E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Botrychium pinnatum H. St. John
northwestern moonwort (northern moonwort)
Ophioglossaceae (Adder's-tongue family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Ryan Batten  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #23782)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Botrychium pinnatum
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Species Information

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Deciduous perennial, 3-15 cm tall.
2-pinnate, about 2 times length of trophophores.
Broadly triangular or egg-shaped, unstalked or short stalked, 1- to 2-pinnate, up to 8 cm long; pinnae to 8 pairs, approximate or overlapping, with entire or slightly lobed margins and rounded tips, the lowest similar in size.
The only North American collections of Botrychium boreale Milde have been recently collected in Kootenay National Park, SE BC (W.H. Wagner, pers. comm.). It is difficult to separate from B. pinnatum, but the lowermost pinnae have shallow, narrow sinuses (they are wide and deep in B. pinnatum).

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to moist stream banks, meadows and heath in the montane and subalpine zones; infrequent throughout BC; N to AK, YT and NT and S to CO, AZ and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Botrychium pinnatum

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 15 702 2075
Slope Gradient (%) 0 37 90
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
50 80 359
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 3 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: AT(2), BAFA(1), BWBS(1), CMA(1), CWH(12), ESSF(4), ICH(2), MH(3)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Botrychium boreale subsp. obtusilobum (Rupr.) R.T. Clausen
Botrychium boreale var. obtusilobum (Rupr.) Broun

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References