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Dragon Scales Fern

Common name for a tropical epiphytic fern in the family Polypodiaceae, that is known by the botanical name Pyrrosia piloselloides. This small creeping fern consists of a long and thin, wiry rhizome with a diameter of about 1 millimeter, which bears fronds that grow 1.5 to 4 centimeters apart and that are fleshy and dimorphic. The sterile fronds are oval and grow between 1 to 7 centimeters in length, whereas the fertile fronds are linear and between 4 to 16 centimeters long. Both fronds are covered with stellate hairs, i.e. ‘star-shaped’ hairs. The sori, i.e. the spore-producing structures, are linear, running along the frond margin, forming continuous marginal lines up to 2 millimeter in width and brownish in colour (fig.). Although this plant grows on another plant, shrub or tree, it is not parasitic on it, but takes its energy directly from the sun through the process of photosynthesis. However, it does benefit from its host by being more direct exposed to rainwater and sunlight, compared to other plants that grow on the forest floor, where larger trees may block them from direct access to those elements. Also known as Dragon's Scale and botanically also referred to by the name Drymoglossum piloselloides, while in Thai it is commonly called kled nagaraat (เกล็ดนาคราช), i.e. ‘Scales of the Naga-king’.