Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sparselobe or Southern Grapefern (Botrychium biternatum)

November 17th, 2014. I spotted these as I was riding out one morning and didn’t want to stop; I’m usually tired when I come back and forget about things close to home. The fertile fronds on which the sporangia - that resemble a cluster of grapes – were still green. By the time I remembered them again, the sporangia had ripened to a yellowish color. 

I counted about 8 to 10 plants in a small area along the embankment and at the bottom of the drainage area. They had been hidden in the grass and only exposed when the county mowers made their Fall pass along the road. 

There were 8 plants in this field. You might be able to spot one of the larger fertile fronds at the right edge of the large shadow just right of center. Another plant is located just right and just a little higher up the slope.

One of the larger plants. 

A closer view of a fertile frond.

A couple of smaller plants with well-developed fertile fronds.

I’ve seen this species most frequently in wooded areas where they were shaded with some sun exposure. I was surprised and pleased to find these plants in such an exposed area although they were shaded from full exposure to the sun by the grass growing around them.

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