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Appalachian Fir-clubmoss (Huperzia appalachiana)

Firmosses are recognized by their evergreen upright shoots, dichotomous branching and the presence of spores in the leaf axils and gemmae (small 6-leaved plantlets) in the apical portion of the plant. Huperzia appalachiana is very similar to H. selago (ranked S1 in Maine) and the two are very difficult to tell apart. H. appalachiana occurs in exposed, harsh environments in alpine settings, whereas H. selago occurs in boreal, hydric environments including ditches, pondshores and other moist areas, but not in alpine environments. H. appalachiana has dimorphic leaves (trophophylls): Leaves towards the base of the plant are longer and spreading more so than the leaves in the apical portion of the plant. H. selago has monomorphic leaves. Huperzia appalachiana is restricted to Maine's highest mountains and a few coastal islands. Hybridization with H. selago is common and the hybrid is frequently encountered above treeline.

You can learn more about this species by visiting its page on the Maine Natural Areas Program's website.

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