Fern, rattlesnake

Botrychium virginianum
The largest of the grape ferns. The smooth stem gives rise to a 3-part, horizontal, sterile leaf up to 12 x 18”. The thin, non leathery leaflets are very finely divided. A smaller fertile leaf arises at the same level as the sterile one and has 6 or more short branches that bear yellow spore cases that appear in May. Found in rich woods.

The smaller Cut-leaf grape fern (B. dissectum) is similar but the fertile leaf stalk arises near (or even below) ground level.