Quayle Report - Jeff Quayle
January 2004

Botrychium virginianum

The Rattlesnake Fern, also called the Grape Fern, is found sporulating from March to September. Leaves are pale green, and seasonal, disappearing in summer. Plants are erect, from 3-30 inches tall. Rattlesnake Ferns occur in moist, rich deciduous woods, usually in well-drained calcareous soils. The common name is derived from the fronds resembling the rattles on a Rattlesnake. To others, the clusters were reminiscent of grapes and is referred to by some as the grapefern. "In addition, an old folklore said that wherever this fern grew, ginseng could be found and the common names indicator and sang-sign arose." The native Americans found the blades had properties that were helpful in relieving the pain from open sores. The ferns were boiled and eaten in some cases, and "pulped and applied to snakebites. Rattlesnake Fern is known from Bell, Burnet, Dallas, Grayson, Lamar, and Tarrant counties, but occurs mainly in east Texas west to North Central Texas and the Edwards Plateau.

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