A grape fern from Pat in SC

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The plant was seen today, Sept 29, 2016. This plant was in a Piedmont woodland habitat. The compound leaves/foliage resembled a small fern leaf. The flowers were on a spike, one spike per plant. The tiny flowers arranged along the spike were shaped like bells when open. When closed they looked yellowish-white, similar to an unfurled fern frond. The largest specimen found was about 12″ in height.

Hi Pat,

you actually sent pictures of 2 different plants.  Only one can be posted here, and that plant is a grape fern, Botrychium dissectum var. obliquum. I am also unable to modify the images sent, so part of your image is cut off. The taller part of the frond has the tiny rounded sporangia that release the spores.  It is an interesting fern in many ways, and is often easy to identify because of its single leaf. The second plant, 2 pictures, was common ragweed – Ambrosia artemisifolia.  That one is a flowering plant and very common – and the cause of hayfever in many people.


Steve Hill, Botanist, SCNPS


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