Sunday, May 29, 2016

club moss

Club Moss species, probably Flat branch ground-pine (Lycopodium obscurum)

Here's the odd thing. I have been writing about nature since 1992, that's 24 years; newspaper columns, magazine articles, blogs and two books with a third in the incubator. And until my post of last week, I had never written about club moss.


Well then, I haven't paid proper respect to our village elders.

Club moss, or more correctly, clubmoss, or more scientific: lycopodium, (lika-poe-de-um) is one of the most fascinatingly curious green things on Earth. They often go overlooked simple because they look like baby trees. They're not. The fossil record tells us that their lineage is ancient, they have been on Earth for roughly 410 million years, give or take a few millennia, far longer than flowering plants. The club mosses reproduce by spores, not seeds. Consequently, they are placed in a group known as fern allies. Ferns are very antediluvian plants as well.

After my last post, I heard from my friend and Ijams volunteer, Rex McDaniel

Rex is a supreme photographer. Here is what he wrote about an encounter with club moss he had several years ago.

"Yesterday I visited Big Ridge State Park. As I was walking on the trail to Norton's Cemetery this first scene caught my eye. I made the first picture, then went on to the cemetery. As I came back I was again attracted by this section where the ground under the trees was covered by Club Moss. I realized that this was a beautiful world. The Club Moss makes a fantastic setting for the forms and colors that can be found there," wrote Rex.

Here is a link to Rex's wonderful photos he took that day: Big Ridge Club Moss.

Thanks, Rex. Yes, this is a beautiful world.  

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