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Diplazium esculentum - (Retz.) Sw.

Common Name Vegetable Fern
Family Athyriaceae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards Although we have found no reports of toxicity for this species, a number of ferns contain carcinogens, so some caution is advisable [200 ]. Many ferns also contain thiaminase, an enzyme that robs the body of its vitamin B complex. In small quantities, this enzyme will not harm people eating an adequate diet rich in vitamin B, though large amounts can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase [172 ].
Habitats River banks, open places in wet ground, at elevations below 900 metres in Sri Lanka[667 ].
Range E. Asia - southern China, Indian subcontinent, through southeast Asia to Indonesia and Philippines.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade
Diplazium esculentum Vegetable Fern

Diplazium esculentum Vegetable Fern


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of fern
Diplazium esculentum is an evergreen Fern growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 9. The flowers are pollinated by Wind.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Anisogonium esculentum (Retz.) C.Presl. Anisogonium serampurens C. Presl. Asplenium ambiguum Sw. Asplenium esculentum (Retz.) C.Presl. Athyrium esculentum (Retz.) Copel. Asplenium malabaricum Mett. Asplenium moritzii Mett. Asplenium pubescens Mett. Asplenium vitiense Baker. Athyrium ambigua (Sw.) Milde. Callipteris ambigua (Sw.)T.Moore. Callipteris esculenta (Retz.) J.Sm. Callipteris serampurens Fée. Callipteris malabarica J. Sm. Digrammaria ambigua (Sw.) C. Presl. Digrammaria esculenta (Retz.) F?e. D. malabaricum Spreng. D. pubescens Link. D. serampurens Spreng. D. vitiense Carruth. Gymnogramma edulis Ces. Hemionitis esculenta Retz. Microstegia ambigua (Sw.) C. Presl. Microstegia esculenta (Retz.) C.Presl.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Shoots
Edible Uses:

Diplazium esculentum is considered the most important edible fern worldwide, rich in iron, phosphorus, potassium and proteins. Its use as a vegetable is prevalent in Asia and Oceania, and it is widely used in the Himalayas [1-8]. The young leaves are eaten as lalab (a vegetable salad served with sambal) with rice [ 46 ]. The young fronds are boiled and used as a vegetable[ 200 , 317 , 437 ]. They are stir-fried and used in salads. Fronds are blanched, boiled or stir-fried and, in some cases, pickled. Often compared to the flavour of over-cooked asparagus, the young fronds are generally cooked before consumption to avoid bitterness. They can be dried and then reconstituted for cooking.

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

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Analgesic  Anthelmintic  Antibacterial  Antidiarrhoeal  Antiinflammatory  Antitussive  Dysentery  Febrifuge  
Laxative  Skin  Tonic

A decoction of the leaves is used as a tonic for women after they have given birth[437 ]. The plant is used in traditional medicine[611 ]. Traditional medicinal uses reported for D. esculentum are to treat fever, dermatitis, measles, headaches, pains, coughs, wounds, dysentery, glandular swellings, toothaches and diarrhoea [1-8]. The species is reported to have laxative, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anthelmintic, analgesic, antimicrobial and cytotoxic activities [1-8]. D. esculentum extracts exhibited in vitro anti-trypanosomal activity [1-8].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Green manure  Insecticide

An attractive ornamental garden plant. Diplazium esculentum is an ornamental garden plant with its spores sold online and in local nurseries [1-8]. It can be grown in containers. Diplazium esculentum is a good groundcover in a semi-shady location (plants performance is poor in a sunny position or deep shade). The dried rhizomes are used as an insecticide and the leaves as green manure and cattle bedding [1-8].

Special Uses

Food Forest  Ground Cover

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Diplazium esculentum ferns are a forest under-storey preferring shady, moist conditions. As the ferns spread very vigorously by rhizomes, it is important to plant them in an area that won't cause problems. Diplazium esculentum is a plant of the humid tropics[611]. In its native habitat, Diplazium esculentum grows in wet valleys, sheltered spots in dry areas, open places on damp ground, marshy areas, secondary forests, rainforests and by riverbanks and canals at elevations from sea level to 2300m. A cold-sensitive plant suitable for the warmer regions and tender to freezing temperatures. Light: Part Sun, Filtered Shade, Shade. Drainage: Well-drained, Moist soil. Soil pH: mildly acid to mildly alkaline. It grows best when organic matter is abundant in the soil [200]. Special soil tolerances: infertile.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Spores - they germinate readily and develop quickly[200 ]. Division of plantlets that are produced at the roots[200 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Akwukwo nni, Cha-kawk, Churuli, Corotonh, Daoche, Daomalai, Denkhi, Dhekia sak, Dhekia shak, Dhekiya, Dumkek, Edible fern, Gamchekoh, Gleilei, Hasdam, Hokapadma, Injjo arxa, Jhur-tyrkhang, Kaaki, Kalasevu-ni-veikau, Kasume, Keeraicurry, Kochiya, Konkodi kura, Kosikosiri, Kukri sag, Kukuling, Kuut khue, Kuware-shida, Lochanch, Machuovu, Masino neuro, Muikhonchuk, Mula, Nchubua, Neuro, Nigrou, Niguro, Ningro, Okang, Ota, Pagu, Paco fern, Pakis beunyeur, Pakis sayur, Pakis wilis, Pako, Paku benar, Paku besar, Paku bunyur, Paku ikam, Paku jukut, Paku kerjaie, Paku luhur, Paku tanjong, Paku-sayur, Palu, Pani nyuro, Pfochou chojii, Pfuchowbu, Phak kuut, Pucha, Pusa, Raramea, Rau don, Rau ron, Surulisoppu, Tagabas, Takuma liliafe, Takuma sisimia, Tyrkhang, Zadha [1-4].

TEMPERATE ASIA: Anhui Sheng, Fujian Sheng, Guangdong Sheng, Guangxi Zhuangzu Zizhiqu, Guizhou Sheng, Hainan Sheng, Hunan Sheng, Japan, Jiangxi Sheng, Kyushu, Sichuan Sheng, Taiwan, Xizang Zizhiqu, Yunnan Sheng, Zhejiang Sheng,China. TROPICAL ASIA: India, Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Introduced into a number of countries in Africa, Oceania and North America as an ornamental and as a food source. As it produces a large number of spores it can easily escape cultivation and rapidly spread into new areas. The species is reported as having escaped cultivation and become invasive in Hawaii, USA, New Zealand and Australia [1-8].

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Least Concern.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(Retz.) Sw.

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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