Lycopodium (from Greek lukos, wolf and podion, diminutive of pous, foot) is a genus of clubmosses, also known as ground pines or creeping cedar, in the family Lycopodiaceae, a family of fern-allies (see Pteridophyta). They are flowerless, vascular, terrestrial or epiphytic plants, with widely-branched, erect, prostrate or creeping stems, with small, simple, needle-like or scale-like leaves that cover the stem and branches thickly. The leaves contain a single, unbranched vascular strand and are microphylls by definition. The kidney shaped or reniform spore-cases (sporangia) contain spores of one kind only (isosporous, homosporous) and are borne on the upper surface of the leaf blade of specialized leaves (sporophylls) arranged in a cone-like strobilus at the end of upright stems. The club-shaped appearance of these fertile stems gives the clubmosses their common name.
Lycopods reproduce asexually by spores. The plant has an underground sexual phase that produces gametes, and this alternates in the life cycle with the spore-producing plant. The prothallium developed from the spore is a subterranean mass of tissue of considerable size and bears both the male and female organs (antheridium and archegonia). However, it is more common that they are distributed vegetatively through above or below ground rhizomes.
The genera Diphasiastrum, Lycopodiella and Huperzia were once included within this genus, but are now recognized as being distinct. Some workers also segregate several more genera, including Dendrolycopodium for L. obscurum and related species, and Spinulum for L. annotinum and related species.
The spores of Lycopodium and Diphasiastrum species are harvested and are sold as Lycopodium powder.
- Lycopodium aberdaricum (central and southern Africa)
- Lycopodium alboffii (southernmost South America and the Falkland Islands)
- Lycopodium centrochinense (east Asia (central China to India and the Philippines); treated as a synonym of L. japonicum by some authors)
- Lycopodium clavatum (Stag's-horn Clubmoss; subcosmopolitan, see species article for details)
- Lycopodium diaphanum (Tristan da Cunha)
- Lycopodium hygrophilum (New Guinea)
- Lycopodium interjectum (southwest China (Sichuan); treated as a synonym of L. japonicum by some authors)
- Lycopodium japonicum (eastern Asia (Japan west and south to India and Sri Lanka))
- Lycopodium lagopus (circumpolar arctic and subarctic)
- Lycopodium papuanum (New Guinea)
- Lycopodium pullei (New Guinea)
- Lycopodium simulans (southwest China (Yunnan); treated as a synonym of L. japonicum by some authors)
- Lycopodium taliense (southwest China (Yunnan); treated as a synonym of L. japonicum by some authors)
- Lycopodium venustulum (Hawaii, Western Samoa, Society Islands)
- Lycopodium vestitum (northwest South America (Andes))
Section Obscura (genus Dendrolycopodium)
- Lycopodium dendroideum (northern North America)
- Lycopodium hickeyi (northeastern North America)
- Lycopodium juniperoideum (northeast Asia (central Siberia southeast to Taiwan))
- Lycopodium obscurum (northeast North America, northeast Asia)
- Lycopodium verticale (China)
Section Annotina (genus Spinulum)
- Lycopodium alticola (southwest China)
- Lycopodium annotinum (stiff clubmoss or interrupted clubmoss; circumpolar north temperate)
- Lycopodium canadense
- Lycopodium dubium (cold temperate and subarctic Europe and Asia; treated as a synonym of L. annotinum by some authors)
- Lycopodium neopungens (China)
- Lycopodium subarcticum (northeast Siberia)
- Lycopodium zonatum (southeast Tibet)
- Lycopodium gayanum (south-central Chile and adjacent westernmost Argentina)
- Lycopodium jussiaei (northern South America, Caribbean)
- Lycopodium scariosum (southeastern Australia, New Zealand, Borneo (Mount Kinabalu))
Section Magellanica (genus Austrolycopodium)
- Lycopodium assurgens (Brazil (Minas Gerais, Santa Catarina))
- Lycopodium confertum (southern South America and the Falkland Islands)
- Lycopodium fastigiatum (southeastern Australia, New Zealand)
- Lycopodium magellanicum (South and Central America (Andes), southern Atlantic Ocean and southern Indian Ocean islands)
- Lycopodium paniculatum (southern South America (Andes))
- Lycopodium deuterodensum, tree club moss (eastern Australia, New Caledonia, New Zealand) — has appressed leaves; height approximately 600 mm
- Lycopodium spectabile (Java)
- Lycopodium volubile, climbing club moss (southwest Pacific Ocean islands (New Zealand north to Java), Australia (Queensland)) — found along bush margins and disturbed ground; has a creeping habit and can climb up vegetation
By florists, in bouquets.
By fire performers, in a powder form to create fireballs.
Lycopodium sp. herb has been used in the traditional Austrian medicine internally as tea or externally as compresses for treatment of disorders of the locomotor system, skin, liver and bile, kidneys and urinary tract, infections, rheumatism and gout.
- The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2008
- Vogl S, Picker P, Mihaly-Bison J, Fakhrudin N, Atanasov AG, Heiss EH, Wawrosch C, Reznicek G, Dirsch VM, Saukel J, Kopp B. Ethnopharmacological in vitro studies on Austria's folk medicine - An unexplored lore in vitro anti-inflammatory activities of 71 Austrian traditional herbal drugs. J Ethnopharmacol.2013 Jun13. doi:pii: S0378-8741(13)00410-8. 10.1016/j.jep.2013.06.007. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 23770053. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23770053
- Species list (takes a broad view of the genus, including the species here separated in the genus Diphasiastrum)
- Burning Lycopodium Powder: Simulating a Grain Elevator Explosion by Kevin A. Boudreaux