Ophioglossum vulgatum
Southeastern adder's-tongue

Key Characteristics

Small fern-relative (10-20 cm) of rich southern forests; leaf dark green and ovate, abruptly tapering at base; fertile spike erect and tall, arising from leaf base, slightly widened at top.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: E
  • State Rank: S1
  • Global Rank: G5


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Distribution map for Ophioglossum vulgatum

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.


Michigan's sole locality consists of a rich, somewhat disturbed woods. Throughout its range, this fern inhabits bottomland and floodplain forests with neutral to alkaline soils.

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

Red maple, sugar maple, hackberry, honey locust, jack-in-the-pulpit, lady fern, wood fern, trout lily, Hepatica, wood nettle, sensitive fern, and bloodroot.


Little is known of the specific management necessary to perpetuate this species. Additional status surveys in addition to monitoring of the sole known site are suggested in order to understand possible conservation measures. It would likely benefit from maintaining a closed canopy forest and controlling the spread of invasive species.

General Survey Guidelines

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 http://mnfi.anr.msu.edu/explorer [Accessed Sep 24, 2018]


Survey References

Technical References

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