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You are here: Home / Plants / Species Profiles / Old World Climbing Fern
Species Profiles

Old World Climbing Fern

Old World Climbing Fern - Invasive.org

Scientific name: Lygodium microphyllum (Cav.) R. Br. (ITIS)

Synonym: Lygodium scandens (Pemberton 1998)

Common names: Old World climbing fern, small leaf climbing fern

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Selected Resources

Native To: Africa, Australia, and southeast Asia (Pemberton et al. 2002)

Date of U.S. Introduction: First found naturalized in the 1960s (Langeland and Hutchinson 2013)

Means of Introduction: Introduced as an ornamental (Pemberton et al. 2002)

Impact: Smothers native vegetation and increases fire risk by allowing fire to spread up trees along its vines (Langeland and Hutchinson 2013)

Current U.S. Distribution: Florida

Federally Regulated:

  • Noxious Weeds Program
    USDA. APHIS. Plant Protection and Quarantine.
    Includes species listed as a Federal Noxious Weed under the Plant Protection Act, which makes it illegal in the U.S. to import or transport between States without a permit.



Selected Resources:

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Federal Noxious Weed Disseminules of the U.S. - Fact Sheet: Lygodium microphyllum
USDA. APHIS. PPQ. Center for Plant Health Science and Technology; California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER) - Lygodium microphyllum
USDA. FS. Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry.

Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States - Old World Climbing Fern
University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.

Global Invasive Species Database - Lygodium microphyllum (fern)
World Conservation Union. Invasive Species Specialist Group.


Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) - Lygodium microphyllum
USDA. ARS. National Genetic Resources Program.

Weed Risk Assessment: Lygodium microphyllum (Old world climbing fern), Lygodium japonicum (Japanese climbing fern), and Lygodium flexuosum (May 2009; PDF | 669 KB)
USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Fire Effects Information System (FEIS) - Lygodium japonicum, L. microphyllum
USDA. FS. Rocky Mountain Research Station. Fire Sciences Laboratory.

PLANTS Database - Small-leaf Climbing Fern
USDA. NRCS. National Plant Data Center.

Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory - Lygodium microphyllum
Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce.


Weed Alert: Old World climbing fern
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.


TAME Lygodium (Old World Climbing Fern)
University of Florida. Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. TAME Invasives Portal.

Plant Profile: Lygodium microphyllum
University of Florida. IFAS. Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants.


Old World Climbing Fern (PDF | 953 KB)
Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council.

Old World Climbing Fern (Lygodium microphyllum) Management Plan for Florida (2006; PDF | 2.33 MB)
Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council. Lygodium Task Force.

Old world climbing fern, small leaf climbing fern
Guide to Invasive Plants of the Galveston Bay Area.


Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Lygodium microphyllum. [Accessed Sep 10, 2014].

Langeland, K.A. and J. Hutchinson. 2013. Natural Area Weeds: Old World Climbing Fern (Lygodium microphyllum) University of Florida, IFAS Extension. Publication #SS-AGR-21.

Pemberton, R.W. 1998. The potential of biological control to manage Old World climbing fern (Lygodium microphyllum), an invasive weed in Florida. American Fern Journal 88(4):176-182.

Pemberton, R.W., J.A. Goolsby, and T. Wright. 2002. 10. Old World Climbing Fern. In: R. Van Driesche et al. (Eds.), Biological control of invasive plants in the eastern United States (FHTET-2002-04). Morgantown, West Virginia: U.S. Forest Service Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team.

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Last Modified: Nov 28, 2015
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