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Useful Tropical Plants

Helminthostachys zeylanica

(L.) Hook.

Ophioglossaceae

+ Synonyms

Botrychium zeylanicum (L.) Sw.

Ophiala zeylanica (L.) Desv.

Osmunda zeylanica L.

Common Name: Flowering Fern

Helminthostachys zeylanica
Looking more like a flowering plant, the fronds of this fern are topped by a panicle where the spores are produced
Photograph by: Vinayaraj
Creative Commons License
Helminthostachys zeylanica Helminthostachys zeylanica

General Information

Flowering fern is a terrestrial fern, with a thick, slowly creeping rhizome. It sends up a number of often widely spaced stems growing from 15 - 40cm tall[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
286
Title
Flora of Australia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/abif/flora/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The full information from the Flora of Australia - on-line. An excellent resource.
].
The rhizome is harvested from the wild for medicinal use, and is sometimes exported to China[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
]. The plant is also grown as an ornamental in gardens[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Helminthostachys zeylanica is a rare, endangered species in China because of over-collecting for use in traditional medicine and because of habitat change[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
].

Known Hazards

Although we have found no reports of toxicity for this species, a number of ferns contain carcinogens so some caution is advisable[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
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[
172
Title
Discovering Wild Plants - Alaska, W. Canada and the Northwest.
Publication
 
Author
Schofield. J. J.
Publisher
Alaska Northwest Books; Alaska
Year
2003
ISBN
0882403699
Description
A nice guide to some useful plants in that area.
].

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
286
Title
Flora of Australia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/abif/flora/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The full information from the Flora of Australia - on-line. An excellent resource.

Range

E. Asia - China, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, New Caledonia.

Habitat

Common on the edges of vine forest, in alluvial soils by streams, rivers or billabongs or in rich, organic, black soils on the margins of Melaleuca swamps in northern Queensland[
286
Title
Flora of Australia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.anbg.gov.au/abrs/abif/flora/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The full information from the Flora of Australia - on-line. An excellent resource.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *
Medicinal Rating *  *
HabitFern
Height0.30 m
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Not known

Edible Uses

Eaten with betel (see Areca catechu)[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
]. The part of the plant is not specified, but is probably the rhizome - and it is probably only for medicinal purposes - see 'Medicinal' below[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Medicinal

The rhizome is tonic[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
686
Title
American Fern Journal Vol.60
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
American Fern Society
Year
1970
ISBN
 
Description
Contains an article on the medicinal uses of Indian ferns. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. It is used in the treatment of malaria, dysentery, catarrh, and the early stages of phthisis[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
686
Title
American Fern Journal Vol.60
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
American Fern Society
Year
1970
ISBN
 
Description
Contains an article on the medicinal uses of Indian ferns. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. It is eaten with betel in the treatment of whooping cough[
686
Title
American Fern Journal Vol.60
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
American Fern Society
Year
1970
ISBN
 
Description
Contains an article on the medicinal uses of Indian ferns. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

The plant has intoxicating and anodyne properties and is used in the treatment of sciatica[
686
Title
American Fern Journal Vol.60
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
American Fern Society
Year
1970
ISBN
 
Description
Contains an article on the medicinal uses of Indian ferns. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Spores - best surface sown as soon as they are ripe and do not allow the compost to dry out. Placing the pot in a plastic bag helps to maintain a humid atmosphere which promotes germination and growth. Prick out small clumps into pots when they are large enough to handle and keep moist until established. Grow on until large enough to plant out.
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2018-12-12. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Helminthostachys+zeylanica>

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