Hundreds of fern species can be found in the rainforests of Malaysia. Ferns, also known as pleridophyte are commonly found growing wild in Malaysia due to the hot and wet climate favoured by ferns. Some ferns grow clinging onto tree limbs without doing any harm to the host trees (known as epiphytes), while the others grow upright from the forest floor or creep over rocks. In the jungle, tree fern grow like giant umbrellas on sticks up to 10 metres tall with 4-metre lang leaves.
Ferns are easily distinguished from other plants by the fact that they are non-flowering plant which do not produce fruits nor seed, and reproduce by spores. They can be of variouz sizes and can grow on the soil, on plants as well as rocks. They are also very interesting plants due to the new leaves which typically expand by the unrolling of a tight spiral, the different pattern and designs of the leaves as well as the patterns of the sporangia at the end, surface or sides of the leaf (often referred to as frond) which differs according to the fern species.
Ferns are not as important economically but in the jungle, they play an important role as a thick ground cover, preventing erosion and invade areas where trees have fallen. Some ferns are edible by humans either raw or cooked, some used as traditional medicine while other fern plants and trees are used for landscape and decorative purposes.
Skat-sakat / Asplenium nidus
The epiphyte fern grows wild and lives on trees in the jungle. It forms large simple rosette oblanceolate, with shiny green leaves, prominent black midrip and wavy margin, sori forms long rows on the underside of the frond. The fronds roll back and create a massive leaf nest in the branches and trunks of trees, thus more commonly known as Birds Nest. It has now become a popular house plant.
This fern grows wild on some quartzite ridges and on open ridges of higher elevation, such Cameron Highlands and Fraser Hill. It is easily distinguished by the umbrella shape membranous covering over spore clusters (sporagia). The leaves are fan-shaped and lobed in narrow segments or have long midribs that aid the plant in climbing. This unique fern is also related to the Mesozoid fossil era.
Bud cek / Dipteris conjugata
This rhizomatous ground fern can be found growing wild in highlands such Fraser Hill and Cameron Highlands. It has large and long-stalked beautiful fronds which divide into two fan shape halves with yellowish ribs. This curious fern is said to be related to Jurassic fossil.
This long creeping or climbing epiphyte fern with base rooted to the ground is also known as Paku miding. It grows wild and is commonly found in rubber plantations. The fronds are horizontal, with drooping pinnare and stipe. Leaves are lanceeolate to ablong-lanceolate. The rhizome 5-7 mm diameter, pale green, smooth, with scattered dark, small, orbicular scales and the growing tip completely covered. The young leaves are deep red and eaten by locals as a vegetable.
This epiphytic fern commonly known as Staghorn Fern is an immense cluster which grows hanging onto branches of high trees in the jungle. The plant has two kinds of leaves. The nest leaves are erect, with thickened base and are dichotomously lobed, whereas the fronds are pendulous up to 2-3 m long, green with several widely forked narrow lobes shaped like the horn of the stag. This fern grows wild in Malaysia but is now cultivated as an ornamental plant.
Resam is a vigorous creeping ground fern with long stems and slender rhizomes, usually found on edge of disturbed areas, on slopes and primary forest. The leaves are branched equally or unequally with brown sori on the underside. In the olden days, the stem was used as a pen to write.
This fern is found growing on wet ground and along stream banks and therefore is commonly known as Paku sungai. It is a terrestrial fern up to 1 m tall, with erect and scaly rhizomes. The stalk is about 35 cm long. The leaves are bipinnate and leaflets are variable in size, and the margin is crenate or lobed. The sori lines the entire length of the veins. The young leaves are edible and are infact a favourite vegetable.
50sen – Paku sungai
50sen – Resam
50sen – Paku miding
50sen – Tunjuk langit
50sen – Tanduk rusa
RM3 – Sakat-sakat (MS)
Sheet 50sen x 20 (different design)
These stamps are aimed at helping the public to know the fern species available in the country, said Pos Malaysia Stamp and Philately Unit head Yasmin Ramli.
“Actually, we want to cater to the demand of collectors. They already have a collection of stamps on the ‘paku-pakis’ (ferns) from countries such as Australia, Taiwan and New Zealand,” said Yasmin, who unveiled the Malaysian stamps at a news conference. (The Star Online, March 8, 2010)
In Malaysia this fern grows wild and is commonly known as Tunjuk langit. This herbaceous fern bears either a solitary frond or several fronds which are lanceolate with the margins entire or irregularly serrate. Its rhizome is considered as medicinal. The young fronds are eaten as vegetable.