Ophioglossum crotalophoroides Walt. - Bulbous Adder's Toungue

Ophioglossum crotalophoroides plant

Family - Ophioglossaceae

Stems:

Ophioglossum crotalophoroides stem

Leaves:

N/A

Inflorescence:

N/A

Flowers:

Ophioglossum crotalophoroides fertile frondApex of fertile frond.

Flowering - February - May.

Habitat - Wet prairies, meadows, open, disturbed sites.

Origin - Native to North America.

Other information - This tiny species of fern really doesn't resemble a fern in the typical sense of the word. The plant has an underground bulbous stem and 2-3 sterile fronds which resemble typically leaves of dicot plants. The erect, fertile fronds are very typical of the genus, however.
O. crotalophoroides is a tiny plant and is easily overlooked. Here is a shot of the entire plant in hand:

Ophioglossum crotalophoroides plant
The genus name Ophioglossum derives from the Greek "ophi(o)" meaning "a snake, serpent" and "gloss" meaning "the tongue" referring to the fertile fronds of the plant.
The species epithet crotalophoroides derives from the Greek "crotal" meaning "a rattle" and "phoro" meaning "to bear" probably in reference to the fertile frond of this species resembling the tail of a rattlesnake.

Alabama Distribution:

Ophioglossum crotalophoroides map

Photographs taken off Lee Rd 243, Smith's Station, AL., 2-26-06


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