Huperzia lucidula (Shining Clubmoss)

Rarely found in dense conifer or mixed forests, Shining Clubmoss grow atop limestone and/or acidic soils throughout the Eastern United States. These lycophytes have vascular/conducting tissues (xylem and phloem) but are seedless and not ferns. Shining Clubmoss bears its sporangia on its leaves (microphylls) and does not bear cones.

Huperzia lucidula (Shining Clubmoss)
Family: Lycopodiaceae
Subspecies: Huperzia × bartleyi (sterile hybrid between H. lucidula and H. porophila), Huperzia x ?protoporophila (H. appressa x H. lucidula), Huperzia × protoporophila (H. selago x H. lucidula)
Native: North America
Hardiness Zones: 3-8 (Manitoba to Alabama)
Height: to 20cm tall
Diameter: to 3cm in diameter
Root System: rhizome
Growth Rate: slow
Age: perennial
Deciduous: no
Monoecious/dioecious: monoecious

Tolerates: heavy shade, cool conditions
Problems (major): Slugs and snails may seriously damage foliage. Over-shading from competing vegetation may prevent Shining Clubmoss from growing properly. Encroaching bryophytes and algal colonies, in addition to vascular plants, pose a serious competitive threat. Fungal infections and rot can also be fatal (can be prevented with higher light levels and good air circulation).
Problems (minor): most problems major
Poisonous: non-toxic
Soil requirements: requires consistently moist, cool soils
Air requirements: requires cool, damp conditions
Watering requirement: moderate
Sun requirement: partial shade to dense shade
Vascular tissue: present
Leaves: dark green, triangular/obovate/lanceolate, reflexed, scale-like attachment, stomata on abaxial/lower surface, spirally arranged, to 11mm long
Shoot: dark green, erect, decumbent, trailing
Roots: forming whenever the stem contacts the soil
Dominant generation: sporophyte
Gametophyte: subterranean, inconspicuous
Sporophyte: dominant, aboveground portion
Strobili: yellow, U-shaped, thin, at base of leaves (known as microphylls)
Gemmae cups: no but gemmae produced at leaf bases
Epiphyte: no

Notable characteristics:
Lycopodiaceae are intriguing plants, being vascular seedless plants not closely associated with the fern division (Polypodiophyta). Their ancestors, the Lepiodendron genus, once grow as trees back in the Carboniferous era. Nowadays, though, club mosses are small and uncommon plants scraping out a living in usually cool shaded sites.

These are rarely grown for uses outside of labratories and universities. These serve an important role to botanists, however, for their taxonomic placement and unique characteristics.
Sources used:

A small colony of H. lucidula

Leaves spirally arranged

Decumebt form

Another Lycopodiaceae species in coastal Mississippi at the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

A different Lycopodiaceae species, sterile decumbent shoots and fertile erect shoot

All of the images provided were taken by me. They may be used for educational/informational purposes only, provided that this article/online journal is appropriately cited first.


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