Clubmosses

Marsh Clubmoss Krauss's Clubmoss Marsh Clubmoss Krauss's Clubmoss

What are they?

The clubmosses are an ancient and primitive lineage of plants that somewhat resemble the true mosses but they have a full system of roots and veins. They typically have branching stems with broad or linear leaves but, in a similar way to ferns, they do not have flowers but instead reproduce by means of spores. The spores are carried on specialised leaves that are clustered together at the ends of the stems to form narrow, cone-like structures.

Where are they found?

These are plants of species-rich, acid wetlands, a scarce habitat in East Anglia, rendering these generally rare plants in our region. The lesser clubmosses (Selaginella species) are not native but are grown ornamentally so may appear in damp, shaded places in urban or suburban areas.

Identification

Separating the species without the distinctive cones can be difficult but, with few species in our region, the distinctions based on the leaves are usually clear enough.



Marsh Clubmoss      Lycopodiella inundata

A very rare native of acidic bogs, thought to be extinct in the region but found recently again in Norfolk. Stems creeping, little branched, rooting at the nodes. Spores contained in tight clusters of leaves, not in distinct cones.

Marsh Clubmoss Marsh Clubmoss Marsh Clubmoss Marsh Clubmoss
Habit
Habit
Leaves
Spore-producing spike


Krauss's Clubmoss      Selaginella kraussiana

Introduced from tropical Africa as a house plant. Has been long-established at Felbrigg and Fincham in Norfolk. Spreads to form dense, leafy mats in shady borders.

Krauss's Clubmoss Krauss's Clubmoss Krauss's Clubmoss Krauss's Clubmoss
Habit
Habit
Leaves
Leaves