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Ground Pine (Lycopodium obscurum)

Ground Pine Cone Ground Pine Leaves Ground Pine Plants

Ground Pine (also known as Rare Clubmoss or to locals as "Piney") is a non-flowering vascular plant. Although present on Arboretum property, it is not commonly seen along our public-access trails. Its resemblance to a small pine tree is the basis for its common name. It has simple leaves (microphylls) with a single, unbranched vein running their length. A cone-like structure (a strobilus) is borne at the tip of a vertical branch. The strobilus consists of modified leaves which bear sporangia in their axils. The spores produced develop into small, separately growing haploid plants (gametophytes) that eventually produce eggs and sperm. Once fertilization occurs, a new diploid sporophyte develops. Ground Pine spreads vegetatively by producing horizontal runners that grow below the ground surface. Over time, an extensive colony of interconnected plants can develop. Ground Pine is one of several genera of vascular plants related to ancient tree-sized plants (e.g., Sigillaria and Lepidodendron) that were major components in the formation of coal beds.

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University of Tennessee - Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center
901 South Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830 · Telephone: 865-483-3571 · Email: UTforest@utk.edu