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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Waterton Moonwort - Botrychium x watertonense

Native Species

Global Rank: GNA
State Rank: SNA

Agency Status


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General Description
Leaf herbaceous, 5-17 cm tall, dull pale green (excluding the dark brown sporangia); common stalk of leaf 3-9 cm long; rachis folded more or less upward when alive, remote, the lower ones separated by 3 times the width of the pinnae; pinna outlines narrowly oblong to spatulate, rounded or truncate apically, up to 1 cm long x 0.5 cm wide, the large ones often once divided. Sporophore 109 cm tall, the stalk 0.5-2.3 cm long, mostly linear in outline but the lower 2-4 branches somewhat exaggerated in the largest leaves, reaching one-third (rarely one-half) the length of the entire sporangium-bearing portion, branches ascending; spores abortive, varying from large and approximately spherical to small and irregularly flattened (adapted from unpublished pdf file available from D. Farrar at Iowa State University, based on Wagner et al. 1984).

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
In MT only known from Flathead, Glacier and Granite counties; northeastern WA , northern ID and MT and barely north into BC and AB (Donald Farrar, Iowa State University, unpublished ms.).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 3

(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)

Grassy fields on south-facing slopes near stands of Lodgepole pine, in open soil and litter between tufts of grass.

  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
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    • Ahlenslager, K. and P. Lesica. 1996. Observations of Botrychium x watertonense and its putative parent species, B. hesperium and B. paradoxum. American Fern Journal 86(1):1-7.
    • 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., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2022. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants, Second Edition. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 779 p.
    • Wagner, Jr., W.H., F.S. Wagner, C. Haufler and J.K. Emerson. 1984. A new nothospecies of moonwort (Ophioglossaceae, Botrychium). Canadian Journal of Botany 62:629-634.
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Citation for data on this website:
Waterton Moonwort — Botrychium x watertonense.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from