Moonwort

Latin name: Botrychium lunaria

Family: Ophioglossaceae (Adder's tongue fern family)

Moonwort is an unusual looking tiny fern which gets its name from its half-moon-shaped leaflets. The plant develops spores between June and August and the plant uses these for reproduction. The fronds rarely reach 30cm in height, making it difficult to spot amongst the taller grasses of its upland habitat.

In the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Moonwort has been found in short calcareous grassland and on old lead mining spoil such as at Ballowfield Local Nature Reserve in Wensleydale. It has also been spotted on the peaks of Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent. In 2004, it was found to be abundant on localised stretches of road verge near Leyburn in Wensleydale which has led to suggestions that the species may also be salt tolerant.

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Still summer’s song beats in my blood Alan Hartley

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