Plants and Animals

Botrychium campestre Prairie Moonwort or Dunewort

species photo
Gary Reese
species photo
Warren H. Wagner, Jr.
species photo
Warren H. Wagner, Jr.

Key Characteristics

Small fern (10-15 cm) of grassy dunes; leaf stalkless with narrow, deeply infolded leaflets; main stem with minute, round vegetative propagules.

Status and Rank

US Status:
State Status: T - Threatened (legally protected)
Global Rank: G3G4 - Rank is uncertain, ranging from vulnerable to apparently secure
State Rank: S2 - Imperiled

Occurrences

CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Alger11985
Benzie11985
Chippewa12008
Delta11993
Leelanau71986

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 primarily in freshwater dune systems, especially perched dunes along northern Lake Michigan. It also occurs in roadside habitats, abandoned orchards, and other disturbed grassy sites.

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

Dune willow, balsam poplar, sandbar willow, ground juniper, sand cherry, beach heath, sea rocket, wormwood, Pitcher's thistle, beach pea, sand cress, Lake Huron tansy, common milkweed, hairy puccoon, beach grass, dune grass, fescue, wood lily, horizontal juniper, northern white cedar, western moonwort, daisy leaved grape-fern, and acute leaved moonwort.

Management Recommendations

This species requires protection of habitat and maintenance of natural dune processes (e.g. shoreline fluctuation, erosion, sand deposition, wind, water level fluctuation, sand movement) that create the necessary microsites. Protect habitat from residential development. Control invasive species. Vulnerable to ORV damage and also excessive foot traffic.

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 May to third week of June

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.