Wild Florida Photo
Nature Photography by Paul Rebmann
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JAPANESE CLIMBING FERN
Not native to Florida
Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council: Category I designation
This plant is an invasive exotic that is altering native plant communities by displacing native species, changing community structures or ecological functions, or hybridizing with natives.
This species should never be planted (many with this designation are prohibited by law), and generally should be removed whenever possible.
This vine-like fern is a problem invasive that can now be found in swamps, flatwoods, other moist areas and disturbed sites throughout Florida. Native to Japan, Lygodium japonicum ranges through the southeastern coastal states from Texas to North Carolina, plus Arkansas and Pennsylvania.
The climbing ferns can grow secondary, or branching rachises that twist into a trailing and high-climbing growth form that can cover all supporting vegetation. The blade has numerous alternate pinnae that are divided once or twice more into pinnae-like segments. The fronds are dimorphic, having fertile and sterile forms that appear distinctly different. Sterile pinnae are lanceolate to triangular in overall shape, 8-15 cm ( 3-6 in.) long on 1.5 - 3.5 cm (2/3 - 1-1/3 in.) long stalks with each pinna pinnately or bipinnately divided. Individual segments are lanceolate and usually lobed at the base. Fertile pinnae are similar, but appear smaller and lacy due to the sporangia on the underside margins.
More information about Japanese climbing fern, including a video, can be found at the University of Florida Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants website.