Monday, June 2, 2008

Federal Import Quarantine Order for the Climbing Ferns Lygodium microphyllum and Lygodium flexuos

Effective immediately, Plant Protection and Quarantine is issuing a Federal Import Quarantine Order (see below) restricting the importation of Lygodium microphyllum (Old World climbing fern) and Lygodium flexuosum (maidenhair creeper). The restrictions apply to any parts capable of propagation, including spores and leaves (fronds) of these climbing fern species.


Lygodium microphyllum and Lygodium flexuosum

May 30, 2008

The purpose and goal of this Federal Order is to prevent the entry from all foreign countries into the United States of two harmful noxious weeds, Lygodium microphyllum (Cav.) R. Br. (Old World climbing fern) and Lygodium flexuosum (L.) Sw. (maidenhair creeper). This Federal Order is issued pursuant to Section 412(a) of the Plant Protection Act of June 20, 2000, as amended, 7 U.S.C. 7712(a), which authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to prohibit or restrict the importation or entry of any plant, plant part, noxious weed or article if the Secretary determines that the prohibition or restriction is necessary to prevent the entry of a plant pest or noxious weed into the United States.

This action is necessary because the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has determined that these climbing fern species are harmful noxious weeds that pose a serious environmental and economic threat to the United States. Recently, APHIS learned of commercial interest in importing Lygodium microphyllum as cut flower greenery. Fertile Lygodium leaves contain reproductive structures filled with spores that may be windblown, spreading the plant into uninfested areas. Additionally, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has requested that APHIS regulate Lygodium microphyllum to support Florida control efforts and Lygodium flexuosum, to prevent its introduction.

Within the United States, Old World climbing fern is only known to occur in the State of Florida where it is currently regulated and controlled.

Maidenhair creeper is not known to occur in the United States. These climbing ferns spread prolifically, climbing and scrambling over vegetation, creating a fire hazard, smothering native plant communities and causing other harmful environmental and economic impacts.

In order to prevent the entry of Lygodium microphyllum (Cav.) R. Br. and Lygodium flexuosum (L.) Sw., the APHIS Administrator has determined that it is necessary to no longer allow the importation of plant material capable of propagation, including nursery stock, spores, and leaves (fronds) of these climbing fern species, unless authorized by a PPQ permit for specified research in containment. Due to the seriousness of the potential for the spread of these very harmful noxious weeds, this Federal Order is effective immediately upon issuance.

Prohibited Plant Species:

Lygodium microphyllum (Cav.) R. Br. (Old World climbing fern) and Lygodium flexuosum (L.) Sw. (maidenhair creeper).