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Family Nephrolepidaceae
Nephrolepis biserrata (Sw.) Schott
Chang ye shen jue

Scientific names Common names
Aspidium acuminatum Willd. Alolokdo (Tag.)
Aspidium acutum Schkuhr Boston fern (Engl.)
Aspidium articulatum Siebold Broad sword fern (Engl.)
Aspidium bidentatum (C.Presl) Spreng Coarse sword fern (Engl.)
Aspidium biserratum Sw. Fishtail fern (Engl.)
Aspidium biserratum var. furcans (T.Moore) Farw. Forked sword fern (Engl.)
Aspidium biserratum var. paraense Farw. Giant sword fern (Engl.)
Aspidium ensifolium Schkuhr Large sword fern (Engl.)
Aspidium exaltatum var. longipinna Benth. Macho fern (Engl.)
Aspidium gibbosum Willd.  
Aspidium guineense Schumach.  
Aspidium hoffmannseggii Poir.  
Aspidium mauritianum Desv.  
Aspidium nigropunctatum Spreng.  
Aspidium paraense Willd.  
Aspidium punctulatum (Poir.) Sw.  
Aspidium rufescens (Wawra) Kunze  
Aspidium splendens Willd.  
Hypopeltis amygdalina Bory  
Hypopeltis biserrata (Sw.) Bory  
Hypopeltis palmoides Bory  
Lepidoneuron acuminatum (Willd.) Fee  
Lepidoneuron biauritum (C.Presl) Fee  
Lepidoneuron bidentatum (C.Presl) Fee  
Lepidoneuron biserratum (Sw.) Fee  
Lepidoneuron punctulatum (Poir.) Fee  
Lepidoneuron rufescens (Wawra) Fee  
Nephrodium acuminatum (Willd.) C.Presl  
Nephrodium acutum (Schkuhr.) C.Presl  
Nephrodium bidentatum C.Presl  
Nephrodium biserratum (Sw.) C.Presl  
Nephrodium gibbosum (Willd.) Gaudich.  
Nephrodium guianense Desv.  
Nephrodium hoffmanseggii Desv.  
Nephrodium mauritianum Desv.  
Nephrodium palmoides Rich.  
Nephrodium punctulatum (Poir.) Desv.  
Nephrodium rufescens Schrad.  
Nephrodium timoriense Desv.  
Nephrolepis acuminata (Willd.) C.Presl  
Nephrolepis acuta var. laurifolia Christ  
Nephrolepis arthropteroides G.Kunkel  
Nephrolepis biaurita C.Presl  
Nephrolepis bidentata (C.Presl) C.Presl  
Nephrolepis biserrata (Sw.) Schott  
Nephrolepis biserrata var. articulata Ching . . .  
Nephrolepis biserrata var. normalis Domin . . .  
Nephrolepis caudata Christ  
Nephrolepis davallioides var. furcans T.Moore  
Nephrolepis dayakorum Bonap.  
Nephrolepis depauperata de Vriese  
Nephrolepis ensifoolia (Schkuhr) C.Presl  
Nephrolepis exaltata var. biserrata (Sw.) Baker  
Nephrolepis falcata f. furcans (T.Moore) Proctor  
Nephrolepis gibbosa (Willd.) C.Presl  
Nephrolepis hirsutula var. acuta (Schkuhr) Kuntze  
Nephrolepis hirsutula var. biserrata (Sw.) Kuntze . . .  
Nephrolepis laurifolia (Christ) Proctor  
Nephrolepis macrophylla C.Presl  
Nephrolepis mauritiana T.Moore  
Nephrolepis mollis Rosenst.  
Nephrolepis paraensis (Willd.) C.Presl  
Nephrolepis persicifolia Christ  
Nephrolepis pilosula Alderw.  
Nephrolepis platyotis Kunze  
Nephrolepis punctata (Poir.) C.Presl  
Nephrolepis punctalata f. genuina Hieron.  
Nephrolepis punctalata var. refescens (Schrad.) Kunze  
Nephrolepis rufescens (Waera) Wawra  
Nephrolepis splendens (Willd.) C.Presl  
Nephrolepis subcordata C.Presl  
Nephrolepis zollingeriana de Vriese  
Polypodium flagelliferum Roxb.  
Polypodium glabrum Burm.f.  
Polypodium integrerrinum Vell.  

Polypodium nephrolepioides Christ

Polypodium palmoides Bory  
Polypodium punctulatum Poir.  
Polypodium punctulatum var. hirsutum Mett.  
Polypodium signatum (Blanco) Blanco  
Polystichum acutum C.Presl  
Tectaria fraxinea Cav.  
Pteris piloselloides Blanco  
Pteris signata Blanco  
In another example of nomenclatural confusion in Philippine herbal plants, N. cordifolia's common name bayabang 'is phonetically confused with bayangbang (N. hirsutula).  Alolokdo is shared by both N. hirsutula and N. biserrata.
This compilation lists the 3 species as: (1) Nephrolepis cordifolia (Bayabang, Common sword fern),
(2) N. hirsutula (Bayanbang, Rough sword fern), and (3) Nephrolepis biserrata (Alolokdo, Broad sword fern).
Nephrolepis biserrata (Sw.) Schott is an accepted species. It has 95 synonyms. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
FIJIAN: Diqidiqi.
INDONESIAN: Paku uban, Paku harupat, Moba, Jaya.
LINGALA: Bonkenkele.
MALAYSIAN: Paku larat.
THAI: Foen kaang plaa, Foen teen takhaap, Foen haang plaa.
VIETNAMESE: Rang than lan.

Gen info
- Ferns are the informal name given to a diverse group of vascular plants with over 10,500 species.
- Nephrolepidaceae is widely distributed in tropical regions, sometimes cultivated as ornamental sword ferns, with Nephrolepis as its sole genus, which was formerly placed in Lomariopsidaceae.
- Nephrolepis is a pantropical genus of about 20 species, and is probably the most popular source of commercially used fern. (3)

- Etymology: The genus Nephrolepis means "kidney-scale" and refers to the shape of the indusia of the sori. The Species epithet means "double-toothed" referring to the leaf margin.  (3)

Rhizome with rufous, lanceolate scales. Stipe grayish brown, 10-50 cm × ca. 4 mm, covered with lanceolate and fibrillar scales at base; lamina brownish green when dry, narrowly elliptic, 0.7-2 m or longer, 14-30 cm wide, papery, with sparse, lanceolate or linear scales when young, glabrous on both surfaces when mature; pinnae 30-55 pairs, 1.5-3 cm apart, subsessile, margin minutely serrulate, teeth remote, apex acute or acuminate, basal pairs of pinnae gradually shorter. Sori submedial, 1-2 mm apart, orbicular, 1.5-2 mm in diam.; indusia brown, orbicular-reniform, glabrous, sinus narrow. (Flora of China

- Native to the Philippines.
- Widely cultivated in Philippine gardens.
- Also native to Assam, Bangladesh, Borneo, China, Hainan, India, Malaya, Myanmar, Nansei-shoto, Queensland, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Sulawesi, Sumatera, Taiwan, Vietnam, etc.

- LC-QTOF analysis of methanol extract yielded useful bioactive compounds viz. terpenoids (ivalin, isovelleral, brassinolide, and eschscholtzxanthin), flavonoids (alnustin, kaempferol 7,4′‐dimethyl ether, and pachypodol), phenolics (piscidic acid, chlorogenic acid, and ankorine), and aromatic (3‐hydroxycoumarin). (see study below) (6)
- Study of essential oil, methanol extract and methanol fractions yielded anthraquinones, alkaloids, tannins, steroids, phytosterol, saponin, triterpenoids and flavonoids. GC-MS analysis dominant compounds viz. benzeneacetaldehyde, alpha.-cubebene, butyrolactone, phenol, benzyl alcohol, phenol, 2-methoxy-, 4h-pyran-4-one, 2,3-dihydro- 3,5-dihydroxy-6-methyl, 2h-pyran-2-one, 4,6-dimethyl-, catechol, benzofuran, 2,3-dihydro-, phenol, 2,4-bis(1,1-dimethylethyl), hexadecanoic acid, methyl ester, n-hexadecanoic acid, 9,12-octadecadienoic acid, methyl ester, phytol, gamolenic acid and octadecanoic acid. (7)
- Study of methanol, acetone, petroleum ether, and methanol leaf extracts yielded tannins, terpenoids, alkaloids, saponin, glycosides, and flavonoids. (see study below) (8)
- Qualitative phytochemical screening of water (W), ethanol (E), and hexane (H) extracts yielded alkaloids (WE), saponins (W), total phenols (WEH), tannins (WEH) and flavonoids (WEH). (11)
- Quantitative analysis of water extract yielded alkaloids 0.11 mg/g, saponins 0.11 mg/g, total phenols 8.18 mg GAE/g, tannins 3.11 mg TAE/g, and flavonoids 2.41 mg QE/g. (19)

- Study suggested phytoremediative, antioxidant, anti-parasitic, wound healing, antibacterial, antifungal, hepatoprotective, antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory, antimalarial, cytotoxic, glucosidase inhibitory, antihypertensive properties.

Parts used
Tubers, fronds.


- Young curled-up leaves are edible; cooked or steamed as vegetable.
- In the Indonesia, rhizomes are dried, pounded, eaten like sago.

- In west New Guinea, flour is reported to be extracted from the roots by pounding it into flour. (15)
- In the Philippines, decoction of fresh leaves used for treating cough; decoction of tubers used for goiter. Young leaves used as poultice for swelling wounds and boils. (2)
- In Java, used for treatment of cough.
- In Malaysia, used for skin disorders.
- In the Ivory Coast, applied to stop wound bleeding. (2)
Used by Ndoumou in the province of Haut-Ogooue in Gabon for treatment and prevention of arterial hypertension. (12)

The Ehotile people of eastern littoral of Cote d'Ivoire use the plant for dysmenorrhea and to remove splinters. (16)
- Rituals: In Papua, Guinea, leaves placed alongside bones in death ceremonies.
- Agroforestry: In Malaysia, planted on a large-scale as soil cover in rubber plantations for the nitrogen released from roots. (2) Study suggested potential as ground cover vegetation in oil palm plantation.(14)

Antioxidative / Hepatoprotective / Carbon Tetrachloride Toxicity / Leaves:
Study evaluated the protective effect of methanol extract of N. biserrata leaves against carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced hepatic damage in Sprague Dawley rats. The leaf extract showed high total phenolic content (127.28 mg GAE/g), which could be major contributor to its strong antioxidant activities. The extract also significantly depleted the elevation of ALT and AST, reduced malondialdehyde, increased level of reduced glutathione, and elevated activities of catalase, glutathione reductase, glutathione peroxidase, glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase, glutathione S-transferase, and quinone reductase. Histopathological exam showed decreased fatty degeneration and necrosis in CCl4 administered rats. (4)
Wound Healing / Antioxidant / Leaves: Study evaluated the combined wound healing effects of dried leaves of N. biserrata and H. indicum using in vivo and in vitro models. N, biserrata exhibited antioxidant activity with IC50 of  324.1 µg/ml on DPPH radical scavenging assay, 745.6  µg/ml  in nitric oxide synthase assay, and 806.4 µg/ml in ferric reducing assay. Total phenolic content was 52.271 mg GAE/gm dry extract and total flavonoid content of 594.537. Monotherapy formulations performed better than polyherbal formulations. The 20% dosage of 1:2 H. indicum and N. biserrata showed highest wound healing activity of 93.8% among polyherbal treatments. (5)
Antiparasitic / Parasitic Leech Zeylanica arugamensis: Study evaluated the anti-parasitic potential of N. biserrata against Z. arugamensis. LC-QTOF analysis of methanol extract yielded useful bioactive compounds viz. terpenoids (ivalin, isovelleral, brassinolide, and eschscholtzxanthin), flavonoids (alnustin, kaempferol 7,4′‐dimethyl ether, and pachypodol), phenolics (piscidic acid, chlorogenic acid, and ankorine), and aromatic (3‐hydroxycoumarin). Results showed significant anti-parasitic activity with 100% mortality of leeches. Results suggest potential as a biocontrol agent. (6)
Antimicrobial / Leaves: Study evaluated methanol, acetone, and petroleum ether extracts of N. biserrata leaves for in vitro antioxidant using DPPH assay and antimicrobial properties using agar well diffusion method. All three extracts yielded tannins, terpenoids, alkaloids, saponin, glycosides, and flavonoids. Amphotericin B, fluconazole, and gentamicin were used as standards. All extracts showed antimicrobial activity against bacterial strains (B. cereus, B. subtilis, S. aureus, S. epidermis, P. aeruginosa, E. coli, P. vulgaris and K. pneumonia). The methanol extract showed maximum antimicrobial activity. The antimicrobial activity may be due to the presence of flavonoids and tannin components. (8)
Antinociceptive / Anti-Inflammatory / Aerial Parts: Study evaluated ethanol extract of aerial parts for antinociceptive effect using radiant tail flick method and anti-inflammatory activity by egg-albumin induced paw edema in albino rats. Phytochemical screening yielded steroids, tannins, saponins, carbohydrates and flavonoids. At dose of 500 mg/'kg, extract exhibited significant (p<0.05) analgesic activity in 30-180 mins; 1000 mg/kg showed significant (p<0.05) activity at 30 mins. At 250 mg/lg oral dose, extract significantly inhibited (p<0.05) acute inflammation at 1 hr; 500 mg, at 4 hours, and 1000 mg showed significant (p<0.01) inhibition at 1 hr. (9)
Antimalarial: Study evaluated the in vivo antimalarial activities of four ferns viz. N. biserrata (NB), N. undulata (NU), Platycerium stemaria (PS) and P. angolense (PA) randomly and with chloroquine. NB and PS elicited comparable ED50 and lower activities than NU. Percentage chemosuppression by all individual extracts were comparable (p>0.05) to that of chloroquine, when combined with chloroquine, and each other. NB+PA, NB+PS, NU+NB+PS and NU+NB+PA gave comparable (p>0.05) chemosuppression to CQ. Results confirms the ethnomedicinal use of NB and NU for malaria and combining the ferns did not give any more significant activity than individual or standard drug. (10)
Antihypertensive / Leaves: Study evaluated the hypotensive activity of N. biserrata used by Ndoumou in the province of Haut-Ogooue in Gabon to treat or prevent arterial hypertension. An aqueous foliar extract was used. Contraction of toad aorta was induced by norepinephrine in the presence and absence of endothelium. Nephrolepis biserrata caused reduction of contraction of the aorta induced by norepinephrine and pretreated with a solution of L-NAME. The antihypertensive effect supports the use of the plant for treatment of hypertension by populations of Franceville. (12)
Anti-Inflammatory / Rhizomes: Study evaluated the anti-inflammatory activity of N. biserrata rhizome and Angiopteris palmiformis frond extracts via inhibition o f proinflammatory enzymes, 15-lipoxygenase (15-LOX) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). N. biserrata ethyl acetate-soluble partition and aqueous partition of N. biserrata showed inhibition of 15-LOX enzyme.  All tested extracts of N. biserrata were active and selective towards inhibition of COX-2 enzyme. Results suggest N. biserrata is a potential source of natural anti-inflammatory constituents. (13)
Potential as Ground Cover in Oil Palm Plantation: Study suggest the potential of N. biserrata as ground cover vegetation in oil palm plantations based on ecological characteristics of growth and decomposition rate, shade tolerance, organic contents, and carbon accumulation. (14)
Antibacterial / Antifungal: Study investigated the antimicrobial properties of three selected ferns, viz., P. nudum, Nephrolepis biserrata and N. cordifolia. Water and ethanol fractions of fronds were active against most of the tested bacteria and fungal strains. N. biserrata was most inhibitory to E. coli. Phytochemical testing showed the presence of metabolites such as flavonoids, tannins, alkaloids, reducing sugars, triterpenoids, and steroids in all three pteridophytes. (17)
• Cytotoxicity / Glucosidase Inhibitory Activity: Study evaluated five selected edible and medicinal ferns for glucosidase inhibitory and cytotoxic activities viz. Blechnum orientale, Davallia denticulata, Diplazium esculentum, Nephrolepis biserrata, and Pteris vittata. Cytotoxicity was evaluated using methylthiazol tetrazolium assay on chronic myelogenous leukemia cell line (K562). All the fern extracts, except for D. denticulata, showed dose-dependent cytotoxicity against K562 cells. Concentration-dependent increases in α-glucosidase activity was observed for all extracts except D. denticulata. For N. biserrata, EC50 was not calculated because of lack of increasing trend in activity. (18)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Leaves: Study evaluated leaf extract of N. biserrata for anti-inflammatory activity on albino wistar mice in inflammatory models induced by xylene and egg white albumen. Treatment with extract showed significant (p<0.05) dose dependent decrease in ear weight in both aqueous and ethanolic extracts. LD50 was 3741.66 mg/kg taken orally. (see constituents above) (19)
• Radical Scavenging and FRP Activities / Leaves: Study of leaves of N. biserrata for radical scavenging activity showed moderate TPC (total phenolic content) with IC50 of 0.53 ± 0.05 mg/ml and AEAC (ascorbic acid equivalent antioxidant) of 740 ± 71 AA/100 g and FRP (ferric ion reducing power) of 422 ± 46 mg/GAE/100g. (20)
• Potential Phytoremediator of Heavy Metal: Study assessed the antioxidant response of N. biserrata growing under metal stress in industrial land heavily contaminated with zinc, followed by lead and copper. Results showed N. biserrata is a moderate accumulator for the tested metals with a bioaccumulation factor between 0 to 0.1. HPLC analysis showed higher levels of myricetin and kaempferol in plant samples from contaminated area. Results showed potential as a potential metal phytoremediator with its capacity to scavenge oxygen radicals when exposed to heavy metal stress. (21)

- Wildcrafted.
- Cultivated.

Updated April 2023 (Revised)
August 2020

                                                 PHOTOS / ILLUSTRATIONS
Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Photograph: Nephrolepis biserrata - Giant Swordfern / Petr Voboril / CC BY-NC-SA / click on image to go to source page / BioLib.cz

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Nephrolepis biserrata / KEW: Plants of the World Online
Nephrolepis (PROSEA) / Dedy Darnaedi, Titien Ngatinem Praptosuwiryo / Pl@ntUse
Nephrolepis hirsutula / Invasive Species Compendium / CABI
Antioxidative and chemopreventive effects of Nephrolepis biserrata against carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced oxidative stress and hepatic dysfunction in rats / Muhammad Dawood Shah, Charles Gnanaraj, A T M Emdadul, Mohammad Iqbal /  Pharmaceutical Biology, 2015; 53(1): pp 31-39 /
DOI: 1-.3109/13880209/2014.909502
Formulation and Efficacy Assessment of a Polyherbal Wound Healing Formula from Heliotropium Indicum and Nephrolepis Biserrata / Victor Y A Barku, Alex Boye, Desmond Omane Acheampong, Dominic N Kuma /
Journal of Complementary Medicine Research, 2021; 12(1) / DOI: 10.5455/jcmr.2021.12.01.08 / ISSN: 2146-8397
Antiparasitic potential of Nephrolepis biserrata methanol extract against the parasitic leech  Zeylanicobdella arugamensis (Hirudinea) and LC‐QTOF analysis
/ Muhammad Dawood Shah, Balu Alagar Venmathi Maran, Fatin Khairah Haron et al / Scientific Reports, 2020; 10:22091 /
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-79094-4
Evaluation of In-VitroAntioxidant Potential and Antimicrobial Activity of Nephrolepis biserrata (sw.) Schott. Leaf Extracts / Sonia Singh / Anti-Infective Agents, 2022; 20(4): pp 46-53 /
DOI: 10.2174/221135252066622050163415

/ Shorinwa Olusayo A, Ogeleka Nwakaego O / World Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 5(4): pp 246-254 / DOI: 10.20959/wjpps20164-6335 / ISSN: 2278-4357
In vivo chemosuppressive activities of combinations of four Nigerian ethnomedicinal antimalarial ferns / Samuel Akintunde Odediran, Oluywayomi Rebecca Akosile, Rachael Adebola Bamigboye / GSC Biological and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2022; 20(1): pp 145-158 / DOI: 10.30574/gscbps.2022.20.1.0278
Effect of Extraction Solvents on Phytochemical Composition of Selected  / Medicinal Ferns in Ekiti State, Nigeria / Adedeji Olayinka Adebiyi  / Haya: The Saudi Journal of Life Sciences, 2018; 3(10): pp 619-623 / pISSN: 2415-623X / eISSN: 2415-6221 / DOI: 10.21276/haya.2018.3.10.4
Antihypertensive Potential of Aqueous Extract of Nephrolepis biserrata Leaves on Toad Aorta / Ibrahim B. Atteke Nkoulembene C, S Mounguengui, B M'batchi et al / Medicinal & Aromatic Plants, 2015; 5(1) /
DOI: 10.4172/2167-0412.1000220
In vitro Anti-inflammatory Activity of Nephrolepis biserrata (Sw.) Schott Rhizome and Angiopteris palmiformis (Cav.) C. Chr. Leaf Extracts / Aileen May G Ang, Edsel Tan, Rainear A Mendez et al / IJB: Int J Biosc., 2022; 21(2): pp 279-286 / DOI: 10.12692/ijb/21.2.279-286
The potential of Nephrolepis biserrata fern as ground cover vegetation in oil palm plantation / Halus Satriawan, Zahrul Fuady, Ernawita / Biodiversitas Journal of Biological Diversity, 2021; 22(11) /
DOI: 10.13057/biodiv/d221113
Ferns as Food / Ferns Important to Man in New Guinea / Ferns and Man in New Guinea / Jim Croft / Australian Natural Herbarium
In vitro Anti-inflammatory Activity of Nephrolepis biserrata (Sw.) Schott Rhizome and Angiopteris palmiformis (Cav.) C. Chr. Leaf Extracts / Aileen May G Ang, Edsel Tan, Rainear A Mendez et al / IJB: Int J Biosc., 2022; 21(2): pp 279-286 / DOI: 10.12692/ijb/21.2.279-286
In Vitro Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties of Aqueous and Non-Aqueous Frond Extracts of Psilotum nudum, Nephrolepis biserrata and Nephrolepis cordifolia / Dolly Rani, P. B. Khare, and P. K. Dantu / Indian J Pharm Sci. 2010 Nov-Dec; 72(6): pp 818–822. / doi: 10.4103/0250-474X.8460 / PMID: 21969763
Evaluation of Glucosidase Inhibitory and Cytotoxic Potential of Five Selected Edible and Medicinal Ferns / Tsun-Thai Chai, Loo-Yew Yeoh, Nor Ismaliza Mohd Ismail, Hean-Chooi Ong, Fazilah Abd Manan and Fai-Chu Wong / Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, March 2015; 14(3): pp 449-454 / http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/tjpr.v14i3.13
Phytochemical screening and anti-inflammatory effect of ethanolic and aqueous extract of Nephrolepis biserrata leaf on albino wistar mice / Ekong N. J., Zakari B. G., Ibok N. I. and Okon J. E. / Merit Research Journal of Environmental Science and Toxicology, July 2013; 1(5): pp 05-109
Antioxidant Properties of Some Malaysian Ferns / How-Yee Lai and Yau-Yan Lim / 2011 3rd International Conference on Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering IPCBEE, Vol 20 (2011)
(14) (21)

DOI: It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

                                                            List of Understudied Philippine Medicinal Plants

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