En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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 tiny blue flower blooming in February
March 18, 2013 - There is a very small four petal flower that appears near the end of Winter. (This year they appeared in late Feb). These little flowers are a "Light Blueish" hue. They are around a quarter inch ac...
view the full question and answer

Distinguishing non-native Wisteria from Austin
June 25, 2012 - How do I distinguish a native wisteria from a non-native wisteria?
view the full question and answer

What is difference between Rhododendrons and Azaleas
April 23, 2008 - I am replanting my entire front yard as a native woodland garden (I am on Long Island, NY). I am having a hard time finding native rhododendrons and/or azaleas. I would prefer to remain true to the ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
May 11, 2008 - Can you identify a plant in a shady part of our yard. I have a pictrure I would like to send and I don't see a way to do that here. Can you provide that assistance? Perhaps a direct email address so ...
view the full question and answer

Tall lily with dark berry at leaf attachment
June 25, 2012 - A lily showed up in my flower garden last year (central Illinois); about 3' tall, a single dark berry at the stem where each leaf is attached. It didn't flower. This year it's approaching 4' tall ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center