FLORA OF ICELAND elements: Selaginella selaginoides, Lesser Clubmoss

Selaginella selaginoides; The Lesser Clubmoss is a common plant on Icelands dry heathers, scrublands and grasslands. The sporangia are placed in the upper part of fertile shoots. It is a rather small clubmoss (about 8 cm tall) that doesn't form longer prostrate stems. Characteristic are the teeth on the sporophyll leaves. The leaves are are about 3mm long. On Iceland it is known as Mosajafni.
How to recognize common Iceland clubmosses:
1) No trailing stems and no "cones on top of stems", leaves needle-shaped with smooth margins :
   Lycopodium selago (= Huperzia selago), fir clubmoss
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; this page
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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