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You are here: Home / Plants / Species Profiles / Japanese Climbing Fern
Species Profiles

Japanese Climbing Fern

Japanese climbing fern

Scientific name: Lygodium japonicum (Thunb. ex Murr.) Sw. (ITIS)

Synonym: Ophioglossum japonicum (Fuchs 1960)

Common name: Japanese climbing fern

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Selected Resources

Native To: Asia and Australia (Leichty et al. 2011)

Date of U.S. Introduction: Early 1900s (Leichty et al. 2011)

Means of Introduction: Introduced as an ornamental (Leichty et al. 2011)

Impact: Smothers native vegetation by blocking sunlight and increases fire risk by allowing fire to spread up trees along its vines (Minogue et al. 2009)

Current U.S. Distribution: Southeastern U.S., Hawaii



Selected Resources:

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

Invasive Plant Atlas of the MidSouth - Japanese Climbing Fern
Mississippi State University. Geosystems Research Institute.

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

Texas Invasives Database - Lygodium japonicum

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

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

Federal Government

U.S. National Plant Germplasm System - Lygodium japonicum
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 - Japanese Climbing Fern
USDA. NRCS. National Plant Data Center.

State Government

Invasive Species: Japanese Climbing Fern
Alabama Forestry Commission.

Weed Alerts: Japanese climbing fern
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.


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

Japanese Climbing Fern: A Threat to Texas' Forests (Nov 2005; PDF | 589 KB)
Texas A&M University. Texas Forest Service.
See also: Texas Forestry Association's "Dirty Dozen" for more fact sheets


Fuchs, H.P. 1960. The nomenclature of a Japanese Ophioglossum. American Fern Journal 50(1):124-127.

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

Leichty, E.R., B.J. Carmichael, and W.J. Platt. 2011. Invasion of a southeastern pine savanna by Japanese climbing fern. Castanea 76(3):293-299.

Minogue, P.J., S. Jones, K.K. Bohn, and R.L. Williams. 2009. Biology and Control of Japanese Climbing Fern (Lygodium japonicum) (PDF | 2.55 MB) University of Florida, IFAS Extension. FOR 218.

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Last Modified: Jul 21, 2018
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