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Acrostichum spp. Mangrove Fern Piai Raya/Laut Pteridaceae
 

Piai Raya/Laut , mangrove fern, Acrostichum

 
Piai Raya/Laut , mangrove fern, Acrostichum

Mangrove Fern
Acrostichum spp.
Piai Raya/Laut (Malay)

clump of frensThese ferns are among the few that can tolerate saline soil and grows in the back mangroves. But they cannot tolerate flooding. Besides brackish water, it also grows in freshwater swamps and marshes.

Main features: Grows in huge clumps, up to 2m tall.

Leaves: Large (up to 2m long), once pinnate. Rhizomes and leaf stalk bases are covered with scales. young leaf tips
Flowers and fruit: Like other ferns, do not produce flowers or fruits. They reproduce through spores that appear at the tips of the fronds, on the undersides.

World distribution: Pantropical.

Classification: Family Pteridaceae. World 3 mangrove species.
young leaf tip The young leaves are reddish. When older fronds become fertile, the underside of the leaflets at the tip becomes covered with red-brown sporangia.
spore bearing leaflets
Uses: The young shoots can be eaten raw as a salad or cooked (Malay, India, Sri Lanka). The leaves are also used as cattle feed. Older leaves when dried are parchment-like and used as fire-resistant roof thatch (Vietnam and the Pacific). The fibres of old leaves may also be used to make cord.

Traditional medicinal uses: Rhizomes are pounded into a paste and used to treat wounds and boils (Malay). Leaves are used to stop bleeding.

Role in the habitat: Among the first large low-growing plants to grow on the landward side of the mangrove, the fern provides shade for other plants and trees to take root. But on cleared mangroves, it can form impenetrable thickets which prevents other plants from taking root. Thus it is often considered a weed. For animals, these thickets provide safety and shelter. Birds such as the Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea) make their nests in these thickets.

 
Piai Raya/Laut , mangrove fern, Acrostichum Piai Raya/Laut , mangrove fern, Acrostichum Piai Raya/Laut , mangrove fern, Acrostichum

Pictures are from http://www.natureloveyou.sg

   

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