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Incl. Huperziaceae, Urostachyaceae

Terrestrial or epiphytic, small to large size, stems erect, pendulous, creeping or scandent, rooted at the base or stolon-like and rooted at intervals, simple or few- to many-times dichotomously branched, or monopodial, protostelic, the xylem stellate, or mixed with phloem (haplostelic), or plate-like (plectostelic. Leaves small, numerous, sessile, simple with a single central vein, iso- or less often dimorphic, spirally arranged or decussate (vegetatively reproducing bulbils may replace the apical leaves in some species. Sporophylls contracted or similar to the leaves and aggregated into fertile regions along the stem, or modified and arranged in compact strobili, sporangia solitary, borne in the axes of sporophylls, reniform, bivalvate; spores isomorphic, trilete, smooth to variously sculptured.


A cosmopolitan family of 2 genera, considered to be 5 or more by some authors, containing over 450 species. In Papuasia represented by a single genus, Lycopodium (in the broad sense) with c. 80 species.


Herter, W. 1909. Beitrage zur Kenntnis der Gattung Lycopodium. Studien uber Untergattung Urostachys. Bot. Jahrb. Suppl. 98: 1 - 56.

Herter, W. 1916. Beitrage zur Floraa von Papuasiens V. Die Lycopodien von Deutch-Neu-Guinea. Bot. Jahrb. 54: 226 - 238.

Nessel, H. 1934. Neue Lycopodien, die von allen schon bekannten Arten durch ihren Habitus ganz besonders und auffallend sind. Fedde, Rep. 36: 177 - 193.

Nessel, H. 1935. Beitrage zur Kenntnis der Gattung Lycopodium. Fedde, Rep. 39: 61 - 71.


A family of a single genus ... Lycopodium (c. 80)


Lycopodium is a large genus with certain more or less definable groups of species which some authors elevate to the rank of genera. In which case the following genera are in Papuasia:


Main stem simple, clustered or 1- or more-times dichotomously branched; sporophylls not aggregated into a distinct stalked strobilus or cone (sometimes the sporophylls strongly reduced); sporangia axial among sporophylls


Main stem simple to monopodially branched, sporophylls very different from the vegetative leaves, aggregated into compact cones; sporangia borne on the base of the sporophylls



Terrestrial plants, stems erect; sporophylls mostly undifferentiated from sterile leaves

Huperzia sect. Plananthus

Mostly epiphytic or lithophytic, the stems of mature plants arching to pendulous; sporophylls differentiated from sterile leaves or not

Huperzia sect. Subselago


Sterile leaves very narrow, and needle-like, spirally arranged


Sterile leaves flattened or scale-like



Strobili on erect stalks


Strobili drooping, on the ends of leafy branchlets



The significance and stability of these groups is far from resolved, with various authors delimiting them in slightly different ways. Some divide the family even further. Huperzia has even been allocated its own family (Huperziaceae). For the moment it seems expedient to recognise these groups at some infrageneric level.

Updated November 1999 by Jim Croft (