Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Japanese Climbing Fern
Lygodium japonicum

Family: Schizaeaceae
Genus: Lygodium (ly-GO-dee-um) (Info)
Species: japonicum (juh-PON-ih-kum) (Info)

Synonym:Hydroglossum japonicum
Synonym:Lygodium chaerophylloides
Synonym:Lygodium chochinchinense
Synonym:Lygodium dissectum
Synonym:Lygodium mearnsii

10 members have or want this plant for trade.

Vines and Climbers

over 40 ft. (12 m)

Unknown - Tell us

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Partial to Full Shade
Full Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From spores

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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By Floridian
Thumbnail #1 of Lygodium japonicum by Floridian

By palmbob
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By escambiaguy
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By escambiaguy
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By mgarr
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By Cretaceous
Thumbnail #6 of Lygodium japonicum by Cretaceous

By bowilliamson
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There are a total of 8 photos.
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2 positives
4 neutrals
7 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive pniksch On Aug 21, 2013, pniksch from Frisco, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Climbing Fern is well behaved here in Frisco TX (Dallas area), due in part to the drier climate than FL, etc. Great plant for an arbor, trellis or on some other support. Unique appearance and the climbing/vining habit make it a conversation starter. Beautiful, light green foliage.

Negative hatmatack On Oct 7, 2009, hatmatack from Atlanta, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

This plant is invasive in Atlanta, Georgia - farther north than the other negative commenters have documented. It may be somewhat controllable in colder or drier climates, but remember that kudzu is adapting farther and farther north even as we speak!

Negative L_Garnett On Jun 19, 2009, L_Garnett from Starkville, MS wrote:

This is an invasive non-native plant. It is nearly impossible, if not completely impossible to control its spread because the means of propagation is spores from spore sacs on elongated parts of the leaf that are wind dispersed. The spores can also be transported to new locations on your vehicle, clothes, or in pine straw bales. In the forest it can form mats on the ground that can outcompete native vegetation, thereby drastically altering habitat quality. If left unchecked it can grow up into the tree canopy providing "ladder fuel" when it dies back for a crown fire versus a surface fire in a wildfire or a prescribed fire situation. As one person commented --- it's an EVIL weed -- pretty but very destructive.

Neutral houtown On Feb 8, 2009, houtown from Houston, TX wrote:

Japanese Climbing Fern (Lygodium japonicum) must be carefully controlled if selected for a garden. I found that it is easier to manage on a three-sided vegetable frame. It roots itself underground and continues to send up new plants which have to be removed by digging them out. The plant is thorny and slightly stinging so gloves are recommended when working with this plant. It sends out runner fronds as long as 15 feet and these must be cut back or other plants will be smothered. While the vines are attractive with delicate foliage and a light color of green, the plant requires quite a bit of control throughout the year. This is from Houston.

Neutral Cretaceous On Mar 24, 2007, Cretaceous from El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

This fern is native to China, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

Neutral frostweed On Dec 20, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Japanese Climbing Fern Lygodium japonicum is naturalized in Texas and other States and is considered an invasive plant in Texas.

Negative broncomann On Jun 29, 2006, broncomann from Florence, AL wrote:

I am an environmental professional who has performed numerous plant surveys in Florida and Mississippi. I have found Japanese climbing fern in scores of locations in Central and Southern Florida, in many instances climbing to heights of 30 feet and more and blanketing native vegetation. It is so common and so heavy along Florida Highway 60 in Hardee, Manatee and Highlands Counties that you can spot it from the road at speeds of 60 miles per hour and up. Most recently, I found it in Jackson and Stone Counties, Mississippi and in the city of Hoover in Shelby County, Alabama, which is part of Greater Birmingham. This is an EVIL weed!

Negative escambiaguy On Feb 17, 2006, escambiaguy from Atmore, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have a Slash Pine forest next to my yard and this plant is everywhere in it. It gets in my yard attaches to anything. I am constantly having to pull it out of my trees. I spray it with herbicide but that doesn't seem to be working.

Negative MotherNature4 On Sep 17, 2004, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

True, this is an attractive fern growing in a controlled environment, but when one has seen the destructive, smothering way this fern takes over native habitats they will be happy to give it up as I did. I now make an effort to pull up and bag it wherever I see it in the wild. It is almost impossible to irradicate wherever it gets a foothold.

Both Lygodium japonicum and L. microphyllum are listed as Category I Exotic Pest Plants in Florida.

Positive pgbledsoe On Sep 16, 2004, pgbledsoe from Weatherford, TX wrote:

I have this plant growing up a post on my Japanese bridge in my Japanese Garden. It looks wonderful!! I get so many compliments on the plant. This is its 3rd summer to survive in our hot Texas heat. I do protect the plant in the winter by wrapping Grow Web around the base of the vine, but that's all I do. This vine is not readily found at our local nurseries; I purchased mine at North Haven Nursery in Dallas, TX, three years ago. I only wish I had purchased more as I haven't been to North Haven Nursery since's too far from where I live.

I'm wondering if anyone knows how to propagate this vine. I haven't tried, but I'm guessing maybe by cuttings. I have a greenhouse and plan on giving it a try.

Negative xyris On Nov 16, 2003, xyris from Sebring, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This fern, although not as serious a threat to entire forests as L. microphyllum, is a commonly encountered invasive exotic throughout most of Florida, and on the coastal plain from North Carolina south to central Florida and west to southeast Texas. It pops up even in relatively remote natural areas in Mississippi.

Negative dogbane On Nov 15, 2003, dogbane from New Orleans, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

In southeastern Louisiana this plant is considered a weed. It is an invasive exotic and very difficult to eradicate.

Neutral palmbob On Nov 15, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

A climbing fern from Asias and Australia. Tolerates some dryness. Dies back to root system in drouts, but won't if kept moist.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Atmore, Alabama
Auburn, Alabama
Cullman, Alabama
Daleville, Alabama
Gadsden, Alabama
Pelham, Alabama
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Tuscumbia, Alabama
Tuskegee, Alabama
Bartow, Florida
Chiefland, Florida
Green Cove Springs, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Panama City Beach, Florida
Cordele, Georgia
Decatur, Georgia
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Slaughter, Louisiana
Saucier, Mississippi
Starkville, Mississippi
Waynesboro, Mississippi
Albemarle, North Carolina
Florence, South Carolina
Summerville, South Carolina
Frisco, Texas
Houston, Texas
Nacogdoches, Texas
Porter, Texas
Weatherford, Texas
Virginia Beach, Virginia

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