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Tectaria singaporiana (Wall. ex Hook. & Grev.) Copel.

Family Name: Tectariaceae
Common Name: Paku Biawak, Monitor Lizard Fern
Full Shade Semi Shade Lots of Water Moderate Water Occasional Misting Native to Singapore Indoor 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


Native Distribution Peninsular Thailand and Western Malesia
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Mountain, Secondary Rainforest, Freshwater Swamp Forest, Riverine)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Least Concern (LC))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a rhizomatous, terrestrial herb with erect fronds emerging from the ground, up to 85 cm tall.
Foliage Its fronds are erect, with a reddish brown stipe (stalk) that is scaly at the base and with hairs pressed against the surface towards the top, up to 45 cm long. The laminar is simple and entire, broadly lance-shaped with a long, prominent tip and narrowed base, up to 40 cm long and 10 cm wide. Fertile fronds are narrower.
Reproductive Parts - non-flowering plant The round, spore bearing pouches (sori) are borne on the lower side of the laminar, about 1.5 mm in diameter.
Habitat It grows in lowland forests, in damp and shaded places, often near streams. It occurs locally in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Central Catchment Nature Reserve.
Cultivation It can be propagated by spores or division of the rhizomes.
Etymology Latin Tectaria, roofed, referring to the complete indusium (a covering that protects the young sporangia), Latin singaporiana, from Singapore, referring to one of the natural geographical distributions of this species.
Ethnobotanical Uses Medicinal ( Used a cure for fever and as a post natal tonic in Malay folk medicine)

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable for wet, and damp shaded places in parks or gardens.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Fertile Loamy Soils, Easy to Grow
Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Interiorscape/ Indoor Plant, Container Planting, Terrarium

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic

Plant Care and Propagation

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


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

Image Repository



Master ID 283
Species ID 1579
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.