Botrychium virginianum (Rattlesnake Fern)
Rattlesnake Fern, Botrychium virginianum ssp. europaeum, Botrychium virginianum var. europaeum, Botrypus virginianus
One of first ferns to start growth in spring, Botrychium virginianum (Rattlesnake Fern) is a deciduous fern with an erect stalk bearing a single, ascending to arching, sterile, bright green frond, 10 in. long (25 cm), that is broadly triangular and bipinnate to tripinnate. It is divided into ovate to lance-shaped, deeply lobed pinnae. On some ferns, a second fertile leaf is produced on a long stalk that originates from the base of the sterile leaf. Distinctive spherical bright yellow spore cases rise at the conjunction of the leaves. Appearing early in spring, the fronds last through summer, though the fertile portion withers once the spores are released. The root system is fibrous and fleshy, and occasionally produce clonal offsets. Native to Asia, North America and South America, Rattlesnake Fern is found in a wide variety of climates: dry, mesic, and wet forests, coves, and most often in moist bottomlands and slopes with nutrient-rich soils. Rattlesnake Fern requires more care than other ferns and needs adequate soil, water, and protection from insects and winds. It is difficult to cultivate.
- Grows up to 6-18 in. tall (15-45 cm) and 8-12 in. wide (20-30 cm).
- Performs best in part shade to full shade in moist to dry-mesic, fertile loamy, acidic, well-drained soils. Prefers moist, rich woods and shade.
- This plant is a great choice for shady beds and borders, underplanting of roses and shrubs, cottage gardens, woodland gardens or as a groundcover.
- Virtually pest and disease free. Rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.
- Dead or damaged fronds may be removed as necessary.
- Difficult to propagate by spores or root division.
- Native to Eastern Asia, North America, South America.
Erutuon, James St John, Flickr
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.