Common Name(s): Old World climbing fern
Non-Native to Florida
Origin: Africa to Southeast Asia, south Pacific islands, Australia 1
Introduction to Florida: pre-1958 2
Video ID segment (2-3 minutes)
Adobe Flash needed to view video
This species appears on the following legally prohibited plant lists
|Federal Noxious Weed List||Florida Noxious Weed List||Florida Prohibited Aquatic Plants List|
UF-IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas
CATEGORY I on the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council’s (FLEPPC) 2017 List of Invasive Plant Species
Old World Climbing Fern Assessment and Annotated Bibliography by Stephen F. Enloe (December 2015)
USDA-APHIS Lygodium microphyllum (Old World climbing fern), Lygodium japonicum (Japanese climbing fern), and Lygodium flexuosum Weed Risk Assessment (2009) (PDF)
Download a recognition card (PDF) from Invasive and Non-native Plants You Should Know3
Download a page (PDF) from Identification and Biology of Nonnative Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas – Second Edition1
Control information: Integrated Management of Nonnative Plants in Natural Areas of Florida (EDIS publication SP 242)4
See Table 1 in Florida’s Established Arthropod Weed Biological Control Agents and Their Targets (2013) for a list of arthropod biological control agents that occur on this species.
Lygodium Species Comparison Flyer: Karan A. Rawlins, Kenneth Langeland, and Jeffrey Hutchinson, 2012.
EDIS publication Natural Area Weeds: Old World Climbing Fern (Lygodium microphyllum) by Kenneth A. Langeland and Jeffery Hutchinson.
Download the Florida Exotic Plant Pest Council’s (FLEPPC) Lygodium Management Plan – Second Edition, 2006 (PDF 2.3 MB)
Lygodium microphyllum is an invasive exotic vine in Florida, native to Asia and Australia. Old World climbing fern is climbing into trees and shading out native vegetation in hundreds of acres in east-central Florida. Old World climbing fern has the ability to “resprout” from almost anywhere along each climbing leaf–yes, leaf. Dense growth of the plant can also be a fire hazard, frequently enabling small ground fires to reach into tree canopies where it can kill the growing branches. Invasive exotics can thus change the effects of physical processes in plant communities.
Old World climbing fern is a fern with climbing fronds. What looks like a stem is actually a climbing, freely branching, leaf (frond) which may become as much as 100 feet long. The leafy branches off the main stem are 2-5 inches long. Old World climbing fern has two types of leaflets on its climbing leaf. The leaflet with the simple (unlobed) outline is a normal vegetative leaflet. The more convoluted leaflet has sporangia along its margin, which produce spores leading to the development of gametophytes. Gametophytes are separate small plants that produce sexual cells, which unite to form an embryo and ultimately a new climbing fern. This alternating of vegetative and reproductive plants as separate generations is typical of most ferns. The reproductive plants (gametophytes) are usually very small, and rarely seen without considerable detective work.
View more information and pictures about Old World climbing fern, as contained in the Langeland/Burks book, Identification & Biology of Non-Native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas.
Refer to the UF/IFAS Invasive Species Management Plans for Florida to learn more about Lygodium japonicum management.
View the brochure Old World Climbing Fern (Lygodium microphyllum) – Find it, Report it, Kill it! R. Rowe, Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council. 2009 (PDF 953 KB).
View the herbarium specimen image from the University of Florida Herbarium Digital Imaging Projects.
1. Identification and Biology of Nonnative Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas – Second Edition,
by K.A. Langeland, H.M. Cherry, et al. University of Florida-IFAS Publication # SP 257. 2008.
2. Strangers in Paradise, Impact and Management of Nonindigenous Species in Florida, Chapter 2: Florida’s Invasion by Nonindigenous Plants: History, Screening, and Regulation, by D.R.
Gordon and K.P. Thomas, pp. 21-37. Island Press, Washington, DC, 1997.
3. Invasive and Non-native Plants You Should Know – Recognition Cards,
by A. Richard and V. Ramey. University of Florida-IFAS Publication # SP 431. 2007.
4. Integrated Management of Nonnative Plants in Natural Areas of Florida, by K. A. Langeland, J. A. Ferrell, B. Sellers, G. E. MacDonald, and R. K. Stocker. University of Florida-IFAS Publication # SP 242. 2011.