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LYGODIACEAE (Climbing Fern Family)

References: Nauman in FNA (1993b).

A family with a single genus and about 40 species.

Lygodium Swartz (Climbing Fern)

A genus of about 40 species, mostly tropical, with a few temperate species.

1. Sterile pinnae palmately lobed into 4-8 smooth to undulate lobes......L. palmatum

1. Sterile pinnae pinnately divided into numerous serrate pinnules......L. japonicum


*Lygodium japonicum (Thunberg) Swartz, Japanese Climbing Fern. Pd, Cp (NC, SC): disturbed areas; rare, introduced from Asia. June-September. Rare in NC, but common and weedy in FL, the leaves (up to 30 m in length!) climbing into the canopy of trees in swamp forests and other wet habitats. [= RAB, FNA, K, S]

Lygodium palmatum (Bernhardi) Swartz, American Climbing Fern, Hartford Fern. Mt, Pd, Cp (NC, SC, VA): bogs, moist thickets, swamp forests, in strongly acid soils; uncommon (SC Rare List, VA Watch List). July-September. Widespread in e. North America, but uncommon or rare in most of its range. The species is perhaps most common in the Cumberland Plateau of KY and TN. Garrison (1992) discusses two forms of the species, "one with long appressed hairs scattered over the lower (abaxial) side of the sterile leaflets and the other relatively hair-free." The two forms appear to be geographically differentiated, the pubescent form predominating south and west of Maryland, the glabrous form occurring primarily in the Northeast. Both forms are present in our area. Further research is needed to determine the taxonomic significance of this variation in pubescence. [= RAB, C, F, FNA, G, K, S, W]


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Flora of the Carolinas and Virginia, Working Draft of 27 October 1997 -- KEY TO PTERIDOPHYTE GENERA. Alan S. Weakley. The Nature Conservancy, Southeast Regional Office, Southern Conservation Science Department.