Botrychium paradoxum - W.H. Wagner
Peculiar Moonwort
Other English Common Names: paradox moonwort
Other Common Names: peculiar moonwort
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Botrychium paradoxum W.H. Wagner (TSN 501025)
French Common Names: botryche paradoxal
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.158636
Element Code: PPOPH010J0
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 paradoxum
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3G4
Global Status Last Reviewed: 25Jan2012
Global Status Last Changed: 25Jan2012
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: This species, first described in 1981, is widely distributed but uncommon throughout its range in the western United States and southwestern Canada. Although there is not a large number of occurrences and most populations are very small, it is probably often overlooked and more occurrences have been found with specfic surveys and more are expected. Several populations appear to be relatively unthreatened.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3
Nation: Canada
National Status: N2 (17Sep2010)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States California (S1), Colorado (S1), Idaho (S1), Montana (S3), Oregon (S1), Utah (S1), Washington (S2), Wyoming (S1)
Canada Alberta (S1), British Columbia (S1S2), Saskatchewan (S1)

Other Statuses

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Candidate (Medium) (26Jan2015)

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Occurs from south central Utah and Colorado northward to Montana and Washington and into sourthern British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan; disjunct into the Sierra Mountains of east-central California (Farrar 2011).

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: Known from approximately 48 extant occurrences.

Population Size Comments: Very small populations (most with 2-45 plants). A few populations (e.g., in Montana) with a few hundred plants.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Few to some (4-40)
Viability/Integrity Comments: Only 7 occurrences of A or B quality. Possibly more as of 2012.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Threatened by grazing, trampling and off-road vehicle use (WANHP and BLM 2003).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Occurs from south central Utah and Colorado northward to Montana and Washington and into sourthern British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan; disjunct into the Sierra Mountains of east-central California (Farrar 2011).

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

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CA, CO, ID, MT, OR, UT, WA, WY
Canada AB, BC, SK

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CA Madera (06039), Mariposa (06043), Tuolumne (06109)
ID Boundary (16021)
OR Baker (41001), Grant (41023), Union (41061), Wallowa (41063), Wheeler (41069)
UT Duchesne (49013), Garfield (49017)
WA Chelan (53007), Ferry (53019), Okanogan (53047), Pend Oreille (53051), Stevens (53065)
WY Big Horn (56003), Johnson (56019)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
10 Nowood (10080008)+, Upper Tongue (10090101)+, Crazy Woman (10090205)+
14 Duchesne (14060003)+, Fremont (14070003)+, Escalante (14070005)+
16 East Fork Sevier (16030002)+
17 Lower Kootenai (17010104)+, Priest (17010215)+, Pend Oreille (17010216)+, Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake (17020001)+, Kettle (17020002)+, Colville (17020003)+, Similkameen (17020007)+, Methow (17020008)+, Wenatchee (17020011)+, Powder (17050203)+, Upper Grande Ronde (17060104)+, Wallowa (17060105)+, Upper John Day (17070201)+, North Fork John Day (17070202)+
18 Upper Merced (18040008)+, Upper Tuolumne (18040009)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A fern that produces 1 frond per season. The frond is an waxy stalk bearing 2 erect spore-bearing segments of unequal length. The plants lack the usual green "leafy" portion of the frond and probably get most of their carbohydrates via endomycorrhizae, rather than through photosynthesis. Mature plants are 7-15 cm tall (shorter and less robust when in deep shade).
General Description: Peculiar moonwort is a small perennial fern with a single above ground frond. The frond varies in height up to about 15 cm tall, is glaucous green, somewhat succulent, and divided into two similar segments which share a common stalk. The segments may be unbranched in small plants or branched in larger plants and are both fertile and bear grape-like sporangia. Spores germinate underground and develop into minute, subterranean, non-photosynthetic gametophytes which depend on an endophytic fungus for nourishment.
Diagnostic Characteristics: Botrychium paradoxum is perhaps the easiest of moonworts to recognize, being the only species to lack a sterile laminar frond segment, but other species could be mistaken for it if the sterile segment has been browsed or bears marginal sporangia. Reliable field determination of moonworts depends on the careful use of technical keys and comparison with silhouette outlines of verified specimens. It is complicated because there is often a high degree of morphological variability between individuals in a population and between populations of the same species, several species may grow together at the same site, and the few diagnostic characters may not be apparent in small plants.
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Conifer, Forest/Woodland, Grassland/herbaceous
Habitat Comments: Montane to subalpine grasslands or forb-dominated meadows. Also in western red cedar (Thuja plicata) forests.
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. However, because a root base may not send up a stem every year, the number of above-ground stems does not necessarily indicate the number of plants in the population. An EO is therefore described by the highest number of aboveground plants present 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 EO.
Separation Barriers: EOs are separated by either: 1 kilometer or more across unsuitable habitat or altered and unsuitable areas; or 2 kilometers or more across apparently suitable habitat not known to be occupied.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 2 km
Separation Justification: The rationale for this large a separation distance across suitable but apparently unoccupied habitat is that it is likely additional research will find this habitat to be occupied. It can often be assumed that apparently unconnected occurrences will eventually be found to be more closely connected.
Date: 27Jun2002
Author: Ben Franklin
Population/Occurrence Viability
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Excellent Viability: SIZE: Quantitative and spatial data for this species throughout its range are unavailable. CONDITION: The occurrence should have 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. According to Vanderhorst (1997), "The habitats of Botrychium paradoxum throughout its range are diverse.
Good Viability: SIZE: Quantitative and spatial data for this species throughout its range are unavailable. CONDITION: Quantitative and spatial data for this species throughout its range are unavailable. LANDSCAPE CONTEXT: 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.
Fair Viability: SIZE: 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. CONDITION: Quantitative and spatial data for this species throughout its range are unavailable. LANDSCAPE CONTEXT: The occupied habitat may be a small area 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).
Poor Viability: SIZE: There may be significant human disturbance, but the ecological processes and natural disturbance regime needed to sustain the species are still intact. CONDITION: Quantitative and spatial data for this species throughout its range are unavailable. LANDSCAPE CONTEXT: The habitat is degraded by human activities or overgrown by successional plant species that shade out this species. 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.
Justification: SIZE: Large populations in high quality sites are presumed to contain a high degree of genetic variability, to have a low susceptibility to the effects of inbreeding depression, and to be relatively resilient. 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. CONDITION: Large populations in high quality sites are presumed to contain a high degree of genetic variability, to have a low susceptibility to the effects of inbreeding depression, and to be relatively resilient. 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. LANDSCAPE CONTEXT: Large populations in high quality sites are presumed to contain a high degree of genetic variability, to have a low susceptibility to the effects of inbreeding depression, and to be relatively resilient. 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).
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: 29Aug1995
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Shelly, J.S. and P. Lesica (1987), rev. L. Morse (1995). rev. Heidel/Maybury (5/96), rev. A. Tomaino (2009), rev. G. Davis (2012)
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 08Oct1994
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): JM

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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  • Ahlenslager, K. and P. Lesica. 1995. Observations of BOTRYCHIUM WATERTONENSE and its putative parent species, B. HESPERIUM and B. PARADOXUM. Draft manuscript prepared in cooperation with Waterton Lakes National Park, USFWS, and Montana Natural Heritage Program. 13 pp.

  • Andersen, M.D. and B. Heidel. 2011. HUC-based species range maps. Prepared by Wyoming Natural Diversity Database for use in the pilot WISDOM application operational from inception to yet-to-be-determined date of update of tool.

  • British Columbia Conservation Data Centre. Botany Program. 2000. Database containing records of rare plant collections and observations in the province of British Columbia.

  • Dorn, R. D. 2001. Vascular Plants of Wyoming, third edition. Mountain West Publishing, Cheyenne, WY.

  • Douglas, G.W., D. Meidinger, and J. Penny. 2002. Rare Native Vascular Plants of British Columbia, 2nd ed. B.C. Conserv. Data Centre, Terrestrial Inf. Branch, Victoria. 358pp.

  • Douglas, G.W., D. Meidinger, and J. Pojar, eds. 2000. Illustrated Flora of British Columbia, Vol. 5, Dicotyledons (Salicaceae through Zygophyllaceae) and Pteridophytes. B.C. Minist. Environ., Lands and Parks, and B.C. Minist. For., Victoria. 389pp.

  • Douglas, G.W., G.B. Straley, and D. Meidinger, eds. 1998. Rare Native Vascular Plants of British Columbia. Conserv. Data Centre, Resour. Inventory Branch, B.C. Minist. Environ., Lands and Parks, Victoria, and B.C. Minist. For., Victoria.

  • Farrar, D. 2012. Botrychium paradoxum. Unpublished web-based document http://www.public.iastate.edu/~herbarium/botrychium/B-paradoxum.pdf [Accessed March, 2012]

  • Farrar, D. R. 2011. Botrychium paradoxum fact sheet. Ada Hayden Herbarium (ISC). Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. December 2011. Online. Available: http://www.public.iastate.edu/~herbarium/botrychium.html. Accessed Jan. 2012.

  • Farrar, D. R. and S. J. Popovich. 2012. Ophioglossaceae. Pages 24-35 Colorado Flora: Eastern Slope, fourth edition. W.A. Weber and R.C. Wittmann. University Press of Colorado, Boulder, CO.

  • 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.

  • Gatten, J. 2011. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2013. E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver.[April 19th, 2013].

  • 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.

  • Heidel, B. 2006. Additions to the flora of Wyoming. Castilleja 25:4-5.

  • 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, D.B. 1985. A field manual of the ferns and fern-allies of the U.S. and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. 389 pp.

  • Lesica, P. and K. Ahlenslager. 1995. Demography and life history of three sympatric species of Botrychium subq. Botrychium in Waterton Lakes National Prak, Alberta, Canada. Herbarium, Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula, MT. In cooperation with Waterton Lakes National Parks, USF&W Service, and MIHP.

  • Lesica, P., and K. Ahlenslager. 1996. Demography and life history of three sympatric species of Botrychium subg. Botrychium in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta. Canadian J. Botany 74: 538-543.

  • Mantas, M. and R. S. Wirt. 1995. Moonworts of western Montana (BOTRYCHIUM subgenus BOTRYCHIUM). Flathead National Forest. 103 pp.

  • Vanderhorst, J. 1993. Survey for Botrychium paradoxum in the vicinity of Storm Lake, Deerlodge National Forest. Unpublished report to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena. 45 pp.

  • Vanderhorst, J. 1996. Status report on sensitive moonworts (Botrychium subg. Botrychium) on the Kootenai National Forest (draft). Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena. 63 pp + appendices

  • Vanderhorst, J. 1997. Conservation assessment of sensitive moonwarts (Botrychium subgenus Botrychium) on the Kootenai National Forest. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT. 82 pp. plus appendices

  • Wagner Jr., W. H. and F. S. Wagner. 1993. Ophioglossaceae. Pages 85-106 in Flora of North America Editorial Committee, editor. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 2. Pteridophytes and Gymnosperms. Oxford University Press, New York, NY.

  • Wagner, D.H. 1992. Guide to the species of Botrychium in Oregon. Biology Dept., University of Oregon, Eugene. 19 pp. + Figures.

  • Wagner, W.H., Jr., and F. Wagner. 1981. New species of moonworts, Botrychium subg. Botrychium (Ophioglossaceae), from North America. American Fern J. 71(1):20, 26.

  • Washington Natural Heritage Program and U.S.D.I. Bureau of Land Management. 2003. Field guide to selected rare plants of Washington. Online. Available: http://www1.dnr.wa.gov/nhp/refdesk/fguide/htm/fsfgabc.htm (accessed 2009).

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

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