The miding plant is a member of the Blechnaceae family and is botanically known as Stenochlaena palustris (Burm.f.) Bedd. It is a rhizomatous and epiphytic perennial with its base rooted to the soil. The fern is commontly found growing in fresh water and peat swamps area as well in secondary jungle.

The frond tips, with or without open or expanded leaves are used traditionally as a vegetable. Fronds with very narrow modified leaves bearing the spores for dispersal are not usually eaten. The frond colour varies from light green to dark green or even different shades of red. Fertile fronds and the red colouring are produced in produced in response to unfavourable environment changes like dry weather and haze.

Frond Grading

Grade A - frond curls with no open leaf
Grade B - frond curls with 2-4 open leaves
Grade C - frond curls with many open leaves


Planting Material and Nursery

Miding can be propagated from the spores or vegetative parts such as the rhizomatous stems. Stem cuttings 25-30 cm long with 406 nodes and some leaves are collected from wild plants. The cuttings are inserted into small polybags 10 x 25 cm (4" x 8") filled with top soil. About 2/3 of the length must be inside the soil. Polybags planted with cuttings are placed under 60-80% shade for about 2-3 weeks after which they are gradually exposed to full sun. During this period watering must be done frequently. A few granules of fertiliser and a few spoonfulls of well rotted organic manure will be beneficial for growth. After about 3-4 months the cuttings will be ready for transplanting into the field.

Field Planting

Miding is adapted to growing in various types of soils and conditions, from lowland acid sulphate flats, peat swamps to hilly mineral soils. On hilly areas, the area chosen for growing miding should be moist to wet, groth and frond production are restricted if the plant is subjected to water stress. Miding planted on wet to moist soil near to a water source will yield well.

Rooted cuttings are transplanted to flats or beds measuring 1.2-1.5 m wide. The plants are spaced 60x60 cm in double-rows or 30 cm signle central row. Allow 1.5-1.8 m inter-flat or inter-row spacing for easily passage. About 10,000 plants are rewuired for successful and quick establishment of a one hectare plot.


Miding does not require much fertilisers input. Once or twice a month applications of 200-400 g/m2 well rotted and 10-20 g/m2 15:15:15 or 12:12:15 atau 12:12:17:2 fertiliser will bring the crop to full protection in 6-8 months. Depending on the soil fertility, the frequency of application may be increased to once in 2-3 weeks during production. Over manuring has been shown to decrease yield.

Training and Management

Miding may be planted on flats or trained to climb posts, live support or other suitable structures that will allow more surface area to enhance yield. When planted on flats, the plants crawl on the ground. Productive stems tend to become slender and grow upwareds. When these shoots give rice to small weak fronds, they should be cut off to encourage the growth of new shoots. Old leaves and shoots may be pruned once every 6 months to allow new growth.

Because a post provides more surface area for shoots to grow on, theoretically, this system of planting could produce more pronds. Climbing posts are spaced 1 m within rows and 1.5-1.8 m apart. For ease of harvests, the height pf the posts should not be more thatn 150 m (5') above ground. As in the flats planting system, old leaves and shoots should also be pruned. Compared to planting on flats, the first harvest is slightly delayed. Other system for training miding are being investigated at the Research Centre.

Weeding is essential during the establishment phase. When fully grown, the crop meeds weeding. Do not apply any herbicide for weed control as the ferns are very sensitive to it. During dry periods irrigation is useful especially on higher grounds. Pests and diseases are not common or serious and no chemical application is necessary. Because miding cultivation requires minimal chemical input it can be produced organically.

Harvesting and Post-Harvest

Young fronds are harvested once every 3 days and normally when they are dry from the morning dew or during late afternoon. Harvesting is done by plucking, a quick snap action at the lower portion of the frond curls using the thumb and the forefinger. The fronds are collected in a basket and graded for sale.

Financial Returns

It is estimated that in order to have one hectare of miding RM4000 - RM6000 is required. Most of these goes into establishment of the plot, especially if the miding is planted on posts, and harvesting. Part-time or family labour for harvesting can reduce the production cost. If sold at farm-gate price of RM4-8/kg for Grade A fronds, a net margin of RM2-4.kg can be expected.

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Contribution by: SRO Chai Chen Chong (SRO, ARC Semongok / Farmers Bulletin Jan-Feb 2005)