Botrychium paradoxum W.H. Wagner
Species Image Gallery
(opens in a new window)
Family: Ophioglossaceae
Genus: Botrychium
Species Synonyms: none
Common Names: peculiar moonwort
paradoxical moonwort
Canada: southern British Columbia, southwestern Alberta, south western Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan: southwestern Saskatchewan; Cypress Hills
Ecoregion: Cypress Upland
Canada: pastures
Provincial Status According
to Harms (2003):
Nature Conservancy Status:
G2 S1
Saskatchewan Species at
Risk Status:
Peculiar moonwort is endangered because of extreme rarity in Saskatchewan. It is regionally restricted to one small subregion in the province. Immediate or probable threats have been identified.
Height: < 25 cm
Stipe: common stalk present
Fronds: solitary; sterile blade replaced by second fertile blade, stalk 1/2 the length of fertile blade, fertile blades 0.5 – 4 cm long, linear in outline, once pinnate, delicately herbaceous to fleshy, with a bluish bloom
Sporangia: short-stalked to sessile on lateral branches, 2 – 3 per branch, round
Spores: small, yellow
1 Sterile blades 5 – 25 cm long, triangular, 2 – 4 times pinnately compound; fertile blades may be absent; plants over 12 cm tall
1 Sterile blades 2 – 5 cm long or absent, oblong to linear or triangular, simple to pinnate or pinnatifed; fertile blades always present; plants less than 15 cm tall
2 Sterile blades thin; sheaths on common stalk open; fertile blades, when present, arising from high ;on common stalk; common stalk usually longer than 10 cm, hairless
B. virginianum
2 Sterile blades herbaceous or thick to leathery; sheaths on common stalk closed; fertile blades, when present, arising from the basal portion of the common stalk; common stalk less than 8 cm long, somewhat hairy
B. multifidum
3 Sterile blades linear to oblong, simple to lobed; plants in deep shade under shrubs and trees
B. simplex
3 Sterile blades linear to triangular, pinnate or absent; plants usually in exposed sites
4 Distance between first and second pinnae greater than that between second and third pairs
B. simplex
4 Distance between first and second pinnae equal to or slightly more than between second and third pairs or sterile blade absent
5 Sterile blades present, basal pinnae fan-shaped to spoon-shaped, midrib absent
5 Sterile may be replaced by fertile blade, basal pinnae inversely lanceolate to linear to oval, midrib present
6 Sterile blades oval to triangular
B. simplex
6 Sterile blades oblong to lance-shaped
7 Sterile blades thick and leathery, dark greyish-green to yellowish; basal pinnae broadly fan-shaped
B. lunaria
7 Sterile blades thin (except B. campestre), dark to light green or yellowish; basal pinnae narrowly fan-shaped or wedge-shaped to linear
8 Sterile blades folded longitudinally, up to 5 pairs of pinnae; plants of prairies or meadows
B. campestre
8 Sterile blades flat or folded only at the base, up to 10 pairs of pinnae; plants of woodlands
B. minganense
9 Sterile blade replaced by fertile blade, resulting in two fertile blades
B. paradoxum
9 Sterile blade present, distinct from fertile blade
10 Sterile blades subsessile, blades triangular; fertile blades divided equally several times, about equal to 2.5 times longer than sterile blades
B. lanceolatum
10 Sterile blades oval to oblong or triangular; fertile blades with one main axis, 2 - 4 times longer than sterile blades
11 Sterile blade long-stalked, stalk equal to length of blade; few spore sacs may be present on the basal pinnae of sterile blade
B. pedunculosum
11 Sterile blade sessile to short-stalked, stalk less than ¼ length of blade; spore sacs never present on basal pinnae of sterile blade
B. hesperium