Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Identification of old plant called pinks
February 28, 2008 - For years my mother had a pretty pink flower in her yard. It was in a little cluster of green leaf like bush. She just called them pinks. They would close in the sun and open in the morning or afte...
view the full question and answer

Safe distance from foundation for Sycamore from Preston UK
August 24, 2011 - What would be the safe distance to have a sycamore tree near your house so it doesn't affect the foundations?
view the full question and answer

Identiication of a flower in Valentine's Day Bouquet
March 05, 2015 - I bought a Valentine's Day bouquet for my wife and one of the flowers just won't quit (with some TLC, the lillies lasted 10 days). May I send a photo of the flower in question? I'd love to grow i...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of a potted vine in California
October 04, 2011 - Hi, we have a tropical vine growing in a pot on our patio that my wife bought at the county fair. We've had it for a couple of years but I just noticed it now has a sort of pear like fruit on it. It ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
July 01, 2013 - I picked a beautiful large red wildflower, & by the time I got home, the stem had turned "spikey" and dark black! Very ugly & a little scary as I had never heard of such a flower! Can you identify??
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.