FLIP: Florida Invasive Plants

Nephrolepis brownii

Common Name(s): Asian sword fern



Ecological Impact

 An aggressive invasive exotic, especially in hammocksForms on other plants and rocks, choking out the underlying native plants and hindering new growth.


Tall fern that grows to 3', very similar to native ferns that naturally occur in the state. It has blunt pinnae tips, overlapping pinnae conceal the stem and its spores are wind-borne. Densest growth is in part/full shade with drained soils.

Identification Tips

Distinguished from native sword ferns by the dark brown scales at the base of the fronds.


Reported in the Keys in 1931.


Found mostly in South Florida but is spreading to Central Florida

Management Strategies

Do not plant. Monitor regularly and remove seed pods if possible. Site must be revisited several times to pull seedlings. Triclopyr amine or glyphosate can be applied to the foliage at 3-5% or 1-3%, respectively. Timing of application is critical to effectiveness; with applications in the fall prior to seed set being the most effective.


Most photos courtesy of the Atlas of Florida Plants; click for additional plant details.

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Florida Invasive Plants