Botrychium spathulatum
Spatulate moonwort

Key Characteristics

Small fern (10-20 cm) of northern dunes; leaf blade shiny yellow-green, narrowly deltate, pinnately divided in up to 8 pairs of pinnae; basal pinnae spatulate; leaves appearing later in season than B. minganense.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: T
  • State Rank: S2
  • Global Rank: G3


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Distribution map for Botrychium spathulatum

Updated 5/15/2018. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


This species is occassionally found in open sand dunes, but usually located in low grassy swales beneath low shrubs or northern white-cedar. It is also occassionally found inland along sandy roadsides and trails.

Natural Community Types


For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Associated Plants

Marram grass, western moonwort, northern white-cedar, poison ivy, red-osier dogwood, and choke cherry.


This species likely requires protection of its dune habitat from development as well as erosion from ORV use or excessive foot traffic.

General Survey Guidelines

Late May through June. Random meander search covers areas that appear likely to have rare taxa, based on habitat and the judgement of the investigator.

Survey Methods

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at [Accessed Sep 25, 2018]


Survey References

Technical References

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