Huperzia lucidula

Shining Clubmoss

Shining Clubmoss, Sawbill Lake, BWCAW, Photo © 2002 by Earl J.S. Rook
Shining Clubmoss
Sawbill Lake, BWCAW
Photo © 2002 by Earl J.S. Rook

Flora, fauna, earth, and sky...
The natural history of the northwoods


  • Huperzia, for Johann Peter Huperz (d. 1816) a German fern horticulturist
  • lucidula, from the Latin, "shining"
  • Shining Clubmoss, a reference to its bright green color
  • Other common names include Trailing Evergreen Clubmoss, Huperzie Brillant, Lycopode Brillant (Qué)


  • Kingdom Plantae, the Plants
    • Division Lycopodiophyta, the Clubmosses
      • Class Lycopodiopsida, the Clubmosses
        • Order Lycopodiales, the Clubmosses
          • Family Lycopodiaceae, the Clubmosses
            • Genus Huperzia, the Fir Clubmosses
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 503079
  • Also known as Huperzia selago ssp. lucidula, Lycopodium lucidulum, Lycopodium reflexum, Urostachys lucidulus


  • A bright evergreen, rhizomatous clubmoss, growing in loose tufts to 6" tall.
  • Roots from creeping, branching, underground rhizome
  • Shoots erect with few branches, becoming decumbent, with long, trailing, senescent portion turning brown; apparent indentation from bands of shorter leaves marks annual growth. Bulblet forming branchlets produced at end of each annual growth cycle; gemmae 4-6mm x 3-6mm
  • Leaves about 3/8" long and spreading; narrow, lance shaped, shiny, and evergreen. Edges irregularly toothed.
  • Cones absent
  • Sporangia (spore cases) nestled in base of upper leaves.


  • Identifiable as Huperzia by
    • absence of horizontal, running surface stems
    • clustered upright shoots; not tree-like
    • absence of spore-bearing cones
  • Distinguished from other North Country Huperzia by
    • leaves 3/8" long with slightly toothed edges (other species' leaves about 1/8" long with smooth edges)
    • bright green color
    • stems about 6" long (other species tend to be less than 4")


  • Manitoba to Newfoundland, south to Missouri and the Carolinas.


  • Cool, moist coniferous and mixed hardwood forests, bog and stream edges, hillsides; rich acid soils.
  • Occasionally cliffs and ledges, on rock on shady, mossy, acidic sandstone.






  • By spores and vegetatively by rhizomes.
  • Huperzia species also reproduce by bulblets (gemma) produced at base of upper leaves which, when mature, fall to ground and sprout to form new plants.


  • Very difficult


  • Clubmosses can make attractive ground covers, but do not transplant well and transplantation is not recommended.



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Last Updated on 26 February, 2004