Northern Firmoss

Huperzia selago (L.) Bernh. ex Mart. & Schrank

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Lycopodiopsida (Clubmosses)
Lycopodiaceae (Club-moss Family)
State Protection
Listed as Endangered by New York State: in imminent danger of extirpation in New York. For animals, taking, importation, transportation, or possession is prohibited, except under license or permit. For plants, removal or damage without the consent of the landowner is prohibited.
Federal Protection
Not Listed
State Conservation Status Rank
Critically Imperiled in New York - Especially vulnerable to disappearing from New York due to extreme rarity or other factors; typically 5 or fewer populations or locations in New York, very few individuals, very restricted range, very few remaining acres (or miles of stream), and/or very steep declines.
Global Conservation Status Rank
Secure globally - Common in the world; widespread and abundant (but may be rare in some parts of its range).


State Ranking Justification

There are no verified occurrences, only 2 historical specimens in the state, not surveyed yet.

Conservation and Management



In 2009, Fir Clubmoss was rediscovered in New York State for the first time since 1914. It was found in growing in sandy soil, in poor pasture reverting to dense cedar. The few historical records of this species in the state are also from pasturelands (New York Natural Heritage Program 2011). Ditches, swales, swamps, rarely into alpine zone (Haines 1998). Terrestrial in sandy borrow pits, ditches, lakeshore swales, and conifer swamps, rarely on acidic, igneous rock or calcareous coast cliffs (FNA 1993a).

Associated Ecological Communities

  • Northern white cedar rocky summit* (guide)
    A community that occurs on cool, dry, rocky ridgetops and summits where the bedrock is calcareous (such as limestone or dolomite), and the soils are more or less calcareous. The vegetation may be sparse or patchy, with numerous rock outcrops. The species have predominantly boreal distributions.
  • Pastureland
    Agricultural land permanently maintained (or recently abandoned) as a pasture area for livestock.

* probable association but not confirmed.

Associated Species

  • Thuja occidentalis (northern white cedar, arbor vitae)


New York State Distribution

This low herb is known from one locality in St. Lawrence County with historical records also in St. Lawrence County and one place in Essex County.

Identification Comments

Best Time to See

Fir Clubmoss is best sought when the "fruit"(spores) are present, from July through September.

  • Vegetative
  • Fruiting

The time of year you would expect to find Northern Firmoss vegetative and fruiting in New York.


Northern Firmoss
Huperzia selago (L.) Bernh. ex Mart. & Schrank

  • Kingdom Plantae
    • Phylum Lycophyta
      • Class Lycopodiopsida (Clubmosses)
        • Order Lycopodiales
          • Family Lycopodiaceae (Club-moss Family)

Additional Common Names

  • Fir Clubmoss


  • Huperzia selago var. densa Trevisan
  • Lycopodium selago L. [in part]

Additional Resources


Fernald, M.L. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. 8th edition. D. Van Nostrand, New York. 1632 pp.

Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 910 pp.

Holmgren, Noel. 1998. The Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. Illustrations of the Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

Kartesz, J.T., and R. Kartesz. 1980. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada and Greenland. Vol. 2. The biota of North America. Univ. of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill. 500 pp.

Mitchell, Richard S. 1992. A checklist of New York State plants. Revised edition.

Mitchell, Richard. 1986. Interview with Steven Clemants of November 7, 1986.

New York Natural Heritage Program. 2024. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. Albany, NY.

Weldy, T. and D. Werier. 2010. New York flora atlas. [S.M. Landry, K.N. Campbell, and L.D. Mabe (original application development), Florida Center for Community Design and Research University of South Florida]. New York Flora Association, Albany, New York


About This Guide

Information for this guide was last updated on: August 10, 2011

Please cite this page as:
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2024. Online Conservation Guide for Huperzia selago. Available from: Accessed May 26, 2024.