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Microsorum punctatum


Microsorum punctatum (L.) Copel.

Family Name: Polypodiaceae
Synonyms: Polypodium polycarpon Cav., Pleopeltis punctata (L.) Bedd., Pleopeltis irioides T.Moore
Common Name: Fishtail Fern, Crested Fern, Keluwah, 星蕨

Microsorum punctatum or Fishtail Fern is a fern native to Singapore. The Fishtail Fern can be found growing as an epiphyte, terrestrial plant or on surfaces of rocks. The simple fronds are leathery, produced closely together along the short-creeping rhizomes covered in lattice-like, spoon to triangular-shaped scales. Sori are small, round, scattered along the veinlets on the underside.


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

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Ferns & Lycophytes (Non-Seed Vascular Plants) (Fern)
Plant Growth Form Epiphyte, Lithophyte, Herbaceous Plant
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution Tropical Africa and Asia, and Subtropics
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Inland Cliff, Agricultural Land, Secondary Rainforest, Disturbed Area / Open Ground)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Least Concern (LC))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a fern with short-creeping rhizomes, can be found as an epiphyte, terrestrial plant or grown on surfaces of rocks.
Foliage Fronds are produced close together, thick, leathery, narrowly egg-shaped, elliptic, spoon to lance-shaped, variable in length up to 1.75 m long, 15 cm wide. The mid rib is raised on both surfaces of the fronds. The edge of the foliage vary from smooth, wavy or irregularly lobed.
Reproductive Parts - non-flowering plant The sori are small, round, scattered along the veinlets on the underside, measuring 0.2 - 0.5 cm wide.
Others - Plant Morphology The rhizomes are slender, short-creeping covered in lattice-like scales. The scales are spoon-shaped to triangular shaped, measuring 1.5 - 8 mm long by 0.5 - 3 mm wide.
Habitat Occurs in various types of forest, sometimes in savannah but also in wet places in streambeds, altitude to 2800 m. <1,2>
Etymology Genus Microsorum refers to the small-sized sori. Species punctatum means "with a pock-marked surface or spotted".

Landscaping Features

Landscape Uses Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Skyrise / Balcony, Interiorscape/ Indoor Plant, Container Planting, Hanging Basket
Thematic Landscaping Naturalistic Garden

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Shade, [Remarks] (Does best if grown in semi shade, but will tolerate being grown in full sun, or in heavily shaded areas)
Water Preference Moderate Water, Little Water, [Remarks] (This species is able to tolerate short periods of drought / dryness at the root zones, but will thrive in areas with good humidity and/or moisture levels.)
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Disease / Pest Resistant, Easy to Grow, Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils
Propagation Method Spore, Division


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green - Light Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Leathery
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Elliptical, Lanceolate, Oblong, Ovate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire, Entire - Wavy / Undulate
Foliar Apex - Tip Acuminate, Acute, Rounded
Foliar Base Cordate, Auriculate, Attenuate

Non - Foliar and Storage

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


References <1> Hovenkamp P.H. (1998). Microsorum. In: Hovenkamp, P.H. (ed.) Polypodiaceae. Flora Malesiana, ser. 2, Pteridophyta, vol. 3, pp. 121 - 123. Leiden: Rijksherbarium.

<2> Tagawa, M & Iwatsuki, K. (1989). Flora of Thailand, Vol. 3(4), pp. 528-529. Bangkok: The Forest Herbarium, Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.

Image Repository



Master ID 31534
Species ID 5933
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: 10 April 2023.