Pioneer Valley Fern Society

Fern Relatives - Clubmosses 1

Prickly Tree Clubmoss

Back in the late winter of 2021 I did a series on local clubmosses, but this one was not included because we had not seen it yet. This new clubmoss is called Prickly Tree clubmoss (Dendrolycopodium dendroideum). Now that we are looking for it, we have seen a few here and there, but still not that often. It looks a lot like the very common Tree Clubmoss, but instead of a smooth stem below the branching, it has small stiff needle-like leaves sticking outward all the way down the stem. You can see them in the photo. The plants tend to look a little smaller and less bushy than the Tree Clubmoss, but the key feature to differentiate the two clubmosses are those prickly leaves on the stem. Prickly Tree Clubmosses are evergreen, and seem to grow in the same type habitat (woods) as the Tree Clubmoss, although some books describe a broader habitat type.

If you want a quick review of the Tree clubmoss (Dendrolycopodium obscurum), Southern Ground Cedar or Fan Clubmoss (Diphasiastrum digitatum), Blue Ground Cedar (Diphasiastrum tristachyum), or Shining Firmoss (Huperzia lucidula), you can scroll down the news articles on our website quite a bit until you find the series of five of them.

Another new clubmoss next week!

Enjoy the warming days and stronger sun of late winter!