The most widespread species in the genus Lycopodium in the clubmoss family. It is a spore-bearing vascular plant, growing mainly prostrate along the ground with stems up to 1 m long; the stems are much branched, and densely clothed with small spirally-arranged leaves. The leaves are 3 to 5 mm long and 0.7 to 1 mm broad, tapered to a fine hair-like white point. The branches bearing spore cones turn erect, reaching 5 to 15 cm above ground, and have fewer leaves than the horizontal branches. The spore cones are yellow-green, 2 to 3 cm long and 5 mm broad. The horizontal stems produce roots at frequent intervals along their length, allowing the stem to grow indefinitely along the ground. The stems superficially resemble small seedlings of coniferous trees, though it is not related to these.
Found in forests, moist areas.
The spores of this moss are explosive if present in the air in high enough densities. They were used as flash powder in early photography and magic acts.