An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions/Lycopodiaceae

Family 9.   LycopodiàceaeMichx.Fl. Bor. Am. 2: 281.   1803.
Club Moss Family.

Somewhat moss-like, erect or trailing terrestrial herbs with numerous small lanceolate or subulate simple leaves, sometimes oblong or roundish, arranged in 2-many ranks, the stems often elongated, usually freely branching. Sporanges 1-3-celled, solitary in the axils of the leaves or on their upper surfaces. Spores uniform, minute. Prothallia (as far as known) mostly subterranean, with or without chlorophyll, monoecious.

Four genera and about 110 species. Besides the following, Psilotum occurs in Florida, the two other genera only in Australia.


1.   Lycopòdium   L.   Sp. Pl. 1100.   1753.

Perennial plants with evergreen 1-nerved leaves arranged in 4-16 ranks. Sporanges coriaceous, flattened, reniform, i-celled, situated in the axils of ordinary leaves or in those of the upper modified, bract-like ones, which are imbricated in sessile or peduncled spikes, opening transversely into 2 valves, usually by a line around the margin. Spores all of one kind, copious, sulphur-yellow, readily inflammable from the abundant oil they contain. [Greek, meaning wolf's-foot, perhaps in allusion to the branching roots of some species.]

About 100 species of wide geographic distribution, the largest occurring in the Andes of South America and in the Himalayas. Type species: Lycopodium clavatum L.

Sporophyls not closely associated in terminal spikes.
Stems rigidly erect; leaves ascending, nearly uniform. 1. L. Selago.
Stems ascending; leaves spreading or deflexed, longer or shorter in alternating zones.
Leaves distinctly broadest above the middle, there usually erose-denticulate. 2. L. lucidulum.
Leaves linear or nearly so, entire or minutely denticulate. 3. L. porophilum.
Sporophyls closely associated in terminal spikes.
Sporophyls similar to the foliar leaves in form and texture; Sporanges subglobose.
Sporophyls linear-deltoid, mostly entire; plants small. 4. L. inundatum.
Sporophyls linear to lanceolate from a broader base; plants larger.
Peduncles slender, the leaves incurved and mostly appressed; spikes slender, the sporophyls less than 3" long, abruptly subulate, incurved. 5. L. adpressum.
Peduncles very stout, the leaves more numerous and close, mostly ascending, not incurved; spikes stout, the sporophyls more than 4" long, attenuate, ascending, spreading or reflexed. 6. L. alopecuroides.
Sporophyls bract-like, very unlike the foliar leaves; sporanges reniform.
Stems with numerous erect or assurgent leafy aerial branches, the spikes terminal upon some of these.
Leaves of the ultimate aerial branches in 5 or more rows.
Main stem creeping deep in the ground; aerial branches few, tree-like. 7. L. obscurum.
Main stem prostrate, or (in no. 10) a little below the surface; aerial branches numerous, not tree-like.
Leaves of the ultimate aerial branches in 5 rows. 10. L. sitchense.
Leaves of the ultimate aerial branches in more than 5 rows.
Spikes solitary, sessile. 8. L. annotinum.
Spikes one or several, on elongate peduncles. 12. L. clavatum.
Leaves of the ultimate aerial branches in 4 rows.
Spikes sessile upon leafy branches. 9. L. alpinum.
Spikes borne upon bracteate peduncles, these terminal upon leafy branches.
Leaves of the ultimate aerial branches adnate considerably more than half their length.
Ultimate aerial branches conspicuously flattened; leaves of the under row greatly reduced, minute, deltoid-cuspidate. 14. L. complanatum.
Ultimate aerial branches narrower and less flattened; leaves of the under row scarcely reduced, acicular. 15. L. tristachyum.
Leaves of the ultimate aerial branches adnate about half their length or less. 11. L. sabinaefolium.
Stems without leafy aerial branches, the elongate peduncles arising directly from the prostrate stem. 13. L. carolinianum.


  1.  Lycopodium selàgo  L.
Fir Club-moss.   Fig. 100.

Lycopodium Selago L. Sp. PI. 1102. 1753.

Stems rigidly erect from a short slender curved base, several times dichotomous, the densely foliaceous vertical branches forming mostly compact level-topped tufts 2'-6' high; leaves nearly or quite uniform, very numerous, crowded, more or less appressed, or at least ascending, narrowly deltoid-lanceolate or somewhat acicular from a broader base, shining, pale green or yellowish, usually entire, acute, those bearing the sporanges (below the summit) a little shorter but not differing otherwise; plant frequently gemmiparous in the axils of the upper leaves.

On rocks, Labrador and Greenland to Alaska, south to the mountains of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and northern New York, on the summits of the higher Alleghenies to North Carolina, and to Michigan and Washington. Also in Europe and Asia.  Autumn.  Upright Club-moss. Fir-moss, Tree-moss, Fox-feet.


2.  Lycopodium lucídulum  Michx.
Shining Club-moss.   Fig. 101.

Lycopodium lucidulum Michx. Fl. Bor. Am. 2:284. 1803.

Stems rising 6’-10’ from a curved or decumbent base, 1-3 times dichotomous, the branches forming a loose cluster of a few leafy vertical stems; leaves dark green, shining, wide-spreading or finally deflexed, acute, somewhat oblanceolate, broadest above the middle, there more or less erose-denticulate, tapering gradually to a narrower base, arranged in alternating zones of longer and shorter leaves, the latter more often bearing the sporanges, less denticulate, even entire; plant often gemmiparous, the gemmae early falling and giving rise to young plants.

In cold, damp woods, Newfoundland to British Columbia, south to South Carolina, Tennessee and Iowa. Ascends to nearly 5700 ft. in Virginia.  Aug.-Oct.  Trailing evergreen, Moonfruit-pine.


  3.  Lycopodium poróphilum  Lloyd & Underw.
Lloyd's Club-moss.   Fig. 102.

Lycopodium porophilum Lloyd & Underw. Bull. Torrey Club 27 : 150. 1900.

Stems rising 2’-4’ from a curved or decumbent base, 1-3 times dichotomous, the branches forming a rather close tuft of densely leafy vertical stems; leaves spreading or somewhat deflexed, entire or minutely denticulate, arranged in alternating series of longer and shorter, the former linear to linear-lanceolate, slightly broader above the middle, alternate, the latter distinctly broadest at the base, gradually tapering to an acuminate apex, and more often bearing the sporanges; plant often gemmiparous.

On partially shaded rocks, apparently preferring sandstone, Wisconsin to Indiana and Alabama; probably of wider distribution.


4. Lycopodium inundàtum L.
Bog or Marsh Club-moss.   Fig.103

Lycopodium inundatum L. Sp. Pl. 1102. 1753.

  Plants small, with simple or 1-2-forked horizontal prostrate or slightly arched slender, often lax, leafy stems; peduncles 3”-2½” long, arising directly from the creeping stem, terminated by a slender spike ½’-1½’ long, or the spike rarely subsessile; leaves of the stem linear-lanceolate, acute, mostly entire, curved upward, those of the peduncle more slender, spreading; sporophyls similar to the sterile leaves but wider at the base (linear-deltoid), spreading, entire or sometimes toothed just above the base.

  In sandy bogs, Newfoundland to Alaska, south and west to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan Idaho and Washington. Also in Europe and Asia. Slender elongate forms, mainly from^ New England, are known as the var. Bigelovii Tuck.; they indicate a possible transition into the next species.



5. Lycopodium adpréssum (Chapm.) Lloyd & Underw.
Chapman's Club-moss.   Fig.104

Lycopodium inundatum var. adpressum Chapm. Fl. So. States, ed. 2. 671. 1883.
Lycopodium adpressum Lloyd & Underw. Bull. Torrey Club 27: 153. 1900.
Lycopodium Chapmani Underw. Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus. 23 : 646. 1901.

  Stems prostrate or slightly arching:, 6'-16' long, simple or rarely branched, leafy; peduncles 4'-12' long, slender, rigidly erect, arising directly from the creeping stem, terminated by a slender spike 9"-2¾' long; leaves of the stem lanceolate-acuminate, curved upwards, irregularly toothed, sometimes doubly so; leaves of the peduncle more slender, incurved, mostly appressed, yellowish green or stramineous, the lower ones sharply toothed, the upper ones entire or nearly so; sporophyls mostly incurved and subappressed, abruptly subulate from an ovate more or less toothed base.

  Moist banks and borders of swamps, New York to the Gulf states, mainly near the coast.


6. Lycopodium alopecuroides Fig.105

[syn. Lycopodiella alopecuroides (L.) Cranfill]



7. Lycopodium obscurum Fig.106


8. Lycopodium annotinum Fig.107


9. Lycopodium alpinum Fig.108

[syn. Diphasiastrum alpinum (L.) Holub]


10. Lycopodium sitchense Fig.109


11. Lycopodium sabinaefolium Fig.110


12. Lycopodium clavatum Fig.111


13. Lycopodium carolinianum Fig.112


14. Lycopodium complanatum Fig.113


  15.  Lycopodium tristachyum
  Fig. 114.