Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii
(Petersen’s lady fern)

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Datasheet

Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 27 September 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Petersen’s lady fern
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Pteridophyta
  •       Class: Filicopsida
  •         Family: Dryopteridaceae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Deparia petersenii is an aggressive, fast-growing perennial fern known for its creeping growth from long rhizomes and ability to form a thick groundcover. Areas where it has been introduced and is now of concer...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); habit. Petioles and creeping stems of D. petersenii are continuously buried in alluvial deposits of a stream bank.
TitleHabit
CaptionDeparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); habit. Petioles and creeping stems of D. petersenii are continuously buried in alluvial deposits of a stream bank.
Copyright©Colette C. Jacono
Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); habit. Petioles and creeping stems of D. petersenii are continuously buried in alluvial deposits of a stream bank.
HabitDeparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); habit. Petioles and creeping stems of D. petersenii are continuously buried in alluvial deposits of a stream bank.©Colette C. Jacono
Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); habit. D. petersenii is an early colonizer of scoured stream banks at shady ravines in northern Florida, USA.
TitleHabit
CaptionDeparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); habit. D. petersenii is an early colonizer of scoured stream banks at shady ravines in northern Florida, USA.
Copyright©Colette C. Jacono
Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); habit. D. petersenii is an early colonizer of scoured stream banks at shady ravines in northern Florida, USA.
HabitDeparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); habit. D. petersenii is an early colonizer of scoured stream banks at shady ravines in northern Florida, USA.©Colette C. Jacono
Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); habit. Upright, terrestrial forms of D. petersenii on the floor of a deciduous woodland reveal reddish brown petioles.
TitleHabit
CaptionDeparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); habit. Upright, terrestrial forms of D. petersenii on the floor of a deciduous woodland reveal reddish brown petioles.
Copyright©Colette C. Jacono
Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); habit. Upright, terrestrial forms of D. petersenii on the floor of a deciduous woodland reveal reddish brown petioles.
HabitDeparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); habit. Upright, terrestrial forms of D. petersenii on the floor of a deciduous woodland reveal reddish brown petioles.©Colette C. Jacono
Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); habit. Limestone rock and detritus provide a substrate for D. petersenii.
TitleHabit
CaptionDeparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); habit. Limestone rock and detritus provide a substrate for D. petersenii.
Copyright©Colette C. Jacono
Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); habit. Limestone rock and detritus provide a substrate for D. petersenii.
HabitDeparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); habit. Limestone rock and detritus provide a substrate for D. petersenii.©Colette C. Jacono
Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); D. petersenii overtops the more delicate Athyrium felix-femina at woodland ravine in northern Florida, U.S.A.
TitleHabit
CaptionDeparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); D. petersenii overtops the more delicate Athyrium felix-femina at woodland ravine in northern Florida, U.S.A.
Copyright©Colette C. Jacono
Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); D. petersenii overtops the more delicate Athyrium felix-femina at woodland ravine in northern Florida, U.S.A.
HabitDeparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); D. petersenii overtops the more delicate Athyrium felix-femina at woodland ravine in northern Florida, U.S.A.©Colette C. Jacono
Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); D. petersenii has a somewhat blocky outline due to an abrupt narrowing of the leaf into a wedge shaped tip.
TitleFrond
CaptionDeparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); D. petersenii has a somewhat blocky outline due to an abrupt narrowing of the leaf into a wedge shaped tip.
Copyright©Colette C. Jacono
Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); D. petersenii has a somewhat blocky outline due to an abrupt narrowing of the leaf into a wedge shaped tip.
FrondDeparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); D. petersenii has a somewhat blocky outline due to an abrupt narrowing of the leaf into a wedge shaped tip.©Colette C. Jacono
Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); the pinnae of D. petersenii lie in an alternate to opposite arrangement on either side of the rachis, the rachis characterized by a U-shaped dentation.
TitlePinnae
CaptionDeparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); the pinnae of D. petersenii lie in an alternate to opposite arrangement on either side of the rachis, the rachis characterized by a U-shaped dentation.
Copyright©Colette C. Jacono
Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); the pinnae of D. petersenii lie in an alternate to opposite arrangement on either side of the rachis, the rachis characterized by a U-shaped dentation.
PinnaeDeparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); the pinnae of D. petersenii lie in an alternate to opposite arrangement on either side of the rachis, the rachis characterized by a U-shaped dentation.©Colette C. Jacono
Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); deeply incised, the pinnae segments of D. petersenii have widely serrate to shallowly crenate margins.
TitlePinnae
CaptionDeparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); deeply incised, the pinnae segments of D. petersenii have widely serrate to shallowly crenate margins.
Copyright©Colette C. Jacono
Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); deeply incised, the pinnae segments of D. petersenii have widely serrate to shallowly crenate margins.
PinnaeDeparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); deeply incised, the pinnae segments of D. petersenii have widely serrate to shallowly crenate margins.©Colette C. Jacono
Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); fertile leaves of D. petersenii bear elongate, typically straight sori, placed to the side of a lateral vein.
TitleFertile leaves
CaptionDeparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); fertile leaves of D. petersenii bear elongate, typically straight sori, placed to the side of a lateral vein.
Copyright©Colette C. Jacono
Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); fertile leaves of D. petersenii bear elongate, typically straight sori, placed to the side of a lateral vein.
Fertile leavesDeparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); fertile leaves of D. petersenii bear elongate, typically straight sori, placed to the side of a lateral vein.©Colette C. Jacono
Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); in D. petersenii, the lower-most veins of adjoining pinnules end at the leaf margin above the sinus.
TitleIdentification characteristics
CaptionDeparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); in D. petersenii, the lower-most veins of adjoining pinnules end at the leaf margin above the sinus.
Copyright©Colette C. Jacono-2015
Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); in D. petersenii, the lower-most veins of adjoining pinnules end at the leaf margin above the sinus.
Identification characteristicsDeparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); in D. petersenii, the lower-most veins of adjoining pinnules end at the leaf margin above the sinus.©Colette C. Jacono-2015
Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); to discern the multicellular structure of the translucent hairs on Deparia petersenii, magnification greater than 10x is required.
TitleIdentification characteristics
CaptionDeparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); to discern the multicellular structure of the translucent hairs on Deparia petersenii, magnification greater than 10x is required.
Copyright©Colette C. Jacono-2015
Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); to discern the multicellular structure of the translucent hairs on Deparia petersenii, magnification greater than 10x is required.
Identification characteristicsDeparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); to discern the multicellular structure of the translucent hairs on Deparia petersenii, magnification greater than 10x is required.©Colette C. Jacono-2015
Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); in D. petersenii, the costal groove is not continuous with that of the rachis.
TitleIdentification characteristics
CaptionDeparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); in D. petersenii, the costal groove is not continuous with that of the rachis.
Copyright©Colette C. Jacono-2015
Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); in D. petersenii, the costal groove is not continuous with that of the rachis.
Identification characteristicsDeparia petersenii subsp. petersenii (Petersen’s lady fern); in D. petersenii, the costal groove is not continuous with that of the rachis.©Colette C. Jacono-2015

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii M. Kato

Preferred Common Name

  • Petersen’s lady fern

Other Scientific Names

  • Asplenium petersenii Kunze
  • Athyriopsis petersenii (Kunze) Ching
  • Deparia petersenii (Kunze) M. Kato
  • Deparia petersenii ssp. petersenii var. petersenii M. Kato
  • Diplazium petersenii (Kunze) H. Christ.
  • Lunathyrium petersenii (Kunze) H. Ohba

International Common Names

  • English: black lady fern; Japanese false spleenwort; Japanese lady fern; Petersen’s glade fern; Petersen’s spleenwort
  • Chinese: mao ye dui nang jue

Summary of Invasiveness

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Deparia petersenii is an aggressive, fast-growing perennial fern known for its creeping growth from long rhizomes and ability to form a thick groundcover. Areas where it has been introduced and is now of concern as an invasive species include Madeira, the Azores, southeastern USA, the Hawaiian Islands, southeastern Brazil and Réunion. It often volunteers in gardens, is sometimes cultivated, can be purchased from the internet, and is not regulated or prohibited.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Pteridophyta
  •             Class: Filicopsida
  •                 Family: Dryopteridaceae
  •                     Genus: Deparia
  •                         Species: Deparia petersenii subsp. petersenii

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Deparia Hook. & Grev. (false spleenwort) is a fern genus ultimately characterized by (a) U-shaped costal grooves that are not continuous with that of the rachis and (b) multicellular hairs on the blade (Kato, 1984). Deparia is closely related to Athyrium, but their distinction is now well recognized. Recently accepted family placement is within Athyriaceae (Rothfels et al., 2012), although inclusion in Dryopteridaceae or Woodsiaceae is still common. Rothfels et al. (2012) provide a detailed key to the family Athyriaceae within the eupolypod II ferns.

As recently recircumscribed (Kato, 1984; Kato, 1993a; Rothfels et al., 2012), the previously ~40 to 50 species of Deparia have increased to ~70. Deparia is grouped into four sections: Athyriopsis, Deparia, Dryoathyrium and Lunathyrium. Deparia petersenii belongs to section Athyriopsis along with 17 other species distributed in eastern Asia and Malesia, west to India and Sri Lanka, and south east to Polynesia, eastern Australia and New Zealand (Kato, 1984). 

D. petersenii was named after C. W. Petersen, a Danish botanist and traveller in China who collected the type specimen in the province of Kwangtung (Guangdong) on the South China Sea. It was first given the name Asplenium petersenii in 1837 by Gustav Kunze, Professor of Botany and Director of the Botanical Garden, Leipzig, Germany (Kunze, 1837). In 1977 Masahiro Kato of the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tsukuba, Japan, diagnosed the species as belonging to Deparia and provided standardization of the nomenclature under D. petersenii (Kunze) M. Kato (Kato, 1977). During the previous 140 years, however, a variety of names were used for this widespread and highly variable species, burdening the literature and herbarium specimens with a legacy of misnomer and synonyms. Diplazium, Athyrium and Lunathyrium are among the more recent generic misapplications when paired with the epithet petersenii, and these names continue to pose problems to present day understanding and usage. Combinations of these genera with a number of epithets such as L. lasiopteris, D. fimbriichlamys, A. oshimense and D. magfukui provide additional confusion to the earlier half of D. petersenii’s 20th century nomenclatural history. It should be noted that Lunathyrium has recently been included in Deparia (Rothfels et al., 2012).    

Reflective of the many names applied, the variability observed in D. petersenii has led to the designation of three subspecies (petersenii, deflexa and congrua) and one variety (yakusimensis) (Kato, 1984), although currently no infraspecific taxa are recognized by The Plant List (2013). Subspecies deflexa is restricted to the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Java (Kato, 1984), although it is considered introduced to the Malay Peninsula where plants were found first along roadsides in 1948, and soon observed spreading through disturbed environments (Holttum, 1954). The two more widely distributed and better-known subspecies, petersenii and congrua, are geographically separated. D. petersenii subsp. congrua is naturally distributed in the South Pacific islands and eastern Australia, extending west to the Solomon Islands. Its status remains unresolved in New Zealand where it was only first recorded in 1906 and has extended its range southward in recent times. Having no clear indication of how or where it was first introduced and recognizing its presence in Australia and neighbouring Pacific islands, D. petersenii subsp. congrua is not formally regarded as an introduced species in New Zealand (Brownsey and Dodsworth-Smith 2000; De Lange, 2015; New Zealand National Herbarium Network, 2015).

The natural range of D. petersenii subsp. petersenii is overall larger but does not extend as far east as that of subsp. congrua (Kato, 1984). The subspecies petersenii includes both large-leafed, bipinnatafid plants and small, more linear-leafed, pinnate forms. The smaller form is further separated into those with thick rhizomes and stipes, var. petersenii, and those with thin rhizomes and stipes, var. yakusimensis. D. petersenii subsp. petersenii var. yakusimensis, however, is a restricted variety known only from the islands of Kyushu and Shikoku, Japan (Kato, 1984).

There seems to be no obvious preferred common name, although Petersen’s lady fern is recommended as it does not allude to an unduly limited origin or family.

This datasheet treats the broadly distributed and introduced taxon D. petersenii subsp. petersenii. For convenience it will be addressed herein as D. petersenii except in the Biology and Ecology section, where comparative descriptions and genetics are provided for the subspecies.

Description

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This description of D. petersenii subsp. petersenii follows Kato (1993b), Nelson (2000) and Rothfels et al. (2012), with minor additions by the author using fresh Florida material.  

Stems moderately long creeping. Leaves monomorphic, dying back in winter. Petiole 10-30 cm; dark brown at base, base not swollen, teeth absent; bases persistent; scales brown, linear lanceolate, gradually reducing to chain-like, multicellular hairs toward the distal end of rachis. Petiole and rachis grooved in a U-shape. Blade pinnate-pinnatifid, 15-40 cm long, 6-28 cm wide, broadest above base, blocky ovate to nearly triangular outline; soft, lime green to dark green above, paler below; lamina with flattened, jointed, mostly brownish hair-like scales. Pinnae sessile and not articulate to rachis, oblong to linear lanceolate, segments (pinnules) oblong, margins more or less crenate. Costa (midrib) and veins with translucent, multicellular hairs, especially adaxially. Costa abaxial side grooved in a U-shape, not continuous with the rachis groove. Veins pinnate, usually simple, sometimes forked in larger leaves. Sori elongate narrow, usually straight, not incurved, flat, placed alongside a lateral vein; indusia whitish membranous, elongate, splitting along one side, indusia margins laciniate (irregularly and narrowly lobed); spores russet brown.

Plant Type

Top of page Herbaceous
Perennial
Seed propagated
Vegetatively propagated

Distribution

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The native distribution of D. petersenii covers a broad geographical area, from the Himalayas, southern India and Sri Lanka in the west to western and southern China, South East Asia, Taiwan and Japan, and on to New Guinea and the islands of Polynesia in the east and south. It has been introduced and established in the Hawaiian Islands, the Azores, Madeira, Brazil and southeastern USA. Its native or introduced status in New Zealand is unresolved (Kato, 1984; Bureau of Flora and Fauna, 1998; De Lange, 2015; Jiuzhai Valley National Park, 2015; Museum of New Zealand, 2015; New Zealand National Herbarium Network, 2015).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

CambodiaPresentNative Not invasive Kato, 1984
ChinaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-GuangdongPresentNative Not invasive Kunze, 1837First and holotype collection
-HainanWidespreadNative Not invasive Shinohara et al., 2006
-Hong KongPresentNative Not invasive Shinohara et al., 2006Sheung-leng-pei Village, Lantao Island
-SichuanPresentNative Not invasive Jiuzhai Valley National Park, 2015Jiuzhai Valley National Park a UNESCO World Heritage Site
-YunnanWidespreadNative Not invasive Shinohara et al., 2006
IndiaPresentNative Not invasive Kato, 1984Southern India
IndonesiaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Irian JayaPresent, few occurrencesNative Not invasive Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2015Irian Jaya Freeport Concession Area: Utekini Valley village area to below Tembagapura
-JavaPresentNative Not invasive Kato, 1984
-MoluccasPresent, few occurrencesNativeRoyal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2015Ternate Moluccas; Seram C. Seram, Mansuela National Park
-Nusa TenggaraPresentNative Not invasive Kato, 1984
-SulawesiPresentNative Not invasive Kato, 1984
-SumatraPresentNative Not invasive Kato, 1984
JapanPresent, few occurrencesNative Not invasive Shinohara et al., 2006Bonin Island; Onoaida. Yaku Island: Shitoko, Kusukawa, Suzunoko River, Onoaida, Mititani, Nagata.
-HonshuPresent, few occurrencesNative Not invasive Shinohara et al., 2006Mihamacho, Togugawa, Kumangawacho, Kitanihara, Yoshiki, Mt. Nanatsudake Tetsu-yama, Takaharuchol
-KyushuPresent, few occurrencesNative Not invasive Shinohara et al., 2006Kiharayama, Kumamoto; Nishikuma, Fukouka; Fujikawachi, Nichinan.
-Ryukyu ArchipelagoWidespreadNative Not invasive Shinohara et al., 2006Sites on the islands of Amami, Iriomote, Tokunoshima, Okinawa, Miyako, Ishigaki and Iriomote.
LaosPresentNative Not invasive Kato, 1984
Malaysia
-Peninsular MalaysiaAbsent, invalid recordIntroduced1948 Invasive Holttum, 1954Taiping Hills, Fraser’s Hill; this is subsp. congrua
-SabahAbsent, invalid recordNative1997Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2015Mt Kinabalu National Park; this is subsp congrua
MyanmarPresentNative Not invasive Kato, 1984
NepalPresentNative Not invasive USDA-NRCS, 2015
PhilippinesPresentNative Not invasive JSTOR, 2015Luzon, Baguio. Mt. Data
Sri LankaPresentNative Not invasive Kato, 1984
TaiwanWidespreadNative Not invasive Flora of Taiwan Editorial Committee, 1975Recorded from Taipei, Yilan, Miaoli, Taichung, Nantou, Chiayi, Tainan, Kaohsiung, Pingtung and Taitung
ThailandPresentNative Not invasive Kato, 1984
VietnamPresentNative Not invasive Kato, 1984

Africa

RéunionWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Robinson et al., 2010

North America

USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AlabamaPresentIntroduced Invasive NCU Flora of the Southeastern United States, 2015Lee County
-FloridaLocalisedIntroduced1957 Invasive Wunderlin and Hansen, 2000; Mast et al., 2015; Wunderlin and Hansen, 2015
-GeorgiaLocalisedIntroduced Invasive NCU Flora of the Southeastern United States, 2015Houston, Berrien and Grady Counties
-HawaiiWidespreadIntroduced1938 Invasive Kato, 2001; Imada, 2012Oahu, Lanai, Maui, Honolulu, Kauai and Hawaii islands
-LouisianaLocalisedIntroduced Invasive NCU Flora of the Southeastern United States, 2015Iberia Parish
-MississippiLocalisedIntroduced2002 Invasive Denley et al., 2002Coffeeville, Yalobusha County

South America

BrazilPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Espirito SantoPresentIntroduced Invasive Mynssen, 2015
-Minas GeraisPresentIntroduced Invasive Mynssen, 2015Nova Lima
-ParanaPresentIntroduced Invasive Mynssen, 2015
-PernambucoPresentIntroduced Invasive Mynssen, 2015
-Rio de JaneiroPresentIntroduced Invasive Mynssen, 2015
-Rio Grande do SulPresentIntroduced Invasive Mynssen, 2015
-Santa CatarinaPresentIntroduced Invasive Mynssen, 2015
-Sao PauloPresentIntroduced Invasive Mynssen, 2015

Europe

PortugalPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AzoresPresentIntroduced Invasive Frey et al., 2006
-MadeiraWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Robinson et al., 2010

Oceania

FijiPresentNative Not invasive Kato, 1984; Museum of New Zealand, 2015
New ZealandLocalisedIntroduced Invasive Wright and Cameron, 1985; New Zealand National Herbarium Network, 2015North-eastern Great Barrier Island, locally abundant in swamp at back of grassy flat in Burrill's Bay, but subspecies not confirmed
Papua New GuineaWidespreadNative Not invasive Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2015Morobe Prov: Kaviat, Kar Kar Island, Aseki. Eastern Highlands: Mt. Otto. Southern Highlands: SE of Mendi, also at Mt. Giluwe. Western Highlands: between Tuman River and Roguts village. Northern Dist., Mt Albert Edward.

History of Introduction and Spread

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Although first collected in Hawaii in 1938, D. petersenii in 1950 was known only from the Kohala Mountains, since when it has spread rapidly and is now well distributed on all the major Hawaiian islands (Wilson, 1996). More recent records include the Makawao Forest Reserve on Maui in 2005, Kalaupapa National Historical Park on Molokai in 2007 (Starr and Starr, 2015) and, in 2009, the biologically rich Wainiha Preserve, Kauai (Wood, 2009).

In the southeastern USA, Florida has since 1957 experienced a growing number of occurrences of D. petersenii. Over a dozen sites in northwestern Florida host aggressive populations, including the Ochlocknee River, Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve, Torreya State Park, natural areas in Eglin Air Force Base, and Joe Budd Wildlife Management Area. In northcentral Florida, San Felasco Hammock State Preserve harbours the oldest population along a limestone seep and in central Florida the Alafia River Corridor Preserve and the Hopewell Parcel remain impacted (Wunderlin and Hansen, 2000, 2015; Mast et al., 2015). The states of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana have limited, but more recent, records of naturalization (Denley et al., 2002; NCU Flora of the Southeastern United States, 2015).

D. petersenii has been introduced to the southern and particularly the southeastern region of Brazil, as well as in the north east around Pernambuco (Wilson, 1996; Mynssen, 2015). It is problematic in the Azores and Madeira (Wilson, 1996) and Reunion Island (Robinson et al., 2010). More information is needed to understand the status and extent of these introductions.

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Azores   Yes No Wilson (1996)
Brazil   Yes No Mynssen (2015)
Hawaii 1938 Yes No Wilson (1996)
Madeira   Yes No Wilson (1996)
New Zealand   Yes No Museum of New Zealand (2015)
Réunion   Yes No Robinson et al. (2010)
USA 1957 Yes No Wunderlin and Hansen (2000) South-east USA

Risk of Introduction

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D. petersenii is cultivated in and often volunteers in gardens, from which it can escape by windblown spores. It is widely available by purchase from the internet. D. petersenii is not legally restricted, prohibited or listed as a quarantine pest, therefore the risk of introduction and ensuing escape from cultivation is likely.

Habitat

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In its native range, D. petersenii is common on 10-80° slopes at the base of steep mountains, in grassy, open clearings, as well as in shady areas. It is found along riverbanks in ravines, on bare earth banks near streams, on moist shady rocks and logs, on rocks by streams; in such riverine habitats it grows about 3 m above the observed level of the river. It can also be found growing in humus/soil pockets on exposed rock outcrops, on limestone scree slopes, in lower montane forests (primary or more often disturbed), on hills at moderate elevations (1000-2000 m) (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2015) and in secondary forests or old garden clearings with thick ground cover of ferns and grasses, and with thick woody vines. D. petersenii is a common ground fern in Castanopsis forests and disturbed forests of Pandanus and Saurauia and in cutover mid-montane Nothofagus forests (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2015).

In its introduced range in Hawaii, it first colonized the margins of intact montane forests, then spread into the intact forest floor (Wilson, 1996; Palmer, 2003). It is commonly encountered along trails, stream banks, and disturbed montane forests from 170 to 1325 m elevation (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1996; Wilson, 1996).

In southeastern USA, D. petersenii prefers wet to damp disturbed and natural deciduous woodlands, especially along stream banks and the slopes above them, wooded drainage ditches, damp limestone outcrops, caverns and ravines.

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural forests Principal habitat Natural
Riverbanks Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Principal habitat Natural
Rocky areas / lava flows Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rocky areas / lava flows Principal habitat Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

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D. petersenii is displacing a native fern species of the genus Cyclosorus on Reunion Island, while in Florida potential displacement of Athyrium and Thelypteris is suspected (Jacono, pers. obs., 2015). In Hawaii, it is one of several alien invasive species threatening, through competition for habitat, the federally endangered Cyrtandra cyaneoides (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1995, 1996) and the federally threatened Cyanea recta (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1996).

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The chromosome base number is n = 40 (Kato, 1993b), although n = 41 has also been reported (Rothfels et al., 2012). Subspecies petersenii has been described as a tetraploid, n = 80 (Kato, 1984). Ancestral diploid populations of D. petersenii have been described from Taiwan, indicating a possible centre of origin for the species, while polyploids, primarily tetraploids but also hexaploids and pentaploids, were found largely geographically isolated from the diploids and distributed widely throughout Japan, China and East Asia (Shinohara et al., 2003, 2006).

Reproductive Biology 

Fertile (spore-bearing) fronds are present on very small plants and young plants in both the native and introduced ranges, which could indicate a long period for spore dispersal.

Physiology and Phenology

Plants grow from long creeping rhizomes as erect ground ferns in moist soil or as hanging cliff ferns in ravines and on rock walls [(Jacono 906, 911 (FLAS)].

Environmental Requirements 

Wet or moist environments at moderate altitudes <1600 m) typically shaded during the growing season (such as by tree canopy) on unspecified soil or limestone rock substrate are preferred.

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Tolerated Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free
  • seasonally waterlogged

Soil reaction

  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • shallow

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

Spores of D. petersenii are carried long distances by wind (Shinohara et al. (2006)). Plants may move within local watersheds through dispersal of stems downstream. Populations expand clonally along stream banks through burial by alluvial washout and creeping growth.

Vector Transmission (Biotic)

Animals, birds, insects and human articles may become contaminated with windborne spores. Soil disturbance by invasive pigs could be promoting this species in some regions of the Hawaiian Islands.

Accidental Introduction

Escape by spore dispersal from plants cultivated in gardens is likely.

Intentional Introduction

D. petersenii is cultivated as an ornamental for wet and shady sites, and this has been the principal means of long-distance introduction. Intentional planting in natural areas has not been reported.

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
DisturbanceSpread facilitated by feral pigs/goats Yes US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1996
Flooding and other natural disastersLocally abundant colonization and spread on stream banks and alluvial deposits. Jacono, pers. obs., Yes
ForestrySpore contaminated equipment and vehicles could be involved in transport. Yes
HitchhikerSpore contaminated equipment and vehicles could be involved in transport. Yes
HorticulturePurchases for outdoor horticulture can result in spore distribution in new and distant regions. Yes Yes
Interbasin transfersDownstream spread of vegetative propagules and spores is possible. Yes Yes
Internet salesMay result in spore distribution in new and distant regions Yes
Landscape improvementPurchases for outdoor horticulture can result in spore distribution in new and distant regions. Yes Yes
Live food or feed tradeReportedly edible, but no literature on current usage. Yes Yes Kato, 1984
Nursery tradeNursery culture may result in spore distribution in new and distant regions Yes Yes

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Clothing, footwear and possessionsSpores may contaminate gear Yes
Plants or parts of plantsPurchases for outdoor horticulture can result in spore dispersal in new and distant regions Yes Yes
WaterPotential propagule and spore distribution Yes Yes
WindSpore distribution Yes Yes Shinohara et al., 2006

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Cultural/amenity Positive
Economic/livelihood Positive
Environment (generally) Negative

Economic Impact

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Where D. petersenii has become weedy and invasive, there have been no reports of control measures or of the economic costs of management.

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Habitats

It is possible but not known for certain that the thick, running rhizomes of D. petersenii unduly degrade limestone rock faces and ledges. Rapid colonization of alluvial deposits may affect stream geomorphology. Habitats harbouring native species of Athyrium have been invaded by D. petersenii in Hawaii (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1996) and in Florida [Jacono 906 (FLAS)], but in both cases quantitative data are lacking to support observations of displacement of Athyrium by Deparia. In Hawaii, D. petersenii is recognized for forming a dense ground cover on montane forest floors (US Fish and Wildlife Service,1996).

Impact on Biodiversity

D. petersenii is displacing a native fern species of the genus Cyclosorus (Thelypteridaceae) on Reunion Island (Robinson et al., 2010), an island of the Mascarene Archipelago in the Indian Ocean which is one of the 34 recognized world biodiversity hotspots.

In Florida, potential displacement of Athyrium (Athyriaceae) and Thelypteris (Thelypteridaceae) near stream banks, in ravines and on limestone rock in Florida is suspected in part due to its competitive effect as an early colonizer of naturally disturbed stream banks and alluvial deposits, its larger leaves which appear earlier in spring-time and extension of its populations by long, thick, creeping rhizomes (Jacono, pers. obs., 2015).

D. petersenii is known to form a thick, competitive groundcover in Hawaiian forests where alien plants are considered the major threat to Cyrtandra cyaneoides, a rare and federally endangered shrubby member of the African violet family (Gesneriaceae) (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1995, 1996). This species is endemic to cliffs near streams and waterfalls in wet forest or shrublands where D. petersenii, Erechtites valerianifolia, Paspalum conjugatum, Rubus rosifolius and Drymariacordata have invaded. Because only four populations remain, C. cyaneoides is especially vulnerable to extinction (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1996).

D. petersenii is included in a list of 11 invasive alien plants competing for the habitat of the federally threatened species Cyanea recta, a member of the bell flower family (Campanulaceae). Endemic to the Island of Kauai, C. recta populations are on the decline from a combination of invasive species’ impacts, including: bark removal by rats; habitat degradation by feral pigs; browsing by goats; and competition from D. petersenii,E. valerianifolia, P. conjugatum, R. rosifolius,Blechnum occidentale, Lantana camara, Clidemia hirta, Crassocephalum crepidioides, Melastomacandidum, Sacciolepis indica and Youngia japonica (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1996).

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Cyanea recta (Kealia cyanea)National list(s) National list(s); USA ESA listing as threatened species USA ESA listing as threatened speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 1996
Cyrtandra cyaneoidesUSA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - smotheringUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 1996
Poa mannii (Mann's bluegrass)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010
Schiedea kauaiensis (Kauai schiedea)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2008
Urera kaalaeCR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiEcosystem change / habitat alteration; Pest and disease transmissionUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Reproduces asexually
  • Has high genetic variability
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Monoculture formation
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Soil accretion
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Competition - smothering
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Interaction with other invasive species
  • Rapid growth
  • Rooting
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field

Uses

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Economic Value

D. petersenii is propagated, grown and sold as an ornamental plant for gardens.

Social Benefit

D. petersenii is reportedly an edible food plant in its native range (Kato, 1993b), and is widely grown for its ornamental qualities in gardens, particularly on wet and shady sites (Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015).

Environmental Services

One potential beneficial environmental impact of D. petersenii is soil retention on steep slopes and flood plains.

Uses List

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General

  • Botanical garden/zoo

Human food and beverage

  • Vegetable

Ornamental

  • garden plant
  • Propagation material

Diagnosis

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40-60X magnification should be used to clarify uncertainties in identification and for reviewing diagnostic characters.

Detection and Inspection

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Ground surveys and monitoring are recommended for this fern where weedy.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Hawaii hosts five endemic species of Deparia similar in appearance and habitat preference: D. fenzliana, D. prolifera, D. marginalis, D. kaalaana and the newly described D. cataracticola (Kato, 2001). When considered together with the Bonin and Volcano Islands endemic D. bonincola, the section Deparia (Kato, 1984) is detailed in its entirety. Although low bootstrap values suggest that section Deparia may not be monophyletic, the group remains distinct from D. petersenii which is introduced to Hawaii. Belonging to section Athyriopsis, D. petersenii has been shown by molecular and morphological data to be only remotely related to the Hawaiian endemics (Kato, 2001). The Hawaiian species of Deparia are characterized by rhizomes ascending to erect, or short creeping, and the margins of the indusia being entire. The introduced D. petersenii is distinguished by rhizomes that are long creeping and margins of the indusia that are laciniate (irregularly and narrowly lobed) (Kato, 1984). Unlike some of the endemic Hawaiian species, D. petersenii lacks proliferations at the frond tips (Palmer, 2003).

A single species of Deparia, D. acrostichoides (Swartz) M. Kato, is native to North America, where it ranges from New Brunswick west to Wisconsin and south to the northern fringes of the southern states of Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas. Inhabiting damp woods and slopes, it may easily be confused with D. petersenii, especially if its introductions continue northward. D. acrostichoides can be distinguished by it leaves that are narrowed to the base and petiole bases that are toothed and markedly swollen or thickened and persisting as a trophopod (or aerophore) over winter, features that place it in section Lunathyrium, far from D. petersenii (Kato, 1993b).

In the southeastern USA and the Hawaiian Islands, D. petersenii bears close resemblance to Thelypteris dentata [Cyclosorus dentatus] (Thelypteridaceae). Both are soft, robust, early colonizing species that tolerate a good deal of sun (T. dentata perhaps more so). Both are rather hefty or blocky in silhouette, especially the pinnules, which appear nearly rectangular and blunt or rounded at the tip. Both also are vested in translucent to whitish hairs. D. petersenii is separated by sori that are linear, and hairs on the upper surface of the rachis and costa that are multicellular. In contrast, T. dentata bears sori that are circular to kidney-shaped and single celled, needle-like hairs. Additionally, the veins of adjoining pinnules join together 2-4 mm below the sinus, ending at the sinus as a single vein (Nelson, 2000).

D. petersenii subsp. deflexa is similar to subsp. congrua in leaf shape and pinna apices, but differs in its thicker rhizomes, closely spaced leaves, scales and pinna-segments (Kato, 1984). D. petersenii subsp. congrua is closer to subsp. petersenii, but differs in its lamina gradually narrowed into a long-acuminate leaf apex and its thinner texture (Kato, 1984). The lamina of subsp. petersenii is abruptly narrowed into the acuminate apex and has a thicker texture. True to the species in habitat preference, subsp. congrua frequently forms large colonies in or close to stream banks, damp rock faces and crevices (Kato, 1984; Bureau of Flora and Fauna, 1998; New Zealand National Herbarium Network, 2015). A key to the three subspecies and variety of D. petersenii has been developed by Kato (1984).

Prevention and Control

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No references to prevention or control methods or campaigns with respect to D. petersenii have been identified.

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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Additional cytogenetic and molecular studies are needed to further understand the genetics of D. petersenii in its native and introduced ranges and to investigate potential correlations between genetics and distribution.

Experimental data are sorely lacking to support observations of displacement of native species, and to understand impacts on the environment, habitats and biodiversity in general. Also, information on herbicide use and procedures would be especially useful for controlling D. petersenii on rock walls and where native associates are present. Availability of research funds would foster the studies needed to fill these significant gaps in knowledge.

References

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Contributors

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30/04/2015     Original text by:

Colette Jacono, Consultant, Florida, USA

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