Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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 request
September 15, 2007 - I took a trip to Arizona in 9/06. While out walking through public land I encountered a beautiful plant with very distinctive leaves, color of woody stems and flowers. I have scoured the USDA plant ...
view the full question and answer

Identity of bulbs from digging in an anthole
June 13, 2012 - I was digging in an ant hole and it collapsed and as I dug it out, I found around 50 white bulbs that did not have a smell or roots. They resembled onion bulbs. I have a picture of these and they are...
view the full question and answer

Is the Ashe juniper native from Round Mountain TX
June 23, 2010 - Some friends and I disagree on something, and I hope you will settle the argument. Are the cedars found in the Texas hill country (ashe juniper) native or not?
view the full question and answer

Dodder
April 06, 2012 - I was driving around Llano, Texas and saw patches of orange amongst the wildflowers. From afar the patches seemed like dying plants. On close inspection, they are orange tendrils that are overrunnin...
view the full question and answer

Identity of cinnamon-scented bush from Pennsylvania
May 23, 2015 - I had a "bush" in PA that the woman who sold it to me called a cinnamon bush. It had long branches with large (approx 5" long and 3" wide) dark green leaves attached evenly along each side of the...
view the full question and answer

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