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Family Parkeriaceae / Pteridaceae
Ceratopteris thalictroides (L.) Brongn.

Shui song cao

Scientific names  Common names 
Acrostichum siliquosum L. Pakong-roman (Tag.)
Acrostichum thalictroides L. Pakong-sungay (Tag.)
Belvisia siliquosa (L.) Mirb. Pakong-tubig (Tag.)
Ceratopteris deltoides Benedict Paku-roman (Malaya)
Ceratopteris gaudichaudii Brongn. Floating stag's horn (Engl.)
Ceratopteris siliquosa (L.) Copel. Oriental water fern (Engl.)
Ceratopteris thalictroides (L.) Brongn. Swamp fern (Engl.)
Ellobocarpus cornuta (P.Beauv.) Kaulf. Water horn fern (Engl.)
Fucaria cornuta (P.Beauv.) Desv. Water sprite (Engl.)
Fucaria thalictroides (L.) Desv.  
Onychium cornutum (P. Beauv.) Hassak.  
Pteris siliquosa (L.) P. Beauv.  
Pteris thalictroides (L.) Sw.  
Teleozoma thalictroides (L.) R. Br.  
Pako and its variations is a local name shared by many medicinal plants: (1) Pako - Athyrium esculentum (2) Pakong-alagdan - Blechnum orientale (3) Pakong-anuanag, pako, buhok-virgin, dila-dila - Onychium siliculosum (4) Pakong-gubat, pakong kalabao, Pityrogramma calomelanos (5) Pakong-parang - Pteris mutilata (6) Pakong-roman - Ceratopteris thalictroides. (7) Pakong-tulog, pakong-cipres, Selaginella tamariscina (8) Pakong buwaya - Cyathea contaminans.
Ceratopteris thalictroides (L.) Brongn. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Shui song cao, Shui jue.
FRENCH: Fougére de Sumatra, Fougére aquatique flottante.
JAPANESE: Mizu-warabi.
VIETNAMESE: Rau Can troi, Ráng Gac nai.

Pakong-roman is a floating or loosely rooted aquatic fern, stout, fleshy, tufted with leaves that are divided into numerous narrow segments. Rhizomes are erect. Stipes are tufted, thick, naked, and succulent, 3 to 20 centimeters long. Young plants with sterile leaves are up to 15 centimeters high, with rounded pinnules or segments, 6 to 8 millimeters wide. The mature plants, which produce only the fertile fronds, grow up to 70 centimeters high, more compound, with thick, acute, ultimate segments, 10 to 30 centimeters long, 3 millimeters wide.

- Widely distributed in the Philippines, in open waste places, in mud, and in shallow water.
- A common weed in rice fields.

- Pantropic.

- Green parts yield alkaloids, arbutin and tannin.
- Three novel compounds, 13-chlorospelosin 3-O-ß-d-glucopyranoside (1), (3R)-pterosin D 3-O-ß-d-(3'-p-coumaroyl)-glucopyranoside (2), and (2R,3R)-pterosin L 3-O-ß-d-(3'-p-coumaroyl)-glucopyranoside (3) were isolated for the first time from fern species (Ceratopteris thalictroides, H. punctata, N. multiflora, and P. revolutum) along with 27 known compounds. (see study below) (9)

- Tonic and styptic.
- Studies have suggested antibacterial and antidiabetic potential.

Parts utilized
Whole plant, fronds , leaf juice.

- Uncurled young leaves are eaten; increasingly popular for use in salads or as substitute for asparagus.
- In Madagascar, eaten like watercress.
- In Malaysia and Japan, an established luxury vegetable.
In Assam, India, fronds are cooked with pork, an essential dish of Mishing people in all festivals.
- Poultice of leaves used for skin complaints.
- Used as drawing agent in treatment of carbuncles.
- In China, used as styptic to stop bleeding.
- In India, leaf powder along with tumeric is applied to unhealed wounds. Fresh juice of leaves applied on wounds to stop bleeding. In Tamil Nadu whole plant grounded into paste, mixed with tumeric, applied over skin diseases and wounds. (4)
- In North Eastern India, fronds used as poultice in skin diseases. Reported to be toxic and styptic. (5)
- Ornamental: Fish aquarium or pond ornamental.
- Green manure: Used as green manure in rice fields.

CtCVNH / Novel Anti-HIV Protein:
Study investigated the purification and identification of CtCVNH protein. CVN (cyanovirin-N) is an anti-HIV protein; CVNH (cyanovirin-N homology) represents its homology. The purified protein was identified to be the recombinant CtCVNH by Western blot and peptide mass fingerprinting analysis. (6)
• Antibacterial: Study of various fractions of five selected pteridophytes viz. Ceratopteris thalictroides, Christella dentata, Lygodium flexuosum, Pteris vitata, and Salvinia molesta showed antibacterial activity against human pathogens E. coli, S. aureus, K. pneumonia and B. cereus. Chloroform and acetone extracts of C. thalictroides showed maximum inhibitory effect against E. coli. (8)
• Pterosins / Anti-Diabetic Potential: Pterosins are abundant in ferns. Pterosin A is a novel activator of AMP-activated protein kinase, crucial for regulating blood glucose hemostasis. Study yielded three novel pterosin compounds for the first time from four fern species, including Ceratopteris thalictroides, along with 27 compounds. Although all the pterosin analogs exhibited same effects in glucose uptake assays, pterosin A prevented cell death and reduced ROS production. The potential antidiabetic activity of the novel compounds warrants further studies. (see constituents above) (9)


Updated Dec 2018 / Jun 2017 / Mar 2015 / Nov 2012

IMAGE SOURCE: File:Ceratopteris thalictroides.JPG/ Show_ryu / 5 August 2010 / GNU Free Documentaion License/ Creative Commons/ Click on image to go to source page / Wikipedia
IMAGE SOURCE: File:Ceratopteris thalictroides.JPG / Phuong Tran / 10 October 2010 / Creative Commons / Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) / Click on image to go to source page / flickr

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Ethnomedicinal Importance of Pteridophytes used by Chenchus of Nallamalais, Andhra Pradesh, India / K Thulsi Rao et al / Ethnobotanical Leaflets 11: 6-10. 2007

Ceratopteris thalictroides (L.) Brongn. / van der Burg, W.J., 2004. Ceratopteris thalictroides (L.) Brongn. [Internet] Record from Protabase. Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (Editors). / PROTA
Ceratopteris thalictroides (L.) Brongn. (accepted name) / Chinese names and synonyms / Catalogue of Life, China
Ethnomedicinal Uses of Pteridophytes in Kolli Hills, Eastern Ghats of Tamil Nadu, India
/ V. Karthik, K. Raju, M. Ayyanar, K. Gowrishankar and T. Sekar*/ J. Nat. Prod. Plant Resour., 2011, 1 (2): 50-55
Medicinal ferns of North Eastern India with special reference to Arunachal Pradesh / Benniamin A / Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge Vol. 10 (3), July 2011, pp. 516-522
Expression, Purification and Identification of CtCVNH, a Novel Anti-HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) Protein from Ceratopteris thalictroides / Junbo Sun; Yingjuan Su; Ting Wang / International Journal of Molecular Sciences;Apr2013, Vol. 14 Issue 4, p7506
Ceratopteris thalictroides / PROTA / Pl@ntUse
Antibacterial Activity of Five Selected Species of Pteridophytes / Anto P. V., Greeshma K. V., Neenu A. Santhosh / International Journal of Innovative Research & Development, Vol 4, Issue 8, July 2015
Chemical Constituents Analysis and Antidiabetic Activity Validation of Four Fern Species from Taiwan / Chen-Yu Chen, Fu-Yu Chiu, Fu-Yu Lin, Fengl-Lin Hsu / International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Feb 2015; 16(2): pp 2497-2516 / DOI: 10.3390/ijms16022497

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.

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