Lygodium japonicum

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Scientific Name: Lygodium japonicum
Synonym: Ophioglossum japonicum
Common Name: Japanese Climbing Fern
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Pteridophyta
Class: Filicopsida
Order: Polypodia
Family: Lygodiaceae - Climbing fern family
Genus: Lygodium Sw.
Species: Lygodium japonicum

What to look for first:
  • Tangle of wiry, twining fronds
  • Fern-type leaves with hairs on undersides
  • Spores under curled leaf margins

Japanese climbing fern is a perennial vine-type fern, reaching up to 90 feet in length. Leaves: Its leaves are lacy and finely divided, arranged opposite on the vine. The vines are green to orange to black and wiry, often infesting trees and shrubs forming dense mats of vegetation. Stems: Thin, wiry, dark rhizomes or runners, sometimes forming layered mats on the ground surface. Spores: Many tiny spores released per plant and carried by wind, dust, animals, clothes, etc. Flowers: Ferns are a spore-releasing class of vascular plants. No flowers.

Behavior: Japanese climbing fern climbs over shrubs and into the tops of trees where its dense canopies shade out and eliminate the vegetation below.

Arriving in the United States in 1903 into Georgia as an ornamental or decoration. The fern is present in the southeastern United States and Puerto Rico as an introduced species. It originated from three different places: Japan, Eastern Asia and Tropical Australia. It grows in moist, swamp like habitat, especially in disturbed areas. This plant species covers nearly 50,000 acres today. Due to the climate, this species does not die back in the winter, allowing for continuous massive growth.

As you can see the Japanese Climbing Fern is primarily located in 10 states:

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Invasive Strategies of Plant & Damage Done to Environment
The Japanese Climbing Fern faces little challenges when it is introduced. It grows somewhat quickly and long. It has no natural predator and therefore an irritant to us. Can be found mostly alone highways and under bridges but can be scattered in open fields and plantations, can increase to form mats and completely shrubs and trees, ultimately killing most. It can grow so dense that it forms a living 'wall', leading to the elimination of seedlings and other native vegetation. It is persistent and colonizes by rhizomes, spreading by spores.

It does not target any particular species. It is also a major problem in pine plantations, causing contamination and harvesting problems for the pine straw industry.

Constant monitoring is important and can help in the detection of any new populations of the Japanese climbing fern. The key in controlling climbing fern movement and formation is to prevent spore movement, but because they are transported easily by wind, clothing and water, constant movement and contamination is a constant problem. Control measures should be employed when the fern is not producing spores, which occurs in the late summer/early fall. This should be done when workers will not be traveling to other areas or sites that same day.
The old fashioned hand pulling. But it will regrow. Machinery can be used to remove the foliage that form over vegetation in areas. Fire will kill it, but regrowth occurs. Fire also causes major damage to the native vegetation as the fire climbs up the vines into the canopy of the trees and shrubs.

Some research has been conducted and it appears a 2-3% solution of glyphosate is somewhat effective. Metsulfuron has been shown to provide excellent control at rates of 0.5-1 oz. per acre. This should be done in the fall before winter frost.

Marketing Plan: 4 P's
Product: A Mother's Day gift. A small potted plant of Japanese Climbing Fern surrounded by colorful flowers and a wire in a heart shape for the fern to wrap itself around, to be presented to your mother on Mother's Day. Will offer a disclaimer of how to properly disgard, advised to burn and NOT plant.

Price: $40-65

Distribution: Throughout the states that are familiar with the climbing fern already. Based on first semester wil continue to sell throughout the summer months and will look into keeping sales profitable for the remainder of the year.

Promotion: Will advertise at local floists and social media. Radios and television advertisements could also profitable and will look into it based on revenues intake. Newspaper articles as well.

1. Undefined, July 21, 2012, Species Profiles accessed on April 19, 2012 at

2. Undefined, 2007, Florida Invasive Plant Initiative in the Parks accessed on April 24, 2012 at

3. Undefined, 2010, Invasive Species accessed on April 25, 2012 at