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Family Polypodiaceae
Climbing bird's nest fern
Microsorum punctatum (L.) Copel

Xing jue

Scientific names Common names
Acrostichum punctatum L. Eawawan (Igorot)
Colysis irioides (Poir.) J.Sm. Pasgak na lalaki (Tag.)
Drynaria irioides (Poir.) J.Sm. Cimbing bird's nest fern (Engl.)
Drynaria obtusata Brack. Crested fern (Engl.)
Drynaria polycarpos (Sw.) Brack. Fishtail fern (Engl.)
Drynaria pulverulenta Brack. Fishtail strap-fern (Engl.)
Microsorum irioides (Poir.) Fée Strapleaf fern (Engl.)
Microsorum irregulare Link  
Microsorum neoguineense (Copel.) Copel.  
Microsorum polycarpon (Sw.) Tardieu  
Microsorum punctatum (L.) Copel.  
Microsorum sessile (Kaulf. ex Kuntze) Fée  
Microsorum subirideum (Christ) Copel.  
Microsorum validum (Copel.) Ching  
Niphobolus polycarpon (Sw.) Spreng.  
Pleopeltis antrophyoides Alderw.  
Pleopeltis irioides (Poir.) T.Moore  
Pleopeltis longifolia T.Moore  
Pleopeltis megalosoroides Alderw.  
Pleopeltis millisora (Baker) Alderw.  
Pleopeltis neoguineensis (Copel.) Alderw.  
Pleopeltis obtusata T.Moore  
Pleopeltis polycarpos (Sw.) T.Moore  
Pleopeltis pulverulenta T.Moore  
Pleopeltis sessilis (Kauf.ex Kuntze) T.Moore  
Pleopeltis valida (Copel.) Alderw.  
Pleopeltis viridis Moore & Ridl.  
Polypodium acuminatum F.Dietr.  
Polypodium altum Bojer  
Polypodium ambiguum Blume  
Polypodium antrophyoides Aldrew,  
Polypodium aspidistrifrons Hayata  
Polypodium crassinerve Schumach.  
Polypodium glabrum Roxb.  
Polypodium irioides Poir.  
Polypodium lingulatum Sw.  
Polypodium megalosoroides (Alderw.) C.Chr.  
Polypodium microsorum Mett.  
Polypodium millisorum Baker  
Polypodium neoguineense Copel.  
Polypodium polycarpon Sw.  
Polypodium punctatum (L.) Sw.  
Polypodium punctatum var. subdrynariaceum (Christ) Alderw.  
Polypodium punctatum subsp. subdrynariaceum Christ  
Polypodium punctatum subsp. subirideum Christ  
Polypodium punctatum var. subirideum (Christ) Alderw.  
Polypodium sessile Kaulf. ex Kuntze  
Polypodium subirideum Christ  
Polypodium validum Copel.  
Microsorum punctatum (L.) Copel. is an accepted species. It has 56 synonyms. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
ASSAMESE: Kapau dhekia, Ising okang.
BENGALI: Patra dehkia, Khuli.
CHINESE: Xing jue.
INDIA: Dogum moruh.
INDONESIA: Teke, Wassanke, Saugtikel.
NEW GUINEA: Baluk, Kopeh-kopek, Vata-vata.
THAILAND: Krapok sing, Prue mai, Haang nok waa.

Gen info
- Etymology: The genus Microsorum refers to the small-sized sori. The species epithet punctatum means "with a pock-marked surface of spotted".

Climbing bird's-nest fern is a robust ground fern. Rhizomes are shortly creeping, thick, about 8 millimeters in diameter. Leaves are attractive, bright green, elongated, tufted, more or less ruffled at the margins and forking in various segments at the apex.

Microsorum punctatum is a fern with short-creeping rhizomes, can be found as an epiphyte, terrestrial plant or grown on surfaces of rocks. Fronds are produced close together, thick, leathery, narrowly egg-shaped, elliptic, spoon to lance-shaped, variable in length up to 1.75 m long, 15 cm wide. The mid rib is raised on both surfaces of the fronds. The edge of the foliage vary from smooth, wavy or irregularly lobed. The sori are small, round, scattered along the veinlets on the underside, measuring 0.2 - 0.5 cm wide. Rhizomes are slender, short-creeping covered in lattice-like scales. The scales are spoon-shaped to triangular shaped, measuring 1.5 - 8 mm long by 0.5 - 3 mm wide. (15)

- Recently introduced; not widespread in the Philippines.
- (Native, as per Plants of the World Online). (4)
- Cultivated as an indoor plant.
- Widespread in the Old World.
- Reported in the Pacific islands, Malesia, tropical Asia, from southern China to India, Madagascar and Africa.

- Ethanol extract yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, terpenes, phenols.
- Phytochemical screening of various leaf extracts yielded phenols, flavonoids, polyphenols, and sterols. (see study below) (7)
- Phytochemical screening of methanolic extract of fronds yielded alkaloids, anthraquinones, phenolics, saponins, and terpenoids; rhizomes yielded anthraquinones, phenolics, saponins, and terpenoids. (see study below) (9)

- Vulnerary, antibacterial.
- Studies have suggested antimicrobial, alpha-glucosidase inhibitory, cytotoxic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties.

Parts used
Leaves, juice.

- In Baler, Quezon, used as purgative, diuretic, and for wound healing. (14)
- Decoction of plant used for coughing fits.
Leaf juice used as purgative or enema.
- Leaf juice also used as diuretic and for healing wounds
- Used in traditional medicine of Nicobarese tribes.
- Tribal people of the Palani hills from
South India, leaf ground into juice applied to cuts and wounds, and as anti-inflammatory. (8) Tagin and Galo tribe of Arunachal Pradesh use paste of leaves for anti-inflammatory properties. (10)
- In Malaysia, used for coughing fits; used in preparation of enemas. (11)
- In Bangladesh, frond juice used for treatment of abdominal disorders. Paste made from fronds applied for wound healing. Juice from fronds used for treatment of urination problems. (16)
- Apong: Leaves are used in the preparation of Apong (a kind of rice beer) in Dhemaji and Lakhimpur district. The Misings offer Apong in different rituals to pacify the spirits.
- Ornamental: In Baler, Aurora, used as ornamental decoration for weddings, birthdays, graduations and burials. (14)

Ethanol extract of whole plant showed inhibition zones towards various bacterial strains viz. E. coli, Micrococcus lutea, Serratia marcesens, Pseudomonas aeruginosa. (2)
Antimicrobial: Study evaluated the antimicrobial activity of Microsorum punctatum and M. scolopendria against 11 bacterial and 8 fungal strains. Ethanol and aqueous extracts of both plants showed comparable antimicrobial activity. (3)
Cytotoxicity / Glucosidase Inhibitory Activity: Study evaluated the cytotoxic activity of six edible and medicinal ferns. All the fern extracts investigated, which included M. punctatum, all showed cytotoxicity toward K562 cells . Concentration-dependent increase in antiglucosidase activity was observed in all fern extracts, except C. interruptus. The EC50 for antiglucosidase activity ranked in ascending order: C. dentata < P. irregularis < N. acutifolia < C. arida < M. punctatum. The EC50 of M. punctatum was 25-fold higher than that of myricetin. EC50 values of cytotoxic activity was 399.68±48.60 µg/mL while antiglucosidase activity was 1345.73 ±139.44 µg/mL. (5)
Antibacterial in Bacterial Cutaneous Diseases / Leaves: Study evaluated the antibacterial activity of leaves of M. punctatum against bacteria involved in skin infections. Pseudomonas aeruginosa was the most sensitive organism, with MIC and MBC values of 25 mg/ml and 50 mg/ml, respectively. (see constituents above) (7)
Antioxidant / Anti-Inflammatory: Study evaluated methanolic extracts of rhizome and fronds of three ferns collected in Bukidnon, Philippines for antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. DPPH radical scavenging activity as percentage DPPH inhibition and egg albumin denaturation assay was highest for M. punctatum rhizome extracts with recorded values of 56.58 ± 2.35% and 64.80 ± 5.79%, respectively. (see constituents above) (9)
Silver Nanoparticles / Anti-Inflammatory / Fronds: Study reports on a cost-effective and eco-friendly synthesis of silver nanoparticles using Microsorum punctatum frond extract. The biosynthesized AgNPs significantly inhibited thermally induced albumin denaturation indicating capability to control protein denaturation involved in inflammatory processes. (13)

- Wildcrafted.
- Ornamental cultivation.

Updated April 2023 / March 2020 / October 2016

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Photograph: Microsorum punctatum / Ping an Chang / CC BY-SA 4.0 International / click on image to go to source page / Wikipedia

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Microsorum punctatum (L.) Copel. is an accepted name / The Plant List
Antibacterial and Phytochemical Screening of Ferns / shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in
Antimicrobial activity of two Microsorum species. / Singh, Meenakshi; Rawat, A. K. S.; Khare, P. B. / Indian Fern Journal 24(1-2): 167-171, 2007
Microsorum punctatum / KEW: Plants of the World OnLine
Ethnobotany of religious and supernatural beliefs of the Mising tribes of Assam with special reference to the 'Dobur Uie' / Uma Kanta Sharma and Shyamanta Pegu / J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2011; 7: 16. / doi: 10.1186/1746-4269-7-16

ANTIBACTERIAL AND PHYTOCHEMICAL EVALUATION OF LEAF EXTRACT OF Microsorum punctatum (l.) Copel. TOWARDS BACTERIA INVOLVED IN CUTANEOUS DISEASES / Toji Thomas / Journal of Pharmaceutical and Scientific Innovation, 2018; 7(6) / DOI: 10.7897/2277-4572.076113
A Review of the Use of Pteridophytes for Treating Human Ailments / Xavier-Ravi Baskaran, Antony-Varuvel Geo Vigila, Wen-bo Liao et al / Journal of Zhejiang University Science

Phytochemical Screening, Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Activities of the Three Fern (Polypodiaceae) Species in Bukidnon, Philippines / Reggie Y. Dela Cruz, Aileen May G. Ang, Glenda Z. Doblas, Ivy L. Librando, Heidi C. Porquis, Beth Christy Leigh S. Batoctoy, Cinderilla C. Cabresos, Diana Rose Y. Jacalan and Victor B. Amoroso / Bull. Env. Pharmacol. Life Sci., Feb 2017; 6[3]: pp 28‐33
Traditional use of plants as medicine and poison by Tagin and Galo Tribe of Arunachal Pradesh / Tonlong Wangpan, Jumpee Tasar, Tapi Taka, Jentu Giba, Phongam Tesia, Sumpam Tangjang / Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science, Sept 2019; 9(09): pp 098-104 / DOI: 10.7324/JAPS.2019.90914
Evaluation of Antioxidant Activities of the Methanolic Extracts of Selected Ferns in Malaysia / HowYee Lai and YauYan Lim / International Journal of Environmental Science and Development, December 2011 ; Vol 2, No 6
Microsorum (PROSEA) / H C Ong, Isa B Ipor, Norma O Aguilar, W Somprasong / Pl@ntUse
Biosynthesis of Silver Nanoparticles from Microsorum Punctatum (L.) Copel Fronds Extract and an In-vitro Anti-Inflammation Study / Philippe Belle Ebanda Kedi, Chick Christian Nanga, Alain Bertrand Dongmo, Malik Maaza et al /  Journal of Nanotechnology Research, 2020;2: pp 25-41
Fern and fern allies as non-timber forest product in Baler, Aurora, Philippines / Barrogo K N, M P de los Santos, E J P Valete et al / International Journal of Agricultural Technology, 2021; 17(2): pp 423-432 / eISSN: 2630-0192
Microsorum puncatatum / National Parks: FLORA & FAUNA WEB
Microsorum punctatum --Traditional Knowledge of Medicinal Plants in Bangladesh / Md Salah Uddin / Nature Info

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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