Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Southern Ground-cedar - Diphasiastrum digitatum   (Dillenius ex A. Braun) Holub
Members of Lycopodiaceae:
Members of Diphasiastrum with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 1 » Family Lycopodiaceae
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Author(Dillenius ex A. Braun) Holub
DistributionThroughout the Mountains, Piedmont, and northwestern portions of the Coastal Plain, as well as the Sandhills. Absent or scarce in the eastern two-thirds of the Coastal Plain.

This is a very widespread species of the East, ranging from eastern Canada to MN, south to central GA and AR.
AbundanceCommon across the mountains and Piedmont, as well as the northwestern Coastal Plain. Uncommon in the Sandhills, but rare to absent in most of the eastern two-thirds of the Coastal Plain.
HabitatThis species favors acidic forests, typically in pine forests or mixed pine-hardwood forests, often in somewhat successional stands. Soil moisture is not overly important, but it favors somewhat mesic to dry forests.
PhenologyFruits from July to September.
IdentificationThis is the most familiar and often seen "clubmoss" in the state, though it is nearly absent in much of the Coastal Plain. The stem creeps along the ground, often to 2-3 feet long, with scattered branches arising at intervals and somewhat erect to about 6 inches tall, but often drooping or leaning. There are numerous branchlets, each flattened, only 2-4 mm (1/8-inch) wide, including the highly appressed scale-like, evergreen leaves. The ultimate segments are narrowly finger-like, in a palmate pattern. It often grows in masses over the ground, quite attractive in the fall and winter when little other greenery is present on the forest floor. The strobili occurs in clusters, each strongly erect, and each about 1 inch or more long, held several inches above the leaves. The only similar species, D. tristachyum, grows in dry and rocky montane habitats, and it has blue-green, glaucous foliage, with narrower branchlets (barely 1-2 mm wide).
Taxonomic CommentsThis species has held many names in the past. RAB (1968) and many older references named it as Lycopodium flabelliforme, and some as L. complanatum var. flabelliforme. This species and the former L. tristachyum are the only two NC members of the old Lycopodium to be moved over to Diphasiastrum.

Other Common Name(s)Fan Ground-pine, Fan Clubmoss, Ground-cedar, Southern Running-cedar, Common Running-cedar. This species has far too many common names in use, none truly widely used. Fan Clubmoss is often noted, but this is not a "clubmoss" now.
State RankS5
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
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B.A. SorrieHarnett Co., Raven Rock SP, under mixed canopy on upland. 2006. HarnettPhoto_natural
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