Plants and Animals

Botrychium acuminatum Moonwort

species photo
Susan R. Crispin
species photo
Gary Reese

Key Characteristics

Small fern (10-15 cm) of grassy dunes along Lake Superior; leaf nearly stalkless, divided with up to 6 acute-tipped leaflets that do not overlap.

Status and Rank

US Status:
State Status: E - Endangered (legally protected)
Global Rank: G1 - Critically imperiled
State Rank: S1 - Critically imperiled

Occurrences

CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Alger11985

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

Known only from the large perched dunes at Grand Sable within the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, where it occurs primarily across the open dune fields.

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 prairie 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. Prevent or remove 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 June to third week of September

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

  • 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.