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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, Ugena microphylla

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

Click image to enlarge

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:

  • 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 (USDA, APHIS - Noxious Weeds Program); effective May 3, 2010



Selected Resources:

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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.

Lygodium japonicum, L. microphyllum- Fire Effects Information System (FEIS)
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.

Old World Climbing Fern (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.

Lygodium microphyllum
Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk.
Identification/Description; Photographs; Habitat; Distribution


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., J.A. Goolsby, and T. Wright. 2002. 10. Old World Climbing Fern. In: Van Driesche, R., et al., Biological Control of Invasive Plants in the Eastern United States, USDA Forest Service Publication FHTET-2002-04, 413 p.

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Last Modified: Apr 17, 2015
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