CBS logo Connecticut Botanical Society
Connecticut Ferns
Photos & Information
blank for formatting
blank for formatting
blank for formatting
Rare Plants
blank for formatting
Gardening with
  Native Plants
blank for formatting
Plant ID Guides
blank for formatting

The Society
blank for formatting
blank for formatting
Field Trips
blank for formatting
blank for formatting
blank for formatting
blank for formatting
Get Involved
blank for formatting
Contact Us
blank for formatting
About this Web Site

blank pixels for layout
Cut-leaved Grape Fern (Dissected Grape Fern)
Botrychium dissectum (Sceptridium dissectum)

Cut-leaved grape fern is variable in appearance. The plant photographed shows the lacy leaf margin that gives this fern its name, but some plants have smooth-edged leaves. (The lower photo shows a plant that is probably a smooth-edged variety of this fern.) Both types can be confused with the rattlesnake fern. Cut-leaved fern has leathery, evergreen fronds, in contrast to the thinner, deciduous fronds of the rattlesnake fern. Autumn is a good time to hunt for the cut-leaved grape fern, as the fronds are still bright green when most plants are turning brown. In winter, cut-leaved grape fern turns bronzy-green.

Grape ferns are named for the round, clustered spore cases, which have some resemblance to a bunch of grapes.

• Family: Ophioglossaceae
• Habitat: woods, fields, often in disturbed sites
• Height: 6-15 inches
• Location of spores: separate fertile section of frond, which branches from the sterile portion near the ground
• Stipe (leaf stalk): light green, smooth, fragile
• Growth pattern: single leaf
• Persistence: evergreen

next fern
Botrychium dissectum
A cut-leaf grape fern plant has only a single frond. The sterile part is in the center of the photo. In fall, mature plants grow a single fertile section, which stands on a long stalk above the sterile part. In this photo, the base of the fertile section's stalk is visible in back.

Fertile portion of the same fern.

Most cut-leaf grape ferns have lacy edges on their fronds. . .

. . . but some lack the lacy edges. This fern is probably a variety of cut-leaf grape fern, Botrychium dissectum var. obliquum.

Last updated November 25, 2005. © 2005 Connecticut Botanical Society. All rights reserved.