Interim profile, incomplete information
Taxonomic name: Nephrolepis cordifolia (L.) K. Presl.
Synonyms: Aspidium cordifolium (L.) Sw. undated, Aspidium pendulum (Raddi, undated), Aspidium tuberosum Bory ex Willd. Undated, Aspidium volubile (Sm.) F.M.Bailey, undated, Nephrodium pendulum (Raddi) Desv., undated , Nephrodium tuberosum (Bory ex Willd.) Desv, undated, Nephrolepis pendula (Raddi) J.Sm., undated, Nephrolepis radicans (Burm.f.) Kuhn, undated, Nephrolepis tuberosa (Bory ex Willd.) C.Presl, undated , Polypodium cordifolium L.
Common names: boston fern, erect sword fern, fish-bone fern, herring bone fern, ladder fern, lemon butter fern, narrow swordfern, southern sword fern, sword fern, tube ladder fern, tuber sword fern
Organism type: fern
Nephrolepis cordifolia, commonly known as tuberous sword fern, is a wood fern that typically grows in woodland areas. Dispersal occurs via spores that can be dispersed through wind and water, and through the movement of stolons, tubers and rhizomes. N. cordifolia can form dense stands through its aggressive spread and displace native vegetation.
coastland, natural forests, riparian zones, ruderal/disturbed, scrub/shrublands, urban areas, wetlands
The tuberous sword fern is a wood fern that typically grows in woodland areas. In its native Australia it occurs in rainforest or open forest in eastern Queensland and north eastern New South Wales. It is found naturalized in pine rocklands, flatwoods, marsh edges, and hammocks of conservation areas of south Florida and as far north as Georgia in the United States. In New Zealand it is found growing in native forest, scrub and shrublands, coastal sites, urban open spaces and islands. on banks, rocky outcrops, open forest, roadsides, and epiphyte perches.
Tuberous sword fern is a threat to native species. Its aggressive growing habit results in the formation of dense stands that can exclude native species.
Nephrolepis cordifolia is commonly used as an ornamental plant.
Native range: Native to Australia, probably pantropical
Known introduced range: Widely naturalized in Africa, temperate Asia, southeastern United States, New Zealand & Macaronesia (USDA, ARS 2011). Introduced to the Cook Islands it is reported on Rarotonga & Mangaia (Cook Islands Biodiversity Database, 2011)
Introduction pathways to new locations
Transportation of habitat material: Accidental means of spreading and propogation is done by moving tubers, stolons, rhizomes, and yard waste.
Local dispersal methods
Natural dispersal (local): Nephrolepis cordifolia is fertile throughout the year. It disperses by natural means from the wind blowing its spores.
Water currents: Spores can be dispersed through water currents.
Preventative measures: Tuberous sword fern is listed in the National Plant Pest Accord of New Zealand. To be included on the Accord list the pest plant must be declared an 'unwanted organism' under the Biosecurity Act 1993. It is classified as a Surveillance Pest Plant in the Auckland Regional Pest Strategy 2007–2012. Surveillance Pest Plants include species that have been identifi ed as having signifi cant impacts on the biosecurity values of the Auckland region. The Regional Council seeks to prevent their establishment or spread by prohibiting their sale, propagation, distribution and exhibition.
Tuberous sword fern is used as an ornamental plant and can escape from cultivation into natural areas. Measures have to be taken to limit this spread.
Mechanical: Hand pulling can be used to remove some of the fern plants, however care should be taken that no plant parts are left in the soil that can regrow and that the plants are disposed of properly. It is recommended to mulch the foliage.
Chemical: Plants can be killed with herbicides containing glyphosate. A foliar application of a 1.5% solution provides good control. Follow-up applications are necessary to control plants regrowing from rhizomes and tubers.(University of Florida IFAS Extension, undated). Auckland Council recommends a weed wipe using 2g metsulfuron/1L and spray using Spray 1g metsulfuron/10L.
Tuberous sword fern produced numerous spores that are dispersed through wind and water. It also spreads through its rhizomes/stolons and tubers.
Compiled by: National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)
Last Modified: Wednesday, 23 November 2011