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Fan Clubmoss

Fan clubmoss goes by several names, most of which compare its appearance to something else. Common names include crowsfoot and ground cedar, and it has also been referred to as bear's paws. Its botanical name is Diphasiastrum digital, which hails from the Lycopodium family.

Despite its many names, one thing is sure. It is not a moss. They are more similar to ferns and mushrooms, which reproduce via spores rather than seeds.

It does best in hardiness zones 4 to 7. An evergreen groundcover, this perennial plant grows only 3 to 8 inches in height. Colonies are typically found in mixed woodland and upland pine forests. It prefers dappled sunlight, light shade, and slightly acidic, well-drained, moist soils. The plants often provide cover for ground-nesting birds.

Diphasiastrum digitatum – Fan clubmoss | Nantahala Natives

It is recognized by its tiny, pointed, and scale-like, deep-green foliage. Once spores are established, the plants are spread by rhizome stems, which grow not underground but under leaf litter along the forest floor. Extremely slow-growing, the stems shoot up pale yellow, cone-like protuberances called stromboli, where packages of spores are formed. Spores are released to the wind in late summer and into the autumn.

It can take years for spores to establish themselves as plants, and it can be pretty tricky to propagate or transplant. However, transplanting is best successful if plants are deeply dug up to include a large clump of soil surrounding the plant, taking special care not to disturb roots. Gardeners fortunate to have a woodland area with established species would be best served by leaving the plants where they are instead of creating a quiet path into the woods and employing them as part of a secret garden. A mix of colorful wildflowers can make a beautiful enhancement.

Fan clubmoss has been oft-compared in appearance to full-size evergreens such as arborvitaes and cedars. Interestingly, its distant cousins can be traced back 410 million years ago to the Carboniferous period, where the atmosphere was significantly different, and similar plants grew to over 130 feet in height. Today those distant cousins are part of the coal deposits mined throughout the northern hemisphere.

The plants are homeopathic remedies for digestive disorders, including constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, heartburn, skin irritations, sore throats, and fatigue. Lycopodium powder from fan clubmoss is used as pill coatings. The plants also contain combustible oils, which have been used for pyrotechnics and science demonstrations. They have also been used to fashion Christmas greenery.

Fan Clubmoss - TN Nursery

Fan Clubmoss

A low-growing, evergreen plant with densely packed, needle-like leaves that form a distinctive, fan-like appearance and often cover forest floors. It is a unique and versatile plant with various landscaping benefits. Its distinctive appearance and adaptability make it a popular choice for enhancing the aesthetics and functionality of outdoor spaces. Unlike its name may suggest, it is not a true moss but a primitive vascular plant belonging to the Lycopodiaceae family. Fan clubmoss, which may also be referred to as running cedar or ground pine, has the appearance of a low-growth coniferous plant. However, it is actually a clubmoss, which is related to ferns. This non-flowering perennial plant was once commonly found across the eastern portion of North America. However, deforestation has dramatically reduced its presence in the wild. Because of its many notable attributes, this plant is an ideal choice to consider adding to your yard. The Aesthetics Of Fan Clubmoss This fascinating plant typically grows up to 10 inches tall and a foot wide in ideal conditions. Its pine-looking branches fan out, creating a stunning design up close. From farther away, the ground appears to be blanketed in green. Often, the plant has a dark green base that fades to a yellowish-green hue toward the tips of its leaves, creating a lovely effect. Some people trim the plants into a topiary design to add an ornamental touch to their yard. Weed Control With Fan Clubmoss This plant is commonly used for ground cover as it grows rapidly and stays close to the ground. Because the plants can grow densely together, they can block out sunlight from reaching any vegetation attempting to grow underneath it for optimized weed control. This is a highly adaptable plant, so it can be incorporated in numerous environments. Generally, it will dry out in drought conditions, but it will return again with moisture. Home Decor With Fan Clubmoss At one time, when the plant thrived in its native habitat, this plant was harvested in the wild and used for winter holiday decorations. With the plant growing in your yard, you can easily snip off a few sprigs to dress up your space with a natural touch. The evergreen leaves can also be added to your home decor throughout the rest of the year, such as in a floral vase for a boost of greenery. Minimize Erosion With Fan Clubmoss This plant can absorb a considerable amount of water, which is beneficial during heavy rainstorms. In fact, it can hold ten times its weight in moisture. In areas that are prone to erosion, this plant can offer natural protection.

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