Plant DetailShow Menu

Prince's Pine Lycopodium obscurum

Previously known as:

  • Dendrolycopodium obscurum
Phonetic Spelling
ly-koh-POH-de-um ob-SKEW-rum
Description

Common Ground Pine is a native perennial, evergreen, subshrub in the club moss family found in moist woodlands, thickets, and clearings. It is a rhizomatous geophyte, meaning it has creeping rhizomes that root extensively. It can be found primarily in forests with acidic soil in the mountain region of North Carolina, but it is uncommon. Common Ground Pine is rare in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain. The plant has erect stems that give it a bushy, tree-like, appearance and dense, sharp, needles  It is a small plant, reaching a height of a foot or less at maturity. The genus name comes from the Greek words lykos meaning wolf and podion meaning foot in reference to some purported resemblance to a wolf’s foot.

Common Ground Pine is a shade-loving plant, requiring partial shade and able to tolerate deep shade. It prefers moist, occasionally dry, acidic soil.

The plant stays green all winter. The branches are often used in Christmas decorations, although be warned that the plant requires a considerable time to recover. Club mosses are considered primitive because they reproduce by spores rather than by seeds. Many club mosses, including Common Ground Pine, send up “club-like” projections, called strobili, on which spore producing packages are formed. In addition to spores, club mosses spread by underground rhizomes that grow horizontally to produce additional small plants a few inches away. Club mosses are extremely slow growing and it can take up to 20 years to make another mature plant from spore production and spreading. Because of slow growth and the fact that they do not transplant well, these plants are not recommended for the home landscape.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

No known diseases or insect pests.

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#native perennials#NC native#thickets#evergreen shrub#food source summer#food source herbage#mammals#Piedmont Mountains FACU#Coastal FACU#Christmas decorations#Audubon#woodland garden
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#native perennials#NC native#thickets#evergreen shrub#food source summer#food source herbage#mammals#Piedmont Mountains FACU#Coastal FACU#Christmas decorations#Audubon#woodland garden
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Lycopodium
    Species:
    obscurum
    Family:
    Lycopodiaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Boiled leaves has been used as an eyewash or to cure headaches in traditional medicine.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern Russian, Alaska, Eastern Canda and United States
    Distribution:
    Eastern United States from New England to Georgia and west to the Mississippi.
    Wildlife Value:
    This plant attracts mammals.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Description:
    Spores appear in dense clusters of greenish to yellowish brown, pointed, broadly egg-shaped bracts on single, stalkless cones at stem tips. Spores display from July to September.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Description:
    Does not flower.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Prickly
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Needles
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Whorled
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Many leaves in 6 (sometimes 8) vertical rows forming a dense bush. Sharp-pointed, linear-lance-shaped, needles.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Description:
    Erect stems unbranched towards the base, densely branched above.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Attracts:
    Small Mammals