Acrostichum aureum

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Golden leather fern
Acros aure 080627 0097 smlu.jpg
Growing among Metroxylon sagu in Indonesia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Pteridopsida
Order: Polypodiales
Family: Pteridaceae
Subfamily: Ceratopteridoideae
Genus: Acrostichum
Species: A. aureum
Binomial name
Acrostichum aureum

Acrostichum aureum, the golden leather fern, is a large species of fern that grows in mangrove swamps and other wet locations. Other common names include swamp fern and mangrove fern.


The golden leather fern has large fronds growing to a length of 1.8 metres (six feet). The leaves are glossy, broad and pinnate, the pinnae being dark green, leathery, alternate and widely spaced. The outer fronds arch over sideways but the central ones are nearly straight. Some of the larger fronds bear sporangia (reproductive organs) on the upper five to eight pairs of pinnae. These are brick red and give the pinnae a felted appearance.[2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The golden leather fern is found in tropical and sub-tropical areas around the world. It grows in swamps and mangrove forests, salt marshes and on river banks and is tolerant of raised salinity levels. The spores germinate better, however, in fresh water. It tends to grow on slight elevations in the mangrove swamp in areas which are inundated by the sea occasionally. It can also grow in freshwater locations. In Malaysia there are two plant forms. The larger ones occur on the periphery of the swamp where they may reach 4 metres (13 ft) while much more stunted plants grow in the areas which are frequently inundated. It can grow in full sun or in deep shade and it has been found that the mangrove Rhizophora mucronata can regenerate in dense stands of the fern.[2]


The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists the golden leather fern as being of "Least Concern"" because it is common, is fast growing, regenerates easily and has few threats. It grows vigorously in disturbed areas of mangrove forest and may be difficult to eradicate.[1]


  1. ^ a b Ellison, J.; Koedam, N.E.; Wang, Y.; Primavera, J.; Jin Eong, O.; Wan-Hong Yong, J.; Ngoc Nam, V. (2010). "Acrostichum aureum". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2012-10-07. 
  2. ^ a b Hill, K. (2006). "Acrostichum aureum: Golden leather fern". Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce. Retrieved 2012-10-07.