categoryZMosses Mosses & Clubmosses List 
categoryZEvergreen Evergreen List 

ALPINE CLUBMOSS

Diphasiastrum alpinum

(Formerly: Diphasiastrum complanatum ssp. alpinum)
Clubmoss & Quillwort Family [Lycopodiaceae]

Green Parts:
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Spores:
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category
category8Mosses
status
statusZnative
stem
stem8square
toxicity
toxicityZmedium

14th June 2013, Cwm Idwal, North Wales Photo: © Dawn Nelson
The infertile procumbent stems are up to 50cm long (occasionally up to 1m). The main stem is said to be buried beneath surface litter.


14th June 2013, Cwm Idwal, North Wales Photo: © Dawn Nelson
The fertile erect branches are much shorter at only 10cm and hairless. Because of the arrangement of the leaves (in fours?) they are almost square in cross-section (see those vertical ones near top right corner). The sporangium-bearing leaves are the cones at the summit which are between 1 and 2cm long and only slightly wider than the section below. The leaves on erect branches are 2-4mm long by about 1mm wide, and are without teeth, appressed to the stem and without stalks.


14th June 2013, Cwm Idwal, North Wales Photo: © Dawn Nelson
Your Author thinks these must be the infertile procumbent stems, for if they were fertile stems they would have a distinct bulge at the summit (the cone) and be upright. It is the only Clubmoss which is semi-evergreen, so this must be its final fling, until next year. The branches are densely tufted, up to 10cm long and only half-erect.


14th June 2013, Cwm Idwal, North Wales Photo: © Dawn Nelson
No bulges (cones) at the summit of these fawn-coloured stems with leaves, so they must be the longer infertile stems which are procumbent. But whether they are dead or dying is another matter? Note that near the top of the image there are stems which start off with green leaves but further up the leaves have turned brownish - these are of Alpine Clubmoss too.

[The brownish-red leaves bottom left must be of a different plant, for the leaves are very narrow - the same logic might apply to the green leaves next to them].


Alpine Clubmoss is native and found on moist acid peaty moors and mountains both among Heather and Grass. It is often in very exposed locations and is locally common in the North and West of Britain southwards to Derbyshire and South Wales. Also in Ireland apart from the South.


  Diphasiastrum alpinum  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Lycopodiaceae  

Distribution
 family8Clubmoss & Quillwort family8Lycopodiaceae
 BSBI maps
genus8Diphasiastrum
Diphasiastrum
(Alpine Clubmosses)

ALPINE CLUBMOSS

Diphasiastrum alpinum

(Formerly: Diphasiastrum complanatum ssp. alpinum)
Clubmoss & Quillwort Family [Lycopodiaceae]