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Useful Tropical Plants

Lygodium microphyllum

(Cav.) R.Br.

Schizaeaceae

+ Synonyms

Lygodium scandens Sw.

Common Name:

Lygodium microphyllum
Plant climbing up cypress trees in southern Florida. The weed forms huge skirts that fires can climb to reach tree tops. Trees without the fern usually survive fire
Photograph by: Peggy Greb
Public domain
Lygodium microphyllum Lygodium microphyllum Lygodium microphyllum Lygodium microphyllum

General Information

Lygodium microphyllum is an evergreen, scrambling, climbing fern with a wide, creeping rhizome[
437
Title
Fern Databank, Sahah.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.forest.sabah.gov.my
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Information on the ferns growing at Sabah in Indonesia. A description, habitat and plant uses are givem, often accompanied by a photo.
]. All species of the genus have an elongate 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[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
The plant is sometimes gathered from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and for making baskets, hats etc. The plant is also grown as an ornamental, being valued especially for its ability to quickly cover unsightly structures and providing shade for other plants[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Known Hazards

Although we have found no reports of toxicity for this species, a number of ferns contain carcinogens so some caution is advisable[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
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[
172
Title
Discovering Wild Plants - Alaska, W. Canada and the Northwest.
Publication
 
Author
Schofield. J. J.
Publisher
Alaska Northwest Books; Alaska
Year
2003
ISBN
0882403699
Description
A nice guide to some useful plants in that area.
].

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
451
Title
Flora Malesiana Series 1
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://www.archive.org
Publisher
Nationaal Herbarium Nederiand, Universiteit Leiden branch
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A massive treatment of the plants of the Malaysian Archipelago. Much of it has been made available to download from the Internet

Range

Widespread in the tropics of Africa and Asia.

Habitat

Edge of secondary forest or as a climber on woody plants, bushes or on branches of tall trees, usually on dry slopes in open areas[
437
Title
Fern Databank, Sahah.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.forest.sabah.gov.my
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Information on the ferns growing at Sabah in Indonesia. A description, habitat and plant uses are givem, often accompanied by a photo.
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Fern
Height10.00 m
Self-fertileYes
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details


The roots can be planted in a shady position, allowing the plant to climb up into the sun[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Prefers a neutral to slightly acid soil[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
An aggressive invasive weed of moist habitats in Florida[
413
Title
Global Invasive Species Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.issg.org/database/welcome/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Very detailed information on almost 400 species (with more being added) of plants that have become weeds in areas outside their native range.
]. This rapidly spreading weed colonizes new areas without the need of habitat disturbance and frequently completely dominates native vegetation[
413
Title
Global Invasive Species Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.issg.org/database/welcome/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Very detailed information on almost 400 species (with more being added) of plants that have become weeds in areas outside their native range.
]. It climbs and blankets other vegetation, ultimately causing mortality to mature canopy and subcanopy trees. Sometimes it covers other vegetation so completely that it is not possible to see other plants beneath it. Near the ground surface, a thick mat of old and new fronds also forms, ultimately smothering and stifling native plants including herbs and tree seedlings that would ordinarily maintain the forest canopy if allowed to mature[
413
Title
Global Invasive Species Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.issg.org/database/welcome/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Very detailed information on almost 400 species (with more being added) of plants that have become weeds in areas outside their native range.
]. The plant forms dense mats of rachis plant material. These thick, spongy mats are slow to decompose, exclude native understory plants, and can act as a site for additional fern colonization. It is difficult for other plant species to grow through the dense mat made by this fern, thereby reducing plant diversity[
413
Title
Global Invasive Species Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.issg.org/database/welcome/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Very detailed information on almost 400 species (with more being added) of plants that have become weeds in areas outside their native range.
]. Large expanses of fern material also may alter drainage and water movement. The presence of the plant as a weed outside its native range is significantly correlated to hydrology, coinciding with a wet, but not permanently inundated environment. In addition, its coverage is greatest in a low-light under-story environment, where it has been shown to establish and eventually dominate[
413
Title
Global Invasive Species Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.issg.org/database/welcome/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Very detailed information on almost 400 species (with more being added) of plants that have become weeds in areas outside their native range.
].

Edible Uses

Very young leaves - cooked and used as a vegetable[
437
Title
Fern Databank, Sahah.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.forest.sabah.gov.my
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Information on the ferns growing at Sabah in Indonesia. A description, habitat and plant uses are givem, often accompanied by a photo.
,
451
Title
Flora Malesiana Series 1
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://www.archive.org
Publisher
Nationaal Herbarium Nederiand, Universiteit Leiden branch
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A massive treatment of the plants of the Malaysian Archipelago. Much of it has been made available to download from the Internet
].

Medicinal

A decoction of the leaves is used in the treatment of dysentery[
686
Title
American Fern Journal Vol.60
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
American Fern Society
Year
1970
ISBN
 
Description
Contains an article on the medicinal uses of Indian ferns. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The leaves are applied externally as a poultice in the treatment of skin diseases and swellings[
686
Title
American Fern Journal Vol.60
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
American Fern Society
Year
1970
ISBN
 
Description
Contains an article on the medicinal uses of Indian ferns. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Other Uses

The stems are used for making hats and bags[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
]. They are also used to make baskets and can be used as a tying material[
437
Title
Fern Databank, Sahah.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.forest.sabah.gov.my
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Information on the ferns growing at Sabah in Indonesia. A description, habitat and plant uses are givem, often accompanied by a photo.
,
438
Title
Ferns and Man in New Guinea
Publication
 
Author
Croft. J.
Website
http://www.anbg.gov.au/fern/ferns-man-ng.html
Publisher
 
Year
1982
ISBN
 
Description
Based on a paper presented to Papua New Guinea Botany Society in 1982, gives a brief guide to the uses of 42 species of fern in New Guinea. Published on the internet.
].
Splints prepared from the stems are used in the manufacture of baskets, hats, and fancy boxes[
345
Title
Minor Products of Philippine Forests
Publication
 
Author
Brown. W. H.
Publisher
Bureau of Forestry, Manilla.
Year
1920
ISBN
 
Description
A useful guide to some of the plants of the area, though terse on details. The book is out of copyright and can be legally downloaded from the Internet.
]. 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[
345
Title
Minor Products of Philippine Forests
Publication
 
Author
Brown. W. H.
Publisher
Bureau of Forestry, Manilla.
Year
1920
ISBN
 
Description
A useful guide to some of the plants of the area, though terse on details. The book is out of copyright and can be legally downloaded from the Internet.
].

Propagation

Spores.
Division.
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[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2019-12-08. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Lygodium+microphyllum>

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