Lycopodiella - Lycopodiaceae

Lycopodiella caroliniana (L.) Pic.Serm.

Photo: JE. Burrows

Photo: JE. Burrows

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Lycopodiella affinis (Bory) Pic.Serm.
Lycopodium carolinianum L. var. affine (Bory) Schelpe
Lycopodium affine Bory
Lycopodium ericetorum Schrad.
Lycopodium tuberosum Welw. & A.Braun ex Kuhn
Lycopodiella caroliniana (L.) Pic.Serm. var. tuberosa (Welw. & A.Braun ex Kuhn) Verdc.
Lycopodium carolinianum L.

Common name


Stem branched, creeping on the ground, rooting along its length, up to 6 mm in diameter, sometimes producing irregular pale yellowish tubers. Leaves slightly dimorphic, lanceolate to oblong or linear-lanceolate in outline, apex tapering to a point, often ± falcate; lateral leaves up to 15 x 4 mm, spreading horizontally, membranous, slightly larger than the dorsal leaves, dorsal leaves somewhat appressed to stem or curving erect. Strobili solitary, cilindrical, 15-95 × 6 mm, borne at the apex of an erect peduncle; peduncle 4-35 cm long, sparsely set with appressed, reduced leaves. Sporophylls 3.5-6 x 1.5-2 mm, yellowish, broadly ovate, tapering with a deflexed point, erose-denticulate. Sporangia 1-1.3 mm wide.


Can be distinguished from L. sarcocaulon by having membranous lateral leaves that are of similar size or slightly larger than dorsal leaves and lance-shaped to oblong in outline.


caroliniana: the first specimen was collected in Carolina, United States.


Marshy areas, papyrus swamps, perennial or seasonal seepage zones in grassland and on wet rocks next to perennial mountain streams.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Madagascar, Mascarene Islands and north-eastern North America.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Benin, Burkina Fasso, Burundi, Cameroon, Dem. Republic of Congo, Gabon, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania , Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 19 - 20. (Includes a picture).
  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature. Pages 44 - 45. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 138 - 140.
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Pages 26 - 27.
  • Lawalree, A. (1989) Lycopodiaceae.Flore d' Afrique Centrale, Pages 17 - 18. (Includes a picture).
  • Roux, J.P. (2009) Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands. Strelitzia 23, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria. Page 17.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Pages 22 - 23.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 21.
  • Tardieu-Blot, M.-L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.3.Flore du Cameroun, Page 17. (Includes a picture).
  • Thardieu-Blot, M.L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.8.Flore du Gabon, Page 11.
  • Vercourt, B. (2005) Lycopodiaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 16 - 17. As Lycopodiella carolianum (L.) Pic.Serm. var. tuberosa (Kuhn) Verdc.