Lycopodium obscurum L. - Ground Pine


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Lycopodium obscurum - (image 1 of 3)



Family: Lycopodiaceae


Moist to dry woods, mossy barrens, rocky or sandy areas, and bogs.


In young woods of Acer rubrum and Sassafras albidum it grows with Lycopodium clavatum and Lycopodium obscurum.




Low evergreen from deeply buried, horizontal stems, erect stems to 30cm high, tree-like with many forked, subterete branches. Leaves linear, acute, 3-5mm long, in 6-8 ranks evenly spaced around the stem. Cones (strobiles) to 6 cm long, terminal, sessile, solitary or in groups of 2-3.


Produces spores from late August to mid November.

Wetland indicator: Facultative +

Some authors recognize this as a distinct species from L. dendroideum Michx., which has branchlets ascending to erect, leaves less than 1mm wide. Others view the latter as a variety of L. obscurum.   


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