Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Forestry and the Fir Clubmoss

Fir Clubmoss, Huperzia selago

There are five native Clubmoss and Lesser Clubmoss (Spikemoss) species in Ireland, four of which have ever been recorded in County Cork: Fir Clubmoss, Lesser Clubmoss, Stag's Horn Clubmoss and Marsh Clubmoss. Of these, Fir Clubmoss (Huperzia selago) is by far the most frequent in County Cork and in Ireland as a whole (1). It is found on mountainous grassland, heath, moorland and rocky out crops (2). H. selago gets its common name from its resemblance to a small conifer. The plant consists of green, needle like leaves arranged around the stem. It produces spores, not in 'clubs' or cones as in other Clubmosses, but in small structures known as gemmae on the leaf axils. 
Fir Clubmoss, Huperzia selago

However, O'Mahoney has noted (1) that increases in forestry in upland areas poses a threat to H. selago. Its relatively slow growing pace means that recovery may often be impossible if displaced from an area.

  1. O'Mahoney, 2009 Wildflowers of Cork City and County p. 327
  2. Phillips, 1978 Grasses, Ferns, Mosses and Lichens of Great Britain

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