Native Plants

Helminthostachys zeylanica

Tunjuk Bumi
Not Evaluated
Malaysia Plant Red List
QR Code
SSN 42329
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  • Kingdom
  • Division
  • Class
  • Order
  • Family
  • Genus
  • Specific Epithet
    zeylanica L. & Hook.
  • Vernacular Name
  • Residential
The taxonomic status is pending for approval


Helminthostachys zeylanica, locally known as tunjuk bumi in Malay is a member of the family Ophioglossaceae and the only species in the genus Helminthostachys. This species is a flowering terrestrial fern with short creeping rhizome that can reach up to 7 mm in diameter, bearing either a solitary frond or several fronds in each year. It is an unbranched plant, laterally and ventrally bearing fleshy roots. It has lanceolate leaves with the entire or irregularly serrate margins and acuminate apex. The rhizome is sometimes exported to China for its medicinal use (Uphof, 1959). Its mature leaves have a spike which can grow up to 20 cm long that arise from the base of the leaves with its own stipe. This herbaceous fern can be found growing on moist ground, along the river banks or on humus-rich slopes in light shade from sea level up to 400 m altitude. It is commonly found in Australia, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Taiwan, New Guinea and Indonesia (Jones, 1987).


  Part Habit
Terrestrial   —   An animal that lives on/near the ground or a plant that grows on/in/from land
Upright   —   Growing upward.


No Description Suitability Seasonality
Vegetation → Coastal Vegetation
Unknown Unknown
References :


Year Published Assessment Red List Category Version
2010 Malaysia Plant Red List
Not Evaluated (NE)


Leaf Apex
2D Shape
Gradually tapering to a point
Leaf Base
2D Shape


by State Location
  • Johore 1
  • Pahang 6
  • Selangor 1
  • Terengganu 1
by Protected Areas Location
  • National/State Park 1
Based on publications, specimens, and images

Digital Specimen

Biodiversity Experts

Rosazlina Binti Rusly (Dr.)
Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)
  • Ferns
  • Biodiversity
  • Climate Change
  • Conservation
  • Ecology
  • Ecosystems
  • Environment
  • Forest
  • Genetics
  • Invasive Alien Species
  • Molecular
  • Systematics
  • Taxonomy
Yong Kien Thai (Dr.)
University of Malaya (UM)
  • Moss
  • Vascular (Taxonomy)
  • Ferns (Taxonomy)
  • Protected Areas
  • Biodiversity
  • Conservation
  • Evolution
  • Taxonomy
  • PM
  • SBH
  • SWK
  • SEA
PM - Peninsular Malaysia; SBH - Sabah; SWK - Sarawak; SEA - Southeast Asia; W - World;


  1. Christensen, C. & Holttum, R.E. (1934). The Gardens' Bulletin, Straits Settlements: The Ferns of Mount Kinabalu. 7 (3), 191-316.
  2. Jaman, R. & Latiff, A. (1999). The Pteridophyte Flora of Pulau Tioman, Peninsular Malaysia. The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplements (6), 77-100
  3. Julius, K. (2007). Common medicinal plants of Sabah. Sepilok Bulletin. 6, 1-23.
  4. Kodoh, J. (2005). Surveys of non-timber forest products traded in tamu, Sabah, Malaysia. Sepilok Bulletin. 3, 27-36.
  5. Maideen, H., Nur-Adilah, N., Damanhuri, A., Jaman, R., Miran, S. & Nazre, M. (2005). Pteridophytes of the Southwestern Endau-Rompin National Park, Johor, Malaysia. The Forests and Biodiversity of Selai Endau-Rompin. pp. 91-94.
  6. Milow, P., Malek, S. & Ramli, M.R. (2017). Medicinal Plants of the Indigenous Tribes in Peninsular Malaysia: Current and Future Perspectives. Active Ingredients from Aromatic and Medicinal Plants. .
  7. Mohd. Norfaizal, G., Omar, Y., Masrom, H. & Mohd Shukri, M.A (2014). A Preliminary Flora Survey of Sungkai Wildlife Reserve, Perak, Malaysia. Journal of Wildlife and Parks 29, 31-35
  1. Biodiversity expedition Sungai Bebar, Pekan, Pahang summary findings, 2005. Peat Swamp Forest Project, UNDP/GEF Funded. pp. 169.
  2. Health and Beauty from the Rainforest : Malaysian Traditions of Ramuan, 2009. Editions Didier Millet. pp. 256.
  3. Abdul Rahman, A.R., Mohd Nasir, A.H., Azmi, N., Nor Hasliza, M.B. & Latiff, A. (2014). Hutan Simpan Gunung Tebu, Terengganu: Pengurusan Hutan, Persekitaran Fizikal dan Kepelbagaian Biologi. Jabatan Perhutanan Semenanjung Malaysia, Malaysia. pp. 343.
  4. Mohd. Rizal, S., Na'aman, J., Jalil, M.S., Nizam, M.S., Latiff, A. & Azahar, M. (2006). Gunung Mandi Angin, Terengganu: Pengurusan, Persekitaran Fizikal, Kepelbagaian Biologi dan Pelancongan Ekologi. Jabatan Perhutanan Semenanjung Malaysia, Malaysia. pp. 500.
  5. Azahar, M., Mohd. Hamami, S., Ahmad Said, S., Faridah, Q.Z., Nor Aini, A.S., Jalil, M.S. & Faridah-Hanum, I. (2006). Sustainable Management and Utilization of Medicinal Plant Resources: Proceedings of the International Conference on Medicinal Plants, 5-7 December 2005 Kuala Lumpur. Universiti Putra Malaysia dan Jabatan Perhutanan Semenanjung Malaysia, Malaysia. pp. 365.
  6. Azahar, M., Azman, A.R., Che, H.H., Koh, H.L., Norhayati, A. & Latiff, A. (2007). Taman Rimba Kenong, Pahang: Pengurusan, Persekitaran Fizikal dan Kepelbagaian Biologi. Jabatan Perhutanan Semenanjung Malaysia, Malaysia. pp. 248.
  7. Faridah-Hanum, I. & Shamsul, K. (2004). A guide to the common plants of Ayer Hitam Forest, Selangor, Peninsular Malaysia. Universiti Putra Malaysia Press, Serdang, Malaysia. pp. 220.
  8. Jones, David L. (1987). Encyclopaedia of ferns : an introduction to ferns, their structure, biology, economic importance, cultivation and propagation. Timber Press, United States of America. pp. 1-433.
  9. Madihah, M.N., Tan, A.L., Intan Nurulhani, B., Amizan, N., Dionysia, M., Fadzureena, J., Abdul Hayat, M.S., Amelia, B.A. & Nurul Husna, Z. (2019). Meneroka Rahsia Rimba Warisan Orang Asli Semenanjung Malaysia Jilid 1. Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), Malaysia. pp. 362.
  10. Noraini, T., Ruzi, A.R., Jaman, R., Nurnida, M.K. & Farrah-Melissa, M. (2010). Ferns and Fern-allies: Taman Paku Pakis UKM, Volume 2. Fakulti Sains Dan Teknologi, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia. pp. 107.
  11. Ong, H.C. (2004). Tumbuhan Liar: Khasiat & Kegunaan Lain. Utusan Publications & Distribution Sdn. Bhd., Malaysia. pp. 241.
  12. Phang, S.M., Affendi, Y.A., Ooi, J.L.S. & Haji, A.J.M. (2008). Natural History of The Pulau Tioman Group of Islands. Institute of Ocean and Earth Sciences (IOES), University of Malaya, Malaysia. pp. 292.
  13. Piggott, A.G. (1988). Ferns of Malaysia in Colour. Tropical Press Sdn. Bhd., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. pp. 458.
  14. Shaharuddin, M.I., Che, H.H., Mohd. Puat, Dahalan, Jalil, M.S., Norhaidi, Y. & Latiff, A. (2005). Hutan Simpan Ulu Muda, Kedah: Pengurusan, Persekitaran Fizikal Dan Biologi. Jabatan Perhutanan Semenanjung Malaysia, Malaysia. pp. 310.
  15. Uphof, J. C. Th. (1959). Dictionary of Economic Plants. H.R. Engelmann (J. Cramer), Germany.
  16. Wong, K.M. (2001). Medicinal Plants, Rain Forests and Us. pp. 38.
Chapter in book
  1. Milow, P., Malek, S. & Ramli, M.R. (March 2017). Medicinal Plants of the Indigenous Tribes in Peninsular Malaysia: Current and Future Perspectives. In El-Shemy, H. (Ed.), Active Ingredients from Aromatic and Medicinal Plants. InTechOpen. pp. 14.

Acknowledgements :- Ms. Aida Salihah Binti Abu Bakar, Ms. Ajla Rafidah Baharom, Ms. Amirah Hasanah Binti Mazlan, Mr. Badrul Amin Bin Jaffar, Ms. Kamilia Huda Binti Mohd Zaini, Ms. Mira Farzana Binti Mohamad Mokhtar, Mr. Mohamad Firdaus Bin Mohamad Ridzwan, Mr. Muhammad Izzuddin Bin Hazan, Ms. Noorkhalilie Binti Che Abd Aziz, Ms. Norazah Binti Norddin, Ms. Nurfadzilah Bt Azmi, Ms. Nurfarhana Hizan Binti Hijas, Ms. Nurliyana Binti Abd Rahman, Ms. Nurul Aimi Amirah Binti Mohd Zaki, Ms. Siti Zubaidah Binti Abdul Latif, Mr. Tan Kok Kiat & Mr. Yasser Mohamed Arifin

Photo credit :- FRIM

Species Citation :- Helminthostachys zeylanica. Malaysia Biodiversity Information System (MyBIS). Accessed via [Retrieved 30 November 2023].

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Website Citation: MyBIS (2023). Malaysia Biodiversity Information System. Published on the Internet, Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change, Malaysia Biodiversity Centre & Forest Research Institute Malaysia. [Retrieved 30 November 2023].