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Botrypus virginianus

Higher Taxonomy
Family: OphioglossaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Perennial herb, small, fleshy, generally glabrous; caudex generally underground, unbranched; roots glabrous with bulblets or plantlets or not. Leaf: generally 1 per caudex per year, divided into 2 facing parts with a common stalk,(0)1 sterile and 1(2) fertile (fertile occasionally aborted); sterile photosynthetic part (trophophore) separated from spore-bearing part (sporophore) at to well above ground level; trophophore simple to compound, veins free and forked or netted with included veinlets; sporophore simple to compound, or 0 in young pls. Sporangia: dehiscent into 2 valves, +- 1 mm wide, thick-walled.
Genera In Family: 10 genera, 80--100 species: +- worldwide, generally rare or overlooked.
Unabridged Note: Distantly related to most (leptosporangiate) ferns. Haploid (gametophyte) generation underground. Both diploid and haploid generations obligately mycorrhizal. The family Psilotaceae (whisk ferns, 2 genera), sister to Ophioglossaceae, is represented in California (SCo) by 1 (of 2 total) apparently introduced species, Psilotum nudum (L.) P. Beauv. Psilotum is easily distinguished by the dichotomously branching, almost leafless green stems, lack of roots, and large (2--3 mm) 3-lobed sporangia; sporangia are borne on the adaxial (upper) side of a minute (+- 1 mm) forked leaf. Pantrop, subtrop (nearest native populations in Arizona and in Sonora, Mexico); expected in cultivation areas, especially at bases of old palms, possibly brought in on root masses as subterranean gametophytes. [Pryer et al. 2004 Amer J Bot 91:1582--1598]
eFlora Treatment Author: Donald R. Farrar, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Alan R. Smith, Bruce G. Baldwin, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: BotrypusView Description 

Habit: Roots smooth, without bulblets or plantlets. Leaf: deciduous; bud hairy; sporophore, trophophore joined well above ground level; trophophore blade generally 3--4-pinnate, deltate to ternately triangular, thin, membranous, ultimate segments midribbed; sporophore 1--3-pinnate, absent in young pls. Sporangia: not sunken in axis; stalk 0 or short.
Species In Genus: 2--3 species: worldwide. Etymology: (Greek: bunch of grapes, from clusters of sporangia)

Botrypus virginianus (L.) Michx.
Habit: Plant often robust, herbaceous, deciduous; roots 2 mm thick (1 cm from base), smooth, yellow to brown. Leaf: bud hairy; trophophore sessile, < 20 cm wide, ultimate segments linear to ovate, veins free, forked, margins entire to coarsely serrate to deeply lobed; sporophore stalk long, 2--3-pinnate. Chromosomes: 2n=184.
Ecology: Moist shaded valleys along small streams; Elevation: 700--1200 m. Bioregional Distribution: KR, CaR; Distribution Outside California: throughout America, Europe, Asia.
Synonyms: Botrychium virginianum (L.) Sw.
eFlora Treatment Author: Donald R. Farrar
Jepson Online Interchange
Listed on CNPS Rare Plant Inventory

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Next taxon: Ophioglossum

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botanical illustration including Botrypus virginianus


Citation for this treatment: Donald R. Farrar 2016. Botrypus virginianus, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 04, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 04, 2016.

Botrypus virginianus
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© 2000 John Game

More photos of Botrypus virginianus in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Botrypus virginianus:
KR, CaR;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.