Selaginella - Selaginellaceae

Selaginella dregei (C. Presl) Hieron.

Photo: MA. Hyde

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings

Photo: P. Ballings






Selaginella grisea Alston
Lycopodium dregei C. Presl.
Selaginella dregei C.Presl var. hildebrandtiana Hieron.
Bryodesma dregei (C.Presl) Soják

Common name


Stems main stem up to 15 x 0.12 cm, creeping, branched, rooting freely, mat-forming; rhizophores spaced along the stem, 2-4 cm long, dark brown. Leaves overlapping around stem and branches, monomorphic, narrowly oblong to lanceolate in outline, margins ciliate, tips tapering to a point, with a curved white hair-like seta, one third to a quarter of the length of the blade, 1.5-3.0 × 0.15-0.3 mm, greyish to greyish-green turning silvery grey when dry. Strobili rarely develop, 4-8 mm long, suberect, with sporophylls terminal in 2 ranks, broader and more lanceolate than the leaves, ciliate and tapering to a point.


S. dregei can be confused with S. caffrorum and S. nivea, these however have leaves with a shorter apical seta (less than a third of the leaf blade) and sporophylls that are arranged in 4 ranks.
Crouch et all. (2011) seperate S. grisea from S. dregei, stating that apical leaf setae are about 1/3 the length of the leaf in S. dregei which is more robust with erect branches from a prostrate stem rather than being entirely prostrate; the marginal cilia are stronger and closer in S. grisea.


dregei: named after Johann Franz Drège (1794-1881), German horticulturalist, botanical collector and explorer who worked extensively in South Africa.


Forming dense mats occupying flat sheetrock in open and under scrub, in deciduous woodland and montane areas with rocky outcrops.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Botswana, Dem. Republic of Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania , Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.


  • Bizzarri, M.P. (1985) Selaginellaceae.Flore d' Afrique Centrale, Pages 6 - 8.
  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 22. (Includes a picture).
  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature. Pages 80 - 81. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 143 - 144. (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Pages 31 - 32.
  • Roux, J.P. (2009) Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands. Strelitzia 23, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria. Page 22.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta.Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 25.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta.Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Page 23. (Includes a picture).
  • Verdcourt, B. (2005) Selaginellaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 4 - 6. (Includes a picture).