Bog clubmoss Lycopodiella serpentina

Many of New Zealand’s threatened ferns are found in warmer climates on landmasses north of New Zealand, with New Zealand representing their southern distribution limits. These species tend to be restricted to northern areas of the country and occupy coastal and geothermal sites. Other species are restricted to habitats such as wetlands, which have suffered drastic modification and loss, or are palatable to stock and feral animals.

Key Features

  • Creeping clubmoss forming open patches or compact mats, stems prostrate and occasionally rooting.
  • Leaves yellow-green to green, linear, spirally arranged. Aerial stems unbranched, up to 6 cm long, usually with a terminal fertile cone.

Distribution and Habitat

  • Restricted to northern North Island where it is known from a few locations in Northland, Auckland and Coromandel.
  • Coastal or lowland on open, infertile, permanently damp ground, often on sites recently cleared by fire. It is usually found in restiad-dominated peat bogs but can occur on gumland.


  • Habitat modification and loss.
  • Natural succession by taller vegetation can shade it out.
  • Competition with exotic plants.
  • Stock trampling and fertiliser runoff.

Management Opportunities and Methods

  • Survey for new locations.
  • Protection of habitat.
  • Weed control.

Monitoring Options

  • Check existing populations annually.
  • Report new locations to DOC, NZPCN.

Further Information and Support

  • New Zealand Plant Conservation Network (NZPCN).
  • Weed management - Department of Conservation, Regional Councils.
  • References
    • Brownsey, P.J. & Smith-Dodsworth, J.C. (2000). New Zealand Ferns and Allied Plants. David Bateman, Auckland.
    • Peter de Lange, Peter Heenan, David Norton, Jeremy Rolfe and John Sawyer (2010). Threatened Plants of New Zealand. Canterbury University Press, Christchurch. 472 pp.