Ophioglossum pusillum
northern adderstongue

Ophioglossum pusillum
Ophioglossum pusillum
Photo courtesy, Renee Brecht
Britton & Brown
Botanical name: Ophioglossum pusillum
Common name: northern adderstongue
Group: fern
Family: Ophioglossaceae
Growth type: forb/herb
Duration: perennial, deciduous
Origin: native
Plant height: 5 - 12"
Foliage: upright stem with 1 leaf, stalk usually expanding gradually into blade, usually pale dull green, blade widest at the middle, tapering to the base
Reproduction: Reproduces by means of spores, found on a separate fertile frond
Flowering/fruiting time: fruits in May; fronds develop on fertile plants; sterile plants do not develop fronds
Habitat: old fields, woods, roadside ditches, flood plains, in seasonally wet, rather acidic soil
Range in New Jersey: per Mary Hough, throughout the full range of the species; i.e., most of State
Heritage ranking, if any: S3, LH
Misc. Similar plant, O. vulgautm was thought to be historical in NJ but rediscovered in early 2000s; previously, populations had been incorrectly identified as Ophioglossum pusillum. It was determined that the most reliable method for identification is the sheath, found below ground. In O. vulgatum, the sheath is thicker and persistent, whereas in O. pusillum, the sheath is thinner, membranous basal ephemeral. Leaves may also be used for identifcation but are not as reliable due to variation in the leaves.

For a more in depth discussion between the two, see

Previously O. vulgatum var. pycnostichum is now O. vulgatum

O. pusillum was previously O. vulgatum var. pseudopodum.