Pale Moonwort - Botrychium pallidum
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Reported from a very small number of sites in Montana. All occurrences are small with the largest population count at a single site being approximately 30 plants. All known sites are in northwest Montana.
Pale Moonwort is a perennial with a single aboveground frond less than 10 cm tall, with a pale whitish green color, and divided into two segments that share a common stalk. The sterile segment is once pinnatifid and has up to 5 pairs of fanshaped pinnae, 2-3 mm long, with concave sides. The sterile segment is shaped like a trough along the central axis. The fertile segment is longer than the sterile segment, branched, and bears grape-like sporangia. Spores germinate underground and develop into subterranean gametophytes.
Fronds mature in June.
Resembles a very pale, dwarf form of B. minganense from which it is most readily distinguished by its very pale color, small pinnae less than 4 mm long, concave pinnae sides, and the trough-shape of the sterile segment rather than a flat blade.
In MT known only from Lincoln and Flathead counties; according to Farrar (Iowa State University, unpublished ms.) the species ranges from eastern BC to QC and ME, south to CO, SD, MN, WI, MI, NY, VT and NH.
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
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Typically occurs in fescue grasslands in the valley zone, though may also be found in other open, mesic habitats. Common moonwort associates include B. hesperium, B. paradoxum, B. simplex and B. gallicomontanum. Other moonworts reported at B. pallidum sites include B. minganense, B. adnatum, B. pedunculosum, B. ascendens, B. lanceolatum, B. lunaria, B. crenulatum and B. michiganense.
Ecological Systems Associated with this Species
- Commonly Associated with these Ecological Systems
- Additional ReferencesLegend: View Online Publication
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- Farrar, Donald. 2011. Moonwort (Botrychium) Systematics. Ada Hayden Herbarium. Iowa State University.
- Lesica, P., M. T. Lavin, and P. F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
- Lesica, P., P. Husby, and S. V. Cooper. 1998. Noteworthy collections: Montana. Madrono 45:328-330.
- Wagner, W. H. and F. S. Wagner. 1993. Ophioglossaceae. In: Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 3+ vols. New York and Oxford. Vol. 2, pp. 85-106.
- Wagner, W. H., Jr. and F. S. Wagner. 1990. Notes on the fan-leaflet group of moonworts in North America with descriptions of two new members. American Fern Journal 80:73-81.