Pioneer Valley Fern Society

Fern Relatives - Clubmosses 2

One-cone Ground Pine

The One-cone Ground Pine (Lycopodium lagopus) is also called the Artic Stag's Horn Clubmoss (by iNaturalist). I like that name better, but the first is more descriptive. According to Go Botany it is found in colder climates and is shown as present in most counties north of CT & RI in New England. The Go Botany map shows it present in all the northern, central and western counties of MA except for Hampshire County. We started looking for it last year and have found it in one place in Shutesbury and one place in Amherst (yes, Hampshire County). There is still a lot of ground to cover, but it does not seem to be common.

The One-cone Ground Pine looks a lot like the Running Ground Pine (Lycopodium clavatum), known to most of us as Stag's Horn or Wolf's Claw, but there is one important identifying feature. The One-cone Ground Pine usually has only one cone or strobilus, while the Running Ground Pine has 2 or more strobili on each stem. To make it a little more challenging though, the One-cone Ground Pine sometimes has 2 strobili on the same stem, but they are not stalked. I didn't want to add to the confusion with a photo that shows both species, so this photo is just the One-cone Ground Pine. There are 2 single cone stems in the photo. The Running Clubmoss will usually have 2 or more strobili per stem. In the two places we have found the One-cone Ground Pine, the Running Clubmoss was growing there as well. So when you see L. clavatum, it is worth taking a look around for the One-cone Ground Pine.

I will continue with the less common clubmosses when I can, but the fiddlehead season is fast approaching, and I am excited about featuring them. We have seen the early stages of fiddleheads on a few species, and not just the normally earliest ones. It is a strange year with the recent and present warm spells, and we can see the early development in some of the ferns.