Ophioglossum vulgatum    (O. vulgatum var. pycnostichum) 
southern adderstongue

Ophioglossum vulgatum

Ophioglossum vulgatum
Ophioglossum vulgatum
Photos courtesy Renee Brecht
Britton & Brown
Botanical name: Ophioglossum vulgatum    (O. vulgatum var. pycnostichum) 
Common name: southern adderstongue
Group: dicot
Family: Ophioglossaceae
Growth type: forb/herb
Duration: perennial, deciduous
Origin: native
Plant height: 5 - 12"
Foliage: upright stem with 1 leaf, tapers abruptly at base, usually dark green, somewhat shiny, widest bottom half
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 fertile fronds
Habitat: shaded secondary woods, forested bottomlands and and floodplain woods, south of the Wisconsin glaciation (eflora). On the Coastal Plain, where there were old buildings made with shell or lime mortar, ie., bog iron sites (Hough).
Range in New Jersey: Hough says, "Statewide outside the central Pine Barrens; var. pycnostachium is at its northeast limit and is found only in Cumberland and Salem counties" p. 249; however, more recently specimen verified populations also occur in Atlantic county, and populations have been noted in Ocean county.
Heritage ranking, if any: S1 (formerly SH), E, LH, LP
Misc. 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 and 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.

NJ Natural Heritage Database currently lists this plant as O. vulgatum var. pycnostichum.