Family • Blechnaceae / Polypodiaceae - Blechnum orientale Linn. - FISH FERN - Kuan chung

Scientific names

Blechnum orientale Linn.
Blechnopsis orientalis (L.) Presl.
Wu mao jue (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Long chuan jue, Guan zhong, Chi jue tou.
MALAY: Paku ikan, Paku lipan, Paku ular, Paku kelindang.

Common names

Pakong-alagdan (Tag.)
Centipede fern (Engl.)
Fish fern (Engl.)
Shield fern (Engl.)
Kuan chung (Chin.)

Pakong-alagdan is a fern, the caudex stout, erect and densely covered with glossy brown scales. Stipes are erect, 10 to 40 centimeters long. Fronds are 20 to 200 centimeters long and 10 to 40 centimeters wide. Pinnae are sessile, 5 to 20 centimeters long and 0.5 to 2 centimeters wide. Sori are arranged in a long continuous line close to the costae.


– Widely distributed in the Philippines.
Also found throughout India, Sri Lanka, and the Malay Peninsula, and extends to the Malay Isalnds, tropical Asia, Polynesia, and Australia.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Ferns and Man in New Guinea / based on a paper presented to Papua New Guinea Botany Society, 1982 / Jim Croft

(2) Blechnium Orientale Linn – a fern with potential as antioxidant, anticancer and antibacterial agent / How Y Lai, Yau Y Lim and Kah H Kim / BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2010, 10:15 / doi:10.1186/1472-6882-10-15

(3) Anti-inflammatory plants used by the Kahmti tribe of Lohit district in eastern Arunachal Pradesh, India / Hui Tag, A K Das and Hari Loyi / Natural Product Radiance, Vol 6(4), 2007, pp 334-340.

(4) Cytotoxic Potential on Breast Cancer Cells Using Selected Forest Species Found in Malaysia / A S Nor Aini, A Merrina et al / Malaysia. Int. J. Cancer Res., 4: 103-109. / DOI: 10.3923/ijcr.2008.103.109

(5) Evaluation of Antioxidant Activities of the Methanolic Extracts of Selected Ferns in Malaysia / HowYee Lai and YauYan Lim / International Journal of Environmental Science and Development, Vol. 2, No. 6, December 2011

(6) Potential dermal wound healing agent in Blechnum orientale Linn / How Y Lai, Yau Y Lim and Kah H Kim / BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2011, 11:62 / doi:10.1186/1472-6882-11-62


Phytochemistry showed essential oil, phenolic compounds and triterpenoids.
Study yielded flavonoids, terpenoids and tannins.

– Considered anthelmintic, antiviral, contraceptive and tonic.

The Malays reportedly eat it.
Young fronds used as wild food supplement.

Used as poultice for boils by Malays.
Used for urinary complaints.
In China, the rhizomes are used as anthelmintic.
In India, used for impotence; boils in infants and older children, diarrhea,
Used to stop wound bleeding.
In Malaysia, used for abscesses, blisters and sores; poultice of young leaves for furuncles and boils.
One of the plants used for fungal skin infections, esp ringworm: Plant is pounded with some kerosene and applied to affected areas.
In Papua New Guinea, new fronds are eaten to induce sterility in women, new leaves ingested daily for three successive days, then repeating the course after a fortnight.
In India, paste of young frond and underground rhizome are mixed with the dried powder of Zingiber officinale and applied over fresh cut wounds to cure pain and stop bleeding.

Study Findings
• Antibacterial: Antibacterial effect could come from the bioactive constituents of essential oil, phenolic compounds and triterpenoids. Study showed antibacterial activity, greatest against P vulgaris and less with B subtilis and S aureus.
• Cytotoxicity / Breast Cancer: In vitro studies on the cytotoxic potential of three plants – Blechnum orientale, Tectaria singaporeana and Tacca integrifolia showed the roots displayed the highest cell mortality.
• Polyphenols / Antioxidative / Antibacterial: Study of the leaf extracts of five medicinal ferns – A aureum, Asplenium nidus, Blechnum orientale, C barometz and D linearis– showed B orientale to possess the highest amount of total polyphenols and strongest potential as antioxidant, tyrosinase inhibition and antibacterial.
• Antioxidant / Anticancer / Antibacterial: Study of Blechnum orientale showed cytotoxic activity towards human colon cancer cell strong radical scavenging activity, and antibacterial activity against B cereus, MR Staph aureus, S epidermis.
• Antioxidant: In a study of ferns for antioxidant activity, Blechnum showed strong DPPH radical scavenging activity, ferric ion reducing power, and inhibition of lipid peroxidation.
• Wound Healing: Study evaluated the wound healing activity of a water extract on Sprague-Dawley rats. Results showed significant reduction in wound size and mean epithelisation time, and higher collagen synthesis, supported by histopathological evidence of greater tissue regeneration, more fibroblasts and angiogenesis.