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Connecticut Plants
Rattlesnake Fern
Botrychium virginianum (L.) Sw.

Rattlesnake fern gets its name from the fertile section of frond, which is reminiscent of a rattlesnake's rattle. The fertile section is green when young and bright yellow when the spores are mature.

  • Synonyms: Botrypus virginianus
  • Family: adder's-tongue (Ophioglossaceae)
  • Habitat: rich woodlands
  • Height: 8-30 inches
  • Location of spores: separate fertile portion of frond, which branches from the sterile portion at the base of the blade
  • Petiole (leaf stalk): smooth, round, and pink at the base
  • Growth pattern: single leaf
  • Persistence: deciduous
  • Origin: native
Botrychium virginianum (L.) Sw.

Photographed in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania in early June.

Botrychium virginianum (L.) Sw.