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Northern Prostrate Clubmoss (Lycopodiella margueritae)

Life history

Species overview

Northern Prostrate Clubmoss (Lycopodiella margueritae), a Wisconsin Special Concern plant, is found in seasonally flooded wetlands formed in shallow depressions and potholes in glacial lakeplain landscapes. The optimal identification period for this species is late July through early September.



  • Distinguishing characteristics: Difficult to distinguish from other members of L. inundata complex. See Table 2 in USDA Forest Service, Eastern Region. 2004. Conservation assessment for northern appressed club-moss (Lycopodiella subappressa J.G. Bruce, W.H. Wagner, & Beitel) and northern prostrate club-moss (Lycopodiella margueritae J.G. Bruce, W.H. Wagner, & Beitel).
  • Flower characteristics:
  • Fruit characteristics: Strobilus length 5-8 cm, width 4-9 mm; length relative to peduncle 1/3-1/2.
  • Leaf characteristics: Leaves on rhizomes are spreading, 6-13 mm long with 3-4 teeth. Leaves on peduncle are spreading, 5-6 mm long with 0-2 teeth. Leaves on sprorophyll are appressed or incruved, 4-6 mm long, 0.4-0.5 mm wide with no teeth.


  • Blooming phenology:
  • Fruiting phenology: late August through early October
  • Optimum time to identify: The optimal identification period for this species is late July through early September


  • Growth form: Fern ally
  • Vegetative reproduction: Rhizomatous
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Comments: Probably has symbiotic relationship with endophytic fungi. Often hybridizes with other members of L inundata complex. See also Flora of North America 2:37 (

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Northern Prostrate Clubmoss (Lycopodiella margueritae). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.

Documented locations of Lycopodiella margueritae in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusSC
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS1
Global RankG1G2
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found in seasonally flooded wetlands formed in shallow depressions and potholes in glacial lakeplain landscapes.
  • Soils: Sandy, acidic, moist or intermittently wet soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Northern Prostrate Clubmoss. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Natural communities score
Central Poor Fen 3
Coastal Plain Marsh 3

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Northern Prostrate Clubmoss. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Ecological landscape score
Central Sand Plains 3

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • No avoidance measures have been developed for this species.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • No guidance has been developed for this species.


Northern Prostrate Clubmoss Photo.

Photo © W. W. Brodovich.

Northern Prostrate Clubmoss Photo.

Photo © W. W. Brodovich.

Northern Prostrate Clubmoss Photo.

Photo © W. W. Brodovich.

Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Wednesday, May 05, 2021
Southwest Savanna Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Western Coulees and Ridges Southeast Glacial Plains Central Sand Hills Central Lake Michigan Coastal Central Sand Plains Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northeast Sands Western Prairie North Central Forest Northern Highlands Northwest Lowlands Northwest Sands Northwest Lowlands Superior Coastal Plains Forest Transition