Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Tree Ground-pine - Dendrolycopodium dendroideum   (Michaux) A. Haines
Members of Lycopodiaceae:
Members of Dendrolycopodium with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 1 » Family Lycopodiaceae
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Author(Michaux) A. Haines
DistributionPresent over much of the mountains, though the exact distribution is somewhat unsettled. Reported from 12 counties, with specimens documenting eight of them.

This is a Northern species, ranging across Canada and south to NJ, PA, WI, and WA, farther southward in the Appalachians to western NC and eastern TN.
AbundanceRare to perhaps locally uncommon, known from 15 records in the NCNHP database, of which most are still extant. This is a Significantly Rare species.
HabitatAs with D. hickeyi, this species occurs essentially at high elevations (mainly over 4500 feet), found in spruce-fir forests, northern hardwood forests, openings in such forests, and occasionally on grassy balds. Habitats of these two overlap and thus are not a separating character.
PhenologyFruits from July to September.
IdentificationThis species has the same general features as the other two members of the genus, with the vertical branches giving rise to several horizontal branchlets, such that the plant has a layered look like the others, reaching about 6-8 inches tall. In this species, however, the numerous small evergreen leaves (in 6 ranks) are somewhat spreading, especially noticeable on the vertical branches near the lowest branchlets; the other two have mostly appressed leaves on the branches and branchlets. Also, this species has the leaves prickly to the touch, whereas the other two are soft to the touch. Also, the branches are rounded in cross-section; D. hickeyi branches can be round to nearly round, whereas D. obscurum has flattened branches. In general, this species should be fairly obvious; look at the lower parts of the vertical branches for the widely spreading leaves.
Taxonomic CommentsSome references named this as Lycopodium dendroideum, whereas others (including RAB 1968) treated it as a variety -- L. obscurum var. dendroideum.

Other Common Name(s)Prickly Ground-pine, Tree Clubmoss, Round-branch Clubmoss, Prickly Tree-clubmoss
State RankS2
Global RankG5
State StatusSR-P
US Status
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B.A. SorrieBerkshire Mountains, Rowe, MA. 1980s. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC
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