Houghton Falls State Natural Area, SNA #638, Bayfield Co., Wisconsin
Nodding Clubmoss, Staghorn Clubmoss, 过山龙 , 筋骨草, Lycopodiella cernua
The strobili of this species are almost always single and on the ends of leafy stems.
Dendrolycopodium obscurum (Lycopodiophyta: Lycopodiopsida: Lycopodiales: Lycopodiaceae). Burke Lake Park, Fairfax County VA 28 November 2012
This is a clubmoss, a member of the oldest vascular plant group. Relatives of this plant that were alive during the Devonian Period (about 375 million years ago) formed large forests up to about 30 meters. Based on well preserved fossils, we know that the cells in the trunks of these trees had chloroplasts. These ancient trees would have been entirely green!
The spores of this species, held in the long cone-like structures (strobili), are sometimes used as flash powder due to their combustibility.
The strobili seem to come in bunches of at least three and up to five or six on tall stalks without leaves.
Diphasiastrum digitatum (Lycopodiophyta: Lycopodiopsida: Lycopodiales: Lycopodiaceae). Burke Lake Park, Fairfax County VA 28 November 2012
Dendrolycopodium obscurum (Lycopodiophyta: Lycopodiopsida: Lycopodiales: Lycopodiaceae). Nescopeck State Park, Luzerne County, PA 23 December 2012
Two bog specialties here: Thread-leaved Sundew and Carolina Clubmoss.
2nd shot shows the greenery better, & I like the sunny green, even if it is too contrasty. (I can't call the greenery "the leaves," because the aren't really leaves -- they're chlorophyll-bearing stems. This plant is an evolutionary relic from the days before plants evolved leaves.)
Low carpets of this graceful non-flowering plant on the swamp forest floor provided an early touch of green. It mostly seems to spread by runners, but once in a while we saw the remains of last year's fruiting bodies (1st shot).
Aha! Sometimes the old ways are best. Found it in my 1967 miniature Golden Press Nature Guide to Non-flowering Plants, which is old enough that it includes fungi as non-flowering plants. (We now know thru molecular evidence that fungi are a separate kingdom -- they're actually more closely related to animals than they are to plants.)
Think I've got the species right -- corrections welcome.
The Lycopodiaceae (class Lycopodiopsida, order Lycopodiales) are a family of primitive nonvascular plants, including all of the core clubmosses. These plants bear spores on specialized structures at the apex of a shoot; they resemble a tiny battle club, from which the common name derives. They are non-flowering and do not produce seeds.