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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

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 2016)

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 2016)

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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Council or Task Force

Old World Climbing Fern - Find It, Report It, Kill It (PDF | 953 KB)
Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council.

See also: Publications - Flyers for more climbing fern resources


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.

The Quiet Invasion: A Guide to Invasive Species of the Galveston Bay Area - Old World Climbing Fern, Small Leaf Climbing Fern
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Galveston Bay Estuary Program; Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC).

Global Invasive Species Database - Lygodium microphyllum (fern)
IUCN. Species Survival Commission. Invasive Species Specialist Group.

Federal Government

U.S. National Plant Germplasm System - Lygodium microphyllum
USDA. ARS. National Genetic Resources Program. GRIN-Global.

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.
See also: Noxious Weeds Program Risk Assessments for more species

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.

State Government

Weed Alerts: Old World Climbing Fern
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.


EDIS Topic - Old World Climbing Fern
University of Florida. Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension.
Electronic Data Information Source - publication resources

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

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


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

Langeland, K.A. and J. Hutchinson. 2016. Natural Area Weeds: Old World Climbing Fern (Lygodium microphyllum). University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension. Electronic Data Information Source 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: Aug 25, 2018
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