Tali Kasut or Shoestring Fern Malaysia Huperzia Tetrasticha

Malaysia Tali Kasut Jungle Fern
The Tali Kasut fern or shoestring fern is one of the rare species of Lycopodium or Huperzia Tetrasticha found around Malaysia. This species was bought around Terengganu along the trunk roads from a local villager who sold many other species.I was quite thrilled to encounter such a rare species like this in good condition. The vendor also carefully re-potted the unique Shoestring Fern (paku pakis tali kasut in Malay) while young baby shoots were sprouting.

Tali Kasut or Shoestring Fern Malaysia Huperzia Tetrasticha

It is often confusing with so many local names when you ask someone about this kind of fern. Different places around Malaysia will call it by the local names; hence you should know them all before looking for them.

When you buy them from a local Malay vendor, they simply call it Tali Kasut, which means shoelace, because of the fern’s appearance. If you go to some educated nursery, they may call it by the scientific name too.

The genus of this fern is closely related to the genus of lycophyte plants, and in the western world, they are often related to the firmosses or fir club mosses from the club moss family.

Malaysia Huperzia Tetrasticha Fern
Huperzia Tetrasticha close up

Shoestring Fern Names in Malaysia

  1. Scientific Name 1: Huperzia Tetrasticha
  2. Scientific Name 2: Lycopodium Carinatum (Not directly related)
  3. Local Malay Name: Tali Kasut Empat Segi (Square shoestring)
  4. Local English Name: Shoestring or Shoelace Fern
  5. Other English names: Tassel Ferns
  6. Origin: Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Borneo, Philippines, Thailand, Brunei, Indonesia)

How much does a Tali Kasut Fern cost?

I repurchased one pot in the year 2005, and it was priced at RM30 a pot. These days, I hardly see any of these types of ferns around, and if there are, they would probably cost almost one hundred Ringgit or more.

Depending on where you buy them, too, as if you get them from a roadside plant vendor, they could be less than RM100, and if you go to a specialized nursery, they can go up to a few hundreds of Ringgit.

But in reality, they are tough to source; hence if you see them being sold cheap, I strongly recommend you buy them for your collection if you love these kinds of jungle plants.

Malaysia Tassel Fern
Tips starting to turn yellow or dry out indicate the fern is not too well.

How to Care for Huperzia Tetrasticha?

This is a shaded fern and cannot be put under direct sunlight. It needs to be watered a few times a week and grown in moss. They are best hung as the fronds tend to fall.

No general fertilizer is to be used for them. When new shoots appear, they are light green in colour, and if you see your fronds, lace or tassels starting to turn brown, this means that the frond is sick. Best to cut off any dying fronds.

Do not grow them indoors, or they will not last very long. They need to be grown outdoors with indirect sunlight, namely under a tree.


Among the many types of ferns I collect, my favourites are the Ekor Kuching Fern, Tanduk Kijang Fern and the popular Staghorn Fern or Tanduk Rusa. If you travel to the East Coast of Malaysia and find plants like these, you need to use the old roads. The best time is around morning till late afternoons.

The Tali Kasut fern I bought grew for about five years, and when I left for overseas, it was not cared for and eventually died. This is truly tragic, and it was one of my most favourite lycopodium ferns.

As I frequently travel around the country nowadays, I am now looking for more Tali Kasut or Shoestring Fern Malaysia Huperzia Tetrasticha.

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