Selaginella - Selaginellaceae

Selaginella biformis Kuhn






Common name


Stems erect or ascending from a creeping base bearing long thick rhizophores, 15–50 cm long; main stem usually pale, with short hairs on lower surface or ± hairless, with scattered uniform ± ovate leaves for most of the unbranched part; copiously pinnately flabellately branched above, the rhachises of the branches and branchlets ± densely shortly hairy on lower surface. Leaves dimorphic, overlapping; lateral leaves spreading, ovate to oblong-falcate in outline, apex subentire, base more or less rounded, margin entire or minutely set with very fine teeth and cilia, 1.5–2.5 x 1 mm; axillary leaves ovate in outline, apex tapering to a point, base ciliate, margin entire; median leaves overlapping, suberect, obliquely ovate in outline, minutely or hardly visible finely toothed, apex tapering to a point to aristate, base ± rounded, 0.75–1.5 x 0.5 mm. Strobili 5–12(–20) mm x 1–2 mm; sporophylls uniform, ovate in outline, apex tapering to a point, keeled, margin with very fine teeth andcilia, 0.75–1 x 0.5 mm wide; heterosporus.



biformis: consisting of 2 forms.


Escaped from an old fernery at Amani and now locally naturalised in the rain forest.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Burma, India, Indonesia, Philippines, S China.

Distribution in Africa

Tanzania .

Growth form



  • Roux, J.P. (2009) Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands. Strelitzia 23, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria. Pages 20 - 200.
  • Verdcourt, B. (2005) Selaginellaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Page 12.