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Family Aspleniaceae
Asplenium nidus Linn.

Niao chao jue

Scientific names Common names
Asplenium nidus Linn. Pakpak-lauin (Tag.)
Neottopteris nidus (L.) J. Sm. Pasdak (Tag)
Neottopteris rigida Fee Dapo (Tag., other dialiects)
Thamnopteris nidus C. Presl Bird's-nest fern (Engl.)
Chao jue (Chin.) Tai wan shan su hua (Chin.)
Note: There are some dissimilarities in Quisumbing's 1978 publication of Medicinal Plants of the Philippines and the Plants of the Philippines 1964 publication by the University of the Philippines. The former refers to Asplenium nidus as pakpak-lauin and the latter as pasdak; both refer to it as Bird's nest fern. The Plants of the Philippines publication has a Pakpak lawin entree with the scientific designation of Drynaria quercifolia.
Pakpak-lauin is a local name for three different herbal plants, two of the genus Asplenium and one of genus Drynaria: Pakpak-lauin: Asplenium nidus; Pakpak-lauin na babae: Asplenium macrophyllum; and Pakpak lawin: Drynaria quercifloia.

Other vernacular names
HAWAII: Akaha, Ekaha, Ekaha kuahiwi.
TAIWAN: Shan su.

Pakpak-lauin is a huge herbaceous epiphyte at minor or moderate altitudes. Entangled rhizome is a mass of roots below. Leaves are erect and flaring from the crown aggregated in a dense tuft above. Leaves are broad and numerous, radiating from the center of the plant giving the appearance of a bird's nest; spiral, leathery, smooth, lance-shaped with entire margins, sharply pointed tips and broad bases. They often attain a large size, 40 to 120 centimeters long, 6 to 20 centimeters wide. Sori are numerous, elongate running along the line of the veinlets, reaching from the midrib about halfway to the margins. Spores are bilateral, monolete with a perispore.

- Common throughout the Philippines at low and medium altitudes.
- Cultivated as a hanging or landscaping plant.
- Grown extensively in other countries, usually as a ornament.
- Native of tropical countries; now grown extensively in America and Europe as an ornament.

Depurative and sedative.

Parts utilized

- Reported to be occasionally eaten by aboriginal tribe in Malaysia.
- In Taiwan, sprouts eaten as vegetable.
• The plant has been reported to be depurative (purifying) and sedative.
• Plant has been used for halitosis.
• The Malay used a decoction of leaves to ease labor pains; also, lotion used to treat fever.
• In French Polynesia, used for stings and bites, contraception, chest pains and lice.
• In Hawaii, A. nidus is part of an asthma regimen, mixed and pounded together with flowers of ki, mixed with poi made from kalo or uala (Ipomoea batatas).

• Shoots used for general debility, sores, ulcers.

Estrogenic Activity:
Maternity and medicinal plants in Vanuatu II. Pharmacological screening of five selected species: Five plant species, including A nidus, were studied for possible estrogenic activity.
Antibacterial Activity: In a study of five medicinal ferns, including Asplenium nidus, all showed antibacterial activity which may justify its use in traditional medicine.


Last Update January 2013

Photo © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / Datei:Asplenium nidus Blanco2.395.png / Plate from book / Flora de Filipinas / Francisco Manuel Blanco (OSA) / Public Domain / Modifications by Carol Spears / Wikipedia

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Maternity and medicinal plants in Vanuatu II. Pharmacological screening of five selected species / Journal of Ethnopharmacology • Volume 52, Issue 3, 5 July 1996, Pages 139-143 / G. Bourdya, C. Françoisb, C. Andaryc and M. Boucard
Antioxidative, Tyrosinase Inhibiting and Antibacterial Activities of Leaf Extracts from Medicinal Ferns / How Yee Lai et al / Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry • Vol. 73 (2009) , No. 6 pp.1362-1366
Bird's Nest Fern / Lee-Khoo and Guan Fong / Singapore Infopedia

Plants in Hawaiian medicine / Beatrice H. Krauss
Medical Ethnobotany, Phytochemistry, and Bioactivity of the Ferns of Moorea, French Polynesia
/ Nicole Baltrushes / May 2006 / Moorea Digital Flora Project
Asplenium nidus / Hawai'i Birdnest Fern / EOL Encyclopedia of Life
Neottopteris nidus / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China

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