Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Cyrtomium falcatum
(Japanese holly fern)

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Datasheet

Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 27 September 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Cyrtomium falcatum
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Japanese holly fern
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Pteridophyta
  •       Class: Filicopsida
  •         Family: Dryopteridaceae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Cyrtomium falcatum, commonly known as Japanese holly fern, is native to Asia (including China and Japan). It has been introduced across the world as an ornamental plant and has spread throughout tropical and su...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); habit. Old Santee Canal Park, Berkeley County, South Carolina, USA. July, 2015.
TitleHabit
CaptionCyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); habit. Old Santee Canal Park, Berkeley County, South Carolina, USA. July, 2015.
Copyright©Keith A. Bradley-2013
Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); habit. Old Santee Canal Park, Berkeley County, South Carolina, USA. July, 2015.
HabitCyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); habit. Old Santee Canal Park, Berkeley County, South Carolina, USA. July, 2015.©Keith A. Bradley-2013
Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); fronds, upper surface. South Carolina State House, Richland County, South Carolina, USA. May, 2015.
TitleFronds
CaptionCyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); fronds, upper surface. South Carolina State House, Richland County, South Carolina, USA. May, 2015.
Copyright©Keith A. Bradley-2013
Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); fronds, upper surface. South Carolina State House, Richland County, South Carolina, USA. May, 2015.
FrondsCyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); fronds, upper surface. South Carolina State House, Richland County, South Carolina, USA. May, 2015.©Keith A. Bradley-2013
Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); frond, upper surface. Riverbanks Botanical Garden, Lexington County, South Carolina, USA. May, 2015.
TitleFrond
CaptionCyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); frond, upper surface. Riverbanks Botanical Garden, Lexington County, South Carolina, USA. May, 2015.
Copyright©Keith A. Bradley-2013
Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); frond, upper surface. Riverbanks Botanical Garden, Lexington County, South Carolina, USA. May, 2015.
FrondCyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); frond, upper surface. Riverbanks Botanical Garden, Lexington County, South Carolina, USA. May, 2015.©Keith A. Bradley-2013
Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); frond, upper surface. Riverbanks Botanical Garden, Lexington County, South Carolina, USA. May, 2015.
TitleFrond
CaptionCyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); frond, upper surface. Riverbanks Botanical Garden, Lexington County, South Carolina, USA. May, 2015.
Copyright©Keith A. Bradley-2013
Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); frond, upper surface. Riverbanks Botanical Garden, Lexington County, South Carolina, USA. May, 2015.
FrondCyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); frond, upper surface. Riverbanks Botanical Garden, Lexington County, South Carolina, USA. May, 2015.©Keith A. Bradley-2013
Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); habit. Maliko, Maui, Hawaii, USA. May, 2010.
TitleHabit
CaptionCyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); habit. Maliko, Maui, Hawaii, USA. May, 2010.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); habit. Maliko, Maui, Hawaii, USA. May, 2010.
HabitCyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); habit. Maliko, Maui, Hawaii, USA. May, 2010.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); habit. Honokowai Ditch Trail, Maui, Hawaii, USA. June, 2010.
TitleHabit
CaptionCyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); habit. Honokowai Ditch Trail, Maui, Hawaii, USA. June, 2010.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); habit. Honokowai Ditch Trail, Maui, Hawaii, USA. June, 2010.
HabitCyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); habit. Honokowai Ditch Trail, Maui, Hawaii, USA. June, 2010.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); habit. Maliko, Maui, Hawaii, USA. May, 2010.
TitleHabit
CaptionCyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); habit. Maliko, Maui, Hawaii, USA. May, 2010.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); habit. Maliko, Maui, Hawaii, USA. May, 2010.
HabitCyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); habit. Maliko, Maui, Hawaii, USA. May, 2010.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); frond, upper surface. Honokowai Ditch Trail, Maui, Hawaii, USA. June, 2010.
TitleFrond
CaptionCyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); frond, upper surface. Honokowai Ditch Trail, Maui, Hawaii, USA. June, 2010.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); frond, upper surface. Honokowai Ditch Trail, Maui, Hawaii, USA. June, 2010.
FrondCyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); frond, upper surface. Honokowai Ditch Trail, Maui, Hawaii, USA. June, 2010.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); fronds, lower surface (note devloping sori) and smooth upper surface. Honokowai Ditch Trai, Maui, Hawaii, USAl. June, 2010.
TitleFronds
CaptionCyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); fronds, lower surface (note devloping sori) and smooth upper surface. Honokowai Ditch Trai, Maui, Hawaii, USAl. June, 2010.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); fronds, lower surface (note devloping sori) and smooth upper surface. Honokowai Ditch Trai, Maui, Hawaii, USAl. June, 2010.
FrondsCyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); fronds, lower surface (note devloping sori) and smooth upper surface. Honokowai Ditch Trai, Maui, Hawaii, USAl. June, 2010.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); habit. Honokowai Ditch Trail, Maui, Hawaii, USA. June, 2010.
TitleInvasive habit
CaptionCyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); habit. Honokowai Ditch Trail, Maui, Hawaii, USA. June, 2010.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); habit. Honokowai Ditch Trail, Maui, Hawaii, USA. June, 2010.
Invasive habitCyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); habit. Honokowai Ditch Trail, Maui, Hawaii, USA. June, 2010.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); underside of a frond, showing sori. South Carolina State House, Richland County, South Carolina, USA. May, 2015.
TitleFrond
CaptionCyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); underside of a frond, showing sori. South Carolina State House, Richland County, South Carolina, USA. May, 2015.
Copyright©Keith A. Bradley-2013
Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); underside of a frond, showing sori. South Carolina State House, Richland County, South Carolina, USA. May, 2015.
FrondCyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); underside of a frond, showing sori. South Carolina State House, Richland County, South Carolina, USA. May, 2015.©Keith A. Bradley-2013
Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); frond, lower surface showing sori. Maliko, Maui, Hawaii, USA. May, 2010
TitleFrond
CaptionCyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); frond, lower surface showing sori. Maliko, Maui, Hawaii, USA. May, 2010
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); frond, lower surface showing sori. Maliko, Maui, Hawaii, USA. May, 2010
FrondCyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); frond, lower surface showing sori. Maliko, Maui, Hawaii, USA. May, 2010©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); extreme close-up of frond undersurface, showing sori and sporangia. South Carolina State House, Richland County, South Carolina, USA. May, 2015.
TitleFrond
CaptionCyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); extreme close-up of frond undersurface, showing sori and sporangia. South Carolina State House, Richland County, South Carolina, USA. May, 2015.
Copyright©Keith A. Bradley-2013
Cyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); extreme close-up of frond undersurface, showing sori and sporangia. South Carolina State House, Richland County, South Carolina, USA. May, 2015.
FrondCyrtomium falcatum (Japanese holly fern); extreme close-up of frond undersurface, showing sori and sporangia. South Carolina State House, Richland County, South Carolina, USA. May, 2015.©Keith A. Bradley-2013

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Cyrtomium falcatum (L. f.) C. Presl

Preferred Common Name

  • Japanese holly fern

Other Scientific Names

  • Aspidium falcatum (L. f.) Sw.
  • Cyrtomium acutidens H. Christ
  • Cyrtomium yiangshanense Ching & Y. C. Lan
  • Dryopteris falcata (L. f.) O. Kuntze
  • Phanerophlebia falcata (L. f.) Copel.
  • Polypodium falcatum L. f.
  • Polypodium japonicum Houttuyn
  • Polystichum falcatum (L. f.) Diels

International Common Names

  • English: Asian net-veined holly fern; house holly fern; Japanese netvein holly fern
  • Chinese: quan yuan guan zhong

Local Common Names

  • Korea, Republic of: Do-kkae-bi-go-bi; Do-kkae-bi-soe-go-bi
  • USA/Hawaii: ka'ape'ape

EPPO code

  • CWUFA (Cyrtomium falcatum)

Summary of Invasiveness

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Cyrtomium falcatum, commonly known as Japanese holly fern, is native to Asia (including China and Japan). It has been introduced across the world as an ornamental plant and has spread throughout tropical and subtropical areas, and in temperate regions with milder climates, and has spread rapidly across the USA. Colonization of new areas is facilitated by its ability to reproduce apogamously. It can be found in a broad range of habitats, typically on rock or masonry substrates, including coastal areas, waterfalls, karst, boulders, streams, as well as man-made structures. Where it occurs in natural habitats it can displace native species, including rare bryophytes and ferns. In the USA it has been recognized by the US National Park Service as invasive in much of its naturalized range.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Pteridophyta
  •             Class: Filicopsida
  •                 Family: Dryopteridaceae
  •                     Genus: Cyrtomium
  •                         Species: Cyrtomium falcatum

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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C. falcatum is a fern in the family Dryopteridaceae. The species was originally described as Polypodium falcatum by Linnaeus the Younger, based on a specimen from Japan. In 1836 Presl described the new genus Cyrtomium and transferred the species (Presl, 1836). The circumscription of Cyrtomium and the similar genus Polystichum has been controversial (Christensen, 1930), and the species has sometimes been treated as a member of that genus (Engler and Prantl, 1899). Genetic studies by Little and Barrington (2003), Li et al. (2004), and Lu et al. (2005) have shown that Cyrtomium is nested within a polyphyletic Polystichum. This required that Cyrtomium be included in a more broadly defined Polystichum, or, as recommended by Lu et al. (2005), separation of the Polystichum clade Balansana into a new genus, and retention of Cyrtomium. The genus Cyrtomium is currently recognized to contain about 35 species (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015).

Several subspecies have sometimes been recognized based on cytotypes and geographic distribution (Matsumoto, 2003b). This subdivision has not been followed by recent works (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015; Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015). 

Description

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C. falcatum is a fern with an erect rhizome covered with brown lanceolate scales, 30-60 cm or rarely longer, stipe stramineous, base with brown scales, leaves pinnate, stiff and glossy, pinnae alternate, 4-15 pairs, falcate, medial pinnae 6-10 cm long, to 3 cm wide, margins undulate, entire to coarsely dentate, apex long acuminate to caudate, sori throughout abaxial side of pinnae, indusial brown. 

Distribution

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C. falcatum is native to coastal provinces of China and Japan (Ohwi et al., 1965; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015). Reports in older literature from other regions in Asia, such as Hong Kong (Bentham, 1861) and India (Blatter and D’Almeida, 1922) refer to other Cyrtomium species.

C. falcatum has become naturalized in North America, Africa, Europe and Oceania and a few occurrences have been recorded in South America and the Caribbean. Some reports represent short-lived colonies, particularly those in colder climates. These have been difficult to identify because of a lack of published follow-up data.  

In North America, the species has become established primarily in southern states but other populations have been reported in colder climates including Oregon, Virginia, Ohio, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut (Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; USDA-NRCS, 2015; Weakley, 2015). In Texas, it has been reported as showing little or no increase of abundance or range (Nesom, 2009).

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

ChinaPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-FujianPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-GuangdongPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-Hong KongAbsent, invalid recordBentham, 1861
-HubeiPresentNativeChrist, 1911
-JiangsuPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-LiaoningPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-ShandongPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-ZhejiangPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
IndiaAbsent, invalid recordBlatter and D'Almeida, 1922
JapanPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-HonshuPresentNativeOhwi et al., 1965
-KyushuPresentNativeOhwi et al., 1965
-Ryukyu ArchipelagoPresentNativeOhwi et al., 1965
-ShikokuPresentNativeOhwi et al., 1965
Korea, DPRPresentNativeChang et al., 2014
Korea, Republic ofPresentNativeChang et al., 2014; Jung et al., 2014Dokdo
TaiwanPresentNativeLu et al., 2005; Li and Chiou, 2006; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
VietnamPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015

Africa

MadagascarPresentIntroduced2005 Invasive Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015
RéunionPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
South AfricaPresentIntroduced1909-1911 Invasive Roux, 2011; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015; SIBIS, 2015
Spain
-Canary Islands1985Press et al., 1986Salvage Islands, Canaries, Madeira

North America

BermudaPresentIntroduced Invasive Copeland and Malcolm, 2014; Barrios et al., 2015; Lubin, 2015
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AlabamaPresentIntroduced1915Graves, 1919; Christensen, 1930; Diamond and Woods, 2007; USDA-NRCS, 2015
-ArkansasPresentIntroduced2002Peck, 2003; Peck, 2011
-CaliforniaPresentIntroduced1940Tracy, 1940; Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; USDA-NRCS, 2015
-ConnecticutUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-FloridaPresentIntroduced1923Christensen, 1930; Diddell, 1941; Degener and Hawkes, 1951; Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; USDA-NRCS, 2015St. Augustine, Duval
-GeorgiaPresentIntroducedFlora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; USDA-NRCS, 2015
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced1928Degener and Hawkes, 1951; Wilson, 1996; Bishop Museum, 2015; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015Maui, Oahu, Molokai, Kauai, Hawaii
-LouisianaPresentIntroducedFlora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; USDA-NRCS, 2015
-MississippiPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-New JerseyPresentIntroduced1907Benedict, 1907; USDA-NRCS, 2015
-New YorkPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-North CarolinaPresentIntroducedWeakley, 2015
-OhioPresentIntroduced1956Goslin, 1958; USDA-NRCS, 2015
-OregonPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-South CarolinaPresentIntroducedHill and Horn, 1997; Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; USDA-NRCS, 2015
-TexasPresentIntroduced1998Diggs and George, 2006; Aplaca, 2010; USDA-NRCS, 2015
-VirginiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2015

South America

ArgentinaPresentIntroduced1996Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015

Europe

CroatiaPresentIntroduced1994Trinajstic and Panjol, 1994
IrelandPresentIntroduced1983Cullinane and Crowley, 1985West Cork
ItalyPresentIntroduced1987Bonafede et al., 1993; Marchetti, 2004Emilia-Romagna
NetherlandsPresentIntroduced1915Christenhusz and Uffelen, 2001; Denters, 2003; Verloove and Lambinon, 2014
PortugalPresentIntroduced1987Bonafede et al., 1993
-AzoresPresentIntroduced1932Press et al., 1986; Schafer, 2001
-MadeiraPresentIntroducedPress et al., 1986
RomaniaPresentIntroduced1969Negrean, 2011; Dobrescu and Soare, 2012
SpainPresentIntroduced1986Casasayas and Farras, 1986; Segarra-Moragues, 2001
SwitzerlandPresentIntroduced2014Schoenenberger et al., 2014Canton Ticino
UKPresentIntroduced1976Corkhill, 1977; Jermy and British, 1978; Hutchinson and Thomas, 1992; Bonafede et al., 1993; Hibernicarum, 2008

Oceania

AustraliaPresentIntroducedPlantNET, 2015
-New South WalesPresentIntroduced1981Pickard, 1984; AVH, 2015; PlantNET, 2015
-QueenslandPresentIntroduced Invasive AVH, 2015; PlantNET, 2015
-South AustraliaPresentIntroducedBarker et al., 2005; AVH, 2015; PlantNET, 2015Adelaide
-TasmaniaPresentIntroduced
-VictoriaPresentIntroducedAVH, 2015; PlantNET, 2015
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroducedLohr and Keighery, 2014; AVH, 2015
French PolynesiaPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
New ZealandPresentIntroduced1988Esler, 1988; Heiss-Dunlop and Fillery, 2006; Howell and Sawyer, 2006; Mountier, 2014
Norfolk IslandPresentIntroduced1989Gardner, 2006On walls in garden

History of Introduction and Spread

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The earliest report of naturalization was from New Jersey, USA, in 1907, when C. falcatum was found to be establishing in a well near a greenhouse where it was being cultivated (Benedict, 1907). It was then found in Alabama around 1915 (Graves, 1919), and in Florida in 1923 (Christensen, 1930). It has since spread and is found in at least 17 US states, including Hawaii.

It was first reported in South Africa between 1909 and 1911, but it may not have become permanently established there until recent years (Roux, 2011). It was recorded in the Netherlands (Europe) in 1915 (Denters, 2003), New South Wales (Australia) in 1981 (Pickard, 1984), and Argentina (South America) in 1996 (Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015). The species continues to be recorded in new countries, such as Switzerland in 2014 (Schoenenberger et al., 2014).      

Risk of Introduction

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New introductions will continue because C. falcatum is a popular ornamental plant.

Climate change will influence the spread of this species into cooler climates. Denters (2003) reports range expansion due to warmer winters in Belgium and the Netherlands. 

Habitat

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Despite its thick leaves suggesting a preference for xeric habitats, C. falcatum favours mesophytic or coastal habitats (Meyer, 1927; Katsuyama et al., 2011; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015). In China, the species grows in lowland forests and coastal areas, to 500 m (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015). In Taiwan, it similarly grows in rocky coastal areas (Turner et al., 2001). In Japan, it is primarily a coastal species, growing in rocky areas (Ohwi et al., 1965; Katsuyama et al., 2011) but is occasionally found inland (Ohwi et al., 1965).

In its introduced range, C. falcatum can be found in a variety of habitats, usually associated  with rocks or masonry, both in coastal and inland areas. Throughout the introduced range it occurs on man-made structures including walls, well interiors, stairways and other masonry or brick structures where there is shade and protection from excessive cold (Diddell, 1941; Degener and Hawkes, 1951; Esler, 1988; Mele et al., 2006; Roux, 2011).  

In the eastern USA it is associated with stream banks, limestone outcrops, bluffs, drainage ditches, wooded ravines and waterfalls (Faircloth, 1975; Hill, 1992; Woods and Diamond, 2008; Peck, 2011; Weakley, 2015). Unlike its native range and some parts of its naturalized range, it has not been reported for coastal habitats in this region. In California, USA, it has been found associated with a waterfall in a canyon (Tracy, 1940). In Hawaii it has been found in “bare, windswept precipice and in the wooded gullies” (Degener and Hawkes, 1951).

In Italy, C. falcatum occupies streams, cliffs, walls, wells and brackish areas (Marchetti, 2014) and humid cliffs (Mele et al., 2006). In the Azores, it colonizes coastal areas, rock crevices, walls, slopes, and shady ravines (Schafer, 2001). In South Africa, it is known from watercourses, moist cliffs, rocky outcrops, stone walls and sometimes inland forests (Roux, 2011).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedDisturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Natural
Buildings Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Buildings Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural forests Present, no further details Natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Present, no further details Natural
Rocky areas / lava flows Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rocky areas / lava flows Present, no further details Natural
Littoral
Coastal areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Coastal areas Present, no further details Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

C. falcatum has a chromosome number of 2n=82 (Lu et al., 2006), although naturalizing populations are reported to be apogamous triploids with a chromosome number of 2n=123 (Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; Weakley, 2015). Three cytotypes have been identified in the species, including sexual diploid, apogamous triploid and sexual tetraploid (Matsumoto, 2003a; Lu et al., 2006; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015).

Reproductive Biology

C. falcatum is a homosporous fern (Chung and Chung, 2013). Populations that have naturalized are apogamous triploids. Being apogamous means that these plants can avoid the sexual process in the gametophyte stage so sporophytes arise more efficiently, allowing for easier colonization of new sites (Robinson, 2009).

Physiology and Phenology

C. falcatum produces spores from spring to autumn (Diggs and George, 2006).

It is moderately tolerant of arsenic (Sridokchan et al., 2005).       

Associations

In Korea, the roots of C. falcatum were reported to be colonized by a mycorrhizal fungus with constricted hyphae, similar to those of Rhizoctonia spp. that colonize orchid roots (Lee et al., 2001).

Environmental Requirements

C. falcatum generally requires moist or shaded conditions for establishment, such as stream banks, shaded walls, waterfalls and ravines, and is sensitive to colder temperatures. In studies of phenology and wintering capacity, Toshiyuki (1982) found gametophytes resistant to temperatures of -30°C, and sporophytes to -15°C. Gametophytes survived well in a region where temperatures of -30°C can occur. They also found that gametophytes could survive independently of sporophytes under some conditions. 

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)
Df - Continental climate, wet all year Preferred Continental climate, wet all year (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, wet all year)
Dw - Continental climate with dry winter Preferred Continental climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry winters)

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean annual temperature (ºC) -15

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Aphelenchoides Herbivore not specific
Coccus hesperidum Herbivore not specific
Colletotrichum acutatum Pathogen not specific
Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis Herbivore not specific
Idiopterus nephrelepidis Herbivore not specific
Macromyzus woodwardiae Herbivore not specific
Pseudococcus longispinus Herbivore not specific
Pseudomonas Pathogen not specific
Pseudomonas asplenii Pathogen
Pythium Pathogen not specific
Rhizoctonia Pathogen not specific

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Little published data exists on natural enemies of C. falcatum. In its native range in Korea, an aphid, Macromyzus woodwardiae (Sternorrhyncha, Aphididae), has been documented from the undersides of new leaves (Lee, 2002).          

Several pests have been identified in its introduced range, primarily associated with threats to cultivated plants. Greenhouse thrips (Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis) have been found on cultivated C. falcatum in Bermuda (Nakahara and Hilburn, 1989). Fern anthracnose (Colletotrichum acutatum) has severely damaged C. falcatum in central Florida, USA, and has caused economic losses (Strandberg et al., 1997).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

C. falcatum, like all ferns, produces spores which are small and dispersed by wind (Chung and Chung, 2013).

Accidental Introduction

C. falcatum is grown outdoors and indoors as an ornamental plant. Where grown outside, windborne spores may be dispersed from mature plants.

Intentional Introduction

C. falcatum is valued as an ornamental fern and may be introduced to new areas for this purpose.

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Economic/livelihood Positive
Environment (generally) Negative

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Biodiversity

C. falcatum can colonize sparsely vegetated rocks, often in moist and humid conditions. It therefore has the potential to displace co-occurring rare ferns and bryophytes that often grow in such habitats at low population sizes. In Hawaii, USA, it has been reported to displace the endangered Stenogyne bifida, a herbaceous vine in the mint family (Lamiaceae) (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010). In Bermuda, it is reported to compete with the endangered Bermuda shield fern (Thelypteris bermudiana) (Copeland and Malcolm, 2014) and the endangered epiphyte, wild Bermuda pepper (Peperomia septentrionalis) (Bárrios et al., 2015).

In Macaronesia, C. falcatum is displacing the fern, sea spleenwort (Asplenium marinum) (Robinson, 2009). It has the potential in Florida to displace rare, native fern species such as Trichomanes punctatum subsp. floridanum, but it has not been observed to displace rare native ferns in the southeastern USA (Alan Cressler, Atlanta, GA, USA, personal communication, 2015; Jennifer Possley, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Florida, USA, personal communication, 2015).

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Peperomia septentrionalis (wild Bermuda pepper)EN (IUCN red list: Endangered) EN (IUCN red list: Endangered)BermudaBarrios et al., 2015
Stenogyne bifida (twocleft stenogyne)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - shading; Competition - smotheringUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010
Thelypteris bermudiana (Bermuda shield fern)EN (IUCN red list: Endangered) EN (IUCN red list: Endangered)BermudaCompetition - smotheringCopeland and Malcolm, 2014

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Infrastructure damage
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Causes allergic responses
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Competition - smothering
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant

Uses

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Economic Value

C. falcatum is cultivated globally as an ornamental plant (Degener and Hawkes, 1951). The fronds are also used in cut flower arrangements (Will and Burch, 1985). 

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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C. falcatum can be confused with some larger forms of Cyrtomium fortunei in herbaria, although they are not likely to be confused when alive because of the glossy pinna surface of C. falcatum (Christensen, 1930). 

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

Control

New colonies are often the result of spread from cultivated plants so efforts should be made to eliminate plants from adjacent areas and may require the cooperation of landowners nearby.

Physical/Mechanical Control

Control of C. falcatum is primarily accomplished by hand pulling. Pulled plants should be removed from the site to prevent the spread of spores.

Chemical Control

Where there are denser populations of C. falcatum, or where plants occur on sensitive substrates such as historical masonry structures, control can be achieved with foliar glyphosate application.

References

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Contributors

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Keith Bradley, Consultant, South Carolina, USA

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