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RE: Propagating Lycopodium cernuum

Hi Keith and Jolanda,

I have had success growing Lycopodium cernuum (now called Lycopodiella cernua by most botanists) in containers. In my experience, its sensitivity to transplanting does not appear to be related to fungal reliance. I grow the plants in completely inert substrate, especially a sedimentary diatomaceous rock (finely crushed) called "Diatomite" and a baked clay substrate called "Arcillite" (marketed as "aquatic plant soil" in the US). A nurseryman I know collected a few starts (small rooted plants) from a population on a canal bank here in Florida. He sent a few plants to me that he was growing under the same conditions as his carnivorous plants, in a mixture of sand and peat. He had L. cernua spreading throughout his carnivorous plant collection via "runners" (aerial rhizomes). It seems unlikely that any symbiotic fungi were spread from the original plants in this way because the rhizoime tips formed roots de novo as they spread. I transplanted the plants he sent me into several different substrates and did some experimenting before finally discovering a growing method that worked well for me. When I transplanted the plants, I rinsed off the roots, so I did not take any care to preserve fungal associations. Although the plants were slow to re-establish, this seemed to be because the roots themselves were sensitive to disturbance. Since then I have had a plant send a rhizome into another pot which almost certainly would not have the appropriate fungus (it was a container of fine Diatomite with only a few sundews growing in it). Unlike the Huperzias, L. cernua propagates itself.

Regarding Huperzia cuttings, I have found a method that is successful. To succeed requires one crucial change from propagating spermatophytes (seed plants) from cuttings. Instead of planting the cut end of the stem in the substrate, one needs to layer the stem tips just as one would when layering an un-severed branch. Unlike other plants (and even other Lycopodiaceae), Huperzias only produce new roots near the shoot tips. These roots then travel all the way down the stem (through the cortex) before they emerge under the substrate. One can see the roots in cross sections of the stem cortex. For some reason, the roots do not emerge from cut ends of cuttings. Instead they need to be "coaxed" to emerge near the branch shoot tips, just as in regular layering.

I find that using straight perlite (with a shallow dish of water underneath to maintain constant moisture through capillarity) works very well for layering both cuttings and un-severed branches. This seems to minimize rotting of stem tips because it is completely inert and very well aerated, while remaining moist through wicking from the water reservoir. This method also works very well for the adult plants and has become my preferred growing method for Huperzias. A major advantage of perlite is that it does not break down like organic mixes.

- Chad

At 10:04 PM 6/3/2005, you wrote:
Hi Jolanda and Larry

Sorry Jolanda I perhaps deleted your email.

Have I seen some interesting things about growing Tassels recently, but all
relating to epiphytes.  These including one lot being grown from spore!!!  I
have images of it too.

As for L. cernuum, a terrestrial grower, it hates being transplanted,
perhaps because they are fungal reliant, anything is possible if that is

I know of no tassel which actually grows from a cutting, layering yes, but
not from a cutting just stuck in like a hoya or fuscha.  Tassels will stay
alive looking in this manner for up to a year so never buy a one stemmed
tassel unless you see roots inside the pot.

Never heard of layering L. cernuum, do they develop a "kink" like the
epiphytes do?  If so they may have layering potential like the epiphytes.


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-ferns@hort.net [mailto:owner-ferns@hort.net] On Behalf Of Larry
Sent: Saturday, 4 June 2005 5:46 AM
To: ferns@hort.net
Subject: Re: [ferns] Propagating Lycopodium cernuum

Weird, I've never heard of vegetative reproduction other than perhaps
division of the rhizome. I wouldnt think cuttings would work.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jolanda" <filices@pixie.co.za>
To: "Ferns@Hort. Net" <ferns@hort.net>
Cc: <p.del@iafrica.com>
Sent: Friday, June 03, 2005 2:46 PM
Subject: [ferns] Propagating Lycopodium cernuum

> Hi Fernatics,
> I received a question on propagating Lycopodium cernuum from cuttings. I
> have not had any success with it, therefore my answer can only be what
> the books say. However, I know that there are some of you who do this
> successfully. My question: How does one grow L. cernuum from cuttings
> (rooted tips)?
> Frondly regards
> Jolanda Nel
> South Africa
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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