young fronds are also eaten in Ambon and the croziers are cooked as a vegetable in the Philippines. In traditional medicine, a decoction of the rhizome is used to stop bleeding during a miscarriage; the pounded stem is used to treat cough; and the young fronds are used as a poultice for swellings. The plant is a popular ornamental in gardens and parks and can live for 50 years or more.
de Winter, W. P. & V. B. Amoroso (eds.), 2003. Plant resources of South-East Asia No. 15(2). Cryptogams: Ferns and fern allies. Prosea Foundation, Borgor, Indonesia. 268 pp.
Holttum, R. E., 1966. A revised flora of Malaya. II Ferns of Malaya. Govt. Printing Office, Singapore (2nd ed.). 653 pp.
Parris, B. S., R. Khew, R. C. K. Chung, L. G. Saw & E. Soepadmo (eds.), 2010. Flora of Peninsular Malaysia. Series I: Ferns and Lycophytes. Vol. 1. Malayan Forest records No. 48. Forest Research Institute of Malaysia, Kepong. 249 pp.
Wee, Y. C., 2005. Ferns of the tropics. Times Editions-Marshall Cavendish, Singapore. 2nd ed. 190 pp.