California Native Plant Society
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Botrypus virginianus
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Rattlesnake Fern
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Botrypus virginianus

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About Rattlesnake Fern (Botrypus virginianus) Botrypus virginianus, sometimes called rattlesnake fern, is a low-growing herb in the Ophioglossales, commonly a foot high or smaller. The plant is ternately branched and the leaves feel soft. The stem is bicolor, being pinkish or light tan at the base but greenish nearer the branches or leaves. This is a wide-ranging species. It abounds in many parts of the United States, in the mountains of Mexico, in Australia, in some parts of Asia, as the Himalaya Mountains, and is found also in Norway, in the Karelia region of Finland and Russia, and around Gulf of Bothnia, although in no other part of Europe. It is large and succulent and is boiled and eaten in the Himalayas, etc. It is called Rattlesnake Fern in some parts of North America, from its growing in places where rattlesnakes are also found.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
1 ft (0.3 m)

Native Status
Natural Setting
Elevation ?
2543' - 3794'

Annual Precip. ?
27.0" - 63.1"

Summer Precip. ?
1.38" - 1.86"

Coldest Month ?
37.7° F - 41.8° F

Hottest Month ?
64.1° F - 69.1° F

Humidity ?
1.81 vpd - 21.13 vpd

Landscaping Information
Nursery Availability
Never or Almost Never Available

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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