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Native to South Africa, African clubmoss is a delicate groundcover with long, fine roots which break off easily. Slender, irregularly branched stems are rooted at small nodes. Leaves (2-4mm) are in opposite rows. Tolerates both cool and hotter climates, and light to deep shade. Does however require reasonably damp to wet soils.
African clubmoss disperses widely and quickly, forming a carpet-like mat on the forest floor and along forest margins. This all-covering effect has a severe impact on native plant regeneration, with seedlings prevented from reaching the soil. Although it is easy to remove by hand, the smallest of fragments can still be enough to start a new population.
The reason that this species is a pest is that it will prohibit the establishment of native plant seedings due to their not being able to reach the soil layer and establish. Over time, this lack of regeneration will lead to less shade due to less trees, and those trees which will be able to establish will be those which are generally other introduced pest plants especially vines.
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