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Acrostichum speciosum


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, Aquatic & Hydrophyte (Waterside / Marginal)
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 2 m


Native Distribution Tropical Asia & Australia
Native Habitat Shoreline (Mangrove Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Least Concern (LC))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Tall fern that grows in large, dense clumps.
Foliage Large fronds are pinnately compound (up to 2 m long). The opposite pinnae are oblong with a sharply pointed tip (15 cm long). The fertile pinnae are smaller than the sterile ones and form dark brown sporangia that cover the entire underside.
Stems It has an underground, horizontal stem known as a rhizome. The rhizome and the base of the stipes (frond petioles) are covered in shiny, dark brown scales (8 mm long).
Flowers It does not have flowers, because it's a fern.
Fruits It does not have fruits, because it's a fern.
Habitat Occurs in mangroves and brackish swamps.
Similar This species is similar to Acrostichum aureum, but it is more likely to be found in semi-shaded conditions that experience regular tidal flooding.
Associated Fauna The Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) prefers to nest at the base of this species. Sometimes grows on Mud Lobster mounds.
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal ( The rhizome (underground, horizontal stem) is crushed and applied to wounds and boils.)

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Waterlogged Soils (Drains Site), Saline Soils / Salt Spray
Landscape Uses Coastal, Beachfront / Shoreline, Riverine, Pond / Lake / River, Marsh / Bog
Thematic Landscaping Marsh Garden

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Shade
Water Preference Lots of Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Propagation Method Spore, Division


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth, Glossy / Shiny
Foliar Type Compound (Odd-Pinnate)
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Oblong)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire - Wavy / Undulate
Foliar Apex - Tip Acuminate
Foliar Base Rounded / Obtuse
Typical Foliar Area Macrophyll ( 182.25cm2 - 1640.25 cm2 )


References 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 240
Species ID 1536
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: 19 August 2021.

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