Florida welcomes many out-of-state residents, but one cause for concern comes from non-native and invasive species—plants and animals that, once gaining a foothold in our natural areas, spread rapidly and take over whole ecosystems. Bradford County is the unwilling host of more than 21 non-native invasive plant species. Controlling all these species is important, but one plant in particular is currently causing alarm within Bradford County, especially among hunters, whose sport depends on natural forages being available for wildlife to feed. The plant is known as Japanese climbing fern and, although it is a relatively new introduction, it is rapidly spreading in our local forests. This fern-like vine has spores that are spread very efficiently by the wind. It grows so aggressively that it can cover entire trees in addition to becoming a dominant ground cover.
That’s why UF/IFAS Extension in Bradford County works with the Bradford Soil & Water Conservation District, the Florida Division of Forestry, the Alligator Creek Garden Club and local volunteers in the fight to eradicate or control exotic plants from our natural lands. Together, we work to educate Bradford County’s residents about invasive plants and participate in plant eradication activities.
Japanese climbing fern (Lygodium japonicum) is an invasive plant in Bradford County’s natural areas. UF/IFAS File Photo