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Botrychium virginianum - (L.)Sw.

Common Name Rattlesnake Fern
Family Ophioglossaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards Although we have found no reports of toxicity for this species, a number of ferns contain carcinogens so some caution is advisable[200]. Many ferns also contain thiaminase, an enzyme that robs the body of its vitamin B complex. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase[172].
Habitats Rich moist or dry woods[222]. Common to abundant, especially in shaded forests and shrubby second growth, rare or absent in arid regions from sea level to 1500 metres[270].
Range N. Europe, E. Asia. N. America and S. America.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Botrychium virginianum Rattlesnake Fern


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Botrychium virginianum Rattlesnake Fern
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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of fern
Botrychium virginianum is an evergreen Fern growing to 0.4 m (1ft 4in). It is in leaf all year.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Root
Edible Uses:

This large succulent fern is boiled and eaten in the Himalayas[2]. The report does not say which part of the plant is used, though it is probably the root[K].

References

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Diaphoretic  Emetic  Expectorant  Pectoral  Poultice

A poultice or lotion made from the roots is applied to snakebites, bruises, cuts and sores[222, 257]. A tea made from the roots is emetic, induces sweating and is expectorant[222]. It is used in the treatment of lung ailments[222, 257].

References

Now available: PLANTS FOR YOUR FOOD FOREST: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens.

An important new book from PFAF. It focuses on the attributes of plants suitable for food forests, what each can contribute to a food forest ecosystem, including carbon sequestration, and the kinds of foods they yield. The book suggests that community and small-scale food forests can provide a real alternative to intensive industrialised agriculture, and help to combat the many inter-related environmental crises that threaten the very future of life on Earth.

Read More

FOOD FOREST PLANTS

Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

References

Cultivation details

Prefers a sandy loam with just a small portion of peat[1]. Requires sharp drainage[1]. Best grown in an open position[1]. Plants can be difficult to establish. The prothalli (young plants formed when the spores germinate) of this plant form a symbiotic relationship with a mycorrhizal fungus, similar to the association of orchid seedlings with an invading fungus[200]. Unlike most species of ferns, the fronds of this species grow up straight and not curled inward, crozier fashion[4]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233].

References

Temperature Converter

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The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

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Propagation

Spores - best surface sown as soon as they are ripe in a greenhouse and do not allow the compost to dry out. Placing the pot in a plastic bag helps to maintain a humid atmosphere which promotes germination and growth. Prick out small clumps into pots when they are large enough to handle and keep moist until established. Grow on in a greenhouse for at least the first winter and plant out in late spring. Division. It is best not to try and disturb this plant[200].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Botrychium australeParsley FernFern0.5 -  LMSNM10 
Botrychium lunariaCommon MoonwortFern0.1 -  LMHSNDM02 
Botrychium ternatum Fern0.3 -  LMSNM22 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

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Expert comment

Author

(L.)Sw.

Botanical References

200270

Links / References

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