Lycopodiella diffusa


Lycopodiella: Diminutive of Lycopodium (little wolf's-foot)
diffusa: of spreading growth

Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Lycopodiella diffusa (R.Br.) B.Øllg.



Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Lycophytes (clubmosses, selaginella, quillworts)


Lycopodium laterale var. diffusum (R.Br.) Hook.f.; Lepidotis diffusa (R.Br.) Rothm.; Lycopodiella ramulosa (Kirk) B.Øllg.; Lycopodium diffusum R.Br.; Lycopodium ramulosum Kirk; Lateristachys diffusa (R.Br.) Holub; Lateristachys ramulosa (Kirk) Holub


Indigenous. New Zealand: North, South, Stewart and Auckland Islands (from the Raukumara Range southwards). Also Australia.


Lowland to alpine (mostly montane to alpine in northern part of range), in peat bogs, pakihi country, on coal measures, fell field and on poorly drained, nutrient impoverished soils.


Main stems up to 200 mm long, prostrate, rooting at intervals. Branchlet systems scattered along main stems, prostrate, appressed to substratum, but with tips upturned, dichotomously branched and ± rosette-forming, often imbricate. Leaves spirally arranged, imbricate, curved upwards, thick, 3.0-5.5 mm long, 0.5-0.8 mm wide,linear-subulate to linear-lanceolate, green and then often tipped reddish brown, or reddish brown. Strobili solitary, 6-16 mm long, dark reddish brown, lateral or terminal, sessile. Sporophylls imbricate, ovate, acuminate; bases coalescent; margins entire or with a few obscure teeth. Description adapted from Chinnock (1998) and Brownsey & Smith-Dodsworth (2000).

Similar Taxa

In its extreme state it is easily distinguished from the most common form of Lycopodiella lateralis by its dichotomously-branched, prostrate stems. However, forms of L. lateralis growing in restiad peat in the Waikato and on the Chatham islands, and plants of L. lateralis in North-West Nelson appear to intergrade with L. diffusa. Australian treatments (e.g., Chinnock 1998) keep both species but based on field observations in New Zealand it would seem that the status of L. diffusa needs to be investigated further.



Flower Colours

No Flowers



Propagation Technique

Transplants can be grown moderately easily if planted in peat within a pot which is then kept partially immersed in a tub of water.


Not Threatened

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Not commercially available


Fact sheet prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 16 March 2011. Description adapted from Chinnock (1998) and Brownsey & Smith-Dodsworth (2000).

References and further reading

Brownsey, P.J.; Smith-Dodsworth, J.C. 2000: New Zealand Ferns and Allied Plants. Auckland, David Bateman

Chinnock, R.J. 1998: Lycopodiaceae. Flora of Australia 48: 66-85.

This page last updated on 20 Dec 2013