old world climbing fern
Lygodium microphyllum (Cav.) R. Br.


Lygodium microphyllum is a perennial climbing fern that can reach lengths of more than 90 ft. (27.4 m).
Vines are thin, wiry, and remain green throughout winter. The fronds (leaves of a fern) are opposite, singly compound, 2-5 in. (5-12.7 cm) long with thick, usually unlobed leaflets. Fertile fronds have lobes around the margin, where sporangia are covered with rolled leaf tissue. It 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.
This plant does not produce flowers.
The sporangia produces spores leading to the development of gametophytes. The gametophytes are usually small, and difficult to spot.
Ecological Threat
Lygodium microphyllum is a serious invader of swamps, glades, and hammocks. It can form dense mats that smother understory vegetation, shrubs and trees. This plant also increases fire risks. Thick mats of dead fronds that grow into trees act as fire ladders, bringing the fires into the tree canopies. It is native to Africa, Australia and Southeast Asia and was first found naturalized in the United States in 1965.

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EDDMapS Distribution

EDDMapS Distribution - This map is incomplete and is based only on current site and county level reports made by experts, herbaria, and literature. For more information, visit www.eddmaps.org

State Regulated List

State Regulated List - This map identifies those states that list this species on their regulated list. For more information, visit Invasive.org

Taxonomic Rank

There is no applicable taxonomy of higher classification for this subject.

Synonyms and Other Names

Other Common Names:
small leaf climbing fern


Plants - Vines