old world climbing fern USDA PLANTS SYMBOL: LYMI
Lygodium microphyllum (Cav.) R. Br.
Synonym(s): small leaf climbing fern

Old world climbing fern, an aggressive invader in southern Florida, is a perennial climbing fern that can reach lengths of more than 90 ft. (30 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 cm) long with thick, usually unlobed leaflets. Fertile fronds have lobes around the margin, where sporangia are covered with rolled leaf tissue. Old world climbing fern is a serious invader of swamps, glades, and hammocks. It can form dense mats that smother understory vegetation, shrubs and trees. Old word climbing fern also increases fire risks. Thick mats of dead fronds that grow into trees act as fire ladders, bringing the fires into the tree canopies. Old world climbing fern is native to Africa, Australia and Southeast Asia and was first found naturalized in the United States in 1965.

Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources