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mangroves | Acrostichum in general
Piai raya
Acrostichum aureum

Family Pteridaceae

updated Jan 2013
Where seen? This humungous fern is often seen in back mangroves, flourishing on mud lobster mounds and other higher ground along the coasts including reclaimed land. According to Giersen, it does not tolerate as much inundation by seawater as Piai lasu (A. speciosum), and prefers bright, sunny areas. In cleared mangroves, this fern can dominate and thus considered a nuisance plant.

Features: The leaflets are broader and longer (1-4m long) than those of Piai lasu (A. speciosum) and young fronds are crimson red. Rhizomes and base of the leaf stalks covered with scales up to 4cm long. The first 5-8 pairs near the tips are fertile leaflets, the underside covered below with red-brown spores (sporangia). Sterile leaflets have a rounded tip sometimes with a small sharp point.

See the main page on mangrove ferns for their human uses.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Mar 09

Young fronds are red.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Mar 09

Sterile leaves have blunt tips
sometimes with a small sharp point.

Pasir Ris, Sep 09

Fertile fronds with spores.
Pasir Ris, Apr 09

Piai raya on Singapore shores

Photos of Piai raya for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map



  • Tomlinson, P. B., 1986. The Botany of Mangroves Cambridge University Press. USA. 419 pp.
  • Burkill, I. H., 1993. A Dictionary of the Economic Products of the Malay Peninsula. 3rd printing. Publication Unit, Ministry of Agriculture, Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. Volume 1: 1-1240; volume 2: 1241-2444.
  • Wee Yeow Chin. 1983. Ferns of Singapore. The Singapore Science Centre. 72pp.
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