Lygodium palmatum
Climbing fern
Image of Lygodium palmatum

Photo by Susan R. Crispin 

Key Characteristics

Vining fern of open acidic thickets; leaves distinctively palmately lobed.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: E
  • State Rank: S1
  • Global Rank: G4


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Van Buren12015
Distribution map for Lygodium palmatum

Updated 5/15/2018. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


Michigan's single known locality for this disjunct species is a larch and poison sumac thicket on the edge of a sedge marsh. Elsewhere this fern occurs in moist thickets and woods in acid soil.

Natural Community Types


For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Associated Plants

Larch, poison sumac, quaking aspen, ground-cedar, cinnamon fern, and royal fern.


This species likely requires protection of wetland hydrology. It is reported not tolerant of shading, and thrives on moderate levels of disturbance. However, excessive disturbance such as clearcutting should be avoided.

General Survey Guidelines

Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgement of the investigator.

Survey Methods

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at [Accessed Jul 20, 2018]


Survey References

Technical References

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