Huperzia - Lycopodiaceae

Huperzia dacrydioides (Baker) Pic.Serm.

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: JE. Burrows
South Africa

Photo: P. Ballings






Lycopodium dacrydioides Baker
Urostachys dacrydioides (Baker) Herter ex Nessel
Lycopodium mildbraedii Herter
Huperzia brachystachys (Bak.) Alston
Huperzia mildbraedii (Herter) Pic.Serm.

Common name


Plants large, robust. Stems up to 90 cm (1.8 m) long, dichotomously branched (once or twice), pendulous; basal stem horizontal, short, up to 7-8 mm thick with dense fibrous roots. Foliage leaves linear-lanceolate to lanceolate in outline, apex sharply pointed, (8-)12-20 × 1.5-2(-3.2) mm, dark glossy green, overlapping, coriaceous, grading into the sporophylls. Fertile portion not differentiated, 2- 40 cm long; sporophylls oblong-lanceolate or triangular in outline, attenuate, mostly 6-8 x 1.8-2 mm. Sporangia rounded, flattened, 1.5-2 mm wide.


Resembles H. gnidioides ; H. dacrydioides has sporophylls similar to the foliage leaves, a fertile portion that is barely distinct and a narrowly tapering leaf apex.
Compared to H. dura, H. dacrydioides has stems less stiffly branched with leaves less obviously ranked and more clearly adpressed or only slightly spreading; sporophylls mostly 6–8 mm.


dacrydioides: referring to the genus Dacrydium, a conifer with drooping branches of the Podocarpaceae family.


Shade in evergreen intermediate and montane forest, riverine forest, forest patches and woddland; sometimes on mossy boulders.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Comoro Isl., São Tomé.

Distribution in Africa

Burundi, Cameroon, Dem. Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan and South Sudan, Tanzania , Uganda, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 14. (Includes a picture).
  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature. Pages 32 - 33. (Includes a picture).
  • Fisher E. & Killmann D. (2008) Illustrated Field guide to the Plants of Nyungwe National Park Rwanda. University of Koblenz-Landau. Page 40. (Includes a picture).
  • Hedberg, I; Friis, Ib & Persson, E (2009) Lycopodiaceae to Pinaceae.Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea, vol.1 Pages 7 - 8.
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 134 - 135. (Includes a picture).
  • Lawalree, A. (1989) Lycopodiaceae.Flore d' Afrique Centrale, Page 5.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 19.
  • Roux, J.P. (2009) Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands. Strelitzia 23, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria. Page 13.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 18.
  • Tardieu-Blot, M.-L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.3.Flore du Cameroun, Page 11.
  • Vercourt, B. (2005) Lycopodiaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 5 - 6. As Huperzia dacrydioides (Baker) Pic.Serm. subsp. dacrydioides