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Family Cyatheaceae
Pakong buwaya
Cyathea contaminans (Hook.) Copel

GIANT FERN

Scientific names Common names
Cyathea contaminans (Hook.) Copel Pakong buwaya (Tag.)
Cyathea latebrosa (Hook.) Copel Blue tree fern (Engl.)
Cyathea tsangii Ching et S. K. Giant fern (Engl.)
Alsophia latebrosa Wall ex Hook Mountain tree fern (Engl.)
  Tree fern (Engl.)
Pako and its variations is a local name shared by many medicinal plants: (1) Pako - Athyrium esculentum (2) Pakong-alagdan - Blechnum orientale (3) Pakong-anuanag, pako, buhok-virgin, dila-dila - Onychium siliculosum (4) Pakong-gubat, pakong kalabao, Pityrogramma calomelanos (5) Pakong-parang - Pteris mutilata (6) Pakong-roman - Ceratopteris thalictroides. (7) Pakong-tulog, pakong-cipres, Selaginella tamariscina (8) Pakong buwaya - Cyathea contaminans.

Other vernacular names
INDIA: Bong reng.

Botany
Pakong-buwaya is a tree fern that grows to 7 meters. Trunk is covered with black and still interlacing roots. Leaves are bipinnate up to 2.5 meters long. Leaf stalk is stout, spiny, and purplish, up to 90 centimeters long, covered with dense scales when young.

Distribution
- Occasionally planted in Manila gardens, but grows poorly in low altitudes. Thrives well in the Baguio area.
-There are 26 endemic species of Cyathea in the Philippines.

Uses
Edibility
- Young fronds boiled and eaten as vegetable.
Folkloric
- In Chinese medicine, rhizome hairs are considered styptic for coagulating blood.
- Used for rheumatic problems.
- Old man's tonic.
- Rhizomes used topically for wounds and ulcers.
- In India, used for wound healing: soft apical portion of caudex is cut into small pieces, crushed in a mortar and made into paste, then applied daily to major cuts and wounds until healed. (3)
Others
- Handicraft and construction material (fencing posts).
- Fibre and lathe material.
- Ornamental use.
- Trunks carved into vases and statues.
- Fibrous trunk used as orchid media.

Studies
Flavonol Glucoside:
Study isolated a new acylated flavonol glucoside from the fronds, chemically characterized as kaempferol-7-(6"-succinyl)-glucoside and named pteroflavonoloside. (1)
Phytoindicator / Forecasting Microclimate Changes: Study explored the potential of fern species in landscape ecology, as natural indicators to forecast microclimate changes in the urban area and for application in landscape design. Microclimate and altitude have a strong relationship with the distribution of the fern species. Findings suggest fern species are excellent phytoindicator for unhealthy environment such as harsh urban environment. (2)

Availability
Wild-crafted. 

Last Updated March 2015

Photos ©Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
(1)
A New Acylated Flavonol Glycoside from Cyathea contaminans COPEL. and Its Distribution in the Pterophyta
/
Atsushi Hiraoka, Masaakira Maeda / Chemical & pharmaceutical bulletin 27(12), 3130-3136, 1979-12-25
(2)
Potential of fern species to forecast microclimate changes at urban area / Mohd. Latif, Nur Hanie and Md. Jais, Mohd. Arami and Tukiman, Izawati and Othman, Rashidi / Seminar Bio-Kejuruteraan Penilaian Ekosistem & Spesies 2011, 7-8 Mac 2011, Bangi, Selangor.
(3)
Ethnomedicinal Importance of Pteridophytes Used by Reang tribe of Tripura, North East India / S. Shil and M. Dutta Choudhury / Ethnobotanical Leaflets 13: 634-43, 2009.

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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