Botrychium simplex E. Hitchc.
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Family: Ophioglossaceae
Genus: Botrychium
Species Synonyms: Botrychium simplex var. compositum (Lasch) Milde
Botrychium simplex var. laxifolium (Clausen) Fern.
Botrychium simplex var. tenebrosum (A.A. Eat.) Clausen
Botrychium simplex ssp. typicum Clausen
Botrychium tenebrosum A.A. Eat.
Common Names: little grapefern
least moonwort
Canada: northwestern British Columbia – central Saskatchewan, southwestern Ontario – Newfoundland – Nova Scotia
Saskatchewan: central Saskatchewan; North Battleford – Batoche
Ecoregion: Aspen Parkland
Saskatchewan: meadows
Canada: meadows, pastures, and shores
Provincial Status According
to Harms (2003):
Nature Conservancy Status:
G5 S1
Saskatchewan Species at
Risk Status:
Little grapefern is endangered because of extreme rarity in Saskatchewan. It is regionally restricted to one general region of the province and is almost always locally sparse. No immediate threats are known but are possible in the future.
Height: 3 – 16 cm
Stalk: common stalk 0.5 – 2 cm long, sheath enclosing bud
Fronds: solitary, sterile blade stalk 0 – 3 cm long, to 0 – 1.5 times length of rachis, inserted near base of common stalk; sterile blade 1 – 4 cm long, 0.5 – 3 cm wide, linear to ovate to deltoid, simple to twice pinnate, fleshy to thin, papery or herbaceous, dull to bright green to whitish; pinnae up to 7 pairs, spreading to ascending, distant, distance between first and second pinnae greater than between second and third pairs, basal pinnae larger than second pair, wedge-shaped to fan-shaped, asymmetrical, margin entire to wavy, venation pinnate or fan-shaped; fertile blades 1 – 8 times length of sterile blade, generally 1 – 3 cm long, once pinnate
Sporangia: short-stalked to sessile on short branches, 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