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Actinostachys digitata (L.) Wall.

Family Name: Schizaeaceae
Synonyms: Schizaea digitata (L.) Sw.
Common Name: Grass Fern, Paku Rimba
Full Sun Semi Shade Moderate Water Native to Singapore Ornamental Leaves Shallow Media 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 Grassy
Maximum Height 20 cm to 35 cm


Native Distribution Madagascar, tropical Asia to Polynesia
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest, Coastal Forest, Disturbed Area / Open Ground)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Endangered (EN))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a fern with a small 3–4 cm long rhizome and erect, grass-like fronds.
Foliage Its fronds (leaves) are erect, grass-like, 20–35 cm by 2–3.5 cm, with a prominent midrib, and bearing at the apex a digitate group of up to 18 fertile lobes, 2.5–4 cm by 1 mm.
Reproductive Parts - non-flowering plant The sporangia are arranged in 2 double rows and almost covering the lower surface of the lobes.
Habitat It grows in open habitats such as forest gaps, as well as lowlands, inland, hill, dipterocarp, and secondary forests. It occurs locally in Pulau Tekong and Pulau Ubin (Chek Jawa).
Cultivation It can be propagated by spores.
Etymology Greek schizaea, cut; Latin digatata, fingered, possibly referring to the grass-like fronds (leaves)

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It can be grown in full sun to partially-shaded areas in parks for its grass-like form.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Shallow Media (8 -10cm)
Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast to Moderate
Propagation Method Spore


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Leathery
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage
Foliar Margin Entire

Image Repository



Master ID 278
Species ID 1574
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: 22 September 2022.