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Sphaerostephanos polycarpos


Sphaerostephanos polycarpos (Blume) Copel.

Family Name: Thelypteridaceae
Synonyms: Cyclosorus polycarpos (Blume) Holttum


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Ferns & Allies (Non-Seed Vascular Plants) (Fern)
Plant Growth Form Herbaceous Plant
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial


Native Distribution Malesia
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest, Disturbed Area / Open Ground)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Least Concern (LC))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a large terrestrial fern up 2.5 m tall, with large upright rhizomes.
Foliage The frond is oblong-lance shaped, about 100 cm long and 50 cm wide comprised of numerous lobed pinnatifid leaflets with its largest measuring around 25 cm long and 1.8 cm wide. Leaflets are oblong, rounded or wide tip with an asymmetric base. Leaflets found along the stalk are reduced to triangular, butterfly-like projections extending towards the base of the stalk.
Reproductive Parts - non-flowering plant The sori are elongated, produced on the veinlets about 1 mm long. Yellow glands are found on both the sori and indusia.
Others - Plant Morphology Rhizomes are covered in narrow brown scales up to 20 mm long and 1.2 mm wide.
Habitat On rather dry grounds, in open places from low to medium altitude of 1500 m.
Etymology The specific epithet polycarpos means "multiple fruit", referring to the numerous sori on the underside of the leaves.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping This fern is suitable for planting in parks and gardens in open areas.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils
Landscape Uses General, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic

Plant Care and Propagation

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


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Papery
Foliar Type Compound (Bipinnate)
Foliar Shape(s)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Pinnately Lobed / Pinnatifid
Foliar Apex - Tip Rounded
Foliar Base Oblique / Asymmetrical



Holttum, R.E. (1981). Thelypteris. In: Holttum, R.E. (eds). Thelypteridaceae. Flora Malesiana, ser. 2, Pteridophyta, vol. 1, pt. 5, pp. 448 - 449. Leiden: Rijksherbarium.

Lindsay, S. et al. (2022). Flora of Singapore: Checklist and bibliography. Gardens’ Bulletin Singapore 74(Suppl. 1): 3–860.

Tagawa, M. & Iwatsuki, K. (1988). Flora of Thailand, vol. 3(3), pp. 416. Bangkok: Forest Herbarium, Royal Forest Department.


Image Repository



Master ID 31146
Species ID 5539
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: 23 March 2023.