Nito is an endemic plant of Bohol that grows in the tropical forests. Nito belongs to the fern family which is also called Red Finger Fern in English and Agsam, Nitong Puti, and Nitoan in the Philippines.
This plant is abundant among tropical forests in Sri Lanka and India, from Southern China, across Malaysia to the Solomon Islands and the Philippines. It is commonly found in open areas, disturbed secondary forest at low to medium elevation. It has vines that are clinging and attached to trees and rocks which can engulf a tree with its vines twining around shrubs in the hinterlands. It could reach several meters in length.
In addition, this plant has a high medicinal value used by indigenous communities to cure wounds and wild animal bites. The leaves, stems, and roots can be applied to wounds and other skin ailments for its antibacterial properties. It could be also used as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and insect repellant.
In Bohol, nito vines play a big role in the cottage industry of furniture and handicraft making. It is used in making baskets and other native products like hats, fans, trays, placemats, bags, blinds, box containers, chandeliers, wine holders, lampshades, and other decorative products.
The proper management and conservation of our tropical forests where these endemic plants grow help sustain local farmers in their livelihood.