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Lygodium flexuosum
Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Lygodium flexuosum

Species:L. flexuosum
Common Names:Climbing Fern, Ribu-ribu Gajah, Akar Sidin


The short, creeping, underground rhizome is dichotomously branched and densely covered with hairs. The 50 cm or more long stipe and more than 2 metres long rachis are slender and twining. The primary rachis-branches are very short, up to 5 mm long with a dormant apex covered with hairs.The secondary rachis-branches bear 3-4 alternate pinnately arranged leaflets, 10-25 x 7-12 cm with a cordate base and serrated margins. There is a simple or forked terminal leaflet. The fertile leaflets are narrower than the sterile and fringed along the edges with short, narrow lobes, 4-5 mm long, each of which bears two rows of sporangia covered with an indusium.

Read more about the Schizaeales order.
Read more about the Schizaeaceae family.


From Sri Lanka and the Himalayas to southern China, Hong Kong, Ryukyu Islands, throughout Southeast Asia to northern Queensland.


Throughout Singapore and its offshore islands.

Locality Map

General Biology

This is a fern of open ground, forming a tangled mass or the very long and wiry fronds twining round surrounding shrubs and trees. 

Life Cycle

For an account of the life history of a fern, see Pyrrosia piloselloides.


Human Uses

The young fronds are eaten as a vegetable. The wiry rachises are used for plaiting and weaving to make hats, handbags, baskets and boxes. They are also used to tie rice sheaths in the field. In Malaysia the plant is used externally for skin problems like ringworms. In Vietnam it is used as a diuretic or applied to wounds after mashing.


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.

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