old world climbing fern

Polypodiales > Lygodiaceae > 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


Selected Images from Invasive.org

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Seedling(s);
Amy Ferriter, South Florida Water Management District, Bugwood.org
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Foliage; Underside of spore-bearing leaflets of Old World climbing fern. Some leaflets produce spores; others don't. Spores can be carried by the wind to start new infestations.
Peggy Greb, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org
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Foliage; Fertile fronds
Amy Ferriter, South Florida Water Management District, Bugwood.org
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Infestation; Miami-Dade County, Florida
Tony Pernas, USDI National Park Service, Bugwood.org
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Infestation; Miami-Dade County, Florida
Tony Pernas, USDI National Park Service, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
Tony Pernas, USDI National Park Service, Bugwood.org
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Infestation; Old World climbing fern growing on cypress trees in southern Florida. The weed forms huge skirts that fires can climb to reach tree tops. Trees without the fern usually survive fire.
Peggy Greb, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
Tony Pernas, USDI National Park Service, Bugwood.org
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Infestation; Entomologist Robert Pemberton observes invasive Old World climbing fern overtaking cypress trees in southern Florida.
Peggy Greb, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org
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Infestation; Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, Florida
Tony Pernas, USDI National Park Service, Bugwood.org
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Infestation; Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, Florida
Tony Pernas, USDI National Park Service, Bugwood.org
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Control;
Amy Ferriter, South Florida Water Management District, Bugwood.org
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Prescribed Fire;
Amy Ferriter, South Florida Water Management District, Bugwood.org
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Control; Post Treatment, Everglades National Park, Florida
Tony Pernas, USDI National Park Service, Bugwood.org
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Control;
Amy Ferriter, South Florida Water Management District, Bugwood.org
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Control;
Amy Ferriter, South Florida Water Management District, Bugwood.org
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Invasive Reference(s):

Check Invasive.org for most current lists.
  • Alabama - Noxious Weed Law
  • Florida - EPPC list


External Links


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USDA Forest Service Bugwood University of Georgia