Helminthostachys zeylanica (L.) Hook.

Last updated: 15 June 2015

Scientific Name

Helminthostachys zeylanica (L.) Hook.


Ophiala zeylanica (L.) Desv. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Paku sutor (Iban); akar tunjuk langit [2], tunjok langit, akar paku, jelai [3]
English Flowering fern, kamraj [4]
China Ru di wu gong [4]
Indonesia Rawu bekubang (Malay, western Sumatra) [3]; pakis kaler, manon, pakis urang, cheker ayam (Javanese); jajalakan, paku paying, panchar bumu, tapak jalan (Sundanese) [2]
Thailand Kut chong (Northern); tin nok yung (South-Eastern, Peninsular); phak nok yung (Eastern) [3]
Philippines Tungkud-langit [3], tukod-langit (Tagalog) [4]
Vietnam S[aa]m d[aas]t, r[as]ng re[uf]ng gi[es], s[aa]m b[of]ng bong [3]
Bangladesh Ekbir (Bengali) [4]

Geographical Distributions

The exact origin of Helminthostachys zeylanica is unknown but it is widespread at low altitudes from India, Sri Lanka, southern China and Taiwan, throughout Southeast Asia to tropical Australia and the Western Pacific. [3]

H. zeylanica grows terrestrially on moist ground, along the bank of streams or on humus-rich slopes in light shade from sea level up to 400 m altitude. In the wild, it is rather difficult to find and is nowhere very common. Locally, it may grow gregariously. [3]

Botanical Description

H. zeylanica is a member of the family Ophioglossaceae. It is a terrestrial fern with short creeping rhizome and measures up to 7 mm in diametre. It is unbranched, bearing fleshy roots laterally and ventrally [3]

The leaves are in two rows, one or rarely two per growing season. The petiole is 10-60 cm long, fleshy, green or purplish-brown. The leaf is pinnate to subpalmate, measuring 5-25 cm x 10-50 mm, tripartite and herbaceous, with rhomboid to obdeltoid pinnae, measures up to 25 cm long, with a short stalk or subsessile, with a terminal lobe and one or two pairs of sessile lateral lobes. The lobes are lance-shaped, measuring 5-25 cm x 2-5 cm, with wedge-shaped base and decurrent. The margin is entire or finely and irregularly dentate while apex is acuminate. A spike arises from the junction of the petiole and the blade, usually protruding beyond the blade, bearing numerous short branches, each with a group of round sessile sporangia that opens with a longitudinal slit and with small sterile lobes at the apex. [3]

The spores are spherical, trilete, measure 20-40 mm in diametre, granular with coarse, more or less fused and cylindrical projections. [3]


No documentation.

Chemical Constituent

No documentation.

Plant Part Used

No documentation.

Traditional Use

No documentation.

Preclinical Data

No documentation.

Clinical Data

No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing



Figure 1: The line drawing of H. zeylanica [3]


  1. The Plant List. Ver 1.1. Helminthostachys zeylanica (L.) Hook. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 April 18; cited 2015 June 12]. Available from: http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/tro-26600168
  2. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of medicinal plants used in Malaysia. Volume 2. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR; 2002. p. 9.
  3. Helminthostachys zeylanica (L.) Hook. In: de Winter WP, Amoroso VB. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 15(2): Fern and fern allies. Leiden, Netherlands, Backhuys Publishers; 2003.
  4. Philippine Medicinal Plants. Tukod-langit. Helminthostachys zeylanica (Linn.) Hook. [homepage on the Internet]. c2014 [updated 2012 Nov; cited 2015 Jul 06] Available from: http://www.stuartxchange.org/TukodLangit.html