Acrostichum siliquosum L.
Acrostichum thalictroides L.
Ceratopteris siliquosa (L.) Copel.
Ellobocarpus oleraceous Kaulf.
Pteris thalictroides (L.) Sw.
Common Name: Swamp Fern
Swamp fern is an aquatic or semi-aquatic fern, growing up to 1 metre tall, either floating in the water or rooted in soil[
The plant is often used as a vegetable, especially in Asia, and is sometimes grown on a garden scale for this purpose[
]. It is also commonly grown as an ornamental in aquariums, where it is popularly called 'water sprite[
Although we have found no reports of toxicity for this species, a number of ferns contain carcinogens so some caution is advisable[
Many ferns also contain thiaminase, an enzyme that robs the body of its vitamin B complex. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase[
Pantropical in lowland tropics[
Swampy areas, swamp forests, marshes, natural and man-made ponds, mostly in stagnant water bodies or in still pockets along slow flowing rivers, sea-level to 1,300 metres, but mostly below 500 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Ornamental, Wild
A plant of the lowland tropics. It prefers a temperature in the range 20 - 22°c[
Plants succeed in full sun to moderate shade, and in the wild are sometimes massed on or around logs or other floating vegetation[
]. They can be grown in water depths up to 30cm, or can be allowed to float on the water[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 6.5[
Swamp fern has a very short life cycle. The whole cycle from spore to spore can be completed in less than 30 days[
The plant is very variable in form[
]. If grown under water, as in aquariums, the lamina of the submersed (sterile) leaves are finely 3 - 4-pinnate, with ultimate lobes linear[
Ceratopteris thalictroides and especially also Ceratopteris richardii, serve as model plants in developmental biology and molecular research. They are useful for research because they have independent haploid and diploid life phases, a short life cycle, a simple genetic system, and reproduce by single-celled haploid spores[
Young fronds - raw or cooked as a vegetable[
]. The young leaves, before they have uncurled, make excellent greens and when cooked or blanched they can be eaten as a salad[
]. In some parts of Asia it is an established luxury vegetable[
Rhizomes and fronds are used as medicine for foetal toxins and accumulation of phlegm[
Both the leaves and the root are used as a poultice against skin complaints, e.g. as a drawing agent on carbuncles[
]. In China they are used as a styptic to stop bleeding.
Alkaloids, arbutin and tannin have been found in the green parts of the plant[
The plants can be used as a green manure in rice fields[
Bulbils growing on the leaves.
Any part of the leaf, if left floating in the water, will give rise to new plantlets[
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