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Blechnopsis orientalis


Blechnopsis orientalis (L.) C.Presl

Family Name: Blechnaceae
Synonyms: Blechnum orientale
Common Name: Centipede Fern, Paku Lipan, 乌毛蕨

Blechnopsis orientalis or Centipede Fern is a terrestrial fern native to Singapore. It has reduced leaflets along the leaf stalks and pinnate fronds gradually narrowing to a long tip. The sori produced along the sides of the midrib tends to cover the midrib at maturity. Centipede fern is a sun-loving fern of varying size as opposed to a similar species - Blechnopsis finlaysoniana which thrives in a shaded environment, consistent in its size.


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Species Summary

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
Maximum Height 60 cm
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 60 cm


Native Distribution Tropical Asia. From India, southern Japan, throughout Southeast Asia to the Pacific and Australia.
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Least Concern (LC))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a terrestrial fern with indefinite growth in its length, occasionally forms a tree fern of up to 2 m tall.
Foliage Fronds have thick leaf stalks covered in scales, bearing reduced leaflets along its length as auricles. The fronds are upright, narrowly elliptic to drop-shaped, pinnate, variable in size, each contain between 6 - 70 pairs of leaflets or more. The leaflets are narrowly elliptic to linear, gradually narrowing to a long tip. The juvenile fronds are pinnatifid, lower lobes have a round to obtuse tip.
Reproductive Parts - non-flowering plant The sori produced on the underside are linear, continuous, narrow about 1 mm wide on both sides of the midrib, often covering the midrib at maturity.
Others - Plant Morphology Rhizomes are thick and upright, usually short about 6 - 20 cm and may form a trunk of up to 2 m tall, densely covered in shiny reddish-brown linear to narrowly elliptic scales.
Habitat Occurs in a range of habitats, creek banks, waterfalls, seepage areas, swamps, open or exposed areas at the margins of lowland, upland tropical and subtropical forests. <1> <2>
Similar Blechnopsis orientalis and Blechnopsis finlaysoniana show similarities in apperance. B. orientalis is a sun-loving fern, of variable size. The leaflets narrow gradually to a long tip with a box-shaped base. While B. finlaysoniana prefers a shaded environment, consistent in its size. The leaflets narrows abruptly to a long tip with a wedge-shaped base. <1>
Cultivation It can be propagated by spores.
Etymology Genus Blechnum comes from the Greek word "βλῆχνον", which means "for a fern". Species orientalis means from the East or Oriental region.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is suitable for landscaping in parks on open areas or in paritally shaded 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


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Leathery
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Orange, Red
Foliar Type Compound (Odd-Pinnate)
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Elliptical, Linear, Ovate)
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acuminate
Foliar Base Rounded / Obtuse, Truncate / Square

Non - Foliar and Storage

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



<1> Nooteboom, H.P. (2012). Blechnum. In: Nooteboom, H.P. (ed.) Blechnaceae. Flora Malesiana, ser. 2, Pteridophyta, vol. 4, pp. 21-24. Leiden: Rijksherbarium

<2> Tagawa, M. & Iwatsuki, K. (1988). Flora of Thailand, vol. 3(3), pp. 298. Bangkok: The Forest Herbarium, Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.

Image Repository



Master ID 31149
Species ID 5542
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: 16 March 2023.