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Robin Hood's hatband (plant name)

Plant name
Folk name Robin Hood's hatband
Binomial name Lycopodium clavatum
First recorded 1828
Used where
Robin Hood's hatband, lycopodium clavatum (photo: Bernd Haynold).
Robin Hood's hatband, lycopodium clavatum, close-up of sporophylls (photo: Christian Fischer).

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2014-08-12. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2017-06-01.

Common clubmoss, lycopodium clavatum, the most widespread species in the genus Lycopodium of the clubmoss family Lycopodiaceae, is also known as Robin Hood’s hatband. Other names for the plant include: vegetable sulphur, goat’s claw, stag’s horn (clubmoss), wolf claw, wolf's-foot (clubmoss), wolf-paw clubmoss, foxtail clubmoss, running clubmoss, running pine, ground pine, princess pine etc. It grows mainly along the ground, with spores up to 1 m long.

The name Robin Hood's hatband is recorded as early as 1828 in William Carr's dictionary of the dialect of the Craven district (formerly West Riding of Yorkshire, now North Yorkshire).[1] James Orchard Halliwell records the name in his 1847 Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words without indicating any specific are where it was used.[2] The name is probably of too general use to be characterized as a dialect word.


Brief mention



  1. [Carr, William], comp. The Dialect of Craven, in the West-Riging of the County of York, with a Copious Glossary, illustrated by Authorities from Ancient English and Scottish Writers, and exemplified by Two Familiar Dialogues (London and Leeds, 1828), vol. II, p. 85 s.n. Robin-ith-hedge.
  2. Halliwell, James Orchard, comp. A Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words, Obsolete Phrases, Proverbs, and Ancient Customs, from the Fourteenth Century (London, 1847), vol. II, p. 688 s.n. Robin.