Thomas J. Elpel's
Web World Portal

Wildflower Logo.
Wildflowers & Weeds

Facebook Button.
Banner Image.  
Plant Identification, Edible Plants, Weed Ecology, Mushrooms, and more.
Home | Plant Identification | Plant Families Gallery | Edible Plants | Mushrooms | Links
Desertification & Weed Ecology | Weed Profiles | E-Mail | Search this Site

Lycopodiaceae: Club Moss Family Plant Identification Characteristics.

Plants of the Clubmoss Family

      The northern hemisphere was covered with vast, swampy forests from about 200 to 250 million years ago. These forests included now-extinct species of the Clubmoss family that grew to more than one hundred feet high! Note that peat moss (Sphagnum) is not a Clubmoss since it has no vascular system.

      Clubmosses have horizontal branching stems, either above or below ground. These send up erect shoots ranging in size from a half inch to over a foot tall in some species. Clubmosses produce spores in a cone-like structure at the end of a stalk. They are "homosporous," meaning they produce spores that are neither male nor female. The spores are shed, then germinate to become a minute "thallus," meaning a plant part that is not differentiated into leaves or a stem. The thallus produces male sperm cells and female egg cells. Upon fertilization, the egg cells develop into new plants. The reproductive cycle is exceedingly slow in the club mosses. Twenty years or more can pass between the dropping of the spores and the final germination of the new plant.

      Worldwide, there are about 13 genera and 400 species, most of which were formely lumped together within Lycopodium. Due to segregation, there are potentially 7 genera in North America, including Diphasiastrum, Lycopodiella, Palhinhaea, Pseudolycopodiella, Huperzia, and Phlegmariurus. Some taxonomists propose segregating the latter two genera into a new family, Huperziaceae.

Please e-mail Thomas J. Elpel to report mistakes or to inquire about purchasing high resolution photos of these plants.

Clubmoss, Lycopodium clavatum.

Clubmoss. Lycopodium clavatum. Photographed in Sweden

Foraging the Mountain West
Foraging the Mountain West

There are more
Clubmoss Family pictures

Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
Identify plants with
Botany in a Day
Foraging the Mountain West
Start feasting with
Foraging the Mountain West

Return to the Plant Families Index
Return to the Wildflowers & Weeds Home Page

      Looking for life-changing resources? Check out these books by Thomas J. Elpel:

Green Prosperity: Quit Your Job, Live Your Dreams.
Roadmap to Reality: Consciousness, Worldviews, and the Blossoming of Human Spirit
to Reality
Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction
Participating in Nature: Wilderness Survival and Primitive Living Skills.
in Nature
Foraging the Mountain West: Gourmet Edible Plants, Mushrooms, and Meat.
Foraging the
Mountain West
Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
in a Day
Shanleya's Quest: A Botany Adventure for Kids

Portal Icon.
Return to Thomas J. Elpel's
Web World Portal | Web World Tunnel

Thomas J. Elpel's Web World Pages
About Tom | Green University®, LLC
HOPS Press, LLC | Dirt Cheap Builder Books
Primitive Living Skills | Outdoor Wilderness Living School, LLC
Wildflowers & Weeds | Jefferson River Canoe Trail
Roadmap To Reality | What's New?

© 1997 - 2021 Thomas J. Elpel