Leathery Grapefern

Sceptridium multifidum

''Sceptridium multifidum'' is a fern species in the Ophioglossaceae, known by the common names leathery grapefern and leathery moonwort. It is native to Europe, Asia, and North America, where it is widespread and grows in moist areas in many habitat types. This is a fleshy, leathery plant growing from a small caudex with thin, corky roots. Unlike most ferns, ''S. multifidum'' has contractile roots, which are thought to help anchor the plant in the soil. It produces a single leaf which emerges directly from the ground. It is divided into a sterile and a fertile part. The sterile part of the leaf is wide and has rounded or oval-shaped leaflets. The fertile part of the leaf is very different in shape, with grape-like clusters of sporangia by which it reproduces. The gametophytes develop from these spores in the soil, and are thought to associate with an endophytic fungus like the gametophytes of other members of this genus. While the gametophytes have not been observed in nature, they have been grown under lab conditions.
SpeciesS. multifidum