Where seen? This small creeping fern is an ephiphyte, that
is, it usually grows on trees and not on the ground. It is sometimes
seen coating branches of trees in an armour of green scales. Its Malay
name is 'Sisek naga' which means 'dragon scales'. It is not
only found in mangroves but also in old trees in other ecosystems.
According to Giersen, it is one of the most common epiphytic ferns
in the lowlands of Southeast Asia and found up to 1,000m in altitude.
It is found from Northeastern India, throughout Southeast Asia to
Papua New Guinea and northern Australia.
Features: A fern with small round
fleshy glossy fronds (about 1cm across) without stalks. Sometimes
also more oval in shape. These are the sterile fronds. The fronds
bearing spores (fertile leaves) are long and narrow (3-15cm long)
and held on a stalk. Sometimes the tips are branching. The thin stems
are covered by scales and there are minute star-shaped hairs on the
underside of the frond. All these help to conserve water.
Role in the habitat: These tough
little ferns pave the way for less hardy ferns to settle on the dry
trunks and branches of trees by creating more conducive micro-habitats.
Human uses: According
to Giersen, the leaves are used to treat rashes, whilst a decoction
is used in a lotion for smallpox, and used in a poultice for headaches.
Park, Apr 09
on the fertile frond.
|Dragon scales on Singapore shores
- Giesen, Wim
and Stephan Wulffraat, Max Zieren and Liesbeth Scholten. 2006.
Guidebook for Southeast Asia (PDF online downloadable).
RAP publication 2006/07 Food and Agriculture Organization of the
United Nations Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific Bangkok.
- Pyrrosia piloselloides (Polypodiales: Polypodiaceae) by Lee Saeyun, 2016, on taxo4254.
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.