Lycopodiella alopecuroides

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Lycopodiella alopecuroides
Lycopodiella alopecuroides Gil.jpg
Photo taken by Gil Nelson
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Lycopodiophyta – Lycopods
Class: Lycopodiopsida
Order: Lycopodiales
Family: Lycopodiaceae
Genus: Lycopodiella
Species: L. alopecuroides
Binomial name
Lycopodiella alopecuroides
(L.) Cranfill
LYCO ALOP dist.jpg
Natural range of Lycopodiella alopecuroides from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common name: foxtail clubmoss[1]

Taxonomic notes

Synonyms: Lycopodium alopecuroides Linnaeus[1]

Varieties: none[1]


A description of Lycopodiella alopecuroides is provided in The Flora of North America.

"Stems subterranean or on the surface, branching dichotomously and ascending or dividing into horizontal and erect branches. Roots adventitious along the creeping stem. Leaves numerous, small, scale-or awn-like, to 13 mm long, appressed or spreading, sometimes partly fused with the branch, simple, entire or toothed, with a midrib only. Sporophylls more or less like the sterile leaves, either in cauline bands or clustered in sessile or pedunculate, terminal strobili. Sporangia are solitary at the leaf base, subglobose to reniform, opening by a transverse slit; spores uniform, tetrahedral. Gametophytes epigeous, green and thalloid, or fleshy, subterranean and mycorrhizal."[2]

"Sterile stems not dorsiventral, arching and rooting at the tip or procumbent and rooting throughout, 2-5 dm long, 3-4 mm in diam.; leaves deciduous except for the evergreen apex (“bud”). Leaves linear-subulate, upcurving, strongly ciliate-denticulate. Fertile stems erect, widely spaced, rarely forking or fascinated, 10-45 cm long, 2-3 mm in diam., 5-13 mm broad including the leaves which are as those of the procumbent branches but longer, ascending, more or less flat when dry, and densely overlapping. Strobili usually solitary, 2-10 cm long, 11-20 mm broad, conspicuously broader than the stem, Sporophylls subulate, spreading, strong ciliate-denticulate. Sporangia are globose. Plants without gemmae."[2]


This plant ranges from southeast Massachusetts to Florida, and west to eastern Texas. There are disjunct populations in the Cumberland Plateau of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia, the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia, the eastern Highland Rim of Tennessee, and Maine. There are also populations in southern Mexico through Central America to South America and Cuba.[1]



L. alopecuroides occurs in moist to wet semi-shaded soils.[3] Typical soil types range from sandy-peaty soils to loamy sand.[3] This species can be found in several native habitats, but also in disturbed areas. Native habitat types include wet pine savanna,[4] hillside bogs, seasonally inundated meadows, damp grassy palmetto woods, and on the edges of ponds, creeks, and titi thickets.[3] It also occurs in disturbed habitat like powerline corridors, roadsides, railways, pine plantations, and borrow pits.[3] Associated species include Ilex myrtifolia, Nyssa biflora, Pinus palutris, Aristida stricta, Cyrilla racemiflora, Juncus, Sarracenia, Rhynchospora, Xyris, Eriocaulon, Liquidambar styraciflua, Quercus laevis, Pinguicula, Kalmia hirsuta, Serenoa repens, Hypericum, Cliftonia, and Magnolia virginiana.[3]

Fire ecology

This species occurs in habitat that is maintained by frequent or annual fire.[3]

Herbivory and toxicology

Lycopodiella alopecuroides has been observed at the Archbold Biological Station to host sweat bees such as Augochlorella aurata (family Halictidae).[5]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

Cultural use

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Weakley, A.S. 2020. Flora of the Southeastern United States. Edition of 20 October 2020. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Radford, Albert E., Harry E. Ahles, and C. Ritchie Bell. Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas. 1964, 1968. The University of North Carolina Press. 3-6. Print.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: Last accessed: June 2014. Collectors: F. Almeda, Loran C. Anderson, K. Craddock Burks, A. H. Curtiss, Mary Davis, J. P. Gillespie Robert K. Godfrey, Richard D. Houk, C. Jackson, Michael R. Jenkins, Roy Komarek, R. Kral, O. Lakela, R. Lazor, S. W. Leonard, Sidney McDaniel, John T. Mickel, Leon Neel, James H. Peck, Alan R. Smith, E. Laurence Thurston, L. B. Trott, E.S. Ford, P.L. Redfearn, Jr., Allen G. Shuey, Travis MacClendon, Karen MacClendon, and Floyd Griffith. States and Counties: Florida: Alachua, Baker, Bay, Calhoun, Clay, Duval, Franklin, Gulf, Hillsborough, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Manatee, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Wakulla, and Washington. Georgia: Grady and Thomas.
  4. Brewer, J. S., D. J. Baker, et al. (2011). "Carnivory in plants as a beneficial trait in wetlands." Aquatic Botany 94: 62-70.
  5. Deyrup, M.A. and N.D. 2015. Database of observations of Hymenoptera visitations to flowers of plants on Archbold Biological Station, Florida, USA.