February 13, 2021
We're reaching into the archives for today's #BenInNature update presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust! The following post was originally published on May 24, 2020.
Awhile back, we posted Diphasiastrum digitatum, better known as ground cedar or running cedar, which is a plant belonging to the ancient family Lycopodiaceae. However, ground cedar isn't the only lycopod you're liable to find in the woods in southwest Virginia; you might also spot Huperzia lucidula, also known as shining firmoss or shining clubmoss.
Lycopods date back to the early Devonian, about 380 million years ago, and they're unusual in that they do not produce flowers or seeds; instead they produce spores, sort of like a fungus!
Huperzia lucidula ranges from Canada down to North Carolina and can be found in bogs and stream edges, on hillsides, and in forests with rich, acidic soil. It releases its spores in the fall, which are mainly spread by the wind and running water. After the spores come in contact with moist soil, they develop roots and grow into clonal plants -- genetically identical to the plants they came from!
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (www.cbtcares.com)
NATURE PHOTO IDENTIFICATIONS
If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!