Connecticut Plants
Shining Firmoss (Shining Clubmoss)
Huperzia lucidula (Michx.) Trevisan
  • Synonyms: Lycopodium lucidulum Michx.
  • Family: firmoss (Huperziaceae)
  • Habitat: coniferous or mixed forest in moist, acidic soil
  • Height: 6 to 8 inches
  • Location of spores: in yellow, kidney-shaped sporangia at the base of leaves in a zone near the tops of the stems
  • Persistence: evergreen
  • Origin: native

Photographed in Litchfield County, Connecticut in mid-July.

Note the paddle-like structures near the top of the stem. These structures, called gemmae, can break off and root to form a new plant. Just below the gemmae are the yellow sporangia, which contain the spores.

Another view of gemmae.

This photo shows a feature that helps distinguish shining firmoss from other firmosses (such as mountain firmoss). About a third of the way up the stem, where it the stem looks almost bare, the leaves have become small. This feature is a called an annual constriction, and it marks a slowing of growth in winter. Shining firmoss has obvious annual constrictions, whereas other firmosses in our area have no annual constrictions or only inconspicuous ones.