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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Northern Moonwort - Botrychium pinnatum
Other Names:  Botrychium boreale ssp. obtusilobum

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S3
CCVI: Less Vulnerable
C-value: 7

Agency Status
USFS: Sensitive - Known in Forests (BD)


External Links

General Description
Plants 5–20 cm. Trophophore green, lanceolate, up to 8 cm long with up to 7 pairs of pinnae; at least the lowest pairs deeply lobed and nearly overlapping the ones above. Sporophore 2 times pinnate; 1 to 2 times as long as trophophore (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Leaves appearing in June to August.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
In MT scattered in various counties from the northwest to Park County; AK, YT and NT south through BC and AB to CA, NV, ID, WY and CO (Donald Farrar, Iowa State University, unpublished ms.)

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 58

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Wide variety of habitats, including wet to moist grassy slopes, streambanks, roadsides, and mossy woods, generally in the mountains. In Idaho and Oregon, found in shaded cedar forest.
Predicted Suitable Habitat Model

This species has a Predicted Suitable Habitat Model available.

To learn how these Models were created see

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Farrar, Donald. 2011. Moonwort (Botrychium) Systematics. Ada Hayden Herbarium. Iowa State University.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2022. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants, Second Edition. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 779 p.
    • Mantas, M. and R.S. Wirt. 1995. Moonworts of western Montana (Botrychium subgenus Botrychium). Flathead National Forest. 103 pp.
  • Web Search Engines for Articles on "Northern Moonwort"
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Citation for data on this website:
Northern Moonwort — Botrychium pinnatum.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from