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Family Ophioglossaceae
Ribbon fern
Ophioglossum pendulum Linn.

Scientific names Common names
Ophioderma pendula C.Presl.         Unresolved Adder's tongue fern (Engl.)
Ophioglossum pendulum Linn. Forked tongue (Engl.)
Infraspecific taxa Hanging adder's-tongue fern (Engl.)
Ophioglossum pendulum subsp. falcatum (C.Presl) R.T.Clausen Old world adder's tongue (Engl.)
  Ophi snake (Engl.)
  Ribbon fern (Engl.)
Ophioglossum pendulum L. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
GREEK: Glossa.
INDONESIA: Simbar gadang, Kumpai lubang.
MALAYSIA: Daun rambut., Langsiur.
POHNPEIAN: Tehnlikinsapw.
THAILAND: Teen mue nok khao.

Gen info
- Taxon info: Ophioglossaceae is a most isolated family of ferns. It is considered by some to be more closely related to progymnosperms or cycadophytes than the typical modern fern. (7)
- The sporophore is unique and not found in other fern families. (7)
- Ophioglossum is a genus of about 50 species of ferns in the family Ophioglossaceae. The cosmopolitan distribution is mainly in tropical and subtropical habitats.
- O. pendulum belongs to the subgenus Ophioderma Clausen of the genus Ophioglossum considered by some to be a separate genus.
If Ophioderma is a separate genus the correct name for the species is Ophioderma pendula (L.) Pr (7)
- Etymology: The species name derives from the Greek words "Ophis" meaning "snake", and "glossa", tongue, referring to the slender fertile spike bearing the sporangia in this genus. The species epithet "pendulum" is Latin, meaning "hanging" or "pendulous"m referring to the pendulous fronds. (9)

Ophioglossum pendulum is an epiphytic fern. Leaves are 1-6 clustered, long, pendant, ribbon-like, up to 120 centimeters long and 2.5 centimeters wide, one to several times forked, and with undulating margins. Fertile stalk is with strobilus to 15 centimeters long, attached near the base of leaf blade, bearing two rows of sporangia. Sporangia open by a transverse slit, releasing many creamy white spores. Spores are globose, trilete, about 50 µm in diameters, finely irregularly goose.

- Usually on trunks and branches of trees in damp primary forests.
- Occasionally planted as ornamental.
- Widely distributed in the tropics.

- Ribbon-like, fleshy leaves are tough stringy, and sweet.

Parts used


- Young leaves eaten as vegetable. (8)
- In Mindanao, infusion of leaves used as cough remedy. Spores administered to newborn babies to rid them of meconium. (5)
- Shredded young fronds mixed with coconut oil used as hair ointment. (8)
- In Moore, French Polynesia, plant used for indigestion. (1)
- Used to treat indigestion.
- In India, fronds used in the form of a scalp ointment to improve hair growth.
- In Malaysia, juice of leaves used by the Telemann tribe as shampoo to clean and treat hair.
- In the Moluccas, leaves are shredded in coconut oil and applied to the head for improvement of hair health. (9)

No studies found.


Updated May 2022 / December 2017 / July 2016
May 2011

IMAGE SOURCE: Public Domain / File:014 Ophioglossum pendulum koburan.jpg / Japanese pictorial book of flora / Michio Murakoshi (1872-1948) / Wikimedia Commons
IMAGE SOURCE: 47110 Ophioglossum pendulum L. / Ophioglossaceae / W.J. Hooker, R.K. Greville, Icones filicum, vol. 1, t. 19 (1831) / Dr. Greville / Plant Illustrations.Org

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Medical Ethnobotany, Phytochemistry, and Bioactivity of the Ferns of Moorea, French Polynesia / Nicole Baltrushes, May 2006
Ophioglossum pendulum / Indian Medicinal Plants: An Illustrated Dictionary / C. P. Khare / Google books
A Review on the Potential Uses of Ferns / M Mannar Mannan, M Maridass and B Victor / Ethnobotanical Leaflets 12: 281-285. 2008.
The Use of Medicinal Plant Species by the Temuan Tribe of Ayer HitamForest, Selangor, Peninsular Malaysia / I Faridah Hanum and Nurulhuda Hamzah / PertanikaJ. Trap. Agric. Sci. 22(2): 85 -94 (1999)
Ophioglossum pendulum / Synonyms and common names / PROSEA: Plant Resources of South-East Asia
Ophioglossum pendulum / Synonyms / The Plant List
Ophioglossum pendulum L / Pl@nt Use
Ophioglossum pendulum / The DNA of Singapore
Ophioglossum pendulum / Flora & Fauna Web
Ophioglossum / Wikipedia


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)

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