Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Japanese Climbing Fern - Lygodium japonicum   (Thunberg) Swartz
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Section 2 » Order Polypodiales » Family Lygodiaceae
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Author(Thunberg) Swartz
DistributionOn rich soils of old terraces of the Cape Fear River (Cumberland County) and Piedmont (Lee and Mecklenburg counties). First collected in 1933 "near Fayetteville"; still present in 2020. Collected in Lee County in 1958 on a slope by the Deep River. Collected in Mecklenburg County on the campus of UNC Charlotte in 1975; present at Bearden Park in 2017. A specimen from Wilson County was from cultivated plants. Brian England found established plants in Wake County in 2018, and he collected o specimen in 2021.

Native of eastern Asia; in N.A. NC to FL and TX.
AbundanceRare and local, so far as is known. A very serious weed in Florida and elsewhere in the Deep South, but not yet a problem here in NC.
HabitatVarious disturbed places, several from wooded sites. Known to climb fences, such as at an old cemetery in Fayetteville.
IdentificationLike our native Lygodium palmatum, Japanese Climbing-fern produces very long leaves that seem to be stem branches. These may grow 3-20 feet (or more) and twine around supporting vegetation. They bear pinnately to palmately lobed leaflets that do not look like a hand (unlike our native species).
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Other Common Name(s)
State RankSE
Global RankGNR
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US Status
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B.A. SorrieFayetteville, climbing on fence at old cemetery, June 2020. CumberlandPhoto_non_natural
Brian EnglandWake County.

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