MANILA, Philippines–Huperzias are among the exotic nonflowering plants allied to ferns (Filices), Psylotums, Selaginellas, Equisetums and other spore-bearing plants.
More commonly referred to as club moss or tassel fern, and originally under the genus Lycopodium, the Huperzia is now separated as a Genus under the Huperziaceae family.
Some species of Huperzias have proven to have medical uses. The Huperzia serrata (Hup A) has been used in China for centuries. It is said to cure health conditions such as fever, inflation of some body parts and high blood pressure, and helps protect the brain by slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s or dementia.
In the United States, it is recommended as a natural supplement to aid in memory or support prevention of neurodegeneration.
Locally we call them buntot pusa. These handsome, mostly tropical air plants attach themselves to tree trunks. Most of them have wiry, slender stems. The rope-like stems are pale at first, then forking branches develop as they grow.
Huperzias thrive mainly in forests or jungles. They can be found in the forests of the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, China and other countries with high humidity.
Propagation and care
Propagation is done by spores or cuttings. The spores can be artificially propagated in terrarium-like settings with the use of sphagnum (peat) moss.
Get a fishbowl or aquarium but ensure it is fully cleaned. Pulverize the dried sphagnum moss and have it sterilized. This can be done by boiling for about 10 minutes, then let it cool.
Squeeze out the excess water and use the moss to line the bottom of the glass container. Spread the spores over the moss and cover the top with a piece of glass that is also sterilized.
Place your project in a clean, shady but well-lighted area. Attach to a trunk or tree branch when the spores are about an inch long. Mist your propagation two to three times a day.
Cuttings can also be propagated. Get a top cutting from a healthy mature plant about three inches long and wrap the lower portion with sterilized sphagnum moss. Propagation should be done during the growing period from April to June.