Lycopodium L. - Ground pines or creeping cedar

Photo: P. Ballings


Description of the genus

Terrestrial perennials. Roots borne at irregular intervals on the lower side of the main stem. Stems of two types, consisting of elongated, indeterminate main stems and determinate, lateral, branchlet systems. Sporophylls different to the leaves, ephemeral. Strobili erect, borne on simple or forked peduncles. Sporangium epidermal cells sinuate.


Derivation of name:  Lykos: wolf, podium: foot; referring to the stems which may resemble a furry paw.

Worldwide: c. 40 species, almost cosmopolitan.



We have 4 taxa in the database for Lycopodium.

  • Lycopodium aberdaricum Chiov.
  • Lycopodium carolinum (Lawalr√©e) Symoens
  • Lycopodium clavatum L.
  • Lycopodium zanclophyllum J.H.Wilce


  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature.
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13: 1-222.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0: 1-254.