Botrychium mormo W. H. Wagner
goblin fern
Family: Ophioglossaceae


The stalk and blade of Botrychium mormo are very succullent (fleshy). Large plants may be up to 8 cm tall, but the visible portion is often 4 cm or less. Some small plants may remain covered by the layer of dead leaves on the forest floor, apparently receiving nourishment from associated fungi in the soil during such periods. The geographic distribution is also very irregular, in some cases the visible plants of a population consisting of only one or a few individuals. All these factors add up to a species that can be very difficult to find and to identify. Small plants in particular could be mistaken for B. simplex or even the smaller individuals of B. matricariifolium.

B. mormo is found mainly in fairly mature deciduous forests, often dominated by Acer saccharum (sugar maple). B. mormo is known only from northeastern Minnesota and the northern portions of Wisconsin and Michigan. It is listed as "endangered" in Wisconsin where it is known only from the northern counties.