Page author: Ben Legler
Diphasiastrum sitchense
Alaskan clubmoss, Sitka clubmoss
Typical plant of high-elevation meadow, forming low dense mats of greenish-yellow stems.
Lower elevation plant with more scattered and taller stems.

Distribution: Alaska to Oregon, east to Idaho and Montana, and across central Canada to northeastern U.S. and eastern Canada; also in eastern Asia from Japan north.

Habitat: Subalpine-alpine meadows and open rocky areas at mid-to high elevations in the mountains; occasionally in conifer forest or under brush.

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Perennial herb, forming dense low mats (occasionally more scattered and erect) with creeping horizontal stems and short, branched, erect stems to 17 cm tall; stems and leaves green to yellow-green.


Small needle-like, to 3 mm long, green to yellow-green, 5-ranked along stem (appear spirally arranged), appressed or slightly spreading.


In stroboli (spore cones) solitary at branch tips, light green to tawny, 5-40 mm long.

Identification Notes:

The spirally arranged, yellow-green to green, needle-shaped, uniform leaves distinguish L. sitchense from L. alpinum. See also notes under L. alpinum X sitchense.


Our most common and widespread Lycopodium of subalpine and alpine meadows. Hybridizes with L. alpinum.

Accepted Name:
Diphasiastrum sitchense (Rupr.) Holub
Publication: Preslia. 47: 108. 1975.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Lycopodium sabinifolium Willd. var. sitchense (Rupr.) Fernald, orthographic variant [Peck]
Lycopodium sitchense Rupr. [HC]
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Diphasiastrum sitchense in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Diphasiastrum sitchense checklist entry.

OregonFlora: Diphasiastrum sitchense information.

E-Flora BC: Diphasiastrum sitchense atlas page.

CalPhotos: Diphasiastrum sitchense photos.

USDA Plants: Diphasiastrum sitchense information.

21 photographs:
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