Selaginella - Selaginellaceae

Selaginella imbricata (Forssk.) Spring ex Decne.

Photo: H. Pickering
Zambia

Photo: H. Pickering
Zambia

Photo: J. Laing
Zimbabwe

Photo: J. Laing
Zimbabwe

Photo: J. Laing
Zimbabwe

 

 

 

 

Synonyms

Lycopodium imbricatum Forsk.

Common name

Description

Plants 5-30 cm high, branched in the upper half and each branch again branching 2 or 3 times, deltoid to ovate-lanceolate in outline, branchlets and leaves curling inwards when dry. Stems erect, tufted or closely spaced, 1 to 3 from a stout, shortly creeping rhizome. Leaves green on upper surface, pale creamy green through beige to almost silvery grey on lower surface, dimorphic, closely overlapping. Upper leaves up to 1.5 × 0.7 mm, ovate to oblong-lanceolate in outline, apex rounded, margin toothed, hyaline. Lateral leaves 1.5-2 × 0.5-1.2 mm, asymmetrically broadly ovate in outline, apex pointed, base adnate to the stem, margin lacerate-serrate and hyaline. Strobili 5-11 mm long, at tips of ultimate branches, male below, female above. Sporophylls uniform, ovate, pointed, margin toothed, smaller and more contracted than the sterile leaves.

Notes

A very distinctive species, with erect stems and discolorous leaves, that should not be confused with any other Selaginella.

Derivation

imbricata: overlapping, refers to the strictly overlapping arrangement of the leaves.

Habitat

On basalt rock, in calcareous rocky places, in dry deciduous open woodland at the base of rocks or in rock crevices.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Madagascar.

Distribution in Africa

Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan and South Sudan, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Lithophytic.

Literature

  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Page 26. (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 88 - 89. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 144 - 145. (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Page 32.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Page 26.
  • 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 24.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta. Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 25 - 26.
  • Verdcourt, B. (2005) Selaginellaceae. Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 8 - 9. (Includes a picture).
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