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Issler's Clubmoss

Diphasiastrum complanatum issleri

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Plant Profile

Lycopodiaceae (Clubmoss)
Maximum Size:
80 centimetres long
Gardens, heathland, moorland, mountains, woodland.
Flowers are not produced in clubmosses. Instead they reproduce by means of spores. The spores exist inside the cones.
Erect, elongated cones at the ends of the stems.
Creeping with yellowish-green, appressed leaves. The stems are flattened but not so much as the similar looking and more frequent Alpine Clubmoss (Diphasiastrum alpinum). Issler's Clubmoss is also larger in size.
Other Names:
Creeping Jenny, Fir Clubmoss, Groundcedar, Northern Running-pine, Yellow Cypress Clubmoss.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Diphasiastrum complanatum issleri, also known as Issler's clubmoss or fir clubmoss, is a subspecies of Diphasiastrum complanatum, a species of plant in the family Lycopodiaceae. It is native to cold, temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, including parts of Europe, Asia, and North America. Issler's 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.


Issler's Clubmoss (Diphasiastrum complanatum issleri) is a species of lycopod, a group of vascular plants commonly known as clubmosses. It is native to North America, particularly in the Appalachian Mountains and other areas of the southeastern United States.

This clubmoss is a perennial, evergreen plant that grows in a creeping or upright habit. It forms dense mats of foliage, which are bright green and consist of tiny, scale-like leaves. The plant produces spore-bearing structures called strobili on tall, upright stems that rise above the foliage.

Issler's Clubmoss is an important plant species for several reasons. First, it is a critical part of the forest understory, providing food and habitat for a variety of wildlife species, including birds, insects, and small mammals. Additionally, the plant is important for erosion control, as its dense mats of foliage help to hold soil in place.

Another important aspect of Issler's Clubmoss is its horticultural value. This species is highly prized by gardeners for its attractive foliage and its ability to thrive in shady, moist environments. It is often used as a groundcover or as an accent plant in rock gardens or woodland gardens.

In terms of care and maintenance, Issler's Clubmoss is relatively low-maintenance and easy to grow. It prefers moist, well-drained soils and partial to full shade. The plant is also fairly drought-tolerant and can be grown in a variety of soils, as long as they are not too alkaline.

Issler's Clubmoss is a valuable and attractive plant species that provides important benefits to the environment and to horticulture. If you are looking for a low-maintenance, evergreen groundcover for your shade garden, consider giving this species a try.

It is worth mentioning that Issler's Clubmoss is also a plant with a rich cultural history. For example, the plant has been used for thousands of years by indigenous peoples for medicinal purposes. The Cherokees, for example, used a tea made from the plant to treat a variety of ailments, including headaches, stomach troubles, and respiratory problems.

In addition, Issler's Clubmoss has been used as a source of food by some indigenous peoples, who would roast the plant's stem and eat it as a source of sustenance during times of food scarcity.

Despite its cultural and ecological importance, Issler's Clubmoss is considered a species of special concern by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. This is due to habitat loss and degradation, which has caused a decline in the plant's population in many areas.

Conservation efforts are underway to protect this species and its habitat, including habitat restoration and the establishment of protected areas. Gardeners can also help by growing this species in their own gardens and supporting conservation organizations that work to protect native plant species.

Issler's Clubmoss is a fascinating and important plant species with a rich cultural history and a critical role in the environment. By learning more about this plant and supporting conservation efforts, we can help ensure its survival for generations to come.

It is also worth mentioning that Issler's Clubmoss is a unique species in terms of its growth habit and reproduction. Unlike most vascular plants, clubmosses do not produce flowers or seeds. Instead, they reproduce through the production of spores and spores of their foliage, which can take root and grow into new plants.

This type of reproduction, known as vegetative reproduction, is especially important for the survival of clubmosses, as it allows the plants to spread quickly and occupy new areas of suitable habitat. This also makes them ideal for use as groundcover or for erosion control, as their foliage can help to stabilize the soil and prevent erosion.

In terms of its botanical classification, Issler's Clubmoss belongs to the genus Diphasiastrum and is closely related to other species of clubmoss, such as spikemosses (Selaginella) and fir-mosses (Huperzia). These plants are considered primitive vascular plants, as they retain many of the primitive features seen in non-vascular plants, such as mosses.

Overall, Issler's Clubmoss is a unique and fascinating plant species with a rich cultural and ecological history. Whether you are a gardener looking to add some greenery to your shady garden, or a conservationist looking to protect this important species, there are many reasons to learn more about this fascinating plant.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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