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Lesser Clubmoss

Selaginella selaginoides

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Plant Profile

Selaginellaceae (Lesser Clubmoss)
Also in this family:
Maximum Size:
15 centimetres tall
Bogs, cliffs, grassland, meadows, moorland, rocky places, sand dunes, wetland, woodland.
Lesser Clubmoss does not produce flowers. Clubmosses reproduce by spores instead of flowers.
Yellowish cones which appear on the ends of the branches. They blend into the surrounding foliage so are hard to notice. The spores ripen in July and August.
Soft and slender stems which are slightly erect. The leaves are finely toothed with minute ligules.
Other Names:
Club Spikemoss, Low Spikemoss, Northern Spikemoss, Prickly Mountain-moss, Spreading Spikemoss.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Other Information


Selaginella selaginoides, also known as lesser clubmoss or spreading spikemoss, is a species of plant in the family Selaginellaceae. It is native to cold, temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, including parts of Europe, Asia, and North America. Lesser clubmoss is a small, herbaceous plant that grows in a creeping or spreading habit. It has small, scale-like leaves and produces small, green or brownish-green flowers. It is commonly found in coniferous forests and is used in horticulture as an ornamental plant.


Lesser Clubmoss (Selaginella selaginoides) is a type of fern ally that belongs to the Selaginellaceae family. It is also commonly known as Spikemoss, or Little Clubmoss. This small, delicate plant is native to North America and is found growing in damp, shady places such as woods, meadows, and rocky cliffs.

The Lesser Clubmoss is a low-growing plant that forms dense, lush mats of green, scale-like leaves that are only a few centimeters tall. It is a slow-growing plant and can take several years to reach its full size. The leaves are arranged in a distinct pattern, with larger leaves located at the base of the stem and smaller leaves at the tip.

One of the most interesting features of the Lesser Clubmoss is its reproduction system. Unlike most ferns, which produce spores that can grow into new plants, the Lesser Clubmoss reproduces through spores as well as spores with reproductive structures. These structures, called sporophylls, contain spores that develop into sporangia. The sporangia then produce and release spores that grow into new plants.

The Lesser Clubmoss is often used in landscaping and horticulture as a ground cover plant due to its dense, lush growth habit and its ability to thrive in shady, moist environments. It is also a popular plant for terrariums and indoor gardens, as it requires very little maintenance and is easy to care for.

In addition to its ornamental value, the Lesser Clubmoss also has a long history of use in traditional medicine. The plant has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including headaches, joint pain, and indigestion. It is also believed to have antifungal and antibacterial properties, making it useful for treating skin conditions such as acne and eczema.

The Lesser Clubmoss is a fascinating and versatile plant that is well worth considering for your garden or indoor collection. With its delicate, lush growth habit and its ease of care, it is the perfect choice for anyone looking to add some green to their home or landscape.

The Lesser Clubmoss is a hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of conditions, including temperature fluctuations, drought, and soil types. It is also highly adaptable and can grow in both sun and shade, although it prefers a moist, shady environment.

One important factor to consider when growing Lesser Clubmoss is moisture. This plant requires a consistently moist soil, and it is best to water it regularly and mist it frequently to maintain the correct level of moisture. It is also important to avoid exposing the plant to direct sunlight, as this can cause the leaves to scorch and turn brown.

Another important aspect of growing Lesser Clubmoss is soil quality. This plant prefers a rich, well-drained soil that is slightly acidic. If your soil is heavy or clay-like, it is best to mix in some organic matter, such as peat moss, to improve the soil structure.

In addition to its ornamental and medicinal uses, the Lesser Clubmoss is also an important food source for some species of wildlife, including deer and rabbits. Its delicate leaves and stems provide a source of nutrition for these animals, especially during the winter months when other food sources are scarce.

Finally, it is important to note that the Lesser Clubmoss is a slow-growing plant and will take several years to reach its full size. This means that it is not ideal for those who want instant results or a fast-growing plant. However, for those who are patient and willing to wait, the end result is a lush, green ground cover that adds beauty and interest to any landscape.

In conclusion, the Lesser Clubmoss is a unique and fascinating plant that is well worth considering for your garden or indoor collection.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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