Botrychium simplex - E. Hitchc.
Least Grapefern
Other English Common Names: Least Moonwort, Little Grapefern
Other Common Names: little grapefern
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Botrychium simplex E. Hitchc. (TSN 17190)
French Common Names: botryche simple
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.157068
Element Code: PPOPH010E0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Ferns and relatives
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Filicinophyta Ophioglossopsida Ophioglossales Ophioglossaceae Botrychium
Check this box to expand all report sections:
Concept Reference
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 simplex
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 01Nov2011
Global Status Last Changed: 16Jul1984
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Botrychium simplex is widespread, occurring in high elevations from California to North Carolina north to Alaska and Newfoundland. It is not abundant in many states and/or provinces in its range.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5
Nation: Canada
National Status: N4 (28Jan2014)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States California (SNR), Colorado (S2), Connecticut (SH), Delaware (SNR), District of Columbia (SNR), Idaho (S2), Illinois (S1), Indiana (S1), Iowa (S1), Maine (SNR), Maryland (SH), Massachusetts (S1S2), Michigan (SNR), Minnesota (S3), Mississippi (SNR), Montana (S2), Nevada (SNR), New Hampshire (SNR), New Jersey (SNR), New York (S4S5), North Carolina (S1), North Dakota (SU), Ohio (S1), Oregon (S4), Pennsylvania (S3S5), Rhode Island (S1), South Dakota (S3), Tennessee (S1), Utah (S1), Vermont (S3?), Virginia (S1), Washington (S3), West Virginia (SNR), Wyoming (S2)
Canada Alberta (S2), British Columbia (SNR), Manitoba (S1), New Brunswick (S3), Newfoundland Island (S2), Northwest Territories (SU), Nova Scotia (S2S3), Ontario (SU), Prince Edward Island (S1), Quebec (S3S4), Saskatchewan (S1)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: High elevations from southern California to North Carolina and northward to Alaska and Newfoundland; also widespread in the Old World. In Idaho, known from Boundary, Clearwater, and Custer Counties (Idaho Native Plant Society, 1993). In British Columbia, only known from Vancouver Island (Douglas, 1989).

Number of Occurrences:  
Number of Occurrences Comments: In Idaho, known from three occurrences (Idaho Native Plant Society, 1993).

Population Size Comments: Rare in North Carolina and Virginia (Weakley, 1997). Rare in British Columbia (Douglas, 1989).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Global Range: High elevations from southern California to North Carolina and northward to Alaska and Newfoundland; also widespread in the Old World. In Idaho, known from Boundary, Clearwater, and Custer Counties (Idaho Native Plant Society, 1993). In British Columbia, only known from Vancouver Island (Douglas, 1989).

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

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, IA, ID, IL, IN, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MS, MT, NC, ND, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SD, TN, UT, VA, VT, WA, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, MB, NB, NF, NS, NT, ON, PE, QC, SK

Range Map
No map available.

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CO Boulder (08013), Chaffee (08015), Conejos (08021), Eagle (08037), El Paso (08041)*, Grand (08049)*, Hinsdale (08053), Lake (08065), Park (08093), Summit (08117), Teller (08119)*
IA Black Hawk (19013), Linn (19113)*, Marshall (19127)
ID Boise (16015), Bonner (16017), Boundary (16021), Custer (16037), Idaho (16049), Latah (16057), Shoshone (16079), Valley (16085)
IL Cook (17031)*, Lee (17103)*, Winnebago (17201)*
IN De Kalb (18033), Lake (18089), Tippecanoe (18157)
MA Berkshire (25003), Essex (25009), Franklin (25011), Hampden (25013)*, Hampshire (25015)*, Norfolk (25021)*, Plymouth (25023)*
MN Aitkin (27001), Anoka (27003), Beltrami (27007), Carlton (27017), Cass (27021), Chisago (27025), Clay (27027), Clearwater (27029)*, Cook (27031), Crow Wing (27035), Hubbard (27057), Itasca (27061), Kanabec (27065), Kittson (27069), Koochiching (27071), Lake (27075), Lake of the Woods (27077), Marshall (27089), Mille Lacs (27095), Norman (27107), Pine (27115), Pope (27121), Roseau (27135), Sherburne (27141), St. Louis (27137), Washington (27163)
ND Ransom (38073)
OH Highland (39071)*, Lucas (39095)
OR Baker (41001), Crook (41013), Deschutes (41017), Harney (41025), Jefferson (41031), Lake (41037), Linn (41043), Marion (41047), Wallowa (41063)
RI Kent (44003)*, Providence (44007)
SD Brown (46013), Custer (46033), Lawrence (46081)*, Marshall (46091), Meade (46093), Pennington (46103)
TN Carter (47019)
VT Addison (50001)*, Rutland (50021)*, Windsor (50027)*
WY Big Horn (56003), Crook (56011), Fremont (56013), Johnson (56019), Lincoln (56023), Park (56029), Sheridan (56033), Teton (56039)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Merrimack (01070002)+*, Black-Ottauquechee (01080106)+*, Middle Connecticut (01080201)+, Deerfield (01080203)+*, Lower Connecticut (01080205)+*, Charles (01090001)+*, Blackstone (01090003)+*, Narragansett (01090004)+, Pawcatuck-Wood (01090005)+*, Housatonic (01100005)+
04 Baptism-Brule (04010101)+, Beaver-Lester (04010102)+, St. Louis (04010201)+, Cloquet (04010202)+, Beartrap-Nemadji (04010301)+, Lake Superior (04020300)+, Little Calumet-Galien (04040001)+, St. Joseph (04100003)+, Lower Maumee (04100009)+, Otter Creek (04150402)+*, Lake Champlain (04150408)+*
05 Lower Scioto (05060002)+*, Ohio Brush-Whiteoak (05090201)+*, Middle Wabash-Little Vermilion (05120108)+
06 Watauga (06010103)+, Nolichucky (06010108)+
07 Mississippi Headwaters (07010101)+, Leech Lake (07010102)+, Prairie-Willow (07010103)+, Elk-Nokasippi (07010104)+, Pine (07010105)+, Crow Wing (07010106)+, Clearwater-Elk (07010203)+, Twin Cities (07010206)+, Rum (07010207)+, Chippewa (07020005)+, Upper St. Croix (07030001)+, Kettle (07030003)+, Snake (07030004)+, Lower St. Croix (07030005)+, Upper Wapsipinicon (07080102)+*, Middle Cedar (07080205)+, Upper Iowa (07080207)+, Middle Iowa (07080208)+, Sugar (07090004)+*, Lower Rock (07090005)+*, Green (07090007)+*, Chicago (07120003)+*
09 Otter Tail (09020103)+, Buffalo (09020106)+, Eastern Wild Rice (09020108)+, Lower Sheyenne (09020204)+, Red Lakes (09020302)+, Thief (09020304)+, Snake (09020309)+, Lower Red (09020311)+, Two Rivers (09020312)+, Roseau (09020314)+, Rainy Headwaters (09030001)+, Vermilion (09030002)+, Little Fork (09030005)+, Big Fork (09030006)+, Rapid (09030007)+, Lower Rainy (09030008)+, Lake of the Woods (09030009)+
10 Madison (10020007)+, Yellowstone Headwaters (10070001)+, Clarks Fork Yellowstone (10070006)+, Upper Wind (10080001)+, Greybull (10080009)+, Big Horn Lake (10080010)+, Upper Tongue (10090101)+, Middle Fork Powder (10090201)+, Crazy Woman (10090205)+, Beaver (10120107)+, Middle Cheyenne-Spring (10120109)+, Middle Cheyenne-Elk (10120111)+*, Upper Belle Fourche (10120201)+, Lower Belle Fourche (10120202)+, Redwater (10120203)+, Upper James (10160003)+, South Platte Headwaters (10190001)+, St. Vrain (10190005)+
11 Arkansas Headwaters (11020001)+, Upper Arkansas (11020002)+*, Fountain (11020003)+*
13 Rio Grande headwaters (13010001)+
14 Colorado headwaters (14010001)+*, Blue (14010002)+, Eagle (14010003)+, Upper San Juan (14080101)+
17 Lower Kootenai (17010104)+, Moyie (17010105)+, Pend Oreille Lake (17010214)+, Priest (17010215)+, St. Joe (17010304)+, Greys-Hobock (17040103)+, Upper Henrys (17040202)+, Lower Henrys (17040203)+, South Fork Payette (17050120)+, North Fork Payette (17050123)+, Brownlee Reservoir (17050201)+, Imnaha (17060102)+, Wallowa (17060105)+, Upper Salmon (17060201)+, Upper Middle Fork Salmon (17060205)+, Middle Salmon-Chamberlain (17060207)+, South Fork Salmon (17060208)+, Lower Salmon (17060209)+, South Fork Clearwater (17060305)+, Upper Deschutes (17070301)+, Little Deschutes (17070302)+, Lower Crooked (17070305)+, Lower Deschutes (17070306)+, Trout (17070307)+, Mckenzie (17090004)+, Clackamas (17090011)+, Donner Und Blitzen (17120003)+, Summer Lake (17120005)+, Alvord Lake (17120009)+
18 Sprague (18010202)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Technical Description: Trophophore stalk 0--3 cm, 0--1.5 times length of trophophore rachis; blade dull to bright green to whitish green, linear to ovate-oblong to oblong to fully triangular with pinnae arranged ternately, simple to 2(--3)-pinnate, to 7 0.2 cm, fleshy to thin, papery or herbaceous. Pinnae or well-developed lobes to 7 pairs, spreading to ascending, approximate to widely separated, distance between 1st and 2d pinnae frequently greater than between 2d and 3d pairs, basal pinna pair commonly much larger and more complex than adjacent pair, cuneate to fan-shaped, strongly asymmetric, undivided to divided to tip, basiscopic margins perpendicular to rachis, acroscopic margins strongly ascending, basal pinnae often divided into 2 unequal parts, margins usually entire or shallowly sinuate, apex rounded, undivided and boat-shaped to strongly divided and plane, venation pinnate or like ribs of fan, with midrib. Sporophores mainly 1-pinnate, 1--8 times length of trophophores (Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993).

Habitat Comments: A wide variety of habits including meadows, barrens and woods, usually in subacid soils (Idaho Native Plant Society, 1993). Dry fields, marshes, bogs, swamps, roadside ditches (Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993).

Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Viability
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 20May1998
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: GRIES, D

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).

  • Anderson, D. G. 2006. Botrychium simplex E. Hitchcock (little grapefern): A Technical Conservation Assessment Prepared for the USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region, Species Conservation Project. Available: .

  • Anderson, David G. (2006, May 22). Botrychium simplex E. Hitchcock (little grapefern): A Technical Conservation Assessment. [Online]. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. Available: [date of access].

  • Chadde, S., and G. Kudray. 2003. Conservation Assessment for Least Moonwort (Botrychium simplex). United States Forest Service, Eastern Region, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. . Accessed 16 September 2009.

  • Clark, T. W., A. H. Harvey, R. D. Dorn, D. L. Genter, and C. Groves. 1989. Rare, sensitive, and threatened species of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative, Montana Natural Heritage Program, The Nature Conservancy, and Mountain West Environmental Services.

  • Clausen, R. T. 1938. A monograph of the Ophioglossaceae. Memoirs of the Torrey Botanical Club 19 (2): 77-78.

  • Cody, W.J., and D.M. Britton. 1989. Ferns and fern allies of Canada. Research Branch, Agriculture Canada, Ottawa. 430 pp.

  • Cronquist, A., A. H. Holmgren, N. H. Holmgren, and J. L. Reveal. 1972. Intermountain Flora; Vascular Plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A. Volume 1: Geological and Botanical History of the Region, its Plant Geography and a Glossary. The Vascular Cryptogams and the Gymnosperms. Hafner Publishing Company, New York, NY.

  • Dahle, R. 2000. Botrychiums. Electronic mail memo of 11 January to K. Cieminski.

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

  • Douglas, G.W., G.B. Straley, and D. Meidinger. 1989. The vascular plants of British Columbia. Part 1. Gymnosperms and Dicotyledons (Asteraceae through Cucurbitaceae). Crown Publications Incorporated. Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. 208 pp.

  • Farrar, D. R. 2006. Moonwort (Botrychium) Systematics. . Accessed 13 Apr 2009.

  • Farrar, D. R. 2006. Systematics of moonworts Botrychium subgenus Botrychium. . Accessed 09 Mar 2009.

  • 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.

  • Fertig, W. and G. Jones. 1994. Establishment record for Swift Creek Research Natural Area within Bridger-Teton National Forest, Lincoln County, Wyoming. Unpublished report prepared for the U.S. Forest Service Region 4 by the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Laramie, WY.

  • 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.

  • Haines, A. 2011. Flora Novae Angliae: a manual for the identification of native and naturalized higher vascular plants of New England. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT. 973 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.

  • Hartman, R. L. and B. E. Nelson. 1993. General floristic/sensitive plant species survey of the Wyoming and Salt River ranges, northern portions, Wyoming. Unpublished report prepared for Bridger-Teton National Forest by the Rocky Mountain Herbarium, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY.

  • Hartman, R. L. and B. E. Nelson. 1994. General floristic/sensitive plant species survey of the Wyoming and Salt River ranges, southern portions, Wyoming and concluding remarks on the entire area. Unpublished report prepared for Bridger-Teton National Forest by the Rocky Mountain Herbarium, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY.

  • Hauk, W. D. and C. H. Haufler. 1999. Isozyme variability among cryptic species of Botrychium subgenus Botrychium (Ophioglossaceae). American Journal of Botany 86:614-633.

  • Idaho Native Plant Society. 1993. Federal candidate (C1 and C2) and listed rare plants of Idaho. unpaginated.

  • Johnson-Groh, C. L., and D. R. Farrar. 1996. The effects of fire on prairie moonworts (Botrychium subgenus Botrychium). American Journal of Botany 83(Supplement 6):134. [Abstract]

  • 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.

  • Wagner, D.H. 1992. Guide to the species of Botrychium in Oregon. Unpublished report prepared by the University Herbarium, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR.

  • Wagner, W. H., Jr., and F. S. Wagner. 1993. Botrychium. Pages 86-101 in Flora of North America Editorial Committee, editors. Flora of North America north of Mexico. Volume 2. Oxford University Press, New York, New York.

  • Weakley, A.S. 1997. Flora of the Carolinas and Virginia: working draft of 21 July 1997. The Nature Conservancy, Southeast Regional Office, Southern Conservation Science Dept., Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

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

Use Guidelines & Citation

Use Guidelines and Citation

The Small Print: Trademark, Copyright, Citation Guidelines, Restrictions on Use, and Information Disclaimer.

Note: All species and ecological community data presented in NatureServe Explorer at were updated to be current with NatureServe's central databases as of November 2016.
Note: This report was printed on

Trademark Notice: "NatureServe", NatureServe Explorer, The NatureServe logo, and all other names of NatureServe programs referenced herein are trademarks of NatureServe. Any other product or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Copyright Notice: Copyright © 2017 NatureServe, 4600 N. Fairfax Dr., 7th Floor, Arlington Virginia 22203, U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. Each document delivered from this server or web site may contain other proprietary notices and copyright information relating to that document. The following citation should be used in any published materials which reference the web site.

Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2017. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:

Restrictions on Use: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this server is hereby granted under the following conditions:
  1. The above copyright notice must appear in all copies;
  2. Any use of the documents available from this server must be for informational purposes only and in no instance for commercial purposes;
  3. Some data may be downloaded to files and altered in format for analytical purposes, however the data should still be referenced using the citation above;
  4. No graphics available from this server can be used, copied or distributed separate from the accompanying text. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved by NatureServe. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring by implication, estoppel, or otherwise any license or right under any trademark of NatureServe. No trademark owned by NatureServe may be used in advertising or promotion pertaining to the distribution of documents delivered from this server without specific advance permission from NatureServe. Except as expressly provided above, nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring any license or right under any NatureServe copyright.
Information Warranty Disclaimer: All documents and related graphics provided by this server and any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server are provided "as is" without warranty as to the currentness, completeness, or accuracy of any specific data. NatureServe hereby disclaims all warranties and conditions with regard to any documents provided by this server or any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, including but not limited to all implied warranties and conditions of merchantibility, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. NatureServe makes no representations about the suitability of the information delivered from this server or any other documents that are referenced to or linked to this server. In no event shall NatureServe be liable for any special, indirect, incidental, consequential damages, or for damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information contained in any documents provided by this server or in any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, under any theory of liability used. NatureServe may update or make changes to the documents provided by this server at any time without notice; however, NatureServe makes no commitment to update the information contained herein. Since the data in the central databases are continually being updated, it is advisable to refresh data retrieved at least once a year after its receipt. The data provided is for planning, assessment, and informational purposes. Site specific projects or activities should be reviewed for potential environmental impacts with appropriate regulatory agencies. If ground-disturbing activities are proposed on a site, the appropriate state natural heritage program(s) or conservation data center can be contacted for a site-specific review of the project area (see Visit Local Programs).

Feedback Request: NatureServe encourages users to let us know of any errors or significant omissions that you find in the data through (see Contact Us). Your comments will be very valuable in improving the overall quality of our databases for the benefit of all users.