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bendarli (Tam.) - Lycopodium clavatum Linn.

bendarli (Tam.) :

Plant growing in native habitat Photograph by: V-wolf Lycopodium clavatum is a spore-bearing vascular plant, growing mainly prostrate along the ground with stems up to 1 m (39 in) long; the stems are much branched, and densely clothed with small, spirally arranged microphyll leaves. The leaves are 3–5 mm long and 0.7–1 mm broad, tapered to a fine hair-like white point. The branches bearing strobili or spore cones turn erect, reaching 5–15 cm (2.0–5.9 in) above ground, and their leaves are modified as sporophylls that enclose the spore capsules or sporangia. The spore cones are yellow-green, 2–3 cm (0.79–1.18 in) long, and 5 mm (0.20 in) 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

Taxonomical Classification

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Family: Lycopodiaceae
Genus: Lycopodium
Species: Lycopodium clavatum


Sanskrit: Nabbeli, bendarli
English: clubmoss spores , clubmoss, common clubmoss, wolf-paw clubmoss, foxtail clubmoss, running ground-pine, running pine, running moss, princess pine,
Hindi: Nagbeli
Marathi: Bendarli
Mexican: : Polvo de licopodio
Chinese: Shen jin cao, Dong bei shi song.
French: Lycopode en Massue


There are distinct subspecies and varieties in different parts of its range:

  • Lycopodium clavatum subsp. clavatum
    • Lycopodium clavatum subsp. clavatum var. clavatum (EuropeAsiaNorth America)
    • Lycopodium clavatum subsp. clavatum var. aristatum (MexicoCaribbeanCentral America, northern South America south to northern Argentina)
    • Lycopodium clavatum subsp. clavatum var. asiaticum (Japan, northeast China)
    • Lycopodium clavatum subsp. clavatum var. borbonicum (central and southern Africa)
    • Lycopodium clavatum subsp. clavatum var. kiboanum (mountains of tropical Africa)
  • Lycopodium clavatum subsp. contiguum (southern Central America, northern South Americasyn. Lycopodium contiguum)


Synonyms in Ayurveda:

Lycopodium is Greek-derived, lukos (wolf) and podo (foot); called "wolfs foot" from its resemblance of the branch tips to a wolfs paw. clavatum, from Latin, means "club shaped."

Spores are used as dusting powder and absorbent in excoriations of skin; also as a base for medicated snuff and covering for pills to prevent adhesion.


Land Preparation and Manure Application: Loose, humus rich soils are best suited for good growth of this plant. They take longer time to establish in freshly prepared fields. Therefore, before putting the rhizome cuttings, soil of the fields should be properly loosened and mixed well with decomposed Farm Yard Manure @ 25 t/ha for their proper growth. Rhizome cuttings perish quickly if proper moisture conditions are not provided immediately after planting. Therefore, during and after planting, field should have good amount of moisture. However, water logging has been found to be harmful for the plants. The plants of Lycopodium do not survive in subtropical conditions even in glass house. Therefore, plants should be grown in high altitudes, in shades where natural moisture is available in plenty.
Transplanting and Optimum Spacing : Rooted rhizomes of approximately 125 cm in length are suitable for planting. There should be at least 45 cm space both between the rhizome cuttings and between the rows for their optimum growth.


Plant may be grown from spores or vegetatively  propagated by rhizomes.
Spores take long time (3-8 years) to germinate into prothallus and few years to form a new plant while through rooted rhizome cuttings plants may be multiplied quickly.


Crop Maturity and Harvesting: Plants grown from rhizome cuttings remain vegetative for long time.It produces strobili, the spore producing organ, after 4-6 years of planting.
Post-harvest Management: The most efficient and least destructive way to harvest is by clipping the mature aerial part of the plant near the base of the stem with some sharp instruments preferably with secateurs. Plants should not be pulled from the ground. Rhizomes should be allowed to remain undisturbed in its position on the ground for future growth and harvesting. Strobili should be separated carefully from the plant without dispersing the spores. Strobili and aerial parts are dried separately in shade. Strobili should be dried in paper bags; it takes about one week to dry properly. However, vegetative parts take about two weeks for drying.


It contains fatty oil (40-50%), a complex high polymeric carbohydrate sporonin, sucrose, a protamine, hydrocaffeic acid an alkaloids (0.12%) of which lycopodine is major constituent and the other alkaloids are clavatin and clavatoxine.


Spores of this plant produce a powder which can be used as a chemical marker. This chemical marker can be used for various forensic studies

In the Homeopathic system of medicine Club Moss is used under the name of medicine Lycopodium Clavatum. It is the best homeopathic remedy for liver diseases and for people who have a sensitive digestive system. This remedy is also used to treat indigestion, hemorrhoids, enlarged prostate, nervousness and headaches of the right side.

Parts used for medicinal purpose

Whole plant, ,


For acute and self-limiting complaints, take one pill or five drops of the remedy every 1 to 4 hours (1 hour for intense symptoms, 4 hours for milder ones).


Not to Be Confused With:
L. annotinum (Bristly club-moss). L. clavatum is distinguished by peduncled strobili and hairs at tips of leaves.


The plant has creeping stem with erect tips.
Stems are dichotomously branched, one of the branches remains small and the other grows to a greater length.
Smaller and erect branches bear cone or strobili at the tips containing spores.
The old main axis or the rhizome remains completely or partially subterranean.
Stems are densely covered with small moss like leaves that are spirally arranged and 4.0-6.0 mm long.
Leaves are simple, sessile, with serrate margins, pointed tip and single median vein.
Leaves are also called microphylls.
Fertile or strobilus bearing branches bear scale like yellowish green leaves while the sterile branches bear linear green leaves.
Basal surface of creeping stems bear dichotomously branched and thin adventitious roots abounds all along its length.
Floral Characteristics

This plant belongs to a lower group under phylum Pteridophyta and does not bear flowers.
It has two phases in the life cycle i.e. sporophytic and gametophytic phases.
The plant bearing strobilus is the sporophytic phase of the life cycle. Strobilus bears spirally arranged sporophylls with sporangium which produces numerous spores.
The spores come out from the sporangium and germinate in the soil to form a small top shaped prothallus.
This is the gametophytic phase of the life cycle



These are distinct, yellowish to cream in color when mature, 2.5-5.0 cm long, compact and are borne at the tips of special erect shoots.
The sporophylls possess a small flange on ventral side. It protects the sporangium.
Sporangium arises on the dorsal (adaxial) surface of the sporophylls (foliar or epiphyllous condition). Sporangia are yellowish orange in colour and about 2.0 mm long.
When spores become mature, central axis of strobili  elongates.
As a result the sporophylls spread out exposing the sporangia.
The exposed sporangia become dry. Later on sporangial wall splits and disseminate the spores.

These are light yellow in color, homosporous, unicellular with single nucleus, filled with oil and fat, 0.03 mm in diameter, tetrahedral in shape with a rounded or semicircular base, spores posses triradiate ridges and reticulate ornamentation on the surface.
Germination of Spores:

Spores take about 3-8 years to germinate. They germinate under moist conditions to form prothallus with the help of specific endophytic fungus.
In the absence of this fungus, prothallus does not develop and die.

It is top shaped, tuberous, yellowish brown in colour and about 15 mm long.
It has two distinct zones (i) lower conical region bearing numerous rhizoides and (ii) upper broad generative region several archegonia on the margins and antheridia on the center.
Antheridia produce biflagellate spermatozoites, which in presence of water droplets, swim and reach the archegonial neck.
Only one spermatozoid reaches the egg and effect fertilization forming oospore.
Oospore is converted into embryo by cell division which later becomes young plant.
This development is very slow and the young plant (sporophyte) depends for years together on the subterranean prothallus (gametophyte) for nutrition.
It takes many years to come above ground and become independent.

Geographical distribution:

There are distinct subspecies and varieties in different parts of its range:

Lycopodium clavatum subsp. clavatum
Lycopodium clavatum subsp. clavatum var. clavatum (Europe, Asia, North America)
Lycopodium clavatum subsp. clavatum var. aristatum (Mexico, Caribbean, Central America, northern South America south to northern Argentina)
Lycopodium clavatum subsp. clavatum var. asiaticum (Japan, northeast China)
Lycopodium clavatum subsp. clavatum var. borbonicum (central and southern Africa)
Lycopodium clavatum subsp. clavatum var. kiboanum (mountains of tropical Africa)
Lycopodium clavatum subsp. contiguum (southern Central America, northern South America; syn. Lycopodium contiguum)

Plant is usually found in the temperate regions, particularly in Himalayas in the moist shaded woodlands, open thickets, rocky slopes, pine forests and mixed woods between 2000-3000 m msl.


Although globally widespread, like many clubmosses, it is confined to undisturbed sites, disappearing from farmed areas and sites with regular burning. As a result, it is endangered in many areas. In the UK it is one of 101 species named as a high priority for conservation by the wild plant charity Plantlife.

Plant conservation:

Secure (NatureServe)

General Use:

Lycopodium is prescribed  for both acute and chronic ailments such as earaches, sore throats, digestive disorders, urinary tract difficulties, hepatitis , prostatitis, and eye conditions. The remedy acts on soft tissues, blood vessels, bones, joints, and the liver and heart. This polychrest is also recommended in the treatment of back pain, bedwetting , fevers, food poisoning , mouth ulcers, mumps , colds, muscle cramps, constipation , coughs, cystitis, gas, sciatica , gout, skin conditions, and joint pain. It is often indicated in the early stages of pneumonia .

Therapeutic Uses:

A decoction of the plant is analgesic, antirheumatic, carminative, mildly diuretic, stomachic and tonic. It is used internally in the treatment of urinary and kidney disorders, rheumatic arthritis, catarrhal cystitis, gastritis, dysentery, malaria etc. The whole plant is chewed to induce vomiting after food poisoning or acute stomach pain. The sun-dried, pulverized leaves are mixed with plantain and milk, and the mixture is given in small doses to children to cure diarrhoea and dysentery
It is applied externally to skin diseases, wounds, ulcers and irritations. The whole plant is grilled with sugarcane and banana skins and applied to cracked lips to promote healing.
The plant can be harvested all year round and is used fresh or dried

Spores are used as dusting powder and absorbent in excoriations of skin; also as a base for medicated snuff and covering for pills to prevent adhesion. 

Systemic Use:

  - acidity
– bloating
– colitis
– constipation
– corns
– emaciation
– flatulence
– food allergies
– hair loss
– hemorrhoids
– indigestion
– liver-derangements
– malnutrition
– kidney colic
– kidney disorders
– sciatica


• Infusion: An infusion is made with 1/4 liter of boiling water poured over a level teaspoon of Club Moss. 1 cup is taken in small sips, half an hour before breakfast. For malignant diseases of the liver and cirrhosis, 2 cups daily.
• Club Moss Pillow: 100 to 300 gm depending on the size of the area affected by cramp. Stuff the material into a pillow and apply to the aching area overnight. (Pillow retains can be used for a year.)


Considered analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, antioxidant, antipruritic, antispasmodic, carminative, decongestant, demulcent, diuretic, emmenagogue, tonic.

Clinical trials:


2. Effects of Lycopodium clavatum and equisetum arvense extracts from western Romania / MARIA SUCIU, FELIX AUREL MIC, LUCIAN BARBU-TUDORAN, VASILE MUNTEAN, ALEXANDRA TEODORA GRUIA / Romanian Biotechnological Letters


1. Antiprotozoal activity and cytotoxicity of Lycopodium clavatum and Lycopodium complanatum subsp. chamaecyparissus extracts
2. Efficacy of two commonly used potentized homeopathic drugs: Calcarea carbonica and Lycopodium clavatum, used for treating polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) patients: II. Modulating effects on certain hormonal levels / Debarsi Das, Indira Das, Jayeeta Das, Saroh Kumar Koya, Anisur Rahman Khuda-Bukhsh / Tang (Humanitas Medicine): 2016, Vol 6, Issue 1, eY 
3. Lycopodine from Lycopodium clavatum extract inhibits proliferation of HeLa cells through induction of apoptosis via caspase-3 activation / Sushil Kumar Mandal, Raktim Biswas et al / European Journal of Pharmacology, Vol 626, Issues 2-3, 25 January 2010, Pages 115-122 / doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2009.09.033

4. Phytochemical analysis and antioxidant capacity of Lycopodium clavatum Linn. from Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, Philippines / Angem L Descallar et al / AIP Conference Proceedings 1803, 020021 (2017) / doi:


Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Club moss is POSSIBLY UNSAFE for anyone, including pregnant and breast-feeding women. Don’t use it.

Slow heart rate (bradycardia): Club moss might slow down the heart beat. This could be a problem in people who already have a slow heart rate.

Gastrointestinal tract blockage: Club moss might cause “congestion” in the intestines. This might cause problems in people who have a blockage in their intestines.

Ulcers: Club moss might increase secretions in the stomach and intestines. There is concern that this could worsen ulcers.

Lung conditions: Club moss might increase fluid secretions in the lung. There is concern that this could worsen lung conditions such as asthma or emphysema.

Seizures: There is concern that club moss might increase the risk of seizures. 

Urinary tract obstruction: Club moss might increase secretions in the urinary tract. There is concern that this could worsen urinary obstruction.

Toxicity studies:

Club moss is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth because it contains several poisonous chemicals. However, so far, no poisonings have been reported.

Use in other system of medicine:

- Polvo de licopodio is used as a dusting powder for excoriated skin problems, as in the intertrigo of infants, and in eczema and erysipelas.
- Used for gout and rheumatism.
- Used to stimulate the appetite. 
- Used to relieve spasmodic retention of urine in children.
- Used for urinary and kidney stones. 
- Used for constipation, piles, flatulence, enteritis, bronchitis and pneumonia.
- In the Visayas, the material is crushed or finely chopped, heated with salt, for application to insect and centipede bites.
- In China, decoction of the plant used for beriberi and nervous conditions. 
- In India, used for the treatment of inflammation-related diseases.
- In the Pyrenees region, plant is used as a diuretic.
- Used for healing of bed sores – finely powdered club moss is spread over the open sores.
- infusion used for liver cirrhosis and malignant liver conditions.
- Spores inhaled to stop bleeding noses; applied to wounds and various skin diseases.
- The Obo community of South Cotobato use plant preparations for body pains and as anti-aging facial wipes. 
- Pharmacy: Used to envelop pills to prevent in from sticking; also to alter the taste.
- Mordant: Used as mordant in dyeing.
- Weaving: Stems made into matting.
- Lighting: Used in fireworks and artificial lighting.


Lycopodiophyta is a division of seedless vascular plants best known as clubmosses and quillworts. The plants are relatively small, and are herbaceous. They usually have branched stems and small leaves, but their fossil ancestors were trees. Lycopodiophyta have three main groups but are subdivided at the class level. These three separate classes are the lycopodiopsida, selaginellopsida and class isoetopsida.

In homoeopathy, the herb is used in the disorders of chest and urinary passage, in rheumatism, cramps and varices, antiseptic, in diseases of lungs and kidneys.

Photos of bendarli (Tam.) -

Lycopodium clavatum

KEY WORDS: bendarli (Tam.) Lycopodium clavatum Linn

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