Botrychium lunaria (L.) Sw.

common moonwort

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Although it is called common moonwort, this fern is rare in New England, with a few widely-separated populations in white cedar forests and swamp margins, and in meadows along the coast.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), meadows and fields, wetland margins (edges of wetlands)

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
Maine
Show All Characteristics
  • Leaves
    Features of leaves
    there are no special features on the leaves
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    Maine
    Specific habitat
    • edges of wetlands
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in wetlands, but occasionally in non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACW)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
absent
Maine
present
Massachusetts
absent
New Hampshire
absent
Rhode Island
absent
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Maine
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), endangered (code: E)
Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)
Vermont
historical (S-rank: SH)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Botrychium minganense:
leaflets of the vegetative portion remote, usually cuneate to narrow-flabellate or orbicular, with the apical lobes only slightly reduced and of relatively similar shape to the medial lobes, and medial lobes 1-9 mm wide (vs. B. lunaria, with leaflets of vegetative portion overlapping to approximate, usually broad-flabellate, with the apical lobes often greatly reduced in size and of a different shape than the medial lobes, and medial 6-18 mm wide on well-formed plants)

Synonyms

  • Botrychium lunaria (L.) Sw. var. onondagense (Underwood) House
  • Botrychium onondagense Underwood
  • Osmunda lunaria L.

Genus

Botrychium

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

5.  Botrychium lunaria (L.) Sw. NC

common moonwort. Botrychium lunaria (L.) Sw. var. onondagense (Underwood) House; 
B. onondagense Underwood; Osmunda lunaria L. • ME; also reported from NH by Magee 
and Ahles (1999) and from VT by Wagner and Wagner (1993), but specimens are unknown; highly disjunct locations in ME. Forests, swamp margins, meadows. Gilman (2002) discussed the many erroneous reports of Botrychium lunaria from VT. Shade forms of this species 
are frequently confused with B. minganense. That species usually has elongate trophophore stalks (i.e., equal to or longer than the distance between the lowest pairs of leaflets) and basal leaflets that are nearly of similar size to medial leaflets. Botrychium lunaria, on the other hand, has sessile or short-stalked trophophores (i.e., the trophophore stalk is shorter than the distance between the lowest pairs of leaflets), and the basal leaflets are often noticeably larger than the medial leaflets.