Botrychium virginianum rattlesnake fern Ophioglossaceae BOVI; Q, cu (Greller 1985); R, lp, w;



Botrychium virginianum.Copyright © 2011 Faculty of Natural Resources Management, Lakeland University, Ontario

Botrychium virginianum is a fern, 20-75 cm tall, from fleshy, mycorrhizal roots. 

Leaf solitary, 7-20 cm long, 10-30 cm wide, triangular, sometimes appearing 3-parted, 2-4 times pinnate, each segment toothed, thin, deciduous; spore-bearing stalk 7-20 cm long, spore bearing leaf 6-15 cm long, with opposite branches, 2-3 times pinnate, held above sterile frond from top of leaf stalk. 

Spore cases round, numerous on a specialized leaf (sporophyll) taller than the leaf (frond), develop in spring.

Wetland status: FACU. 

Frequency in NYC: Very infrequent but more frequent than B. dissectum

Origin: Native. 

Habitat: Herb layer of moist, undisturbed forest. 

Notes: Gametophyte non-photosynthetic, closely associated with specific fungi below ground similar to Lycopodium sp. (S. Clemants, personal communication). This species may tolerate transplantation, if in need of rescue (Montgomery and Fairbrothers 1992). Leaves eaten by Ruffed grouse, rabbits and deer (Martin et al. 1951).