Loxogramme scolopendrina (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Loxogramme scolopendrina (Bory) C. Presl

Protologue: Tent. pterid.: 215 (1836).
Family: Polypodiaceae
Chromosome number: 2n= unknown; forLoxogramme(Blume) C. Presl:x= 35, 36 (ploidy level unknown)


Grammitis scolopendrina Bory (1829), Anthrophyum involutum Blume (1829), Loxogramme involuta auct. non (D. Don) C. Presl.

Origin and geographic distribution

L. scolopendrina is found in South-East Asia from Peninsular Malaysia and Thailand, through Indonesia to New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.


In Indonesia (Sumatra), the leaves of L. scolopendrina are used as cigarette paper. The whole plant has ornamental value.


It is not known if the taste of the smoked tobacco is positively or negatively influenced by the use of L. scolopendrina as cigarette paper.


An epiphytic or epilithic fern, up to about 75 cm tall. Rhizome short, ascending to creeping, 5 mm thick, young parts densely covered with scales; scales lanceolate, 5-10 mm × 1 mm, margin entire, apex filiform, grey-brown, clathrate. Leaves simple, close together, sessile, not distinctly articulate, glabrous; lamina oblanceolate, 15-75 cm × 1.5-10 cm, widest above the middle, base attenuate, margin entire, flat or recurved, apex long acuminate to attenuate, fleshy-coriaceous, glabrous, deep green above, paler below, midrib raised as a prominent ridge below, nearly flat above, venation obscure, anastomosing copiously. Sori linear, up to 6 cm × 2 mm, only in the upper half of the lamina, straight and continuous (running parallel) from close to the midrib to the margin in angles of about 20-35°, a little immersed, without indusium. Spores green, globose.

Growth and development

The spores of L. scolopendrina contain chlorophyll and do not remain viable for long after their release.

Other botanical information

In the past plants in Malesia named as Loxogramme involuta (D. Don) C. Presl were in fact often L. scolopendrina or L. avenia (Blume) Presl. L. involuta is a montane, subtropical species from India throughout continental South-East Asia, absent in Malesia; its rhizome scales are much wider (up to 4 mm) and acuminate instead of filiform and the midrib of the leaf is slightly raised above and either flat or raised below. L. avenia occurs in continental South-East Asia and western Malesia in the same environments as L. scolopendrina and is more common. It can easily be distinguished from L. scolopendrina by the midrib: in L. scolopendrina the midrib is distinctly raised on the lower surface and nearly flat above, in L. avenia the midrib is strongly raised on the upper surface and nearly flat on the lower one. Loxogramme (Blume) C. Presl comprises about 40 species, a few in Africa, one in Central America, one in the Pacific, the rest in tropical and warm temperate Asia. The systematic position of this genus remains rather doubtful. Most authors classify the genus in Polypodiaceae , but some prefer a separate family, the Loxogrammaceae .


L. scolopendrina is a fern of the lowlands, from sea-level up to 300 m altitude, especially in evergreen forest where it grows on mossy branches and sheltered moist rocks. The leaves are persistent; their margins roll inward in dry periods and expand again when the rain comes.

Genetic resources

L. scolopendrina is neither common nor threatened. Germplasm collections are not known to exist.


There are no indications that exploitation of L. scolopendrina will be developed. Its potential as an ornamental needs further investigation.


  • Backer, C.A. & Posthumus, O., 1939. Varenflora voor Java [Fern flora for Java]. 's Lands Plantentuin, Buitenzorg, Dutch East Indies. pp. 226-228.
  • Beddome, R.H., 1969. Handbook to the ferns of British India, Ceylon and the Malay Peninsula. Today & Tomorrow's Printers & Publishers, New Delhi, India.
  • Burkill, I.H., 1935. A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Vol. 2. Crown Agents for the Colonies, London, United Kingdom. p. 1368.
  • Holttum, R.E., 1966. A revised flora of Malaya. 2nd Edition. Vol. 2. Ferns of Malaya. Government Printing Office, Singapore. pp. 166-170.
  • Tagawa, M. & Iwatsuki, K., 1989. Loxogramme. In: Tagawa, M. & Iwatsuki, K. (Volume editors), 1979-1989. Pteridophytes. In: Smitinand, T., Larsen, K. (Series editors): Flora of Thailand. Vol. 3. Forest Herbarium, Royal Forest Department, Bangkok, Thailand. pp. 576-578.
  • van Alderwerelt van Rosenburgh, C.R.W.K., 1908. Malayan ferns. Handbook to the determination of the ferns of the Malayan Islands. Department of Agriculture, Batavia, Dutch East Indies. pp. 536-539.


T. Boonkerd & W. P. de Winter