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Schizaea dichotoma
Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Schizaea dichotoma (L.) J. S. Smith, 1793

Species:S. dichotoma
Common Names:Fan Fern, Branched Comb Fern, Paku Tombak, Paku Jarum


This small terrestrial fern has a short creeping rhizome of up to 6 cm long that is covered with brown hairs. The dichotomously branched frond has a 25-50 cm long stipe that is sparsely hairy towards the base and narrowly winged towards the apex. The ultimate lobes of the 2-8 times branched frond are 1-1.5 mm wide. The fertile lobes are in small groups found at the tips of the ultimate sterile lobes, pinnately arranged and with sporangia in two rows.

Read more about the Schizaeales order.


From Sri Lanka and southern India, throughout Southeast Asia to Australia, New Zealand and Tahiti.


Pulau Ubin.

Locality Map

General Biology

This small fern grows under shaded conditions in forests, woodlands and rubber plantations.

Life Cycle

For an account of the life history of a fern, see Pyrrosia piloselloides. However, this is one of the few genera that have subterranean filamentous prothalli whose cells are associated with an endophytic mycorrhiza.

Human Uses

The roots are used in traditional medicine in Indonesia for cough and other throat problems as well as a tonic for women after childbirth. In Malaysia they are also used to treat cough, and mixed with other herbs, to treat kidney problems and impotency.


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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