LICOPODIES: what are they, characteristics and examples - Summary!

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Despite the appearance of these curious plants, club mosses are not non-vascular plants. However, there are many who, seeing their almost prehistoric appearance, think about the origin and evolution of plants and wonder: when did club mosses appear? And yes, it is true that due to their morphology and coloration we easily associate these plants with the first periods of life on Earth. Specifically, club moss forests are known to have existed about 400 million years ago.

Would you like to know a little more about these curious plants? Well, we invite you to join us in this simple article by Green Ecologist, where you can discover some of its main characteristics so that you learn to recognize and value them for what they are, very unique plants that we must protect by and for future generations. Keep reading and discover what are club mosses, their characteristics and examples of species.

What are club mosses

The Lycopodium or club mosses are vascular plants belonging to the Pteridophyta or pteridophyte plants. The plants belonging to this classification are characterized, mainly, by presenting sporophiles: leaves with a singular structure that produce spores for the reproduction of club mosses. The sexual reproduction of these plants depends on water. We recommend that you learn more by consulting this other article on Plant reproduction.

In addition, the gender Lycopodium, of the family Lycopodiaceae, It is composed of more than 40 species spread all over the planet. The club moss habitat it is quite wide: from large cities to small and dense forests. These plants do not require very specific care, they only need a humid place, with a lot of shade and rich soil.

In general, clubmosses have creeping or erect stems. In addition, these have dichotomous branching and vascular tissue in the center of it. In the case of the leaves, of small size, they are placed in different ways on the stem. It is also important to know that several species of club moss have medicinal properties that range from the relief and healing of burns to their use against the appearance and elimination of kidney stones.

Characteristics of club mosses

These are the main characteristics of club mosses:

  • Club mosses are one of the oldest vascular plants on our planet.
  • One of their main characteristics is that they have tracheids, which they use to conduct water. This is one of the most primitive vascular systems that are still preserved today within the plant kingdom.
  • They can reach up to 30 cm in height and are considered herbaceous for the most part, although there are species of shrub, climber and even creeping type.
  • The leaves of the clubmosses, less than 1 cm long and oval in shape, are characterized by being of the microphilic type. These are small leaves that have a vascular system, xylem and phloem, which does not branch.
  • The roots branch dichotomously and are adventitious (they do not originate from the embryo). In plants that are erect, they originate at the apex of the stem and grow until they emerge at the base. Creeping plant roots occur directly toward the base of the stem.
  • The spores produced by club mosses are small and with a very thin cell wall. In addition, they are usually yellowish in color due to the low presence of chlorophyll.
  • These plants are generally found in both temperate and tropical zones. Although it is not unreasonable to find them in alpine areas both in the north and in the south of the planet and even in some mountainous areas of the tropics.
  • Another of the most representative characteristics of club mosses is that they are homosporic. This means that their sex spores do not differ morphologically.
  • For their reproduction, the spores of the clubmoss must remain a year of rest and have the presence of a fungus for their future development. In fact, the fungus must be infected by the gametophyte itself. This process can take up to 15 years.

Examples of club mosses

To finish discovering this type of ancient plants, we offer you a list of examples of club moss species:

Lycopodium clavatum

This species of club moss is found in Spain and can easily be found in cities. Hence, it is known as one of the most cosmopolitan species within its genus.

Lycopodiella cernua

It is one of the best-known species of clubmoss and is native to Puerto Rico. It is also typical of other areas near the tropics and is widely distributed throughout the planet both on the island and in medium elevations of land. However, it prefers humid forests

Lycopodium obscurum

This club moss is a species native to the United States. It is easy to find in temperate forests, especially those of conifers and other deciduous trees, which are located in the eastern part of the country.

Lycopodium annotinum

This species is one of the herbaceous-type club mosses that is usually found relatively easily in coniferous forests located in the northern hemisphere of the planet.

Selaginella nickname

Finally, this lycophyte plant, also native to the eastern United States and northwestern Mexico, is another of the most representative and easy-to-see club mosses on the American continent.

If you want to read more articles similar to Club moss: what are they, characteristics and examples, we recommend that you enter our Biodiversity category.

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