Botrychium virginianum (Botryus virginianus)

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Common Name: Rattlesnake Fern

12-18 inches tall by 10-12 inches spread but can get up to 3 feet height. Partial sun to light shade; medium moisture level; fertile, loamy soil with lots of decaying matter; acidic pH.

Maintenance: Requires more maintenance than other ferns and needs protection from insects and wind.

Foliage: Deciduous

Growth/Colonizing Habit: Fern has horizontal, coarse, shallow roots with underground rhizomes. Nearly impossible to cultivate from spores and difficult by division. Transplanted ferns usually fail to thrive, and therefore fern is difficult to find in nurseries although plants are available.

Native Region: Present in Tennessee but locations not mapped.

Unique fern in that a single stalk holds both the three fronds as well as the fertile stalk. Bright green fronds appear early in spring and last through the summer, but fertile portion withers quickly. Shade preferred as it soon dies out in sunny locations. Occurs naturally in moist, rich deciduous woods.

Rattlesnake Fern - Botrychium virginianum (Botryus virginianus) 3
Photo Courtesy of Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Rattlesnake Fern - Botrychium virginianum (Botryus virginianus) 2
Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia