Huperzia lucidula (Michx.) Trevisan

shining firmoss

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Shining firmoss gets its name from its lustrous, shiny, green leaves. It is also distinguished from other firmosses (Huperzia) by the annual constrictions along the stem that give it an irregular or undulating appearance, and also by the leaves, which are widest above the middle.

Habitat

Forests

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Leaf shape
the vegetative leaves are short and scale-like
Spore leaf arrangement
the sporophylls are located in whorls along the shoot
Form of shoot
the plant has an upright stem, and the stem has simple branches
Horizontal stem
NA
Leaf differences
the vegetative leaves within a node are all similar in size and shape
Teeth on leaf edges
the edges of the vegetative leaves have tiny teeth
Constriction zones
  • NA
  • there are constricted zones on the vertical stem where the leaves are smaller smaller or closer together
Leaf outline
  • the vegetative leaves are widest near the tip, but otherwise narrow and tapering (oblanceolate)
  • the vegetative leaves are widest near the tip, but otherwise roughly egg-shaped (obovate)
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Gemma arrangement
    the gemmae are found only at the top of each annual growth zone
    Gemma shape
    • the tips of the leaves of the gemma are obtuse (bluntly pointed)
    • the tips of the leaves of the gemma are rounded
    Gemma width
    3–6 mm
  • Leaves
    Leaf differences
    the vegetative leaves within a node are all similar in size and shape
    Leaf length
    7–11 mm
    Leaf orientation
    • the vegetative leaves curve outwards and downwards from the main stem
    • the vegetative leaves spread away from the stem
    Leaf outline
    • the vegetative leaves are widest near the tip, but otherwise narrow and tapering (oblanceolate)
    • the vegetative leaves are widest near the tip, but otherwise roughly egg-shaped (obovate)
    Leaf ranks
    NA
    Leaf shape
    the vegetative leaves are short and scale-like
    Pores on leaves
    there are pores, but only on the underside of the vegetative leaves
    Teeth on leaf edges
    the edges of the vegetative leaves have tiny teeth
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    forests
  • Spores or spore cones
    Cone base at stem
    NA
    Cone stalk branching
    NA
    Cone thickness
    0 mm
    Cone width
    0 mm
    Length of cone
    0 mm
    Number of cones
    0
    Quillwort itssue covering spores
    NA
    Same or different spores
    there is only one type of spore present
    Spore diameter
    0.023–0.029
    Spore girdle
    NA
    Spore leaf arrangement
    the sporophylls are located in whorls along the shoot
    Spore leaf lifespan
    the sporophylls remain green for the life of the plant
    Spore leaf orientation
    the sporophylls are pressed against the spore cone
    Spore leaf shape
    the spore-bearing leaves are small and scale-like
    Spore leaf teeth
    The edges of the spore-bearing leaves are smooth, and without teeth
    Spore texture
    the spore surface has an irregular pattern of ridges and empty spaces (rugulate), or it has minute pits on it (foveolate)
    Sporophyll ranks
    NA
    Sterile tip of cone
    NA
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Branch cross-section
    the outermost level of branches are round, elliptic or semicircular in cross-section
    Branch form
    the branches are similar in size to the main stem
    Constriction zones
    • NA
    • there are constricted zones on the vertical stem where the leaves are smaller smaller or closer together
    Form of shoot
    the plant has an upright stem, and the stem has simple branches
    Horizontal stem
    NA
    Horizontal stem length
    0 mm
    Horizontal stem thickness
    0 mm
    Stem height
    140–200 mm

Wetland Status

Occurs in wetlands or non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FAC)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Maine
unranked (S-rank: SNR)
Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Spinulum annotinum:
plants lacking specialized branches that produce gemmae, and with spore cones at the apex of branches on mature plants (vs. H. lucidula, which are plants with specialized branches that produce gemmae and lacking spore cones, the spore-bearing leaves in alternating zones with the vegetative leaves).
Huperzia selago:
leaves lanceolate to narrow-triangular, widest below the middle, entire are rarely with obscure, papilla-like teeth, and shoots with obscure winter bud constrictions (vs. H. lucidula, with leaves oblanceolate, widest beyond the middle, with 1-8 small teeth, and shoots with evident winter bud constrictions).

Synonyms

  • Lycopodium lucidulum Michx.
  • Urostachys lucidulus(Michx.) Ness.

Family

Huperziaceae

Genus

Huperzia

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

2.  Huperzia lucidula (Michx.) Trevisan N

shining firmoss. Lycopodium lucidulum Michx.; Urostachys lucidulus (Michx.) Ness. • CT, MA, 
ME, NH, RI, VT. Mesic to hydric forests, including conifer and broad-leaved types.

1×2. Huperzia appressa × Huperzia lucidula Huperzia ×‌protoporophila A. Haines is a rare hybrid known from MA, ME, NH, VT. It occurs on cliffs and summits and in alpine gullies. In New England, this taxon is abortive-spored (compared with the fertile tetraploid Huperzia porophila (Lloyd & Underwood) Holub of the mid-Atlantic and Midwest states). It has leaf morphology comparable to H. ×‌buttersii but has somewhat dimorphic trophophylls (as to basal and apical; vs. nearly monomorphic), narrower lateral gemmae leaves (1.2–1.6 mm vs. 1.5–2 mm), and gemmae borne in 1 or 2 pseudowhorls at the apex of each season’s growth (vs. always 1 pseudowhorl at the apex of each season’s growth).

2×3. Huperzia lucidula × Huperzia selago Huperzia ×‌buttersii (Abbe) Kartesz & Ghandi is a rare firmoss hybrid known 
from ME, NH, VT. It usually occurs in hydric and/or coniferous forests. It somewhat resembles small forms of H. lucidula but has trophophylls with ± parallel margins, obscure, papilla-like teeth, and a few stomates (i.e., fewer than 30 per ½ adaxial 
leaf surface.