Lygodium palmatum (Bernh.) Sw.

American climbing fern

Copyright: various copyright holders. To reuse an image, please click it to see who you will need to contact.

New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

Found this plant? Take a photo and post a sighting.

North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

enlarge

Facts About

American climbing fern is found in forests, forest edges and swamp margins, mainly on peaty, acidic, sandy soils. Its fronds twine around other vegetation and can attain lengths of 15 feet (4.5 m). This attractive and unusual fern has the further distinction of having been the first plant protected by law in the United States. This occurred in 1869, when Connecticut passed legislation to curb rampant collection for Christmas decorations. Alas, the species never recovered its former abundance due to habitat loss from expanding agriculture.

Habitat

Forest edges, forests, swamps

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Show All Characteristics
  • Leaves
    Features of leaves
    the leaves are palmately lobed
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • edges of forests
    • forests
    • swamps

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in wetlands, but occasionally in non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACW)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
absent
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Connecticut
uncommon (S-rank: S3), special concern (code: SC)
Massachusetts
uncommon (S-rank: S3), special concern (code: SC)
New Hampshire
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), endangered (code: E)
Rhode Island
rare (S-rank: S2), concern (code: C)
Vermont
extirpated (S-rank: SX), endangered (code: E)

Native to North America?

Yes

Synonyms

  • Gisopteris palmata Bernh.

Family

Lygodiaceae

Genus

Lygodium

Need Help?

Get Help

Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Lygodium palmatum (Bernh.) Sw. N

American climbing fern. Gisopteris palmata Bernh. • CT, MA, NH, RI, VT. Low forests, forest edges, and swamp margins, mainly on peaty, acid soils overlying sand.