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Phlegmariurus squarrosus

Family Name: Lycopodiaceae
Synonyms: Phlegmariurus suqarrosa, Lycopodium squarrosum
Common Name: Rock Tassel Fern, Water Tassel Fern, Rock Clubmoss, 杉葉石松
Full Shade Semi-Shade Little Water Moderate Water Native to Singapore Coastal Hanging Basket Interiorscape / Indoor Plant Ornamental Foliage Shallow Media ferns and allies Epiphyte Woody Creeper Herbaceous Creeper


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Ferns & Allies (Non-Seed Vascular Plants) (Fern)
Plant Growth Form Shrub (Herbaceous, Creeper, Trailing), Epiphyte
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Irregular
Maximum Height 0.2 m


Native Distribution Western Indian Ocean (Madagascar; Mauritius, Seychelles), Southern China (Yunan), Taiwan, Indochina, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia (Queensland), Pacific (Micronesia, French Polynesia, Fiji)
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Monsoon Forest, Temperate Forest), Shoreline (Mangrove Forest)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal, Temperate
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Presumed Nationally Extinct (NE))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form A type of fir clubmoss, one of the oldest "living fossils" of fern-allies, with fossils dating back to the Carboniferous period (~360 million years ago). Herbaceous with creeping rhizomes, arching to 20cm height and trailing up to 75cm length.
Foliage Fronds trailing, tufted, arched or nodding towards tip, bifurcating (dividing into 2) as they lengthen. Stems thin (4mm across), brownish when older. Frondlets pale to yellowish green, narrowly-linear and bristle-like, whorled at 60-90° along stem axis. Bulblets (gemmae) formed at base of upper fronds during end of each annual growth cycle.
Others - Plant Morphology Local Conservation Status: Native to Singapore, extinct in the wild.Fertile Fronds: Gradual transistion from sterile to fertile zone. Fertile fronds terminal, arranged in whorls of 5, with sporangia in axils.Propagation: Propagate by modfied form of stem cuttings, bulbets (which fall to ground when mature, and sprout to form new plants), and spores. For stem cuttings, remove apical sections (5-15cm) from stock plant, lay horizontally on well-drained soilless media, and cover cut ends with moist media -- this can be done inside terrariums to maintain humidity. Upward-turning shoot tips are ideal materials for stem cuttings. Simple layering of stems from rooted plants are said to be much easier to root. New shoots should emerge from cutting mix in 6-15 months, and can be potted up when they reach 5cm height. Recently-potted plants should be left undisturbed to aid establishment.
Habitat Found on trees and rocks in lowland to mid-altitude forests (especially near moist sites like waterfalls and streams), and on trees in mangroves.
Cultivation Relatively slow-growing. Prefers bright shade for good growth -- avoid exposing to full sun, which can result in bleached foliage. Does not tolerate normal soil -- use well-drained, well-aerated but moisture-retaining soilless media such as orchid or pine bark, or sphagnum moss-compost mixes. Likes high humidity, withstands some amount of dryness but do subject to prolonged drought. According to growers' accounts, plants reportedly grow faster when grown over ponds. Provide good air circulation to minimize pest attack, eg. infestation by scale insects (especially fern scales), which cause tissue-yellowing and can result in death of stems or entire plant. Tips of young shoots often eaten by snails and slugs. Does not take transplanting well -- specimens should be installed at final site.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Well-Drained Soils, Poor Infertile Soils, Shallow Media (8 -10cm)
Landscape Uses Hanging Basket, Coastal, Interiorscape/ Indoor Plant, Vertical Greenery / Green Wall, Container Planting
Thematic Landscaping Naturalistic Garden
SGMP Treatment

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water, Little Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Propagation Method Stem Cutting, Storage Organ, Division, Air-Layering, Tissue Culture
Propagation Method Remarks Spores, Rhizomes, Bulblets (gemma)


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth, Thin
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Spiral
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Linear)
Foliar Venation Parallel
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acuminate
Typical Foliar Area Microphyll ( 2.25cm2 - 20.25 cm2 )

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Herbaceous
Root Type Underground (Fibrous Root)
Specialised Storage Organ(s) Underground (Rhizome)

Image Repository



Master ID 29436
Species ID 3745
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 15 June 2021.