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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Alaskan Clubmoss - Lycopodium sitchense
Other Names:  Diphasiastrum sitchense

Status Under Review
Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S3?
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:

External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
13 collections at MONTU from 5 western Montana counties.
General Description
Alaskan Clubmoss is a low evergreen perennial with clustered, branching, upright shoots growing from slender, above-ground or slightly buried, rooting, horizontal stems. Branches are circular in cross-section, most are short at 3-10 cm, vegetative, and bear leaves in longitudinal rows of five. The thick, firm, incurved, sharp pointed green leaves are 3-6 mm long and less than 1 mm wide. Fewer, taller reproductive branches, up to 17.5 cm tall, have similar but less crowded leaves, often in ranks of six, and bear one or more terminal club-like cones where spores are produced. The cones, about 1-4 cm long, are composed of tightly packed straw colored or slightly greenish sporophylls, ca. 2-3 mm long and 1.5-3 mm wide, with kidney-shaped sporangia attached within at their bases.

Producing spores in late June or July.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Distinguished from all other related species and genera in our area by the combination of branches circular in cross section, and with leaves of vegetative branches all alike in five rows. A hand lens is needed for positive identification.

Species Range

Range Comments
In MT known from Lincoln, Flathead, Missoula, Ravalli, and Lewis and Clark counties; Japan, AK to NL south to OR, MT, and NY (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 31

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Open, often rocky places at montane to alpine zones.

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Lellinger, D.B. 1985. A Field Manual of the Ferns and Fern-Allies of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Inst. Press. Washington, D.C. B85LEL01PAUS
  • Web Search Engines for Articles on "Alaskan Clubmoss"
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Citation for data on this website:
Alaskan Clubmoss — Lycopodium sitchense.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from