Cutleaf Grapefern,  Botrychium dissectum
Ophioglossaceae or Adder's Tongue Fern Family

A small fern with a single, triangular leaf which is divided into 3 leaflets that are divided into smaller leaflets, that are divided and lobed into still smaller leaflets. Ultimate leaflets finely toothed.  A fertile (spore-bearing) frond, which is branched and carries the spore-bearing structures, branches from the leaf stalk just above or even under the ground so the plant looks like two plants.  The fertile frond is green when it appears in late summer, turning bronze with frost, and persisting into the winter.  The sterile leaves are deciduous and die in the fall.

A woodland native.  Occasional in the forests of Wildwood.

Rattlesnake fern (B. virginianum) is similar, but larger, with the branch between the sterile and fertile fronds being partway up the stalk. The fertile frond is also longer and narrower.

Fertile frond



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