Huperzia - Lycopodiaceae

Huperzia gnidioides (L.f.) Trevis.

Photo: BT. Wursten

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Lycopodium gnidioides L.f.
Urostachys gnidioides (L.f.) Herter ex Nessel
Plananthus gnidioides (L.f.) P.Beauv.

Common name


Stems pendulous or erect, 2 to 3(-5) times divided, 0.2-1 m long. Foliage leaves 9-15 × 1.5-3 mm, strongly overlapping, linear-oblong to lanceolate in outline, coriaceous, apex ± pointed to sharply rounded, light to dark green, shiny. Fertile area 5-12 x 0.3-0.4 cm. Sporophylls distinctly smaller than foliage leaves, 2-5 × 1.5-2.5 mm, coriaceous, ovate- lanceolate to ovate in outline, apex attenuate. Sporangia kidney-shaped, flattened, hardly covered by the sporophylls.


H. gnidioides can be distinguished from H. dacrydioides by having a broad and short fertile portion with sporophylls that are shorter than the foliage leaves; sterile leaves are tightly overlapping.


gnidioides: like Gnidia, a genus in the Thymelaeaceae family which sometimes has similar leaves.


Boulders in montane grassland, shaded rocks near streams, moist evergreen forest.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Comoro and Mascarene islands, Madagascar., Seychelles

Distribution in Africa

Burundi, Dem. Republic of Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania , Uganda, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Epiphytic, lithophytic.


  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 14 - 16. (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 34 - 35. (Includes a picture).
  • Fisher E. & Lobin W. (2024) Checklist of Lycopodiopsida (clubmosses and quillworts) and Polypodiopsida (ferns) of Rwanda.Willdenowia, 53 Page 154.
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 135 - 137. (Includes a picture).
  • Lawalree, A. (1989) Lycopodiaceae.Flore d' Afrique Centrale, Pages 6 - 7.
  • 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.
  • Vercourt, B. (2005) Lycopodiaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 4 - 5. As Huperzia gnidioides (L.f.) Trevisan var. gnidioides