A running evergreen, rhizomatous clubmoss, growing to a height of 15.5 cm.
Distinguishing Features - Leaves: 85 mm long, downward pointing. Cones: individual, slim and pointed, yellow, 3.8 cm long on short stems. Vertical stem: stiff, bristly with few branches; upswept in the direction of growth. Horizontal stem >1 m long, branching, creeping on ground, often hidden under litter. Roots: adventitious, arising from the underside of the prostrate stem.
Circumboreal; northern Eurasia, Greenland and Labrador to Alaska, south to the northwest United States and Colorado, east through the Great Lakes Region to Virginia; in cool, damp, shaded thickets; moist woods, bogs, and meadows; sites typically cool and shaded but occasionally dry, exposed, and rocky; soils acidic, well to poorly drained; occurrence increases with increasing latitude; characteristic of boreal coniferous forests.
Can be distinguished from tree-like clubmosses by its linear form and horizontal stem on the surface of the ground, and from other running clubmosses by its individual cones on short stems.
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