Ophioglossum petiolatum

Ophioglossum petiolatum Hook.
(Latin: petioles, little foot, stalk, or stem, and -atus, indicating possession, = having a petiole or leaf stalk, in reference to the usually prominent stalk of the blade portion)

Local names: stalked adder’s-tongue, longstem adder’s-tongue

Plant to ca. 21 cm tall; leaves (blade portion and fertile portion combined) commonly 2–3 per stem; blade portion to 1.5–6 cm long and 0.6–3 cm wide, gray-green, dull, flat or nearly so when alive, apically acute; fertile stalk 0.8–7 times as long as blade portion; sporangia to 30 on each side of fertile stalk; 2n = 960 (Yatskievych 1999). Wet woods, disturbed places (e.g., cemeteries, mowed areas), ditches, moist meadows, depressions; Hardin (Cory 52663, BRIT), Orange (Thomas et al. 39021, BRIT), Jasper, Liberty (Thomas 1979; Thomas et al. 1987), Harris, and Montgomery (Brown 2008) cos. in the Pineywoods; also Jefferson Co. (J.L. Hooks s.n. 1937, TEX-LL; Thomas 1979; Turner et al. 2003) in the n Gulf Prairies and Marshes and an isolated occurrence from Winkler Co. in far w TX (McVaugh 10732, SRSC, TEX-LL); naturalized se U.S. from NC s to FL w to OK and TX. Leaves appearing during wet periods; usually sporulating Feb–Jun. Native of West Indies, Central America, n South America, Asia (including India), and Pacific Islands including Hawaii (previously thought to occur in Mexico, now considered doubtful there—Mickel & Smith 2004). Wagner and Wagner (1993) indicated that the earliest North American records date from 1900 to 1930, suggesting that the species is probably introduced. The first TX collection was from Jefferson Co. in 1937 (Thomas 1979). The isolated w TX Winkler Co. collection was from an area of high sand dunes “In moist sand, locally abundant in a hollow between dunes; not seen in other similar hollows.” Thomas (1979) noted that “This specialized sand dune habitat of Wink[ler] Co. represents the westernmost distribution of this species in the United States except for Hawaii.” The collection is the source of an erroneous report of O. californicum from TX by Turner et al. (2003). In cultivation (as an ornamental), this plant “is particularly known for developing root buds and a single plant can fill a pot quickly through root proliferation” (Nelson 2000). Thomas (1979) noted that it is “usually abundant where found.” This species was apparently spread across the se U.S. in rural cemeteries through contaminated soil in pots that contained decoration plants (J. Peck, pers. comm.); stalked adder’s-tongue can also be found in nurseries in the pots of shrubs and trees. In parts of Asia (e.g., Taiwan) the leaves of this species are used in traditional Chinese medicine; they are dried, ground into a powder, and made into a tea (Moran 2004).

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