Botrychium matricariaefolium

Matricary Grape Fern

Matricary Grape Fern, Photo courtesy Wisconsin State Herbarium and K. Kohout
Matricary Grape Fern
Photo courtesy Wisconsin State Herbarium
and K. Kohout

Flora, fauna, earth, and sky...
The natural history of the northwoods


  • Botrychium, from the Greek botrus (botrys), "grape"; the Grape Ferns
  • matricariaefolium, from the Latin, Matricaria, the name for German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), and folium, "leaf"; hence "with chamomile-like leaves".
  • Common Name, an anglicized version of the Latin species name
  • Other common names include: Camomile Grape Fern, Daisy Leaf Grape Fern, Daisy Leaf Moonwort, Botryche à feuille de Matricaire (Qué), Botrychiurn à feuilles de Matricaire (Fr), Rutlåsbräken, Lundlåsbräken (Swe), Huldrnøkkel , Huldrenøkkel (Nor), Kamillebladet Månerude (Dan), Saunionoidanlukko (Fin), Ästige Mondraute (Ger), Vraticka hermánkolistá (Cz)


  • Kingdom Plantae, the Plants
    • Division Polypodiophyta, the True Ferns
      • Class Filicopsida
        • Order Ophioglossales
          • Family Ophioglossaceae, the Adder's Tongue or Succulent Ferns
            • Genus Botrychium, the Grape Ferns
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 17184
  • Also known as Botrychium matricariifolium, Botrychium lunaria var matricariifolium, Botrychium neglectum, Botrychium ramosum
  • Twelve species of Grape Fern (Botrychium spp.) occur in Canoe Country, all but Rattlesnake Fern (Botrychium virginianum) being rare or extremely rare. These are woodland jewels, rarely seen.


  • A stout, rather fleshy little grape fern of cool moist woods, growing 4"-6" tall. Individuals tend to be inconspicuous and scattered.
  • Sterile Frond a single leaf, pale green, oblong, resembling daisy leaf in shape; about 1" long, twice cut, and erect. Often clasping spore-bearing stalk.
  • Fertile frond rises above leaf with erect, branched clusters. Yellow spore cases prominent.
  • Stem pale green, slender, succulent, and fragile; about 4" long
  • Rootstalk small, upright.
    • Roots smooth, fleshy, and spreading; about 2" below the surface.


  • Identifiable as a Grape Fern by its diminutive size, succulent stem, and single leaf.
  • Distinguished from other small Grape Ferns by the oblong leaf attached somewhat below the top of the stem, often clasping the fertile frond.
  • Field Marks
    • diminutive size
    • succulent stem
    • single oblong leaf
    • branched clusters on fertile frond


  • Ontario to Newfoundland, south to Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and New Jersey.
  • Also Scandanavia through Russia, south to France, Italy, and the Balkans.
  • At the western edge of its range in Minnesota.


  • Woodland edges and thickets in slightly acidic or neutral soil
  • Also, old fields and secondary growth woods






  • Reproduces by spores


  • By spores (difficult)


  • Hardy to USDA Zone 3 (average minimum annual temperature -40ºF)
  • Not generally cultivated.



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Last Updated on 26 February, 2004