Fishtail fern

Family • Nephrolepidaceae / Oleandraceae - Nephrolepis biserrata (Sw.) Schott 'Furcans' - FORKED SWORD FERN

Scientific names

Nephrolepis biserrata (Sw.) Schott ‘Furcans’
Aspidium beserratum Sw.

Common names

Fishtail fern (Engl.)
Sword fern (Engl.)
Forked sword fern (Engl.)

Fishtail fern is a stoloniferous fern with short erect rhizomes. Leaves are up to 90 centimters long, leathery, arching, green to yellow green, with the leaflets forked at the end.

Fishtail fern

Widely cultivated in Philippine gardens.

Fishtail fern2

– In a study for nutritive value, leaves showed to contain more (P<0,05) dry matter and crude protein than any other portion of the plant. Stem contains more crude fiber and ash than the leaves.
– Phytochemical screening of essential oil, methanol extract and fractions yielded anthraquinones, alkaloids, tannins, steroids, phytosterol, saponin, triterpenoids and flavonoids. Essential oil, methanol extract and methanol fractions were rich in phenolic and flavonoid contents. GCMS analysis yielded various biologically important compounds; dominant compounds were benzeneacetaldehyde, alpha.-cubebene, butyrolactone, phenol, benzyl alcohol, phenol, 2-methoxy-, 4h-pyran-4-one, 2,3-dihydro- 3,5-dihydroxy-6-methyl, 2h-pyran-2-one, 4,6-dimethyl-, catechol, benzofuran, 2,3-dihydro-, phenol, 2,4-bis(1,1-dimethylethyl), hexadecanoic acid, methyl ester, n-hexadecanoic acid, 9,12-octadecadienoic acid, methyl ester, phytol, gamolenic acid and octadecanoic acid.

– Considered antimicrobial, hepatoprotective, antioxidant.

Parts utilized
Leaves, roots.

Fishtail fern3

Nutrition / Edibility
– Leaves are boiled and eaten as vegetable.
– In west New Guinea, flour is reported to be extracted from the roots of the fern.are pounded to flour.
– Rhizomes and young shoots eaten as vegetable.

Fishtail fern4

– No recorded folkloric use in the Philippines.
– In Malaysia, used for skin disorders.
– In Tahiti, used for blisters, boils, abscesses and sores.
– In Cameroon, decoction of fronds used for lower abdominal pains.
– In NW Guyana, leaves used for treatment of wounds and cuts.

– Fodder: Nutritive analysis suggests a potential fodder for dry season feed of small ruminants.

Study Findings
• Antibacterial / Antifungal: Study investigated the antimicrobial properties of three selected ferns, viz., P. nudum, Nephrolepis bisserata and N. cordifolia. Water and ethanol fractions were active against most of the tested bacteria and fungal strains.
• Hepatoprotective / Antioxidant: Study investigated the protective effect of the methanol extract of N. biserrata leaves against carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced hepatic damage in rats. Results showed high total phenolic content which may be the major contributor to its strong antioxidant activities. There was also hepatoprotective activity against CCl4-hepatotoxicity.

Garden cultivation.