En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - May 21, 2012

From: Quinwood, WV
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Mystery forest plant in WV
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

In the mountains of southern WV I have several acres of shady, moist land. It has never been developed and is COVERED with a low growing fern?ground cover?whatever. It creeps along on very shallow roots. It is about 3" tall, sometimes has a small yellow shoot which I think is its "flower". It turns yellow when it goes into the winter season, but comes back to lush, thick continuous green cover. I have had no luck at transplanting. The foliage makes me think of the needles of hemlock or another native evergreen. HELP! I have looked EVERYWHERE!

ANSWER:

Although it is impossible to identify your plant without seeing it, we can make an educated guess and hopefully point you in the right direction.

From your description, we suspect that your plant is probably a Lycopodium sp. (commonly known as club moss or ground pine and ground cedar) and most likely Lycopodium digitatum (Fan clubmoss)  It forms large colonies on hardwood forest floors and is very common throughout Appalachia. If you read the Wikipedia article about  Lycopodium  it will tell you more about the plant species.  L. dendroideum and L hickeyi are also candidates that are native to West Virginia.

 

From the Image Gallery


Fan clubmoss
Lycopodium digitatum

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
July 21, 2012 - Can't i.d a small aroid, arisaema(?) sp.; 5" tall. tuber 12" tall by 1" beginning 8" beneath the soil level. flowers are black spathes with white spots. leaves are alternate. common plant but d...
view the full question and answer

Identification of Sagittaria-like plant with purple flowers
July 21, 2011 - I have collected a wetland plant that I can't seem to identify. Its an emergent plant collected along with a species of sagittaria. Very similar in leaf structure to an sagittaria or alisima, but i...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
October 23, 2008 - We live near Milwaukee Wisconsin. This summer a 5' plant grew by itself in the middle of my flower bed. It has elongated oval green leaves, but its the flowers that are exceptional. They are long,...
view the full question and answer

Identification of white flowering bush with lovely scent
May 17, 2015 - Please identify the sweet smelling white flowering bush/tree blooming now,May, in western Massachusetts. The flowers are tiny 4(?) petals in small clusters. The scent is wonderful.
view the full question and answer

Identification of gourd plant growing in central California
August 10, 2012 - I am not sure if this flowering plant is native to North America. It is found in dry land grazing fields at about 100 feet in elevation in central California. It is large--2-6 feet across with a sti...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center