Botrypus virginianus (L.) Michx.
(long known as
Botrychium virginianum (Linnaeus) Schwartz)
rattlesnake fern
Family: Ophioglossaceae
fertile plant
fertile plant

The blade of Botrypus virginianus is broadly triangular and usually more than 10 cm wide, the blades of larger plants attaining a width of up to 30 cm. The fertile branch is attached directly below the base of the blade and both blade and fertile branch are held well above the ground. In some cases many or all individuals at a location are sterile and, especially under heavy canopy, some individuals may produce smaller blades than described above. Such plants may still be recognized by the broadly triangular blade held clearly above the ground.

Habitat includes a wide variety of forests from conifer swamps to relatively dry upland deciduous forests. It is distributed widely across Canada and is found in all of continental United States except for California. Botrypus virginianus is the most common species of the genus in Wisconsin and is found throughout the state.

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