Mangrove fern falls under the Pteridaceae family, and 2 most common species can be identified.
1. Acrostichum Aureum
This is a species that can be seen in mangrove swamps and other wet locations in Sri Lanka, and this is the only fern that belongs to the mangrove community. This plant grows up to 1.2-1.8m in height. This plant has pinnately compound leaves with small green-colored leaflets. Young leaves are brownish-green in color. Similar to other ferns, this plant also has a rhizome stem.
Acrostichum Aureum leaf has 24-30 pairs of leaflets and some of the larger fronds bear sporangia (reproductive organs) on the upper five to eight pairs of leaflets. These are brown and give the pinnae a felted appearance.
2. Acrostichum Speciosum
This plant has the most similar features to Acrostichum Aureum and this is an endangered species in Sri Lanka. This also has pinnately compound leaves which are about 1m in length. The leaves have a pointed shape.
Young leaves are consumed as curries(Karan Koku Curry) or salads. Roots and leaves are used in Ayurvedic medicine for different medical treatments.
Penned By : Rtr. Kawmini Wijekoon