Urostachys australianus (Herter) Herter ex Nessel; Urostachys cockaynei Herter ex Nessel; Lycopodium australianum Herter; Lycopodium australianum (Herter) Allan; Lycopodium selago sensu Hook.f.
Vascular – Native
Lycophytes (clubmosses, selaginella, quillworts)
The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.
Current conservation status
The threat classification status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2017 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS) – more information about this can be found on the NZTCS website This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2012 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: By Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, John W. Barkla, Shannel P. Courtney, Paul D. Champion, Leon R. Perrie, Sarah M. Beadel, Kerry A. Ford, Ilse Breitwieser, Ines Schönberger, Rowan Hindmarsh-Walls, Peter B. Heenan and Kate Ladley. Please note, threat classifications are often suggested by authors when publications fall between NZTCS assessment periods – a suggested threat classification status has not been assessed by the NZTCS panel.
2017 | Not Threatened | Qualifiers: SO
Previous conservation statuses
2012 | Not Threatened
2009 | Not Threatened
2004 | Not Threatened
Indigenous. New Zealand: North, South, Stewart, Chatham, Auckland, Campbell and Macquarie Islands. Known from the Raukumara Range southwards. Also Australia and Borneo.
Coastal to alpine (mostly alpine in the main islands of New Zealand but descending to sea level on the Chatham and subantarctic islands) in scrub, herbfield and peat bogs.
Wetland plant indicator status rating
FACW: Facultative Wetland
Usually is a hydrophyte but occasionally found in uplands (non-wetlands).
Terrestrial, stiffly erect tufted plants producing 1 to many branches from near base. branches rigid, erect (rarely decumbent), undivided or branched 1-3×, 60-400 mm long, producing bulbils at intervals. Sterile leaves and sporophylls similarly densely spirally arranged, erect, imbricate, thick, ovate to lanceolate, acute 4-9 mm long, 1.0-1.5 mm wide, green to yellowish green, or tinged orange; margins entire or with few, obscure teeth at apex. Sporophylls scattered, not restricted to defined zones. Sporangia c.1 mm long, 1.5 mm wide, obscured by sporophylls; sporangia often partially replaced by bulbils. Description adapted from Chinnock (1998) and Brownsey & Smith-Dodsworth (2000).
Easily distinguished from all other New Zealand members of the Lycopodiaceae by the scarcely differentiated sterile leaves and fertile sporophylls, as well as the unique presence of bulbils. Sterile terrestrial forms of Huperzia varia growing in peat bogs are impossible to distinguish from sterile H. australiana.
Minute spores are wind dispersed (Thorsen et al., 2009).
Difficult - should be left in the wild
huperzia: Named after Johann Peter Huperz (1771-1816), an early 19th century German botanist and specialist in ferns
australiana: From the Latin australis meaning southern
Where To Buy
Not commercially available.
Fact Sheet Prepared for NZPCN by P.J. de Lange 16 March 2011. Description adapted from Chinnock (1998) and Brownsey & Smith-Dodsworth (2000).
References and further reading
Brownsey, P.J.; Smith-Dodsworth, J.C. 2000: New Zealand Ferns and Allied Plants. Auckland, David Bateman
Chinnock, R.J. 1998: Lycopodiaceae. Flora of Australia 48: 66-85.
Thorsen, M. J.; Dickinson, K. J. M.; Seddon, P. J. 2009. Seed dispersal systems in the New Zealand flora. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 11: 285-309
NZPCN Fact Sheet citation
Please cite as: de Lange, P.J. (Year at time of access): Huperzia australiana Fact Sheet (content continuously updated). New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. https://www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/huperzia-australiana/ (Date website was queried)