Family • Polypodiaceae - Adiantum philippense Linn. - PHILIPPINE MAIDENHAIR

Scientific names

Adiantum philippense Linn.
Adiantum arcuatum Sw.
Adiantum lunulatum Burm. f.
Pteris lunulata (Burm.f) Retz.
Ban yue xing tie xian jue (Chin.)

Common names

Culantrillo (Tag., Span., Pamp.)
Gagatun (Ig.)
Kaikai (Tag.)
Palsik (Ig.)
Sai-kolohan (Tag.)
Crescent maidenhair (Engl.)
Philippine maidenhair (Engl.)

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Fei dao tie xian jue
DUTCH: Venushaar der Filipijnen.
FRENCH: Cheveux-de-Vénus des Philippines.
INDIA: Kali-jhant
ITALIAN: Capelvenere delle Filippine.
SPANISH: Capilera de Filipinas.


Culantrillo is a small and delicate fern. Stipes are tufted, slender, dark brown, shining, glabrous, 5 to 20 centimeters long. Fronds are simply pinnate, leaflets are slenderly stalked, thin, oblong to semilunate in outline, 1 to 3.5 centimeters long and 0.8 to 1.5 centimeters broad, the lower margin being nearly straight or forming an angle at the insertion of the stalk, the upper margin semicircular, entire or slightly lobed. Sori are oblong to linear, and as long as the lobes are broad.

– On wet and damp banks or cliffs and in damp thickets, especially in the rainy season.
– Common throughout the Philippines.
– Generally distributed in the tropics.
– Some of the species are cultivated for their beautiful foliage.

– Yields triterpene, 3,4-epoxyfilicares, flavonoids, adiantone.
– Phytochemical screening of methanol extract of leaves yielded glycosides, alkaloids, flavonoids, and saponins.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Sorting Adiantum names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher, / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / A Work in Progress. School of Agriculture and Food Systems. Faculty of Land & Food Resources.

(2) Antimicrobial activity of Some Ethno-medicinal Plants used by Baiga Tribes from Amarkantak, India /
Jitendra Malviya, Vaibhavi Joshi, Kiran Singh / Advances in Life Science and Technology, Vol 4, 2012

(3) Ethnomedicinal uses of Pteridophytes of Amarkantak, Madhya Pradesh / Shweta Singh, R D Dixit and T R Sahu / Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, Vol 4(4), October 2005, pp 392-395.

(4) Ethnomedicinal uses of Pteridophytes of Kumaun Himalaya, Uttarakhand, India / Kanchan Upreti, Jeewan S Jalal, Lalit M Tewari et al / Journal of American Science 2009; 5(4): 167-170.

(5) Antifertility effects of crude different of Adiantum lunulatum Burm. on Reproductive Organs of male albino rats./ D.K. Bhatia, A.K. Sharma*, P.C. Pathania** and Naveen Chandra Khanduri*** / Biological Forum — An International Journal, 2(2): 88-93(2010)

(6) Adiantum philippense L. Frond Assisted Rapid Green Synthesis of Gold and Silver Nanoparticles / Duhita G. Sant, Tejal R. Gujarathi, Shrikant R. Harne, Sougata Ghosh, Rohini Kitture, Sangeeta Kale, Balu A. Chopade,1 and Karishma R. Pardesi / Journal of Nanoparticles, Volume 2013 (2013) /

(7) Evaluation of Anti-Hyperglycemic Activity of Adiantum Philippense Linn, a Pteridophyte in Alloxan Induced Diabetic Rats / Tania Paul*, Biswadeep Das, Kishori G Apte, Suchitra Banerjee and Ramesh C Saxena / J Diabetes Metab, Volume 3 • Issue 9 • 2012

(8) In vitro antioxidant, cytotoxic, thrombolytic activities and phytochemical evaluation of methanol extract of the A. philippense L. leaves / Mohammad Sekendar Ali,* Mohammad Ruhul Amin, Chowdhury Mohammad Imtiaz Kamal, and Mohammad Aslam Hossain / Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2013 Jun; 3(6): 464–469. / doi: 10.1016/S2221-1691(13)60097-0

(9) Antibacterial Activity of Adiantum lunulatum Burm. f. Towards Bacteria Implicated in Cutaneous Infections/ Toji Thomas / Journal of Biological & Scientific Opinion, Volume 1 (4): 2013

(10) Heavy Metal Accumulation in Soil and Some Fern Species at Phu Soi Dao National Park, Phitsanulok Province, Thailand / Supaporn Pongthornpruek*, Savent Pampasit, Nimit Sriprang, Pensiri Nabheerong and Kongsakdi Promtep / NU Science Journal 2008; 5(2): 151 – 164

Considered alterative, astringent, cooling, demulcent, diuretic, emmenagogue, stomachic.

Parts used
Fronds, fresh leaves.

– Fronds, either in decoction or syrup, utilized as Adiantum capillus-veneris.
– In the Philippines, administered to women in childbirth as Aristolochia species.
– Roots used for strangury and for fever due to elephantiasis.
– Used for febrile affections in children.
– Used for cough, leprosy, hair falling.
– Decoction of fresh leaves used as stomachic and diuretic; used as a cure for dysentery.
– In India, fronds extract used in fever, asthma, bronchitis dysentery, epilepsy, leprosy, ulcers, and erysipelas. Extract of leaves taken orally and paste of leaves applied to lower part of abdomen to clear urine. Dried rhizome mixed with water taken orally by women once during menstruation for sterility.

Study Findings
• Antimicrobial: Study evaluated the antimicrobial activity of five ethnomedicinal plant extracts against six bacterial strains S. aureus, N. gonorrhea, P. aeruginosa, E. coli, S. pyogenes, and B. subtilis. Results showed Adiantum philippense and other studied extracts could be potential sources of new antimicrobial agents.
• Antifertility Effects: Study evaluated Adiantum lunulatum extract effects on reproductive structures of male albino rat. A dose-dependent and duration-dependent effect was observed on testis, epididymis, vas deferens and accessory reproductive organs of the rats. The extract affected spermatogenesis through alteration of the hypothalamus-pituitary -gonadal axis function and regulation. The structural alterations suggest an antiandrogenic property in the plant. Restoration of the histological features back to normal and reversal of functional fertility suggests essentially reversible effects. No permanent genetical loss was observed. Results suggest potential exploitation for a pharmacologically safe, effective, and reversible antifertiity agent.
• Assisted Rapid Green Synthesis of Gold and Silver Nanoparticles: Ecofriendly and reliable, plants present a promising source and potential in nanoscience for drug delivery and biomedical applications. Study reports the successful synthesis of gold and silver nanoparticles using fern A. philippense.
• Antihyperglycemic / Antioxidant: Study evaluated the potential of ethanolic and aqueous extracts of Adiantum philippense in hyperglycemia alloxan induced diabetic rats. Both extracts exhibited significant hypoglycemic effects when compared to glibenclamide. Both extracts also showed ABTS radical scavenging activity, increasing at increasing concentrations.
• Antioxidant / Cytotoxicity / Thrombolytic: Study on methanol extract of leaves of A. philippense showed considerable antioxidant and thrombolytic activities with minimum cytotoxicity.
• Antibacterial / Cutaneous Infections: Study evaluated the whole plant of A. lunulatum for antibacterial potential towards bacterial species involved in skin diseases in human beings. A methanol extract exhibited maximum activity towards Pseudomonas aeruginosa resistant to amoxicillin and chloramphenicol. Activity was attributed possibly to flavonoid and phenol content.
• Bioremediation Potential / Pb and Ni: From 19 terrestrial fern species, Adiantum philippense L. showed the highest and significant levels of Pb and Ni concentration in their leaves. Study results suggest potential roles in bioremediation process to mitigate concentration of heavy metals from the environment.