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NZ Plants

Huperzia australiana - fir moss

Clubmoss family: Lycopodiaceae

Huperzia australiana is a terrestrial plant bearing rigid and erect branches. The overlapping leaves are spirally arranged around the stem. Sterile leaves are similar to fertile leaves (sporophylls) and are not organised into cones. Distinguished by the formation of small buds (bulbils) which when detached grow into new plants. Formerly Lycopodium australianum.
Found at higher elevations from the middle of the North Island down to sea level on the South island.

Vegetative characteristics

Fertile stem and sporangia

Plant form: creeping stems with erect branches, up to 45 cm

Stem appearance: not differentiated into cones; sporophylls similar to sterile leaves

Leaf arrangement: singly in a spiral along the stem; spreading

Sporangium location: on upper surface of  sporophyll

Leaf shape: ovate to lanceolate with sharp tip

Sporangium position: at base of sporophyll

Leaf size: up to 1 cm

Sporangia distribution: one per sporophyll

Leaf surface: smooth, leathery 

Sporangium covering: 0