Plants of
South Australia
Lycopodiella lateralis
Slender Club-moss
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Data deficient
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 2

Prior names

Lycopodium laterale

Common names

Slender Club-moss


Lycopodiella, a diminutive of Lycopodium, (little wolf's-foot), which is from the Greek 'lycos', meaning wolf and 'podion' meaning foot, referring to the leaves which resemble a wolf's claws, or to the rhizome that is shaped like a small furry animal paw, or a small Lycopodium. Lateralis, from the Latin 'latus', meaning side or hidden, referring to the strobili (a cone-like structure consisting of sporophylls) which are borne laterally and acutely angled to stem.

Distribution and status

Found on Kangaroo Island and the southern Mount Lofty Ranges, growing in wet boggy areas. Also found in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania (and New Zealand, New Caledonia). Native. Very rare in South Australia. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, Green Adelaide
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Rhizome subterranean, creeping, much-branched. Aerial stems erect or straggling, undivided or branched several times near base, to 45 cm long. Leaves spirally arranged, close-set and overlapping; ascending or spreading, linear-lanceolate to lanceolate, usually hair-like but can be flattened, to 7 mm long and 1 mm wide; light green to olive-green. Strobili small, few, lateral and acutely angled to stem; almost sessile, to 10 mm long. Fruits are pale brown closely overlapping sporophylls; broad-ovate, abruptly pointed, with jagged margins, spreading when ripe. Seeds are fine spores.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect strobili that are turning brown. These will contain mature sporohylls with spores. Place them in a sealed paper bag to prevent spores from falling out. Leave fronds in the paper bag to dry. The spores will fall off naturally, or give the fronds a gentle shake. Use a very fine sieve to separate any unwanted material. Be careful as the spores are very fine. Store spores in an air tight container in a cool and dry place or in a -20oC freezer. Spores germinate rapidly without any treatment but can be difficult to maintain for any length of time in cultivation, as it grows with a mycorrhizal association and generally resents disturbance, sp once established should not be disturbed.