A club moss from Jon in SC

Found this plant on property we bought to build a house. It was growing in a slight depression about 100′ from a creek in sandy mixed soil. Always wondered what it is and how care for it.


Hi Jon,

this is a favorite evergreen perennial of many, called Ground Pine, Running Cedar and other names, formerly called Lycopodium complanatum var. flabelliforme, Lycopodium flabelliforme, Lycopodium digitatum, and currently Diphasiastrum digitatum. In some areas it covers the ground, especially under pines in the Upstate in formerly disturbed areas.  It has also been harvested for winter decorations, but that is usually frowned upon these days, especially in states where it is less common. It is actually a distant relative of the ferns and reproduces by spores, never having flowers.

I don’t know anyone who cultivates it successfully, and it does not seem to do well in cultivation; I’d just leave it where it is, and let Mother Nature water it and take care of it.  It grows slowly but surely but can take years to cover an area.  It does like a good leaf cover on the soil, rather than bare soil – perhaps some pine mulch might be useful if the ground has been uncovered.

I hope this helps.


Steven R. Hill, SCNPS

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