FLORA OF ICELAND elements: Huperzia selago (Lycopodium selago), fir clubmoss

Huperzia selago (Lycopodium selago); The Fir Clubmoss has a characteristic fingerlike growth of stems branching form the base. The vegetative leaves and sporophyl-bearing leaves are similar. Thus the plant does not have a sporohpyllic cone like some other clubmosses. The absence of trailing stems ("runners") is also a characteristic that can be used to identify this primitive fern on Iceland. It grows in heatherlands and amongst rocky places. On Iceland it is known as Skollafingur.

How to recognize common Iceland clubmosses:

1) No trailing stems and no "cones on top of stems", leaves needle-shaped with smooth margins :
   Huperzia selago (= Lycopodium selago), fir clubmoss; this page.
else: go to 2)

2) No trailing stems but sporophyls (leaves with spore-forming organs in the axis of leaf and stem) on top of stems, leaves are toothed:
   Selaginella selaginoides, Lesser Clubmoss
else: go to 3)

3) Long prostrate stems ("runners") and sporophyllia on top of ascending brances;
3a) leaves of ascending branches pressed on the stem:
   Lycopodium alpinum, Alpine Clubmoss
3b) leaves of ascending branches spreading from stem:
    Lycopodium annotinum, Interrupted Clubmoss

Very rare on Iceland is Lycopodium clavatum - of western Europe. It is much like Lycopodium annotinum but characteristically has a stem segment between the vegetative parts and the sporophyl-bearing part which has very small leaves, making this intersegment stem look almost nude. Split on top of this segment are two sporangial stems (hence the name clavatum).

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A brief introduction to Iceland plants
Text & Photographs by Dick Vuijk - unless stated otherwise

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