Selaginella selaginoides (L.) P. Beauv. ex Mart. & Schrank

northern spikemoss

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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

Northern spikemoss, a widespread, circumpolar species, sneaks into New England in the northern counties of Maine. It inhabits fens, bogs and wet areas. This species is unique among clubmosses in having active megaspore dispersal, described as 'compression and slingshot ejection.'

Habitat

Fens, floodplain (river or stream floodplains), forests

Characteristics

Habitat
wetlands
New England state
Maine
Leaf shape
the vegetative leaves are short and scale-like
Spore leaf arrangement
the sporophylls are located on spore cones at the tips of the shoots or branches
Form of shoot
the plant has an upright stem, but no branches
Horizontal stem
the horizontal stem is on the surface of the ground
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
Leaf outline
  • the vegetative leaves are widest above the base, then taper narrowly towards the tip (lanceolate)
  • the vegetative leaves are roughly triangular, widest at the base where the leaf joins the stem
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Gemma arrangement
    NA
    Gemma shape
    NA
    Gemma width
    0 mm
  • Leaves
    Leaf differences
    the vegetative leaves within a node are all similar in size and shape
    Leaf orientation
    • the vegetative leaves are pressed against the stem
    • the vegetative leaves spread slightly away from the stem, at a steep angle
    Leaf outline
    • the vegetative leaves are widest above the base, then taper narrowly towards the tip (lanceolate)
    • the vegetative leaves are roughly triangular, widest at the base where the leaf joins the stem
    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
    wetlands
    New England state
    Maine
    Specific habitat
    • fens
    • forests
    • river or stream floodplains
  • Spores or spore cones
    Cone base at stem
    the base of the spore-cone does not have a distinct stalk
    Cone stalk branching
    NA
    Cone thickness
    0 mm
    Number of cones
    1
    Quillwort itssue covering spores
    NA
    Same or different spores
    there are two different types of spores present
    Spore leaf arrangement
    the sporophylls are located on spore cones at the tips of the shoots or branches
    Spore leaf lifespan
    the sporophylls wither and fall off at the end of the growing season
    Spore leaf orientation
    the sporophylls slant out from the axis at an angle of 45–90 degrees
    Spore leaf shape
    the spore-bearing leaves are small and scale-like
    Spore leaf teeth
    the edges of the spore-bearing leaves have tiny teeth
    Sporophyll ranks
    the sporophylls come off the cone at many different angles (5 or more ranks)
    Sterile tip of cone
    the spore cone does not have a slender, sterile tip (the whole cone produces spores)
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Branch cross-section
    NA
    Branch form
    NA
    Constriction zones
    • NA
    • NA
    Form of shoot
    the plant has an upright stem, but no branches
    Horizontal stem
    the horizontal stem is on the surface of the ground
    Horizontal stem length
    20–50 mm
    Horizontal stem thickness
    0.4–0.5 mm
    Stem height
    30–100 mm

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in wetlands, but occasionally in non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACW)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

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

Conservation Status

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

Maine
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), threatened (code: T)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Lycopodiella inundata

Synonyms

  • Lycopodium selaginoides L.
  • Selaginella spinosa Beauv.

Genus

Selaginella

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

4.  Selaginella selaginoides (L.) Beauv. ex Mart. & Schrank NC

northern spikemoss. Lycopodium selaginoides L.; Selaginella spinosa Beauv. • ME; northern counties only. Open and forested circumneutral fens, usually palustrine but sometimes riparian.