Fire Effects Information System (FEIS)
FEIS Home Page

SPECIES:  Lycopodium annotinum


SPECIES: Lycopodium annotinum
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Matthews, Robin F. 1993. Lycopodium annotinum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].
ABBREVIATION : LYCANN SYNONYMS : Lycopodium annotinum ssp. alpestre (Hartman) Love & Love Lycopodium annotinum ssp. pungens (LaPyle) Hulten SCS PLANT CODE : LYAN2 COMMON NAMES : stiff clubmoss bristly clubmoss interrupted clubmoss TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of stiff clubmoss is Lycopodium annotinum L. [14,25,27]. Four varieties are recognized based on morphological and ecological characteristics [3,10,37]: L. annotinum var. annotinum L. annotinum var. acrifolium Fern. (sharp-leaved) L. annotinum var. pungens (LaPyle) Desv. (pungent) L. annotinum var. alpestre Hartman (of high mountains) LIFE FORM : Fern or Fern Ally FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Lycopodium annotinum
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Stiff clubmoss is a circumboreal species that is widely distributed from Greenland and Labrador to Alaska, south to the northwestern United States, Wyoming, Colorado, the Great Lakes States, New England, and along the Appalachians [10,14,19,20,37]. ECOSYSTEMS :    FRES10  White - red - jack pine    FRES11  Spruce - fir    FRES17  Elm - ash - cottonwood    FRES18  Maple - beech - birch    FRES19  Aspen - birch    FRES20  Douglas-fir    FRES23  Fir - spruce    FRES24  Hemlock - Sitka spruce    FRES26  Lodgepole pine    FRES28  Western hardwoods    FRES44  Alpine STATES :      AK  CO  CT  DE  ID  ME  MD  MA  MI  MN      MT  NH  NJ  NY  NC  OR  PA  RI  TN  VT      VA  WA  WV  WI  WY  AB  BC  MB  NB  NF      NT  NS  ON  PE  PQ  SK  YT BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS :     1  Northern Pacific Border     2  Cascade Mountains     8  Northern Rocky Mountains     9  Middle Rocky Mountains    11  Southern Rocky Mountains    15  Black Hills Uplift KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS :    K001  Spruce - cedar - helmock forest    K002  Cedar - hemlock - Douglas-fir forest    K003  Silver fir - Douglas-fir forest    K004  Fir - hemlock forest    K008  Lodgepole pine - subalpine forest    K012  Douglas-fir forest    K015  Western spruce - fir forest    K025  Alder - ash forest    K052  Alpine meadows and barren    K093  Great Lakes spruce - fir forest    K094  Conifer bog    K095  Great Lakes pine forest    K096  Northeastern spruce - fir forest    K099  Maple - basswood forest    K101  Elm - ash forest    K102  Beech - maple forest    K103  Mixed mesophytic forest    K106  Northern hardwoods    K107  Northern hardwoods - fir forest    K108  Northern hardwoods - spruce forest SAF COVER TYPES :      1  Jack pine      5  Balsam fir     12  Black spruce     13  Black spruce - tamarack     15  Red pine     16  Aspen     17  Pin cherry     18  Paper birch     19  Gray birch - red maple     20  White pine - northern red oak - red maple     21  Eastern white pine     22  White pine - hemlock     23  Eastern hemlock     24  Hemlock - yellow birch     25  Sugar maple - beech - yellow birch     26  Sugar maple - basswood     27  Sugar maple     28  Black cherry - maple     30  Red spruce - yellow birch     31  Red spruce - sugar maple - beech     32  Red spruce     33  Red spruce - balsam fir     35  Paper birch - red spruce - balsam fir     37  Northern white-cedar     38  Tamarack     39  Black ash - American elm - red maple     60  Beech - sugar maple    107  White spruce    108  Red maple    201  White spruce    202  White spruce - paper birch    203  Balsam poplar    204  Black spruce    205  Mountain hemlock    206  Engelmann spruce - subalpinefir    208  Whitebark pine    210  Interior Douglas-fir    217  Aspen    218  Lodgepole pine    223  Sitka spruce    224  Western hemlock    225  Western hemlock - Sitka spruce    226  Coastal true fir - hemlock    227  Western redcedar - western hemlock    228  Western redcedar    229  Pacific Douglas-fir    230  Douglas-fir - western hemlock    251  White spruce - aspen    252  Paper birch    253  Black spruce - white spruce    254  Black spruce - paper birch    SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Stiff clubmoss most often grows in coniferous, northern hardwoods, and mixed hardwoods habitats [25,35,43].  It may also occur in grass-sedge-heath associations [35].  Stiff clubmoss is characteristic of boreal coniferous forests [23].  It is also an indicator of white spruce (Picea glauca)-balsam fir (Abies balsamea) forest types in the Great Lakes States [36]. Stiff clubmoss is listed as a codominant species in the following published classification: Field guide to forest ecosystem classification for the Clay Belt, site region 3e [22]. Common shrub associates of stiff clubmoss include bog Labrador tea (Ledum groenlandicum), cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus), prickly rose (Rosa acicularis), white spiraea (Spirea betulifolia), blueberry (Vaccinium spp.), twinflower (Linnaea borealis), alder (Alnus spp.), Canada yew (Taxus canadensis), mooseberry viburnum (Viburnum pauciflorum), and highbush cranberry (V. edule) [5,6,22,26]. Other associated vegetation includes heartleaf arnica (Arnica cordifolia), bunchberry (Cornus canadensis), wild sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis), one-sided wintergreen (Pyrola secunda), sidebells shinleaf (P. uniflora), queencup beadlily (Clintonia uniflora), orchids (Corallorhiza spp., Calypso spp., Habenaria spp.), twisted stalk (Streptopus amplexifolius), meadowrue (Thalictrum spp.), baneberry (Actaea rubra), devil's club (Oplopanax horridus), miterwort (Mitella spp.), lady fern (Athyrium felix-femina), woodfern (Dryopteris spp.) sedges (Carex spp.), horsetails (Equisetum spp.), mosses (Mnium spp., Rhytdiadelphus spp., Polytrichum spp.), and lichens (Cladonia spp., Stereocaulon spp., Peltigera spp.) [5,6,22,26].


SPECIES: Lycopodium annotinum
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Stiff clubmoss is occasionally eaten by moose from May through October on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska [29]. PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : Spores of the genus Lycopodium have been used as baby powder and as an inflammable powder for flash photography [43].  Native Americans used the spores to stop nosebleeds and bleeding from wounds.  Some clubmosses (Lycopodium spp.) contain poisonous alkaloids that can cause pain in the mouth, vomiting, and diarrhea when ingested [34].  Stiff clubmoss makes an attractive ground cover throughout the year but is rarely transplanted successfully [21]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Stiff clubmoss in open white spruce/alder/cloudberry/feathermoss (Pleurozium spp.) communities in Alaska had the following cover (c) and frequency (f) percentages after three silvicultural treatments [7]:      pre- clearcut(no burn)    shelterwood    shelterwood      treatment                  14m spacing    9m spacing       c/f      c/f          c/f     c/f _______________________________________________________________________ year 1      0.1/4.0    +/2.0        --      -- year 2               0.1/3.0        --   0.9/10.0 (+ designates present; -- designates not present) Stiff clubmoss declined in cover and constancy after logging and site preparation in the sub-boreal spruce zone of British Columbia [17].


SPECIES: Lycopodium annotinum
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Stiff clubmoss is a native, perennial, evergreen clubmoss. The aboveground horizontal stem of stiff clubmoss is long, creeping, and forked with ascending or erect branches.  The main stem is generally 40 inches (100 cm) long, and branches are typically 0.8 to 16 inches (2-40 cm) tall.  Vegetative leaves are whorled, and fertile leaves form a sessile strobilus at the end of a branch [10,14,19,27,37].  Roots are adventitious and arise from the underside of the prostrate stem [44]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM :    Hemicryptophyte    Geophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Stiff clubmoss is a clonal species, reproducing primarily by sprouting from rhizomes [8,38].  It also produces spores and a subterranean, mycorrhizal gametophyte [32,40].  Stiff clubmoss is homosporous but usually cross-fertilizes [38]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Stiff clubmoss most commonly inhabits moist woods, thickets, bogs, and meadows [10,19,20,21].  Sites are typically cool and shaded but occasionally may be dry, exposed, and rocky [3,5,27,35].  Soils are acidic, well to poorly drained, and have mesic to subhygric moisture regimes [6,14,25].  Stiff clubmoss occurs from sea level to alpine zones and has been found at 11,000 feet (3,300 m) in Colorado [19,34]. Occurrence of stiff clubmoss increases with increasing latitude [23]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species Stiff clubmoss is shade tolerant [25].  It occurs in mature forests throughout its range [5,15,28,30,42].  In Isle Royale National Park, Michigan, occurrence of stiff clubmoss is largely related to forest communities undisturbed for 100 or more years [18]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Stiff clubmoss spores develop from late July to early October [10].


SPECIES: Lycopodium annotinum
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Stiff clubmoss regenerates by sprouting from surface rhizomes [8,38]. These surficial rhizomes are likely to be damaged by fire but may survive a light fire. FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY :    Surface rhizome/chamaephytic root crown


SPECIES: Lycopodium annotinum
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Stiff clubmoss is most likely killed by all but very quick, light fires. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : After fires on mesic black spruce (Picea mariana) sites in interior Alaska, stiff clubmoss was not present in abundance in the newly burned stage (0 to 1 year after fire) and did not reach its greatest cover until 90 to 200 years later.  However, in white spruce stands, stiff clubmoss was present from the newly burned stage through the hardwood stage (stand age 46 to 150 years) [11]. Dyrness [7] reported that stiff clubmoss did not sprout in white spruce/bog Labrador tea/mountain cranberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) communities within 2 years after clearcutting and burning. The number of stems present after clearcutting and burning balsam fir-red spruce (Picea rubra) woodlots in southwestern New Brunswick were reported as follows [16]:                                         prefire    151    after clearcutting     33         after burning      0  1 year after burning      0 Stiff clubmoss was not present in burns less than 7 years old in mixed-hardwood stands in New Brunswick [31].  However, in black spruce-feather moss stands in Labrador, it attained prefire frequencies in about 5 years [12]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : Hamilton's Research Papers (Hamilton 2006a, Hamilton 2006b) provide information on prescribed fire and postfire response of many plant species, including stiff clubmoss, that was not available when this species review was originally written. FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Lycopodium annotinum

 1.  Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. [434]

 2.  Blackwell, B.; Feller, M. C.; Trowbridge, R. 1992. Conversion of dense lodgepole pine stands in west-central British Columbia into young lodgepole pine plantations using prescribed fire. 1. Biomass consumption durning burning treatments. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 22(4): 572-581.  [19658]

 3.  Cody, William J.; Britton, Donald M. 1989. Ferns and fern allies of Canada. Ottawa, ON: Agriculture Canada, Research Branch. 430 p.  [13078]

 4.  Cooper, William S. 1928. Seventeen years of successional change upon Isle Royale, Lake Superior. Ecology. 9(1): 1-5.  [7297]

 5.  Cormack, R. G. H. 1953. A survey of coniferous forest succession in the eastern Rockies. Forestry Chronicle. 29: 218-232.  [16458]

 6.  Corns, I. G. W.; Annas, R. M. 1986. Field guide to forest ecosystems of west-central Alberta. Edmonton, AB: Canadian Forestry Service, Northern Forestry Centre. 251 p.  [8998]

 7.  Dyrness, C. T.; Viereck, L. A.; Foote, M. J.; Zasada, J. C. 1988. The effect on vegetation and soil temperature of logging flood-plain white spruce. Res. Pap. PNW-RP-392. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 45 p. [7471]

 8.  Eriksson, O. 1989. Seedling dynamics and life histories in clonal plants. Oikos. 55: 231-238.  [10322]

 9.  Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p.  [905]

10.  Fernald, Merritt Lyndon. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. [Corrections supplied by R. C. Rollins]. Portland, OR: Dioscorides Press. 1632 p. (Dudley, Theodore R., gen. ed.; Biosystematics, Floristic & Phylogeny Series; vol. 2).  [14935]

11.  Foote, M. Joan. 1983. Classification, description, and dynamics of plant communities after fire in the taiga of interior Alaska. Res. Pap. PNW-307. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 108 p.  [7080]

12.  Foster, David R. 1985. Vegetation development following fire in Picea mariana (black spruce) - Pleurozium forests of south-eastern Labrador, Canada. Journal of Ecology. 73: 517-534.  [7222]

13.  Gaines, Edward M.; Kallander, Harry R.; Wagner, Joe A. 1958. Controlled burning in southwestern ponderosa pine: results from the Blue Mountain plots, Fort Apache Indian Reservation. Journal of Forestry. 56: 323-327. [988]v 14.  Gleason, H. A.; Cronquist, A. 1963. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. Princeton, NJ: D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc. 810 p.  [7065]

15.  Habeck, James R. 1963. The composition of several climax forest communities in the Lake McDonald area of Glacier National Park. Proceedings of the Montana Academy of Sciences. 23: 37-44.  [6532]

16.  Hall, I. V. 1955. Floristic changes following the cutting and burning of a woodlot for blueberry production. Canadian Journal of Agricultural Science. 35: 143-152.  [9012]

17.  Hamilton, Evelyn H.; Yearsley, H. Karen. 1988. Vegetation development after clearcutting and site preparation in the SBS zone. Economic and Regional Development Agreement: FRDA Report 018. Victoria, BC: Canadian Forestry Service, Pacific Forestry Centre; British Columbia Ministry of Forests and Lands. 66 p.  [8760]

18.  Hansen, H. L.; Krefting, L. W.; Kurmis, V. 1973. The forest of Isle Royale in relation to fire history and wildlife. Tech. Bull. 294; Forestry Series 13. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, Agricultural Experiment Station. 44 p.  [8120]

19.  Harrington, H. D. 1964. Manual of the plants of Colorado. 2d ed. Chicago: The Swallow Press Inc. 666 p.  [6851]

20.  Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p.  [1168]

21.  Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur; Ownbey, Marion. 1969. Vascular plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part 1: Vascular cryptograms, gymnosperms, and monocotyledons. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 914 p.  [1169]

22.  Jones, R. Keith; Pierpoint, Geoffrey; Wickware, Gregory M.; [and others]. 1983. Field guide to forest ecosystem classification for the Clay Belt, site region 3e. Maple, Ontario: Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario Forest Research Institute. 160 p.  [16163]

23.  Klinka, K.; Krajina, V. J.; Ceska, A.; Scagel, A. M. 1989. Indicator plants of coastal British Columbia. Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia Press. 288 p.  [10703]

24.  Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p.  [1384]

25.  Kudish, Michael. 1992. Adirondack upland flora: an ecological perspective. Saranac, NY: The Chauncy Press. 320 p.  [19376]

26.  Kurmis, Vilis; Webb, Sara L.; Merriam, Lawrence C., Jr. 1986. Plant communities of Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota, U.S.A. Canadian Journal of Botany. 64: 531-540.  [16088]

27.  Lackschewitz, Klaus. 1991. Vascular plants of west-central Montana--identification guidebook. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-227. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 648 p.  [13798]

28.  Layser, Earle F. 1978. Grizzly bears in the southern Selkirk Mountains. Northwest Science. 52(2): 77-91.  [14275]

29.  LeResche, Robert E.; Davis, James L. 1973. Importance of nonbrowse foods to moose on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. Journal of Wildlife Management. 37(3): 279-287.  [13123]

30.  Lutz, H. J. 1953. The effects of forest fires on the vegetation of interior Alaska. Juneau, AK: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station. 36 p. [7076]

31.  MacLean, David A.; Wein, Ross W. 1977. Changes in understory vegetation with increasing stand age in New Brunswick forests: species composition, cover, biomass, and nutrients. Canadian Journal of Botany. 55: 2818-2831.  [10106]

32.  Malloch, D.; Malloch, B. 1982. The mycorrhizal status of boreal plants: additional species from northeastern Ontario. Canadian Journal of Botany. 60: 1035-1040.  [17718]

33.  Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p.  [2843]

34.  Robuck, O. Wayne. 1989. Common alpine plants of southeast Alaska. Misc. Publ. ---. Juneau, AK: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Forestry Sciences Laboratory. 207 p. [17693]

35.  Roland, A. E.; Smith, E. C. 1969. The flora of Nova Scotia. Halifax, NS: Nova Scotia Museum. 746 p.  [13158]

36.  Rudolf, Paul O. 1950. Forest plantations in the Lake States. Tech. Bull. 1010. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 171 p.  [13463]

37.  Seymour, Frank Conkling. 1982. The flora of New England. 2d ed. Phytologia Memoirs 5. Plainfield, NJ: Harold N. Moldenke and Alma L. Moldenke. 611 p.  [7604]

38.  Soltis, Pamela S.; Soltis, Douglas E. 1988. Estimated rates of intragametophytic selfing in lycopods. American Journal of Botany. 75(2): 248-256.  [20441]

39.  Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 7 p.  [20090]

40.  Svensson, Brita M.; Callaghan, Terry V. 1988. Apical dominance and the simulation of metapopulation dynamics in Lycopodium annotinum. Oikos. 51(3): 331-342.  [17740]

41.  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1982. National list of scientific plant names. Vol. 1. List of plant names. SCS-TP-159. Washington, DC. 416 p.  [11573]

42.  Viereck, Leslie A. 1970. Forest succession and soil development adjacent to the Chena River in interior Alaska. Arctic and Alpine Research. 2(1): 1-26.  [12466]

43.  Weber, William A. 1987. Colorado flora: western slope. Boulder, CO: Colorado Associated University Press. 530 p.  [7706]

44.  Wilson, C. L.; Loomis, W. E.; Steeves, T. A. 1971. Botany. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. 752 p.  [21163]
FEIS Home Page