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Useful Tropical Plants

Ptisana salicina

(Sm.) Murdock

Marattiaceae

+ Synonyms

Marattia salicina Sm.

Common Name: King Fern

Ptisana salicina
Fertile fronds, showing sporangia on the undersurface
Photograph by: Fagg M.; Australian National Botanic Gardens
Creative Commons License

General Information

King fern is an evergreen fern producing fronds up to 5 metres tall that emerge from a stout, starchy rootstock.
The pith of the stem was a traditional food for native peoples. It is little used nowadays.
The plant is under serious threat in its native habitats due to habitat destruction and browsing by introduced mammals such as pigs and goats.

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
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
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.

Range

Australasia - Australia, New Zealand to the South Pacific.

Habitat

Forests and forest remnants.

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Fern
Height5.00 m
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Not known

Edible Uses

A starch is obtained from the pith of the stem[
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 succulent rhizome is used as a vegetable - it can be boiled, baked or roasted[
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.
].

Medicinal

None known

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Spores -

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