Sceptridium dissectum (Spreng.) Lyon
(long known as Botrychium dissectum Spreng.)
cut-leaved grape-fern
Family: Ophioglossaceae


Sceptridium dissectum varies widely in shape and color of the leaves. The blades are broadly triangular, usually 10-30 cm wide, and are borne roughly parallel with the ground and close to it. Because the plant grows close to the ground and the fertile branch is attached to the sterile portion very low, failure to look closely at the plant might lead to the incorrect assumption that the sterile and fertile fronds are separate.

The single leaf overwinters, often turning a bronze color late in the growing season. In variety dissectum the pinnules are deeply cut with coarse, sharp teeth along the margins. Variety obliquum has the blade less deeply dissected and may be confused with B. oneidense which has blunter pinnules, and blunt and/or fine teeth. A wide range of intermediate forms are present, even within a population. See a discussion of similar species under B. multifidum.

Botrychium dissectum is widely distributed in the eastern U.S., west through Louisiana, Missouri and Wisconsin. It is found throughout Wisconsin and is probably more common than is indicated by the collection record. Habitat includes various forests as well as edges and forest openings, old pastures, etc.

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