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Family Schizaeceae / Lygodiaceae
Lygodium circinnatum (Burm.f) Swartz

Hai nan hai jin sha

Scientific names  Common names 
Hydroglossum circinnatum (Burm.f) Willd. Agsam (Bik.) 
Lygodium circinnatum (Burm.f) Swartz Nitong-puti (Bik., Bis., Tag.)
Ophioglossum circinnatum Burm.f. Nauli (Mind.)
  Nito (Bis., Sub.,Tag.)
  Nitoan (Sub.) 
  Red finger fern (Engl.)
Nito's varieties of common names is confusingly shared among four species of plants belonging to the Family Schizaeceae / Gemus Lygodium: (1) Nito, Lygodium circinnatum, nitong puti, nitoan (2) Nitong puti, Lygodium flexuosum, nito nga purao (3) Nitong-pula, Lygodium japonicum, nito, nito-a-purao (4) Nito-nitoan, Lygodium scandens, nitong parang, nito.
Lygodium circinatum (Burm. f.) Sw. is an accepted name. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Hai nan hai jin sha.
MALAYSIA: Ribu-ribu duduk.

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.

- Aqueous extract yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, phenolic compounds, and glycosides, with absence of saponins and terpenoids. Total phenolic compounds was 31.84 ± 0.24 mg/ml gallic acid equivalent. Flavonoids were 63.5 ± 1.67 mg/ml catechin equivalent.

- Studies have suggested antioxidant and radical scavenging properties.

Parts utilized
Roots, stems, leaves.

- Young leaves reportedly cooked and used as vegetable.
- Stipes are chewed and applied to bites of venomous reptiles and insects to neutralize the poison.
- Roots and leaves are applied to wounds.
- Roots and stems taken internally for contraception.
- Used as a protective medicine after childbirth.
- In Sabah, Malaysia, young leaf is soaked in water, wrapped with a clean cloth and squeezed, and the drop applied to treat eye pains.
- In Malaysia, the Temuan tribe of Ayer Hitam use the exudate from rhizome as insect repellent and to treat snake bites and aquatic animal bites. (6)
Binding / Basket ware: All species of the genus Lygodium have elongated climbing 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 hats and finely woven basket ware.   (2) (7)

In a study of 15 ferns for DPPH scavenging activity expressed in IC50 and AEAC) and reducing power (FRP), the methanolic extract of leaves of L. circinnatum showed moderate TPC with DPPH scavenging activity of IC50 1.73 ± 0.12 mg/ml, AEAC of 225 ± 16 mg AA/100g, and FRP of 220 ± 9 mg GAE/100g. (8)
• Phenolics / Flavonoids / Radical Scavenging: Study for radical scavenging activity using DPPH assay showed an IC50 of 143.76 µg/ml compared to standard ascorbic acid IC50 of 39.43 µg/ml. Polyphenols including flavonoids were found abundant in the plant. (see constituents above) (9)


Updated March 2019 / April 2017 / June 2016

IMAGE SOURCE: Photos / © T. Phutthai / Ferns of Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia / Lindsay, S. & Middleton, D.J. / Click on photos to go to source page / Ferns of Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
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)
Ferns and Man in New Guinea / Jim Croft / Australian National Botanic Garden / based on a paper presented to Papua New Guinea Botany Society, 1982
Lygodium circinnatum / Chinese name / Catalogue of life, China
Medicinal Plants of Kadazandusun of Kuala Penyu, Sabah, Malaysia / Julius Kulip
Lygodium circinatum / Synonyms / The Plant List
The Use of Medicinal Plant Species by the Temuan Tribe of Ayer Hitam Forest, Selangor, Peninsular Malaysia / FARIDAH HANUM and NURULHUDA HAMZAH / Pertanika J. Trop. Agric. Sci. 22(2): 85-94 (1999)
Lygodium circinnatum / Useful Tropical Plants
Antioxidant Properties of Some Malaysian Ferns / How-Yee Lai and Yau-Yan Lim / 2011 3rd International Conference on Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering IPCBEE, Vol.20 (2011) / © (2011) IACSIT Press, Singapore
Identification of Bioactive Compounds, Quantitative Measurement of Phenolics and Flavonoids Content, and Radical Scavenging Activity of Lygodium circinnatum / Riana Binti Awang Saman, Ruzaidi Azli Mohd. Mokhtar, Mohammad Iqbal / Transactions on Science and Technology, 2017; Vol 4, No 3-3: pp 354- 359

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.

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