Botrychium lineare - W.H. Wagner
Narrowleaf Grapefern
Other English Common Names: Slender moonwort
Other Common Names: narrowleaf grapefern
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Botrychium lineare W.H. Wagner (TSN 501022)
French Common Names: botryche linéaire
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.155424
Element Code: PPOPH01120
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Ferns and relatives
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Filicinophyta Ophioglossopsida Ophioglossales Ophioglossaceae Botrychium
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Botrychium lineare
Taxonomic Comments: Genetic studies indicate that 'lineare' is best treated as an infraspecific taxon of Botrychium campestre. Donald Farrar, Botrychium expert, expects the name to be Botrychium campestre var. lineare (Farrar 2011). The name is not currently published, however, published texts such as Colorado Flora (2012) refer to this taxon as Botrychium campestre ssp. lineare. It is not clear what taxonomic level this taxon will be published.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 31Aug2016
Global Status Last Changed: 31Aug2016
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Botrychium lineare or B. campestre var. lineare var. ined. is one of several moonworts with a large range, but with sporadically occurring, widely separated, and extremely small populations. The total number of individuals so far observed throughout North America is very low, several hundred at most. However, the species is difficult to survey for, and can exist below ground for most of its life cycle. Botrychium lineare is currently known from about 50 widely disjunct sites, primarily in the mountains of western North America, including Alaska, Yukon Territory, British Columbia, Alberta, Washington, Oregon, Montana, California, Wyoming, South Dakota, Colorado, and Utah; possibly found in Nevada; historical in Idaho. In addition, a site has recently been found in Minnesota and western Quebec, and historical collections are known from eastern Quebec and New Brunswick.
Nation: United States
National Status: N2N3
Nation: Canada
National Status: N3 (31Aug2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alaska (S1), California (S1), Colorado (S2S3), Idaho (SH), Minnesota (SNR), Montana (S1S2), Nevada (SNR), Oregon (S1), South Dakota (S1), Utah (S1), Washington (S1), Wyoming (S1)
Canada Alberta (S1), British Columbia (S1), New Brunswick (SH), Quebec (S1), Yukon Territory (S1)

Other Statuses

Comments on USESA: On December 6, 2007, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) removed this species from the Candidate list, citing the following reasons: "(1) Review of recent information indicates there is an increase in the number of known locations and the geographic range is much larger than previously understood. Based on increased survey efforts, at least 12 new population sites have been found in 6 states, including 4 new states, and two Canadian provinces since 2003. (2) We believe that the species is more widespread than currently reported. Population sites are generally small in area and number of individuals, making the species difficult to locate and survey for, or detect in plant surveys. The disjunct nature of known population sites over a wide geographic range suggests that additional undetected populations will likely be discovered both within and outside of the largely unsurveyed geographic range of the species. (3) Much of the information provided to us regarding potential threats is general in nature or there is uncertainty and very little documentation on how potential threats are affecting existing, disjunct populations, individual plants or the various natural and disturbed habitats of the species. Not all known population sites are exposed to potential threats. Where Federal land managers have recognized that threats could be affecting populations, various conservation measures are being implemented. In total, potential threats are being addressed at 8 of the 20 population sites in the United States. There is insufficient information to adequately describe suitable habitat for the species, or to fully understand its biological vulnerability to potential threat factors. (4) We have no information that indicates that any of the known populations constitute a significant portion of the range or that there is any portion of its range where the species might be locally threatened" (USFWS 2007).
Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Candidate (Medium) (26Jan2015)

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Widely spread but very spotty distribution, primarily in the mountains of western North America. It has apparently not been confirmed extant in eastern North America since 1947, when it was last collected in Quebec (also historically known from New Brunswick) (Farrar 2006). A site in Minnesota has recently (2005) been documented as well as a site in western Quebec (Farrar 2011). Believed extant in Alaska, Yukon Territory, British Columbia, Alberta, Washington, Oregon, Montana, California, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Colorado; likely extant in Utah; possibly found in Nevada; historical in Idaho. Farrar (2006) believes that there may be "additional occurrences throughout the mountains of western Canada where it has not heretofore been sought" and that "recent documentation in SD and WY along with other eastern species supports possible continued existence of the species in other eastern sites." These same comments were supported in Farrar (2011), and overall that undetected populations probably exist in these places.

Area of Occupancy: 26-125 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: Most occurrences are tiny (<465 square meters) (USFWS 2003).

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: Historically known from 34 sites; only 16-19 of these are thought to be extant (Farrar 2006). Limited monitoring and survey efforts continue to locate some new populations (USFWS 2003); for example, sites in Wyoming and the Black Hills of South Dakota are among those recently documented (Farrar 2006). Further, intensive survey efforts since 2006, have resulted in documentation of over 51 sites and 17 metapopulations. Undoubtedly more sites are present, but the taxon remains relatively uncommon compared to the five most common moonworts (Popovich pers comm. 2014).

Population Size Comments: Very small numbers of plants counted at most sites (1 to 100 individuals, but most with 1-10 individuals Farrar 2011), with some of the plants sometimes dormant and not visible in a particular year. A population of a stable tetraploid cross between B. lineare and B. campestre (a new species) containing 162 individuals was found on Railroad Ridge (White Cloud Mountains), Idaho around 2003 (G. Glenne, pers. comm.), but pure B. lineare has not been recently documented in Idaho (one population was documented in 1925). One population, discovered in the Black Hills of South Dakota is believed to have 500 individuals, and several populations in Colorado exceed 100 individuals (Farrar 2011).

Overall Threat Impact: High - low
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Some threats to Botrychium lineare may exist from road maintenance activities and other disturbances at several sites, by invasive exotic plants at three sites, and possibly by livestock grazing at some sites; however, the species may tolerate some disturbance since it appears to be a habitat generalist and is found in disturbed habitats (USFWS 2003, 2004). Also, this fern's small, highly disjunct populations leave it vulnerable to loss due to stochastic natural phenomena.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: The species was described in 1994, so little information is available on changes in its range or status, however historical reports from about 16 sites have not been recently relocated. The species may be extirpated at one Colorado site where it had been seen before construction that happened in July 2000, but not thereafter. Searches to locate eastern Quebec localities considered historic were unsuccessful (Farrar 2011).

Long-term Trend: Decline of 30-50%
Long-term Trend Comments: The species was described in 1994, so little information is available on changes in its range or status, however historical reports from about 16 sites have not been recently relocated.

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Botrychium lineare's small, highly disjunct populations leave it vulnerable to loss due to stochastic natural phenomena.

Environmental Specificity: Broad. Generalist or community with all key requirements common.
Environmental Specificity Comments: Occurs in a variety of habitats, with no specific requirements obvious across its populations (USFWS, 2004).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Widely spread but very spotty distribution, primarily in the mountains of western North America. It has apparently not been confirmed extant in eastern North America since 1947, when it was last collected in Quebec (also historically known from New Brunswick) (Farrar 2006). A site in Minnesota has recently (2005) been documented as well as a site in western Quebec (Farrar 2011). Believed extant in Alaska, Yukon Territory, British Columbia, Alberta, Washington, Oregon, Montana, California, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Colorado; likely extant in Utah; possibly found in Nevada; historical in Idaho. Farrar (2006) believes that there may be "additional occurrences throughout the mountains of western Canada where it has not heretofore been sought" and that "recent documentation in SD and WY along with other eastern species supports possible continued existence of the species in other eastern sites." These same comments were supported in Farrar (2011), and overall that undetected populations probably exist in these places.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, CA, CO, ID, MN, MT, NV, OR, SD, UT, WA, WY
Canada AB, BC, NB, QC, YT

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AK Valdez-Cordova (CA) (02261)
CA Fresno (06019)*
CO Boulder (08013)*, Clear Creek (08019), El Paso (08041), Grand (08049)*, Lake (08065)
ID Boundary (16021)*
MN Crow Wing (27035), Marshall (27089), St. Louis (27137)
OR Wallowa (41063)
SD Custer (46033)
UT Duchesne (49013)*, Salt Lake (49035)*
WA Ferry (53019)
WY Crook (56011)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
04 St. Louis (04010201)+
07 Elk-Nokasippi (07010104)+
09 Snake (09020309)+
10 Beaver (10120107)+, Middle Cheyenne-Spring (10120109)+, Redwater (10120203)+, Upper South Platte (10190002)+, Clear (10190004)+, St. Vrain (10190005)+*
11 Arkansas Headwaters (11020001)+, Fountain (11020003)+
14 Colorado headwaters (14010001)+*, Strawberry (14060004)+*, Lower Green-Desolation Canyon (14060005)+*, Price (14060007)+*
16 Jordan (16020204)+*
17 Priest (17010215)+*, Kettle (17020002)+, Wallowa (17060105)+
18 Upper San Joaquin (18040006)+*
19 Nebesna-Chisana Rivers (19040501)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A perennial fern that produces a pale green leaf (the trophophore), about 6-18 cm long including the stalk, and a larger, erect spore-bearing structure (the sporophore) with a single major axis. Both arise from a common, erect, subterranean stem and can be thought of as a single, highly modified fern frond. Spores mature mainly in late June and July.
General Description: Linearleaf Moonwort is a small, perennial fern with a single pale green, above-ground frond which stands 6-18 cm tall. The frond is divided into two segments, one sterile and one fertile, which share a common stalk. The sterile segment is once-pinnate (with segments, or pinnae borne on each side of an elongated central axis) with 4-6 widely spaced pairs of pinnae which are linear shaped or sometimes bifid with linear lobes. The fertile segment is 1-2 times as long as the sterile segment and has a single major axis with short branches which bear grape-like sporangia which contain thousands of spores. Spores germinate underground and develop into minute, subterranean, non-photosynthetic gametophytes.
Diagnostic Characteristics: Distinguished by the extremely narrow pinnae of the sterile frond segment. Most similar to BOTRYCHIUM CAMPESTRE, from which it differs by having more strictly linear pinnae and by having a narrow, thin-textured (vs. fleshy and broad) axis of the sterile segment.
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Cliff, Forest - Conifer, Forest/Woodland, Grassland/herbaceous, Woodland - Conifer
Habitat Comments: Wagner and Wagner (1994) stated that it is difficult to describe a typical habitat for this species because the known sites are so different. It has been found mostly at higher elevations (about 1500-3000 m) in mountains, but specific habitats have ranged from a meadow dominated by knee-high grass, shaded woods and woodlands, grassy horizontal ledges on a north-facing limestone cliff, and a flat upland section of a river valley. Possibly a colonizer of disturbed, early seral habitats (USFWS 2003).
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Any natural occurrence of one or more plants. The number of aboveground stems does not necessarily indicate the number of plants in the population, however, because a root base may not send up a stem every year. An Element Occurrence is therefore described by the highest number of aboveground plants in the population over a five-year period. (This number may still not provide an accurate estimate of the total population size.) Because little genetic variability exists within Botrychium species, the number of genetic individuals is not a factor in ranking element occurrences.
Date: 27Sep2000
Author: Spackman, S. and D. Anderson
Population/Occurrence Viability
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Excellent Viability: Size: The population numbers 100 or more aboveground plants at some point during a 5-year period (based on available EOR data). Condition: the occupied habitat is a large, open field or wood edge that has not been invaded by successional plant species. Occurrences with an excellent likelihood of long-term viability (successful sporophore production is observed indicating that the reproductive mechanisms are intact). This occurrence should be in a high-quality site (i.e. less than 1% cover exotic plant species and/or no significant human disturbances). Landscape Context: the occurrence is surrounded by an area that is unfragmented and includes the ecological processes and natural disturbance regime needed to sustain this species.
Good Viability: Size: The population numbers 10 to 99 aboveground plants at some point during a 5-year period (based on available EOR data). Condition: the occupied habitat is a moderate, open field or wood edge that has likely been invaded by successional plant species in a few small areas. The occurrence should have a good likelihood of long-term viability (successful sporophore production is observed indicating that the reproductive mechanisms are intact) with little human disturbance. If exotic species are present, they comprise less than 10% of the total ground cover. Landscape Context: the surrounding landscape should contain the ecological processes and natural disturbance regime needed to sustain this species but may be fragmented and/or impacted by humans.
Fair Viability: Size: The population numbers up to 9 aboveground plants at some point during a 5-year period (based on available EOR data). Condition: The occupied habitat may be a small, open field or wood edge not yet invaded by successional species, or it may be a larger area with sections of significant overgrowth and shading. The occurrence may be less productive than the above situations, but is still viable (with successful sporophore production observed indicating that the reproductive mechanisms are intact). The occupied habitat is somewhat degraded (exotic plant species make up between 10-50% of the total ground cover and/or there is a moderate level of human disturbance). Landscape Context: There may be significant human disturbance, but the ecological processes and natural disturbance regime needed to sustain the species are still intact.
Poor Viability: Size: Only 1 or 2 aboveground plants (based on available EOR data). Condition: the habitat is a field or wood edge of any size, but much of the area has been overgrown by successional plant species that shade out Botrychium lineare. Little or no evidence of successful reproduction is observed (poor sporophore production or herbivory resulting in sporophore removal). Exotic plant species make up greater than 50% of the total ground cover, and/or there is a significant level of human disturbance. Landscape context: the surrounding area is fragmented with many ecological processes or the necessary natural disturbance regime no longer intact. The occurrence has a low probability of long-term persistence due to inbreeding depression, natural stochastic events, and its intrinsic vulnerability to human impacts.
Justification: A Rank: Very little is known about the population biology of this species (and all other Botrychium species). Large populations in high quality sites are presumed to contain a high degree of genetic variability, have a low susceptibility to the effects of inbreeding depression, and to be relatively resilient. Because Botrychium species do not produce aboveground biomass every year, the EO rank is based on the highest number of individuals observed within a five year period.

C Rank: EOs not meeting "C"-rank criteria are likely to have a very high probability of inbreeding depression and extirpation due to natural stochastic processes and/or occur in degraded habitat with low long-term potential for survival.

Key for Ranking Species Element Occurrences Using the Generic Approach (2008).
Date: 27Sep2000
Author: Spackman, S. and D. Anderson
Notes: COHP
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
Help
Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 23Dec2005
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: S. Spackman, rev. L. Morse (2001), rev. Maybury 2003, rev. L. Morse (2005), rev. R. Bittman 2006, rev. K. Gravuer (2007), rev. L. Oliver (2013), rev. J. Handwerk (2014)
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 26Jun1995
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): KAJ

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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