Lycopodium clavatum L. - Running Ground Pine


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Lycopodium clavatum - (image 1 of 3)



Family: Lycopodiaceae


Dry rocky or sandy soil. Open woods and grassy areas, rocky barrens, bog margins in acid and subacid soil.


In sandy soil with Acer rubrum, Acer saccharum, Lycopodium compalanatum flabelliforme, Maianthemum canadense interius, Mitchella repens, Prunus serotina, Quercus palustris, Rhus copallina latifolia, Rubus hispidus, Sassafras albidum, Spiraea tomentosa rosea, Vaccinium angustifolium, Vaccinium corymbosum.




Low evergreen from horizontal stems, creeping or arching on the soil surface, sometimes branching, 2-3 mm wide, rooting at intervals. Leaves of aerial stems ascending, caudate, ending in whitish, hair-like tips mostly 2mm long or longer. Strobili to 4" long, terminal, in groups of 2-3 or solitary, on stalks to 15 cm long.


Produces spore from late August to late September.

Wetland indicator: Facultative

There are a number of named varieties for this species. For example, var. megastachyon has one only one strobile per peduncle.   


Lellinger, D. B. and M. Evans. 1985. A Field Manual of the Ferns & Fern Allies of the United States and Canada.
Smithsonian Institution Press. Washington, D.C.


Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.




 Michael Hough 2005