Family • Schizaeceae / Lygodiaceae - Lygodium circinnatum (Burm.) Swartz - RED FINGER FERN

Scientific names

Lygodium circinnatum (Burm.) Swartz
Lygodium conforme C. Chr.
Ophioglossum circinnatum Burm.
Hai nan hai jin sha (Chin.)

Common names

Agsam (Bik.)
Nitong-puti (Bik., Bis., Tag.)
Nauli (Mind.)
Nito (Bis., Sub.,Tag.)
Nitoan (Sub.)
Red finger fern (Engl.)


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) The Use of Medicinal Plant Species by the Temuan Tribe of Ayer Hitam Forest, Selangor, Peninsular Malaysia / I. Faridah Hanum and Nurulhuda Hamzah / PertanikaJ. Trap. Agric. Sci. 22(2): 85 – 94 (1999)

(2) Ferns and Man in New Guinea / Jim Croft / Australian National Botanic Garden / based on a paper presented to Papua New Guinea Botany Society, 1982

(3) Medicinal Plants of Kadazandusun of Kuala Penyu, Sabah, Malaysia / Julius Kulip

Nito is a scrambling fern. Primary petioles are short or wanting. the secondary ones are 2 to 5 centimeters long. Pinnae are stalked, the sterile ones palmately lobed or dichotomous with lobed leaflets, the lobes lanceolate, 10 to 30 centimeters long, 1 to 4.5 centimeters wide; the fertile one are once or twice dichotomous with linear lobes, 1 to 10 centimeters wide, with contracted lamina. Spikes are arranged along the margin, 2 to 10 millimeters long. Spores are verruculose.



– Common in the Philippines at low and medium altitudes.
– Growing over shrubs and high into trees.
– Also found throughout the tropics of the Old World.

Parts utilized
Roots, stems, leaves.


– Stipes are chewed and applied to bites of venomous reptiles and insects to neutralize the poison.
– Roots and leaves are applied to wounds.
– Used as a substitute for Helmintostachys zeylanica as a protective medicine after childbirth.
– Temuan tribe of Malaysia use the exudate from the rhizome as insect repellent and to treat aquatic animal bites and snake bites.
– In Sabah, Malaysia, young leaf is soaked in water, wrapped with a clean cloth and squeezed, and the drop applied to treat eye pains.

• Binding / Basket ware: All species of the genus Lygodium have elongated climibing rachis reaching lengths of several meters. Of the lygodium species, L. circinnatum is the most common and widely used. Also used for tying floats to outriggers and other lashing uses on canoes. Also used in making finely woven basket ware.


Study Findings
• No medicinal studies found.