Plants and Animals

Botrychium mormo Goblin moonwort

species photo
Stephen L. Solheim

Key Characteristics

Very small (5-10 cm) fern occurring in leaf litter of northern hardwood forests; stem yellowish-green, succulent; leaf very reduced to absent; sporangia few, embedded in fleshy stem.

Status and Rank

US Status:
State Status: T - Threatened (legally protected)
Global Rank: G3 - Vulnerable
State Rank: S2 - Imperiled

Occurrences

CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Alger21993
Baraga12000
Cheboygan21952
Chippewa11954
Crawford12007
Delta11951
Dickinson11952
Gogebic22009
Houghton22017
Luce11952
Mackinac11952
Otsego11951

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.

Habitat

Occurs in mature as well as second growth mesic northern hardwood forests and, much less commonly, in coniferous forests in soil with a rich humus layer. Reportedly sometimes so small that it may not even rise much above the leaf litter.

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

Lance-leaved moonwort and several other grape-fern species, sugar maple, Eastern hemlock, beech, yellow birch, basswood, white pine, red oak, white cedar, white birch, ironwood, American elm, balsam fir, white baneberry, red baneberry, wild leek, wild sarsaparilla, jack-in-the-pulpit, blue cohosh, enchanter's nightshade, bunchberry, blue-bead lily, Canada mayflower, Solomon's seal, false spikenard, twisted stalk, bellwort, star flower, nodding trillium, common trillium, maiden hair fern, lady fern, rattlesnake fern, spinulose woodfern, stiff clubmoss, shining clubmoss, ground pine, striped maple, leatherwood, fly honeysuckle, and maple-leaf viburnum.

Management Recommendations

May require disturbance for perpetuation, although the biology and ecology of this species are poorly understood. Minimize development and fragmentation. When possible, leave large tracts of unharvested forests and allow natural processes to operate unhindered.

Survey Methods

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

  • Meander search

    • Survey Period: From first week of July to fourth week of October

      Survey Method Comment:
      Mesic northern forests, mature and second growth

References

Survey References

  • Elzinga, C.L., D.W. Salzer, and J.W. Willoughby. 1998. Measuring and Monitoring Plant Populations. The Nature Conservancy and Bureau of Land Management, Denver. BLM Technical Reference 1730-1. 477pp.
  • Goff, G.F., G.A. Dawson, and J.J. Rochow. 1982. Site examination for Threatened and Endangered plant species. Environmental Management 6(4): 307-316
  • Nelson, J.R. 1984. Rare Plant Field Survey Guidelines. In: J.P. Smith and R. York. Inventory of rare and endangered vascular plants of California. 3rd Ed. California Native Plant Society, Berkeley. 174pp.
  • Nelson, J.R. 1986. Rare Plant Surveys: Techniques For Impact Assessment. Natural Areas Journal 5(3):18-30.
  • Nelson, J.R. 1987. Rare Plant Surveys: Techniques for Impact Assessment. In: Conservation and management of rare and endangered plants. Ed. T.S. Elias. California Native Plant Society, Sacramento. 8pp.

Technical References

  • Coffin, B. and L. Pfannmuller, eds. 1988. Minnesota's Endangered Flora and Fauna. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis. 473pp.
  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 1993. Flora of North America, North of Mexico. Volume 2: Pteridophytes and Gymnosperms. Oxford University Press, New York. 475pp.