Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Slender Adder's-tongue - Ophioglossum nudicaule   L.
Members of Ophioglossum with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 2 » Order Ophioglossales » Family Ophioglossaceae
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AuthorL.
DistributionKnown only from a collection in 2010 in Polk County (southern Piedmont/mountains), an historical sighting from Brunswick County (Coastal Plain), and a recent photo from New Hanover County (Coastal Plain).

This is a Southern species occurring from southern NC and OK south to southern FL and eastern TX.
AbundanceExtremely rare, and should be tracked by the NCNHP as Significantly Rare instead of just Watch List. The website editors also suggest a State Rank of a straight S1 instead of S1? -- assuming that a species growing in such disturbed soil in the state is truly native this far to the north. This is a very small species, easily overlooked, and other records from the southern counties of the Coastal Plain should be expected, as there are records for several SC counties along the NC state line.
HabitatThe NC specimens are from an old field, in sandy soil under a tree. Weakley (2018) says "Pine flatwoods, lawns, and other moist, grassy areas".
PhenologyFruits from March to June.
IdentificationThis is a tiny species, noticeably smaller than the fairly common O. pycnostichum. Its height is barely 2.5-3 inches tall. The sterile blade is elliptical to lanceolate, only about 2/5-inch long and 1/5-inch wide, with a sharp tip; it is barely raised off the ground. The fertile "spike" is raised about 2 inches above the sterile blade. The sharp tip to the tiny blade should be obviously different from that of O. pycnostichum, which has a much larger blade (1 inch wide or more) with a rounded tip.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Least Adder's-tongue
State RankS1? [S1]
Global RankG5
State StatusW7 [SR]
US Status
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