Japanese climbing fern (Lygodium
japonicum) is a climbing and
twining perennial vine-like fern
native to Asia and tropical
This fern has lacy finely-divided
leaves along green to orange to
black wiry vines that can grow up to
90 ft long. Stems are slender but
difficult to break; they are twining
and climbing, wiry, green to
straw-colored or reddish. Fertile
fronds have smaller segments with
fingerlike projections around the
margins that bear spore producing
dots in double rows under margins.
Seeds are tiny spores mainly
dispersed by wind.
Japanese climbing fern spreads along
highway rights-of-way (preferring
under and around bridges) and
invades into open forests, forest
road edges, and stream and swamp
margins. Scattered in open timber
stands and plantations, it can
quickly increase in cover to form
mats, covering shrubs and trees.
This fern is deciduous in late
winter, while dead vines provide
lattice for new growth.
The Japanese climbing fern
resembles the American climbing fern
(native) and Old World climbing fern
(non-native and only in Florida)
with both having palmately lobed 5
to 7 finger-like fronds. American
climbing fern occurs in swamps,
streambeds, and ravines, and
confines its spread to small areas
limiting extensive infestations.
Apply a 41% active ingredient of
glyphosate herbicide (Accord, Razor,
or Roundup Original) or a 44+%
active ingredient of triclopyr
herbicide (Garlon 3A, Tahoe 3A,
Garlon 4, Remedy, or Tahoe 4E) as a
4% solution (1 pint per 3-gallon
mix) in water with a surfactant (methylated
seed oil, basal oil, or vegetable
oil) at a 1% solution (4 ounces per
3-gal. mix). When applying the
herbicide mixture, thoroughly wet
all leaves on the vine-like fern
anytime from July to October.
the herbicide mixture at the fern to
minimize damage to non-target
species. Always read and follow
label instructions carefully.