E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Lycopodium clavatum L.
running club-moss (running clubmoss)
Lycopodiaceae (Club-moss family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jim Riley  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #790)

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Distribution of Lycopodium clavatum
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Lycopodium clavatum var. clavatum

Species Information

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Evergreen perennial; stems horizontal, long-creeping, branched; erect branches with numerous leaves, 10-25 cm tall.
Linear, 3-5 mm long, entire, with tips bending back to the stem, the tips usually with long white hairs.
2-6 cm long, 2-5 at the end of long stalks.
Two varieties occur in BC:

1. Tips of the leaves with a whitish hair................... var. clavatum

1. Tips of the leaves lacking a whitish hair..................... var. integerrimum Goldie

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry to moist open places, forest clearings, roadcuts, forests, heath and bogs in the lowland and steppe to subalpine and rarely alpine zones; frequent throughout BC, infrequent in SC BC; cosmopolitan, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to WV, MI, WI, MT, ID and N CA; Europe, Asia, Africa, S America.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Lycopodium clavatum

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 0 542 2170
Slope Gradient (%) 0 24 350
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 4 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BAFA(4), BWBS(25), CMA(2), CWH(667), ESSF(78), ICH(79), IDF(3), IMA(1), MH(51), MS(16), SBPS(3), SBS(40), SWB(6)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-tolerant/intolerant, submontane to subalpine, circumpolar club-moss (trans­continental in North America). Occurs on moderately dry to fresh, nitrogen-poor soils. Widespread on water-shedding sites in boreal, cool temperate, and cool mesothermal climates; its occurrence increases with increasing latitude. Common in open-canopy coniferous forests; often inhabits decaying wood, persists on undisturbed cutover areas. Grows with Hylocomium splendens, Pleurozium schreberi, Ptilium crista­castrensis, and Rhytidiadelphus loreus. An oxylophytic species characteristic of Mor humus forms.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Lycopodium clavatum subsp. megastachyon (Fernald & Bissell) Selin
Lycopodium clavatum subsp. monostachyon (Hook. & Grev.) Seland.
Lycopodium clavatum var. brevispicatum Peck
Lycopodium clavatum var. integerrimum Spring
Lycopodium clavatum var. laurentianum Victorin
Lycopodium clavatum var. megastachyon Fernald & Bissell
Lycopodium clavatum var. monostachyon Hook. & Grev.
Lycopodium clavatum var. subremotum Victorin
Lycopodium clavatum var. tristachyum Hook.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References