Ophioglossaceae image
Merel R. Black  

Key to Wisconsin Ophioglossaceae

Author: Robert W. Freckmann

    • 1a.Trophophores (sterile photosynthetic blades) unlobed, ovate to broadly-lanceolate, 4--15 cm long; veins forming a network, lacking a midrib; fertile blade (sporophore) erect, unbranched, arising from the common stalk; sporangia in two rows embedded in the erect spike Ophioglossum

    • 1b.Trophophores pinnately lobed, compound, or dissected (if unlobed, less than 3 cm long); veins forking, free, pinnate, or fanlike, sporangia exposed, borne on sporophore branches, often in panicle-like clusters. 2

    • 2a.Trophophore blade sessile (or nearly so), triangular, 3--4 times pinnate, 10--60 cm long, thin, present through most of the growing season, absent in winter, light yellow-green, often without a sporophore Botrypus

    • 2b.Trophophore blade with a petiole (if almost sessile, the blade less than 10 cm long), oblong or triangular, pale or dark green, thick and persisting into winter, or emerging in spring with a sporophore and disappearing by late summer 3

    • 3a.Trophophore broadly triangular, arising directly from the ground without a sporophore, or arising from near the base of the common stalk that also supports a sporophore; blade leathery, dark green to bronze, with a very narrow white or tan margin; trophophores mostly horizontally oriented, usually arising in summer and persisting through winter, sometimes with an additional old yellowing trophophore Sceptridium

    • 3b.Trophophore oblong or ovate, unlobed, lobed, or 1-3x pinnate, or, if triangular,1--5 cm wide, often arising above the middle of the common stalk which also bears the sporophore; blade thin or fleshy, pale green, without a white margin, mostly ascending, usually appearing in spring or summer, not persisting into winter Botrychium

A nearly worldwide family of 10 genera and more than 100 species, many of which appear sporadically and are easily overlooked. Species identification is often difficult because of great environmentally influenced variation among emerging sporophytes, requiring collections that represent the range of variability in each population. Two or more species often occur together. The subterranean stems are short, erect, bulbous, and unbranched. A few thick, fleshy roots with embedded symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi arise from the stem. In most species the main roots are unbranched or produce a few small lateral roots; all lack root hairs. The emerging leaf does not produce the crozier (fiddlehead) typical of most ferns. The leaf often consists of a sterile portion (trophophore) and a fertile portion (sporophore) both borne on a common stalk and usually separating above ground. The base of the common stalk forms a sheath surrounding leaf primordia, one of which usually develops each year. Spores of most species germinate only when underground. Gametophytes are not photosynthetic and depend on mycorrhizal fungi. They may take several years to produce a sporophyte. The family is among the most primitive of living ferns with sixty-million-year-old fossils of Botrychium appearing in the mid Paleocene.
Species within Dodge County 2016