Singapore is home to many native species. This stamp issue beautifully depicted two commonly seen ferns in Singapore – Angiopteris evecta(also known as Elephant Fern) and Cibotium barometz (also known as the Golden Chicken Fern).
Angioptenis evecta (Elephant Fern) is a large fern with a massive mound of a stem. Fronds are large, bipinnate compound and up to 6 m long. The base of the frond stalk is swollen and has a pair of fleshy, rounded auricles. This fern is widely distributed in the Old World tropics from Madagascar and tropical Asia, throughout Southeast Asia to Australia and Polynesia. In Singapore it can be found at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Labrador Nature Reserve, Bukit Batok Nature Park and Singapore Botanic Gardens.
Angioptenis evecta is found in primary and secondary forests, usually by streams and rivers. It can be grown in well-drained moist sites in the garden with some shade.
The plant has been used in folk medicine to treat rheumatism, to arrest bleeding after a miscarriage and to treat coughs. The young shoot can be eaten as a vegetable.
Cibotium barometz is also known as the Golden Chicken Fern. Although many species are tree ferns, this species does not develop a trunk. Fronds are large, bipinnate compound, borne on long, brown-black stalks that reach 3 m long. The lower portions of these stalks are covered with masses of golden hairs. The apical portion, including the young fiddleheads, is similarly covered with such hairs. These portions are sometimes sold placed in potted soil as table ornaments or as charms to ward off evil. In folk medicine, these scales were once used to arrest bleeding.
The medieval legend of the Tartarian or Scythian Lamb originated from this fern. Rhizome pieces, each attached to four short basal portions of frond stalks, look like lambs when inverted. It was believed the lamb grew on a stalk like a plant, devouring other plants around it.
The fern is a tropical and subtropical species distributed from Assam to Southern China and Southeast Asia. It is commonly found at altitude of 200-1,500 m where the forest is shady and damp.