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Botrychium virginianum (Rattlesnake fern) | NPIN

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Botrychium virginianum (Rattlesnake fern)
Smith, R.W.

Botrychium virginianum

Botrychium virginianum (L.) Sw.

Rattlesnake fern

Ophioglossaceae (Adder's-Tongue Family)

Synonym(s): Botrychium virginianum ssp. europaeum, Botrychium virginianum var. europaeum, Botrypus virginianus

USDA Symbol: bovi

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N)

Reaching a height of 3 ft., this fern is unique in that its fertile portion is really a continuation of the main stem and rises from between the lower-most pinnae. The fronds, which occur singly, appear early in the spring and last through summer, though the fertile portion withers quickly. The sterile portion is twice-pinnate.


Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb , Fern
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf: Green
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Time: Apr , May


USA: AK , AL , AR , AZ , CA , CO , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , MT , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NV , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY
Canada: NB , NL , NS , ON , PE
Native Distribution: Circumboreal, irregularly s. in America to FL, Mex. & w. WA
Native Habitat: Moist, rich, deciduous woods

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Deep, humus-rich soil.
Conditions Comments: Requires more care than other ferns. Must have proper soil, water, and protection from insects and winds.


Description: Propagate by spores.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
Natural Biodiversity - Johnstown, PA
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0652 Collected Jun 6, 1992 in Medina County by Harry Cliffe

1 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium

Recommended Species Lists

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Additional resources

USDA: Find Botrychium virginianum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Botrychium virginianum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Botrychium virginianum


Record Modified: 2012-07-06
Research By: TWC Staff

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