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Family Dennstaedtiaceae
Histiopteris incisa (Thunb.) J.Sm.
Li jue

Scientific names Common names
Histiopteris incisa (Thunb.) J.Sm.            Dumalio (Tag.)
Litobrochia incisa (Thunb.) C.Presl.            Bat's wing ferm (Engl.)
Phegopteris incisa (Thunb.) Keyserl.            Downy water fern (Engl.)
Pteris incisa Thunb.            Fern mata (Engl.)
  Water fern (Engl.)
Histiopteris incisa (Thunb.) J.Sm. is an accepted species. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Li jue.
COOK ISLANDS: 'Are-rupe.
FRENCH: Fougere d'aile de chauve-souris, Fougere d'eau, Mata fougere.
MAORI: Matata.

Gen info
- Etymology: Genus name Histiopteris derives from Greek words histion and pteris, meaning 'webbed fern', referring to the netted veins of the leaves. Specific epithet incisa derives from Latin incidere, meaning 'cut in two', referring to the 'incised leaf'.
- The common name 'bat's wing fern' refers to the lowermost lobes of each pinnae having a bat wing appearance.

• Terrestrial often summer green fern ( in cooler areas). Rhizomes long-creeping, scaly.  and  chestnut-brown at base otherwise mostly yellow-brown (sometimes glaucescent),  except for  scales, glossy;  0.15-1.2 m long, 5-10 mm diameter.  0.3-2.3 × 0.15-1.2 m, yellow-green, glaucescent or  (irrespective distinctly  when young), , 3-4- at base.   pinnules reduced, stipuliform; veins reticulate. Primary  in  pairs; longest 130-600 × 70-350 mm, arising at narrow angles, . Secondary , arising at wide angles; longest 40-200 × 20-90 mm, with  pair sometimes reduced to stipules. Tertiary  ; longest 10-45 × 6-15 mm, sometimes divided into quaternary . Ultimate pinnules  to midribs; margins  or  . Sori ± continuous around margins, borne on connecting vein, bearing paraphyses;  absent, sori protected by   . Spores pale, . (2)

- Native to the Philippines.
- Sprawling over jungles, up to 1500 m altitude.
- Native rang Tropics and Subtropics, growing primarily in the wet tropical biome. (1)

- Phytochemical screening of crude extract yielded phenolics, saponins, tannins, and steroids. Phenolic content from 700 m. asl. was 9.8523 mg GAE/g and from 1000 m. asl. was 18.12 g GAE/g(see study below) (4)

- Studies have suggest antioxidant properties.

Parts used


- In the Philippines, the Kalanguya tribe of Tinoc, Ifugao apply crushed leaves on burns. (6)
- The Maori of New Zealand apply bruised fronds to indolent ulcers. (7)

Antioxidant / Leaves:
Antioxidant activity by DPPH assay showed IC50 of 96.42 ppm fo700 m. asl. and 75.63 ppm from 1000 m asl. (see constituents above) (4)
Ptaquiloside: Ptaquiloside, the sesquiterpenoid carcinogen of Pteridium aquilinum, was isolated from Pteris cretica and Histiopteris incisa. (5)


August 2023

                                                 PHOTOS / ILLUSTRATIONS
IMAGE SOURCE: Photo: Sori arrangement on Histiopteris incisa / Poyt448 - Peter Woodard / CC BY-SA 4.0 / click on image or link to go to source page / Wikipedia
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Fern at Dee Why, Australia: Histiopteris incisa Bat's Wing Fern / Poyt448 - Peter Woodard / CC0 / click on image or link to go to source page / Wikipedia

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Histiopteris incisa / KEW: Plants of the World Online
Histiopteris incisa / New Zealand Plant Conservation Network

Histiopteris incisa / Wikipedia
Exploration, phenolic content determination, and antioxidant activity of dominant pteridophytes in Gunung Malang Village, Mount Halimun Salak National Park, Indonesia / Vivi Anggia Rindita, Eka Rahmaesa, Retna Kusuma Devi, Lidia Fatmah Alawiyah / BIODIVERSITAS, 2020; 21(8): pp 3676-3682 / eISSN: 2985-4722 / pISSN: 1412-033X / DOI: 10.13057/biodiv/d210834
The sesquiterpenoid carcinogen of bracken fern, and some analogues, from the pteridaceae / Kimiaki Saito, Takayuki Nagao, Satoshi Takatsuki, Kiyotaka Koyama, Shinsaku Natorii/  Phytochemistry, 1990; 29(5): pp 1475-1479 / DOI: 10.1016/0031-9422(90)80104-O
Ethnomedical knowledge of plants and healthcare practices among the Kalanguya tribe in Tinoc, Ifugao, Luzon, Philippines / Teodora D Balangcod, Ashlyn Kim D Balangcod / Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, 2011; 10(2): pp 227-238
Histiopteris incisa. Mātātā. Water fern. /  Nga Rauropi Whakaoranga

DOI: It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

                                                            List of Understudied Philippine Medicinal Plants

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