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Ceratopteris thalictroides
Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Ceratopteris thalictroides (L.) Brongn., 1821

Species:C. thalictroides
Common Names:Water Fern, Sayur Kodok, Paku Ruan, Paku Roman
Status:Weed of uncertain origin


A polymorphic, unbranched aquatic or semi-aquatic fern, it is rooted in the soil and grows up to 1 m tall. The plant has a short, erect rhizome that bears a rosette-like tuft of fronds. Fronds are dimorphic, succulent with the stipe of about 30 x 1 cm that is thickened at the base. Sterile fronds are shorter than the fertile, about 20 cm long, deeply bipinnitifies, the lobes of the pinnae sometimes lobed again. The fertile fronds are 45 x 25 cm, bipinnate, pinnules divided into linear lobes, the largest lobed again and the ultimate lobes 1.5-4 x 0.2 cm. with the edges reflexed. The sSporangia are found scattered along the veins but not the midrib of the fertile pinnules.

Read more about the Polypodiales order.
Read more about the Pteridaceae family.


All over the tropics and subtropics.

Locality Map

General Biology

This is a common weed in irrigated rice fields. It is also found in ditches and shallow water.

Life Cycle

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

Human Uses

The uncurled fronds are eaten as a salad or as a substitute for asparagus. Plants are used as a green manure in rice fields. In traditional medicine, the plant is used as a poultice for skin problems, as a styptic to stop bleeding. It is also used as an ornamental in fish aquarium.


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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