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Acrostichum aureum L.

Family Name: Pteridaceae
Common Name: Leather Fern, Paku Laut, Mangrove Fern, Coarse Swamp Fern, Golden Leather Fern, Piai Raya, Larat, Piai, 卤蕨
Full Sun Semi Shade Lots of Water Native to Singapore Fruit or Vegetable Coastal Plant Ornamental Leaves Ferns and Lycophytes Herbaceous Plant


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Ferns & Allies (Non-Seed Vascular Plants) (Fern)
Plant Growth Form Herbaceous Plant
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Fountain (Palm-like)
Maximum Height 1 m to 3 m


Native Distribution Old & New World Tropics
Native Habitat Aquatic (Brackish Pond / Lake / River), Shoreline (Mangrove Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Least Concern (LC))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a mangrove fern, growing up to 3 m tall, and thrives well under full sun. The stem (rhizome) of this species is stout, erect, and covered with relatively large scales that are about 4 by 1.8 cm.
Foliage Dark green, erect fronds are composed of 24 - 30 pinnae (leaflet-like structure) in alternate arrangement (1 - 4 m long, 0.12 - 0.5 m wide). The petiole of the frond (known as the stipe) is usually about 1 m long. The 5 - 8 pairs of pinnae near the tip are fertile with their underside covered in reddish brown sporangia (except the midrib), while the remaining pinnae are infertile. The pinnae are oblong with a blunt tip (8 - 50 cm long, 1 - 7 cm wide) and bright red when immature.
Stems Fibrous rhizomes (underground, horizontal stems) have a scaly surface.
Reproductive Parts - non-flowering plant The pinnae which bear the sporangia are restricted to the upper parts of a frond at varying proportions. The sporangia and the sterile hairs (paraphyses) among them will cover the whole lower surface of the pinnae, giving it a dark brown appearance. Its spores are dispersed by wind.
Habitat It grows along the landward side mangrove forests because it is less tolerant of frequent seawater inundation. It sometimes grows near the sea in the absence of mangrove forests. It occurs locally in Pulau Ubin (including Chek Jawa), and many other coastal sites.
Similar The pinnae of Acrostichum aureum have blunt tips, while those of Acrostichum speciosum have pointed tips.
Associated Fauna Typically colonizes mud lobster mounds which are more elevated and less likely to be flooded.
Cultivation It can be propagated by spores.
Etymology Greek akros, top; Greek stichos, order, referring to the lines on the lower surface of the leaves; Latin aureum, golden yellow, referring to the golden hue of the younger leaflets
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Leaves)
Food (Fruit & Vegetable : The young leaves are consumed as a vegetable.)
Medicinal ( Fronds are shredded or crushed and applied as a poultice on wounds, boils or ulcers. In India, the fronds are used to treat snake bites.)
[Others]: In Vietnam, the dried fronds are used as material for roofing.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable as a marsh plant for the edges of ponds or waterlogged areas.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Waterlogged Soils (Drains Site), Saline Soils / Salt Spray, Easy to Grow
Landscape Uses Coastal, Parks & Gardens, Beachfront / Shoreline, Riverine, Pond / Lake / River, Marsh / Bog
Thematic Landscaping Marsh Garden
SGMP Treatment

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Sun
Water Preference Lots of Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast to Moderate
Transplanting Tolerance Good
Maintenance Requirements Low
Propagation Method Spore, Division


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Leathery
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Orange
Foliar Type Compound
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Lanceolate)
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Mucronate
Foliar Base Rounded / Obtuse



Yong J, Tan PY, Nor Hafiz Hassan, Tan SN. 2010. A Selection of Plants for Greening of Waterways and Waterbodies in the Tropics. Singapore: Chung Printing . 480 pp.

Image Repository



Master ID 239
Species ID 1535
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 24 June 2022.