Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Running Clubmoss - Lycopodium clavatum   L.
Members of Lycopodiaceae:
Only member of Lycopodium in NC.
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Section 1 » Order Lycopodiales » Family Lycopodiaceae
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DistributionThroughout the Mountains, but probably does not occur into the Piedmont.

This is a widespread Northern species, found across Canada and south to DE, VA, IA, and CA, farther south in the Appalachians to northwestern SC and northern GA. In its various forms, it occurs widely across the globe.
AbundanceInfrequent to locally fairly common in the higher elevations, above about 4000 feet, but scarce below that elevation.
HabitatThis is a species of mostly high elevations, typically in partial shade. It grows at grassy or heath balds, edges and openings of upland forests, roadbanks, and at times around margins of bogs. Most populations are in acidic soil.
PhenologyFruits from July to September.
IdentificationThis species somewhat resembles clubmosses in the genus Lycopodiella, having a horizontal stem (that can be arching). However, it has branched fertile stems, unlike the others (which have unbranched fertile/upright stems). As with others, the branches are heavily covered in linear leaves, but the many upright branches -- some up to 6-8 inches tall -- easily marks this species. The strobili are often in pairs, and they are on quite long and sparsely "leaved" stalks held above the heavily-leaved fertile branches.
Taxonomic CommentsSome references name or have named varieties for the species, but Weakley (2018) does not. When RAB (1968) was published, there were 10 species in the genus Lycopodium found in NC, and another was found in 1985. However, all but this species -- L. clavatum -- have recently been moved to several other genera.

Other Common Name(s)Common Clubmoss, Ground Pine
State RankS3
Global RankG5
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