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, four or five times divided, up to 50 cm long. Foliage leaves 14 × 2 mm, strongly overlapping, oblong-lanceolate, coriaceous, acute to sharply obtuse, light to dark green, shiny. Sporophylls distinctly smaller than foliage leaves, c. 3 × 1.5 mm, ovate, 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.


On boulders in montane grassland, shaded rocks near streams and as a high level epiphyte in forest.

Distribution worldwide

Distribution in Africa

Burundi, Democratic 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).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 135 - 137. (Includes a picture).
  • 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.