How to Pick Princess Pine


Also known as wolf's paw or club moss, princess pine is an evergreen plant that is related to ferns. Princess pine often has both aerial stems and underground stems. The aerial stems produce leaves for photosynthesis. At maturity, they produce cones, which produce spores for reproduction. These aerial stems branch and make the princess pine look like a small pine tree. You can pick parts of a princess pine as decorative elements for your home.

Choose a mature aerial stem that is attached to the ground. The aerial stem may appear like a whole plant, but it is only the above-ground part of the plant. This mature stem should be four to six years old and have cones.

With one hand, hold the mature aerial stem at the base, near where it meets the ground.

With a pair of sharp garden shears, clip the stem where the base meets the ground. Leave the underground portion of the plant alone so it will survive.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you plan to pick princess pine from public lands, you may have to pay a fee and obtain a permit from your local public land agency. Consult the agency for information regarding the rules and regulations for harvest before picking princess pine.
  • Pick princess pine during the fall so you get it in time for winter holiday decorating. During fall, princess pine spores are also usually mature enough to produce spores, which will produce new plants.

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