Taenitis blechnoides (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Taenitis blechnoides (Willd.) Swartz

Protologue: Syn. fil.: 24, 220 (1806).
Family: Pteridaceae
Chromosome number: 2n= 88, 220


Pteris blechnoides Willd. (1794), Taenitis pteroides Schkuhr (1804), T. chinensis Desv. (1811).

Vernacular names

  • Fillet fern, ribbon fern (En)
  • Indonesia: paku ringin (Java), gugahinigino, jawa harego (Papua)
  • Malaysia: paku pijai, paku balu, paku pasir
  • Thailand: kuut prong (south-eastern), prong nuu (peninsular)
  • Vietnam: ráng dại dục, cây rang mu.

Origin and geographical distribution T. blechnoides occurs from Sri Lanka and southern China throughout South-East Asia to north-eastern Australia, Vanuatu and the Fiji Islands.


A decoction of the leaves of T. blechnoides is taken as a postnatal protective medicine in Malaysia. The Malay names of the medicine ("meroyan paku" and "meroyan dawai") suggest that T. blechnoides is one of the many wiry ferns used.

Production and international trade

T. blechnoides is only locally used on a small scale and there is no commercial production or trade.


In the Philippines, water extracts of T. blechnoides showed positive antimicrobial activities against Bacillus subtilis, Candida utilis, Escherichia coli, Micrococcus luteus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus .


A terrestrial or sometimes epilithic fern with tough, pinnate leaves bearing entire pinnae with linear sori (coenosori) in parallel to the midrib of the pinna. Rhizome short-creeping, 4-5 mm in diameter, the apical part densely covered with lustrous black bristles 2-3 mm long, a bud is present at the base of each leaf. Leaves in two rows about 1 cm apart, pinnate with 1-5(-12) pairs of pinnae and a conform apical pinna, or simple on young plants, not really dimorphic though the fertile pinnae are narrower and usually firmer; petiole 30-60 cm long, grooved near the apex of larger plants, purplish to brown near the base, green to stramineous distally, glabrous; lamina deltoid to elliptical in outline, up to 40 cm × 30 cm, firmly papyraceous to coriaceous, glabrous; rachis grooved; basal pinnae with petiole up to 1 cm long, the distal pinnae sessile; pinnae in sterile leaves narrowly lanceolate, subfalcate, 15-20(-25) cm × 1.5-5 cm, in fertile leaves the pinnae are 0.5-3 cm wide, decreasing slightly in size towards the apex, base cuneate, margins entire, narrowly cartilaginous, gradually narrowing to an acuminate apex; costa abaxially distinctly raised, veins oblique to the costa, copiously areolate without included free veinlets. Sori in 2 continuous median bands parallel to the costa, rarely interrupted, 1-2 mm wide, ferrugineous, with frequent paraphyses. Spores trilete, tetrahedral globose, tuberculate or densely verrucose.

Growth and development

The gametophyte of the subfamily Taenitidoideae of the Pteridaceae is initially spatulate with a lateral meristem and develops lobes with additional meristems during its growth. Old gametophytes are asymmetrically cordate or irregularly lobed with archegonia and antheridia variously distributed.

Other botanical information

Taenitis Willd. ex Sprengel is a complex genus and consists of about 15 species distributed from Thailand throughout the Malesian Archipelago to the Fiji Islands, Samoa and north-eastern Australia. In Malesia 9 species occur in Borneo and 6 in New Guinea, but only one in Java and the Lesser Sunda Islands. It is classified in the subfamily Taenitidoideae of the Pteridaceae (in which Pityrogramma Link is also classified). The genus is, however, often included in the Adiantaceae , which, in the classification adhered to here, is considered another subfamily of the Pteridaceae . Holttum divided this difficult genus into 4 sections but this is not generally accepted as major characters such as lamina architecture, the flange on the spores and the relation of the sporangia to the venation are insufficiently correlated. T. blechnoides comprises a complex of forms differing by slight and subtle characters which are difficult to distinguish in dried specimens. The common character of all forms is the presence of a longitudinal band of sporangia midway between the midrib and margin of each pinna that is usually continuous but occasionally interrupted.


T. blechnoides is a very common fern, found especially along paths, of lowland to hilly forest up to 750 m altitude, in primary and secondary forest with a preference for slightly shaded conditions. It is rare in heavily shaded forest. It tolerates drier locations than most terrestrial shade ferns though it is common in swampy conditions in the rain forest in Australia. It is also found on rocks and in streambeds, but these specimens are slightly different from the type and classified as varieties.

Propagation and planting

T. blechnoides can be propagated by spores and by fragmentation of the creeping rhizome, but cultivation is not easy. Young plants may grow on old rotten wood, while old plants may grow on poor well-drained soils in shady conditions.

Genetic resources and breeding

T. blechnoides is a very common plant facing no risk of genetic erosion. No germplasm collections or breeding programmes are known to exist.


T. blechnoides is only used locally and nothing is known about its medicinal efficiency or active substances. In Malaysia it is considered one of the common weeds occurring in rubber and oil-palm plantations, in gardens and in fields of other crops.


  • Holttum, R.E., 1966. A revised flora of Malaya. 2nd Edition. Vol. 2. Ferns of Malaya. Government Printing Office, Singapore. pp. 585-588.
  • Holttum, R.E., 1968. A re-definition of the fern-genus Taenitis Willd. Blumea 16: 87-95.
  • Holttum, R.E., 1975. A comparative account of the fern-genera Syngramma J. Sm. and Taenitis Willd., with discussion of their relationships to each other and to other genera. Kew Bulletin 30: 327-443.
  • Kato, M., 1988. Taenitis and allied genera of Ambon and Seram (Moluccas) and notes on taxonomic and phytogeographic relationships of Taenitis. Journal of the Faculty of Science, University of Tokyo, Section 3, Botany 14: 161-182.
  • Piggott, A.G., 1988. Ferns of Malaysia in colour. Tropical Press Sdn. Bhd., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. p. 437.
  • Raymundo, A.K., Tan, B.C. & Asuncion, A.C., 1989. Antimicrobial activities of some Philippine cryptogams. The Philippine Journal of Science 118: 59-75.
  • Tryon, R.M., Tryon, A.F. & Kramer, K.U., 1990. Pteridaceae. In: Kramer, K.U. & Green, P.S. (Volume editors): Pteridophytes and gymnosperms. In: Kubitzki, K. (Series editor): The families and genera of vascular plants. Vol. 1. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Germany. pp. 234-240.


H. Schneider & Cheksum Supiah Tawan