Singapore Government Logo

A Singapore Government Agency Website

Microsorum musifolium 'Crocodyllus'


Microsorum musifolium (Blume) Copel. 'Crocodyllus'

Family Name: Polypodiaceae
Synonyms: Polypodium musifolium 'Crocodyllus'
Common Name: Crocodile Fern, Alligator Fern, Crocodyllus Fern


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

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Ferns & Allies (Non-Seed Vascular Plants) (Fern)
Plant Growth Form Epiphyte
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Shrubby
Maximum Height 0.3 m to 1 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 0.6 m to 1.2 m


Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Non-native (Horticultural / Cultivated Only)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Epiphytic fern, relatively large, up to 1 m tall by 1.2 m wide, with rosette-like foliage arrangement that acts to collect fallen detritus. Dark brown, creeping horizontally just below substrate surface, with short internodes (1 - 2cm), and fronds arising from multiple nodes.
Foliage Fronds light green, strap-shaped, 55 - 65 cm long by 8 - 14 cm wide, fairly thick and waxy with undulating margins, abaxially-protruding midrib and prominently-netted dark green venation, which becomes more conspicuous as plant ages. Conxex bulges in between primary and secondary veins result in fronds' dimpled reptilian appearance. Fertile and sterile fronds similar in form.
Reproductive Parts - non-flowering plant Spore cases round, numerous and densely scattered all across underside of frond in between veins, maturing from cream to brownish.
Similar Patented cultivar, originally derived from a naturally-occurring whole-plant mutation of a selection of Microsorum musifolium belonging to a private grower in Kuranda, Australia. Differentiated from the parent species by its bushier habit, smaller but more numerous fronds, smaller rhizomes and more rapid growth.
Cultivation One of the more hardy, easy-to-grown ferns. Prefers bright shade, exposure to more light promotes a more upright growth habit with shorter stiffer fronds. Likes good air circulation and high humidity, container-grown plants can be placed on top of a water-filled pebble tray, or over pond or water feature. Requires moist but porous and well-drained substrates, suitable potting mixes include coarse peatmoss, sphagnum moss, pine bark, cocopeat, compost and coarse sand. If grown indoors where plant cannot collect detritus, feed with weak fertilizer every other week.
Etymology Genus epithet 'Microsorum' means 'small sori', describing the spore cases on the underside of fronds. Species epithet 'musifolium' means 'banana-like leaves', a reference to the fern's elongated strap-like fronds. Note:- Genus epithet sometimes misspelt as Microsorium - an orthographic variant of the originally-published (1833) and accepted 'Microsorum'; the variant came about after botanist and name-originator Link inadvertently used both spellings in his subsequent 1841 publication.
Ethnobotanical Uses Others: Freshly-cut fronds used as an attractive accent in floral arrangements.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Landscape Uses Interiorscape/ Indoor Plant, General, Focal Plant, Container Planting, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Well-Drained Soils
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Storage Organ, Division, Spore


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth, Leathery, Raised / Sunken Veins, Thick
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Lanceolate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire - Wavy / Undulate

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Acaulescent
Root Type Underground
Specialised Storage Organ(s) Underground (Rhizome)

Image Repository



Master ID 29438
Species ID 3747
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 November 2023.