Singapore Government Logo

A Singapore Government Agency Website

Teratophyllum ludens


Teratophyllum ludens (Fée) Holttum

Family Name: Dryopteridaceae
Synonyms: Stenochlaena sorbifolia auct. non (L.) J.Sm.<2>, Lomariopsis sorbifolia auct. non (L.) Fée <1>, Acrostichum sorbifolium auct. non L.<4>, Acrostichum scandens auct. non (J.Sm.) Hook.<5>

Teratophyllum ludens is a climbing fern native to Singapore. The rhizomes are slightly prickly with various forms of frond types. The mature, spore-bearing fronds are pinnate, measuring to 45 cm long, consist of up to 10 leaflets. Bathphylls fronds are found near the base of the plant, bipinnate with 5 - 9 leaflets. Each leaflet is 0.5 - 3 cm, round toothed margins near the tips.


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Species Summary

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Ferns & Lycophytes (Non-Seed Vascular Plants) (Fern)
Plant Growth Form Herbaceous Plant


Native Distribution Peninsular Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo, Sarawak, Singapore
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Freshwater Swamp Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Critically Endangered (CR))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a climbing fern with long-creeping, sparsely prickly rhizomes.
Foliage Stalk is swollen at the base, 5 - 20 cm long.

The sterile fronds consist of young fronds, and bathyphylls fronds formed near the base of the plant. Acrophylls fronds formed at some distance from the ground can be either be sterile or fertile.

Young fronds are triangular, deeply lobed or have a free leaflet at the base. Bathphylls are pinnate or bipinnate, have 5 - 9 leaflets, largest leaflet at the tip. Each leaflet is 0.5 - 3 cm long, broadly elliptic or egg-shaped, round-toothed margin near the tips.

Sterile acrophylls are pinnate, can measure to 45 cm long and 25 cm wide, consist of up to 10 pairs of leaflets that are 13 - 15 cm long and 2 - 4.5 cm wide. The leaflets are almost elliptic or linear. Fertile acrophylls are similar, with long and narrow leaflets measuring to 20 cm long, 3 mm wide, on a short stalk of up to 5 mm in length.
Others - Plant Morphology The sporangia (spore-bearing structures) spread across the entire lower surface.
Habitat Occurs in evergreen, freshwater swamp forests, along streams at low to medium altitudes. <3 & 6>
Cultivation It can be propagated by spores.

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Rootzone Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Foliar Type Compound (Odd-Pinnate, Bipinnate)
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Elliptical, Deltoid, Ovate)
Foliar Venation Parallel
Foliar Margin Crenulate
Foliar Apex - Tip Acuminate
Foliar Base Cuneate

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Herbaceous


References <1> Beddome, R.H. (1866). Ferns Brit. India, vol. 1 (excl. pl. 192). Madras: Gantz Brothers.

<2> Beddome, R.H. (1892), Handbook to the ferns of British India, Ceylon and the Malay Peninsula; with supplement. Calcutta: Thacker, Spink, and Co.

<3> Holttum, R.E. (1978). Teratophyllum. In: Holttum, R.E. (ed.) Lomariopsis group. Flora Malesiana, ser. 2, vol. 1, pt. 4. pp. 275. Leiden: Rjksherbarium.

<4> Hooker, W.J. (1864). Species filicum, vol. 5. London: Dulau. pp. 241. 

<5> Hooker, W.J. (1864). Species filicum, vol. 5. London: Dulau. pp. 249.

<6> Tagawa, M. & Iwatsuki, K. (1988). Flora of Thailand, vol 3(3), pp. 321-324. Bangkok: The Forest Herbarium, Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.

Image Repository



Master ID 34423
Species ID 8836
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: 13 June 2024.