Scientist demonstrates just how water-repellent lycopodium spores are

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If you ever find some lily pads, they are hydrophobic as well and water put on them will ball up and roll around like Mercury.

Shows the kiddo some several years ago fishing with my dad.


Nasturtium leaves do this, as well. Drops will sit right in the cup of a mature leaf and even race around if you swirl them. Jewel Weed leaves flash under water like sardines because of this.


In Hong Kong, we have the opposite product.


Mr Wizard was obsessed with these. They showed up in multiple episodes.


I’m so glad you mentioned Mr. Wizard. Having been mesmerized watching him experiment with them, I spent years looking for lycopodium spores as a kid and into my 20s during the early 00s…somewhere giving up and forgetting about them until today. It’s 10pm now at the end of a long day and i’m absolutely giddy over this post. I feel like one one of my life’s great but simple quests has been resolved. Now to order some…



Thanks, for posting this, very cool to know. Have observed the effect on my succulents and had guessed that it was a technique they’ve developed for capturing moisture (sometimes a bead of water will remain for a surprisingly long time over a sunny day or two captive in their leaves). The notion of adaptation to remove dust make a lot of sense - especially in an arid environment.


Does Mr.Spangler‘s voice remind anyone else of an infamous imbecile? Talking much more coherent of course, but when I close my eyes…

Many leaves do this. Try it with any brassica, for example. (Or really, almost any leaf)

I can’t remember what it’s called, but I believe that many plants use this and similar techniques to actually retain water as opposed to keeping clean (I didn’t even know that was the reason until I read the linked article). Mostly plants that only see sporadic rainfall like your succulents. Not exactly the same re: hydrophobicity, but bromeliads retain water near their base to ensure they don’t get parched.

Delighted to jog your memory!

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