Hydroglossum dissectum (Desv.) Steud.
Hydroglossum japonicum (Thunb.) Willd.
Lygodium chaerophylloides Desv.
Lygodium chochinchinense Desv.
Lygodium dissectum Desv.
Lygodium mearnsii Copel.
Lygodium microphyllum Link
Lygodium microstachyum Desv.
Lygodium pubescens Kaulf.
Lygodium tenue Blume
Ophioglossum japonicum Thunb.
Common Name: Japanese Climbing Fern
Japanese climbing fern is a slender, deciduous, climbing fern with a wide-creeping rhizome[
]. All species of the genus have an elongated climbing rachis (leaf stem) that has the capacity for indefinite growth, often reaching lengths of several metres. It twines around other plants for support, often climbing up from the shade into a sunny position[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local medicinal use and for its stems, which are used in basketry. The spores are sometimes harvested from the wild and traded for their medicinal uses[
]. The plant is also grown as an ornamental, being valued especially for its ability to quickly cover unsightly structures and provide shade for other plants[
Although we have found no reports of toxicity for this species, a number of ferns contain carcinogens so some caution is advisable[
Many ferns also contain thiaminase, an enzyme that robs the body of its vitamin B complex. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase[
E. Asia - China, Japan, Indian subcontinent, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, New Guinea.
Climbing through trees and shrubs in secondary forest at elevations up to 2,550 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
A plant of low to moderate elevations in the tropics, where it can be found at elevations up to 2,550 metres[
]. The plant only grows wild in areas with a pronounced dry season[
The roots can be planted in a shady position, allowing the plant to climb up into the sun[
]. Prefers a neutral to slightly acid soil[
Once established in a community, the plant displaces native species and alters local fire ecology because its stems act as a ladder for fires, leading to greater incidence of crown fire in forest communities that are ill-adapted to crown fire[
]. Given enough time, it can completely dominate a native habitat causing the collapse of the natural community. It is the reproductive strategy of the plant, or intragametophytic selfing, combined with the ease with which spores are wind dispersed which allows this fern to spread and proliferate rapidly. It has also been determined that the plant is hardier than native Florida species in low light environments, allowing it to thrive and expand when natives cannot[
The plant is used as an expectorant[
A decoction of the vegetative parts and spores is used as a diuretic[
The spores are said to help kidney and urinary functions; reduce swelling, colds, and fever; ease cough and congestion; and work as an anti-gonorrhoeal agent or as a general blood tonic[
The extensive, fibrous root system can be used as a growing medium for plants[
Splints prepared from the stems are used in the manufacture of baskets, hats, and fancy boxes[
]. The splints can be combined with buri (Corypha spp.) or some other fibre to make various fancy articles such as cigarette cases or pocketbooks. The effect is very pleasing, particularly when the plant stem is black[
Serpentine layering. An actively growing frond is pinned down onto the soil surface at each node, where it may root and shoot out as a new plant[
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