Botrychium lunaria - (L.) Sw.
Common Moonwort
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Botrychium lunaria (L.) Sw. (TSN 17181)
French Common Names: botryche lunaire
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.147162
Element Code: PPOPH01080
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 lunaria
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 09Sep2015
Global Status Last Changed: 19Jan1984
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Although Botrychium lunaria can be locally rare, it is common across a very broad geographic range.
Nation: United States
National Status: NNR
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (09Feb2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alaska (SNR), Arizona (S1), California (S2), Idaho (S1), Maine (S1), Massachusetts (SNR), Michigan (SNR), Minnesota (S2), Montana (S3), Nevada (SNR), New Mexico (SNR), New York (S1), North Dakota (SNR), Oregon (S2), Pennsylvania (SNR), South Dakota (S1S2), Utah (S1), Vermont (SU), Washington (S3), Wisconsin (S1S2), Wyoming (S2)
Canada Alberta (S4S5), British Columbia (S3S4), Labrador (S3S4), Manitoba (S3S4), New Brunswick (S1), Newfoundland Island (S4), Northwest Territories (S4S5), Nova Scotia (S1), Nunavut (S3), Ontario (S4S5), Quebec (S4), Saskatchewan (S1), Yukon Territory (S4)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Botrychium lunaria appears in North and South America, Eurasia, Australia, and New Zealand. In North America it occurs from Newfoundland and Labrador west to Alaska, and south to Massachusetts, New York, Michigan, Minnesota, Saskatchewan, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.

Area of Occupancy: >12,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

Population Size Comments: Because individuals of a Botrychium species are very similar genetically, abundance is estimated by numbers of aboveground plants rather than by numbers of genetic individuals. Abundance is also difficult to determine because each root base does not send up a stem every year.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: The primary threat to Botrychium lunaria is the loss of its open habitats to successional overgrowth.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Botrychium lunaria appears in North and South America, Eurasia, Australia, and New Zealand. In North America it occurs from Newfoundland and Labrador west to Alaska, and south to Massachusetts, New York, Michigan, Minnesota, Saskatchewan, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.

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

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, AZ, CA, ID, MA, ME, MI, MN, MT, ND, NM, NV, NY, OR, PA, SD, UT, VT, WA, WI, WY
Canada AB, BC, LB, MB, NB, NF, NS, NT, NU, ON, QC, SK, YT

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AZ Apache (04001), Coconino (04005)*
CA Modoc (06049), Mono (06051)*, Nevada (06057), Sierra (06091), Tuolumne (06109)*
ME Aroostook (23003), Franklin (23007), Hancock (23009)*, Knox (23013)*, Washington (23029)
MN Beltrami (27007), Cass (27021), Cook (27031), Koochiching (27071), Lake (27075)*, Lake of the Woods (27077), Marshall (27089), Roseau (27135), St. Louis (27137)
NY Onondaga (36067)
OR Grant (41023), Harney (41025), Union (41061), Wallowa (41063)
SD Custer (46033), Lawrence (46081)
VT Orleans (50019)*
WI Ashland (55003), Bayfield (55007), Door (55029), Sawyer (55113)
WY Albany (56001)*, Big Horn (56003), Crook (56011), Johnson (56019), Park (56029), Sheridan (56033), Sublette (56035)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Fish (01010003)+, Upper Androscoggin (01040001)+, Maine Coastal (01050002)+, St. George-Sheepscot (01050003)+*
04 Baptism-Brule (04010101)+, Cloquet (04010202)+, Beartrap-Nemadji (04010301)+, Lake Superior (04020300)+*, Door-Kewaunee (04030102)+, Seneca (04140201)+*, Oneida (04140202)+, St. Francois River (04150500)+*
07 Mississippi Headwaters (07010101)+, Leech Lake (07010102)+, Namekagon (07030002)+, Upper Chippewa (07050001)+
09 Thief (09020304)+, Roseau (09020314)+, Big Fork (09030006)+, Rapid (09030007)+, Lower Rainy (09030008)+, Lake of the Woods (09030009)+
10 Clarks Fork Yellowstone (10070006)+, Nowood (10080008)+, Big Horn Lake (10080010)+, Little Bighorn (10080016)+, Upper Tongue (10090101)+, Clear (10090206)+, Middle Cheyenne-Spring (10120109)+, Lower Belle Fourche (10120202)+*, Redwater (10120203)+, Upper Laramie (10180010)+*
14 Upper Green (14040101)+
15 Little Colorado headwaters (15020001)+*, Canyon Diablo (15020015)+*, Lower Little Colorado (15020016)+*, Black (15060101)+
16 Truckee (16050102)+, East Walker (16050301)+*
17 Upper Grande Ronde (17060104)+, Wallowa (17060105)+, North Fork John Day (17070202)+*, Silvies (17120002)+, Donner Und Blitzen (17120003)+
18 Goose Lake (18020001)+, Upper Tuolumne (18040009)+*, Surprise Valley (18080001)+, Mono Lake (18090101)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: Common moonwort, moonwort grape-fern; Adder's-tongue family (Ophioglossaceae). A small, perennial fern with a dark-green blade up to 10 x 4 cm. Gametophytes are subterranean and mycorrhizal.
General Description: Moonwort is a very small, perennial fern with a single aboveground frond. The dark-green frond is usually about 4 inches long and can be seen through mid-summer. It is divided into two leaves above a common stalk. The sterile leaf is usually dark green, thick, and fleshy. It has up to 9 usually overlapping pairs of broadly fan-shaped leaflets (pinnae). The top edges are rounded and smooth or wavy or rarely have teeth. The fertile leaf is longer than the sterile leaf with branches that bear grape-like sporangia. Spores germinate underground and develop into tiny, non-photosynthetic gametophytes which depend on an fungus for nourishment.
Technical Description: From CNHP Wetland Guide 2012: Growth Habit: Plants terrestrial, fleshy. Roots occasionally branching laterally, yellowish to black, 0.5--2 mm diam., smooth or with corky ridges, not proliferous
Stem: Stems upright, forming caudex to 5 mm thick; gemmae absent or minute, spheric.
Trophophore Stalks: most plants more than 5 2 cm; stalk 0--1 mm; blade dark green, oblong, 1-pinnate, to 10 4 cm, thick, fleshy.
Pinnae to 9 pairs, spreading, mostly overlapping except in shaded forest forms, distance between 1st and 2d pinnae not or slightly more than between 2d and 3d pairs, basal pinna pair approximately equal in size and cutting to adjacent pair, broadly fan-shaped, undivided to tip, margins mainly entire or undulate, rarely dentate, apical lobe usually cuneate to spatulate, notched, approximate to adjacent lobes, apex rounded, venation like ribs of fan, midribs absent.
Sporophores 1-2 pinnate, 0.8--2 times length of trophophore,.
Gametophytes broadly ovate, unbranched, 1--3 1--10 mm.

Diagnostic Characteristics: From CNHP Wetland Guide 2012: Main Characteristics:
Trophophore broadly deltate, usually subsessile
Pinnae linear
Sporophore divided near base into 2 or more major axes

Habitat Comments: Botrychium lunaria generally occurs on calcareous soils in the sunlight of open fields, wood edges, and occasionally forests in the southern parts of its range. It may also occur on rocky banks or gravelly ledges.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 02May1995
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: K. Crowley, MRO

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
Help
  • Cobb, Boughton. 1984. A field guides to ferns and their related familes, Northeastern and Central North America with a section on species also found in the British Isles and western Europe. The Peterson Field Guide Series. Boston, New York.

  • Crow, Garrett E. 1982. New England's Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Plants. Prepared for the United States Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Northeast Region. June 1982.

  • Davenport, George E. 1877. Botrychium lunaria in New York State. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 6(34): 177.

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 1993. Flora of North America, North of Mexico. Volume 2. Pteridophytes and Gymnosperms. Oxford University Press, New York. 475 pp.

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 1993a. Flora of North America north of Mexico. Vol. 2. Pteridophytes and gymnosperms. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xvi + 475 pp.

  • Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 910 pp.

  • Harms, V.L., P.A. Ryan and J.A. Haraldson. 1992. The rare and endangered vascular plants of Saskatchewan. Prepared for the Saskatchewan Natural History Society. Unpubl.

  • Holmgren, Noel. 1998. The Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. Illustrations of the Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

  • 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.

  • Lellinger, David B. 1985. A Field Manual of the ferns and fern-allies of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 389 Pp.

  • Meades, S.J. & Hay, S.G; Brouillet, L. 2000. Annotated Checklist of Vascular Plants of Newfoundland and Labrador. Memorial University Botanical Gardens, St John's NF. 237pp.

  • Mitchell, Richard S. and Charles J. Sheviak. 1981. Rare Plants of New York State. Bull No. 445. New York State Museum. Univ. of New York. State Ed. Department Albany, NY.

  • Mitchell, Richard S. and Gordon C. Tucker. 1997. Revised Checklist of New York State Plants. Contributions to a Flora of New York State. Checklist IV. Bulletin No. 490. New York State Museum. Albany, NY. 400 pp.

  • New York Natural Heritage Program. 2010. Biotics database. New York Natural Heritage Program. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Albany, NY.

  • Prescott, Adella. 1895. The Moonwort. The American Botanist 19:95-97.

  • Prescott, Adella. 1913. The Moonwort. American Botanist 19:95-97.

  • Reschke, Carol. 1990. Ecological communities of New York State. New York Natural Heritage Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Latham, NY. 96 pp. plus xi.

  • Wagner, Florence S. 1988. Moonworts Recently Discovered in the Great Lakes Area. Fiddlehead Forum 15(1): 2-3.

  • Wagner, Jr., W.H. and F.S. Wagner. 1990. Moonworts (Botrychium subg. Botrychium) of the Upper Great Lakes Region, USA and Canada, with Descriptions of Two New Species. Contr. Univ. Mich. Herb. 17: 313-325.

  • Weldy, T. and D. Werier. 2010. New York flora atlas. [S.M. Landry, K.N. Campbell, and L.D. Mabe (original application development), Florida Center for Community Design and Research http://www.fccdr.usf.edu/. University of South Florida http://www.usf.edu/]. New York Flora Association http://wwws.nyflora.org/, Albany, New York

  • Williston, P. 2001. The Botrychium of Alberta. Alberta Natural Heritage Information Centre, Edmonton, Alberta. 57p.

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