Tuber Ladder Fern

Also known as:
Tuber Sword Fern

General description

Tuft-forming fern. Rhizomes and stolons are erect to spreading, produce long runners and have hairy potato-like tubers. Fronds are < 120 x 7 cm, erect, evergreen and pinnate.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell tuber ladder fern. As tuber ladder fern is a National Pest Plant Accord species, these restrictions apply within the Auckland region and across the whole of New Zealand.
  • You must not plant tuber ladder fern within the Auckland region, unless you are transferring an existing plant on your land to another location within the boundaries of the same property.
  • You must destroy any tuber ladder fern on land that you occupy if it has been planted in breach of the above rules and you are directed to do so by an authorised person.

Terrestrial, epiphytic or epilithic habitats, forest, rocky outcrops, coastal scrublands, wetland and riparian margins, roadsides, wasteland, urban areas.

Vegetative spread from tubers. Human-mediated dispersal through dumping of garden waste and deliberate plantings.

Forms dense stands, suppressing native regeneration.

Site Management

Follow up treated areas 3 times per year. Encourage natural regeneration of native plants or replant treated areas where possible after 2-3 treatments to establish dense ground cover and minimise reinvasion.

Recommended approaches

Physical control

Method: Dig or pull out

Plant parts requiring disposal: Tubers

Disposal options: Remove to greenwaste or landfill if practical


Biocontrol is currently not available for this species.

Community agrichemical control recommendations

Basic Growsafe certified
Foliar spray with 1g metsulfuron-methyl per 10L of water

CAUTION: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

Nephrolepis flexuosa

The native, N. flexuosa, has narrower fronds, and these are more gracile and drooping. The plant lacks tubers. It is also much less common, being associated with active geothermal systems of the Taupo Volcanic Zone .

RPMP status

National Pest Plant Accord Species
Whole region (Sustained Control)
Tuber ladder fern - Main species image