Botrychium lunaria

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Botrychium lunaria
Botrychium lunaria (Vanoise).JPG

Secure (NatureServe)
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Class: Polypodiopsida
Order: Ophioglossales
Family: Ophioglossaceae
Genus: Botrychium
B. lunaria
Binomial name
Botrychium lunaria

Botrychium lunaria is a species of fern in the family Ophioglossaceae[4] known by the common name moonwort[5] or common moonwort. It is the most widely distributed moonwort, growing throughout the Northern Hemisphere across Eurasia and from Alaska to Greenland, as well as temperate parts of the Southern Hemisphere.


This is a small plant growing up to 30cm in height[6]:10 from an underground caudex. The leaf is pinnate and unique in being divided into a sterile frond and a fertile frond. The sterile frond of the leaf has 4 to 9 pairs of fan-shaped leaflets or pinnae. The fertile part of the leaf is very different in shape, with rounded, grapelike clusters of sporangia producing spores by which it reproduces. As in other members of the family Ophioglossaceae, this species is eusporangiate, the sporangia derived from more than one initial cell and having sporangial walls more than one cell thick. Their spores develop into underground, mycotrophic gametophytes.[6] Moonworts die down at the end of summer, frequently lying dormant for several seasons before re-appearing.[7]


Moonwort has a circumpolar distribution, being recorded in Eurasia, North America and Greenland.[8] It also occurs in north Africa, the Himalayas, and temperate zones of Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand and South America.[9][10] Although its distribution is patchy, and it may be locally rare, it is rated as of least concern in The IUCN Red List of threatened species.[9] There is evidence of some decline in the British Isles,[11] and in Ukraine, 189 loci were recorded, 118 before 1980, 58 after 1980 and 13 after 1980.[12]

Frond; background squares are 5mm across


  1. ^  Under its treatment as Botrychium lunaria (from its basionym of Osmunda lunaria), this plant name was first published in Journal für die Botanik 1800(2): 110. 1801. "Name - !Botrychium lunaria (L.) Sw". Tropicos. Saint Louis, Missouri: Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved November 2, 2011.
  2. ^ "Name - !Botrychium lunaria (L.) Sw. synonyms". Tropicos. Saint Louis, Missouri: Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved November 2, 2011.
  3. ^  Osmunda lunaria, the basionym of B lunaria, was first described and published in Species Plantarum 2: 1064. 1753. "Name - Osmunda lunaria L." Tropicos. Saint Louis, Missouri: Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved November 2, 2011.
  4. ^ Christenhusz, Maarten J. M.; Zhang, Xian-Chun; Schneider, Harald (2011). "A linear sequence of extant families and genera of lycophytes and ferns" (PDF). Phytotaxa. 19: 7–54.
  5. ^ "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-01-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  6. ^ a b Stace, C. A. (2010). New Flora of the British Isles (Third ed.). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521707725.
  7. ^ The Illustrated Field Guide to Ferns and Allied Plants of the British Isles; Jermy & Camus; First edition; 1991
  8. ^ Arne Anderberg. "Botrychium lunaria (L.) Sw". Den Virtuella Floran. Naturhistoriska riksmuseet. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Botrychium lunaria (Common moonwort)". International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  10. ^ Welsh Ferns; Hutchinson & Thomas; Seventh edition; 1996
  11. ^ "Online Atlas of the British and Irish flora: Botrychium lunaria". Biological Records Centre and Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  12. ^ Ivan Parnikoza, Zbigniew Celka (June 2018). "Archive of findings of representatives of Ophioglossaceae in Ukraine". Retrieved 27 August 2018.

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