Lycopodium - Lycopodiaceae

Lycopodium clavatum L.

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Lycopodium clavatum L. var. inflexum (P. Beauv.) Spring
Lepidotis clavata (L.) P. Beauv.
Lepidotis inflexa P. Beauv.
Lycopodium inflexum (P. Beauv.) Sw
Lycopodium ciliatum (P.Beauv.) Sw.
Lycopodium clavatum L. var. borbonicum Bory, Voy

Common name


Main stem branched, creeping, giving rise to erect, unequally dichotomously branched, secondary stems 20-60(-80) cm tall at intervals of 5-10 cm. Foliage leaves set at right angles to branches, with tip bent forwards, suberect or overlapping, uniform, linear-lanceolate in outline, 3-7 × 0.3-0.75 mm, margins entire, apex with a fine hair-like point up to 3 mm, margin usually entire but some stem leaves might be ciliate; the apical hairs appear tufted at the end of the young shoots and dry a characteristic orange-brown colour. Fertile parts arranged in strobili; strobili 2-6, 1-8 x 0.4-0.6 cm, cylindrical, borne on a slender, sparsely leaved, simple or branched peduncle up to 22 cm long. Sporophylls broadly ovate in outline, up to 3 × 2 mm, acuminate into a long hair-point, margins finely lacerate.


Easy to recognize by its branched erect stems arising from a creeping stem.


clavatum: club-shaped, referring to the shape of the stalked strobilus.


Forest margins, streambanks in montane areas and in full sun along road embankments.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Madagascar, Mascarene Islands and in temperate climates throughout most of the world.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Dem. Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Ethiopia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan and South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania , Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form



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