Thursday, November 12, 2009

Princess Pine

If you are out walking in local woodlands you might be lucky enough to come across what looks like an area of tiny pine trees. Called Princess pine by most locals this little plant isn't really a pine at all but a club moss. It is found in clumps, sometimes very large clumps, because it grows by spreading rhyzomes, rootlike structures, under the ground.Lycopodium obscurum is the scientific name of this little plant that goes back in time to when the dinosaurs roamed the earth. Like many things of that time it was much larger then. Today it is not as common on the Cape as it once was and even though it looks like it might be fun to grow in your own yard it does not like to be moved or transplanted.This plant is showing the cones that are put out each fall. They look like little yellow candles. The best place to find Princess pine is around a good fresh water source like a pond or a lake. These were photographed in East Sandwich but many conservation areas in Barnstable, Bourne, Falmouth and other towns are also good places to find this lovely plant. Like the pines it is named for it is ever green and can be found throughout the year.

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