Davallia denticulata (Burm. f.) Mett. ex Kuhn var. denticulata
by Ms. Yasmin Sarah Binti Abd. Majid
Davallia denticulata (Burm. f.) Mett. ex Kuhn var. denticulata
by Ms. Yasmin Sarah Binti Abd. Majid

Davallia denticulata is a fern species from the family Polypodiaceae (POWO, 2024). The specific epithet, denticulata comes from the Latin word "denticulatus" which means "with teeth", and it refers to the toothed characteristics of its frond segments above the indusium (Parris et al., 2013). The pouch-shaped indusium is the outer membrane tissue that protects the sori (clusters of spores) of the fern. This species has two varieties: Davallia denticulata var. denticulata in Peninsular Malaysia and D. denticulata var. elata in the Philippines (Parris et al., 2013).

Davallia denticulata var. denticulata is commonly known as the Rabbit foot fern because of its long-creeping, thick rhizome covered in reddish-brown and toothed hair-like scales (Tsutsumi & Kato, 2005; NParks Flora Fauna, 2024), resembling a rabbit’s foot. It is also known as “Paku tertutup” in Malay (Parris et al., 2013; Yong et al., 2021). The fronds are usually tripinnate and broadly triangular, 16–90 cm long and 13–50 cm wide, and the leaf stalk or stipe is 4–50 cm long. The secondary leaflets or pinnules are narrow ovate with toothed edges and false veins (Parris et al., 2013). Small sori are situated on a segment at the edges of the leaves (Sofiyanti et al., 2019).

Davallia denticulata var. denticulata occurs throughout Peninsular Malaysia except in Perlis and Melaka (Yong et al., 2021). According to the Malaysia Red List, this species is categorised as Least Concern (LC) (Yong et al., 2021). This epiphyte is frequently found in various forest types, such as mangroves and coastal forests, and is commonly found on a variety of trees such as oil palm (Saharizan et al., 2021). It is also a lithophyte that grows on limestone and quartz formations, open ground such as forest floor above 600 m altitude (Parris et al.,2013) and damp rocks by the river (Mildawati et al., 2022).

With its distinct fronds and unique rhizome, D. denticulata var. denticulata is used in floral decoration and wreath making (Parris et al., 2013). Its ornamental value has contributed to its popularity in landscaping and interior design. It is also sold as foliage for flower arrangements.


  1. Mildawati, Sobir, Sulistijorini, Chikmawati, T. (2022). Diversity, distribution, and ecology of Davallia in Sumatra (Indonesia) and the nearby small islands. Biodiversitas 23 (1), 33-42.
  2. National Parks Board Singapore, Flora Fauna Web. (2024). Davallia denticulata (Burm.f.) Mett. ex Kuhn var. denticulata. Retrieved January 11, 2024, from
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  6. Sofiyanti, N., Iriani, D., Fitmawati, F. & Marpaung, A.A. (2019). Morphology, palynology, and stipe anatomy of four common ferns from Pekanbaru, Riau Province, Indonesia. Biodiversitas 20 (1), 327-336.
  7. Tsutsumi, C. & Kato, M. (2005). Molecular phylogenetic study on Davalliaceae. Fern Gazette 17 (3), 147-162.
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