Botrychium

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Moonwort
Botrychium-4.jpg
Botrychium lunaria
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Psilotopsida
Order: Ophioglossales
Family: Ophioglossaceae
Subfamily: Botrychioideae
Genus: Botrychium
Sw.
Species

Several, see text

Botrychium is a genus of ferns, seedless vascular plants in the family Ophioglossaceae.[1] Botrychium species are known as moonworts. They are small, with fleshy roots, and reproduce by spores shed into the air. One part of the leaf, the trophophore, is sterile and fernlike; the other, the sporophore, is fertile and carries the clusters of sporangia or spore cases. Some species only occasionally emerge above ground and gain most of their nourishment from an association with mycorrhizal fungi. They are unusual among tracheophytes ("higher plants") in that at least some species produce the sugar trehalose.

The circumscription of Botrychium is disputed between different authors; some botanists include the genera Botrypus and Sceptridium within Botrychium, while others treat them as distinct. The latter treatment is provisionally followed here.

Selected species[edit]

Botrychium s.s., the moonworts[edit]

Botrychium virginianum

Botrychium species placed in Botrypus[edit]

The rattlesnake fern has traditionally been placed in the Botrychium subgenus Osmundopteris, the name of which is based on the species' superficial similarities to the Osmunda genus[48] where it was previously placed.

Botrychium species placed in Sceptridium[edit]

Botrychium rugulosum

These species (the evergreen grapeferns) have traditionally been placed in the Botrychium subgenus Sceptridium,a name based on the apparent similarity of their sporangia to "little scepters."[52]

= Sceptridium australe (R.Br.) Lyon 1905[55]
= Sceptridium biforme (Colenso) Lyon 1905[57]
= Osmunda biternata Savigny 1798
= Sceptridium biternatum (Savigny) Lyon 1905
= Botrychium obliquum Muhl. 1810[63]
= Sceptridium dissectum (Spreng.) Lyon 1905
= Sceptridium jenmanii (Underw.) Lyon 1905
= Botrychium alabamense Maxon 1906[66]
= Sceptridium alabamense (Maxon) Holub. 1973
= Osmunda multifida S.G. Gmel. 1768
= Botrychium silaifolium C.Presl 1825
= Botrychium matricariae (Schrank) Spreng. 1827[72]
= Sceptridium multifidum (S.G.Gmel.) Nishida ex Tagawa 1958
= Sceptridium oneidense (Gilbert) Holub 1998[74]
= Botrychium ternatum auct. non (Thunb.) Sw. 1801
= Sceptridium rugulosum (W.H.Wagner) Skoda & Holub 1996
= Botrychium ternatum (Thunb.) Sw. 1801
= Sceptridium underwoodianum (Maxon) Lyon 1905[82]

Conservation[edit]

Moonworts can be found in many environments, including prairies, forests, and mountains. While some Botrychium species are quite rare, conservation efforts can be difficult. Determining the rarity of a species is complicated by the plants’ small leaves, which stand only 2-10 centimeters above the soil.[15] Even more of a challenge in obtaining an accurate population count is the genus’s largely subterranean life cycle. The vast majority of any one population of moonworts actually exists below ground in banks consisting of several types of propagules. One type of propagule is the ungerminated spores, which must percolate through the soil beyond the reach of light in order to germinate. This presumably increases the probability that the spore will be in range of a mycorrhizal symbiont before it produces the tiny, roughly heart-shaped gametophyte, which also exists entirely below ground.[83] Finally, some species produce gemmae, a form of asexual propagation achieved by budding of the root.[15]

Juvenile and dormant sporophytes can also be hidden in the soil for long periods of time. Mature sporophytes do not necessarily produce a leaf annually; they can remain viable underground for up to 10 years without putting up a photosynthetic component. This feat is made possible by their dependence on symbiotic partnership with AM fungi of the genus Glomus, which supply most fixed carbon for growth and reproduction.[84]

This mycorrhizal dependence has also made lab cultivation of moonworts difficult. Thus far, only germination of the gametophyte has been successful.


References[edit]

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  14. ^ B. echo USDA Forest Service,Rocky Mountain Region, Species Conservation Project July 22, 2004
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  75. ^ B. rugulosum Tropicos.org. Missouri Botanical Garden. 26 Dec 2011
  76. ^ B. rugulosum Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium, University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point 27 Dec 2011
  77. ^ B. schaffneri Tropicos.org. Missouri Botanical Garden. 04 Jan 2012
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  81. ^ B. underwoodianum Tropicos.org. Missouri Botanical Garden. 27 Dec 2011
  82. ^ S. underwoodianum Tropicos.org. Missouri Botanical Garden. 27 Dec 2011
  83. ^ Whittier D (1973). “The effect of light and other factors on spore germination in Botrychium dissectum”. Can J Bot 51: 1791-1794.
  84. ^ Winther J, Friedman W (2007). “Arbuscular mycorrhizal symbionts in Botrychium (Ophioglossaceae)”. Am J Bot 94 (7): 1248-1255.

External links[edit]