Running Cedar

Lycopodium digitatum

Copyright, James Manhart

Running Cedar is a low-growing evergreen plant, in a group of plants known as clubmosses. Clubmosses aren't really mosses; they're more closely related to ferns.

Running Cedar is usually between five and ten inches tall. It has straight stems with flat branches which spread like fans. Leaves are small and flat with pointed tips. They feel like leather, and stay green all year.

Running Cedar grows in forests where soil is somewhat dry and there are a lot of dead leaves on the ground. Sometimes it grows in fields with a lot of shrubs or small trees.

(c) Becknell and Lucas Media, www.bigeastern.com

The Missouri Flora Website

The Missouri Flora Website

In the Fall, Running Cedar sends up small cones. The cones stick straight up in the air and contain tiny spores. Spores are a lot like seeds. When the spores float on the wind, they sometimes land in new places and start new plants.

The way Running Cedar usually spreads is by its rhizomes. Rhizomes are stems that grow sideways under dead leaves. Rhizomes of Running Cedar hardly ever go into the soil like some other plants. As the rhizomes grow, they can send up new Running Cedar plants. Usually, you will see a "colony" of many Running Cedar plants together. They are probably linked by rhizomes.

Some types of trees that Running Cedar grow underneath include maples, basswood, and pines.

Running Cedar provides good shelter for small animals, such as spiders, frogs, and salamanders.

John Kohout, Wisconsin State Herbarium

Relationships in Nature:

Animals Using as Food Source

Animals Using as Shelter

Associations With Other Plants

OTHER

Southern Leopard Frog

Red Maple

Garden Centipede

Virginia Pine

Isopod

Eastern White Pine

Red-backed Salamander

Loblolly Pine

American Toad

Silver Maple

North American Millipede

Black Cherry

Rabid Wolf Spider

Eastern Blood-sucking Conenose

Common Black Ground Beetle

Fiery Searcher

Wood Frog

Spotted Salamander

White-footed Mouse

Least Shrew

Meadow Vole

Northern Ringneck Snake

Five-lined Skink

Eastern Worm Snake

Relationship to Humans:

Sometimes, people collect Running Cedar during the holdidays and make wreaths and other decorations. In some states (not Virginia), this has caused it to be a protected plant. Large colonies of Running Cedar are quite beautiful to look at.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Plant
DIVISION
Lycopodiophyta
CLASS
Lycopodiopsida
ORDER
Lycopodiales
FAMILY
Lycopodiaceae
GENUS
Lycopodium
SPECIES
Lycopodium digitatum

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