Selaginella - Selaginellaceae

Selaginella cathedrifolia Spring

Photo: BT. Wursten
Dem. Republic of Congo

Photo: BT. Wursten
Dem. Republic of Congo

Photo: BT. Wursten
Dem. Republic of Congo






Lycopodioides cathedrifolium (Spring.) Kuntze
Selaginella zenkeri Hier. ex Bon.
Selaginella cathedrifolia Spring var. rigidiuscula Spring.

Common name


Plants rooting along their entire length, with ventral rhizophores arising at right angles to the axes of the branches; rhizophores filiform, glabrous, up to 2.5 cm long. Stems lying down, about 12 cm long by 0.5 mm in diameter, greenish white, angular; branches glabrous, diverging by 60 °, bipinnate, irregularly oblong in outline, often branched from the base, with lateral branches longer than the main stem. Leaves all heteromorphic; lateral leaves imbricate or separated, unequal, up to 2 x 1.5 mm, strongly ciliated on the adaxial side, serrulate at the end, costa little appearing, false veins absent, upper surface shiny green, lower surface pale green; axillary leaves slightly unequal, about 3/4 the length of the lateral leaves, narrower and more acute, ciliated on one side at the base; median leaves imbricate, obliquely ovate, cordate on the outer side at the base, serrulate, acuminate. Strobili solitary at the top of lateral and ultimate branches, up to 8 mm long by 1.5 mm in diameter, tetragonal; sporophylls homomorphic, elliptical-lanceolate, acuminate, serrulate, keeled.




Close to river, humid forest.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Angola, Cameroon, Congo, Dem. Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (incl. Bioko), Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo.

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. Page 21.
  • Tardieu-Blot, M.-L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.3. Flore du Cameroun, Pages 29 - 30.
  • Thardieu-Blot, M.L. (1964) Ptéridophytes vol.8. Flore du Gabon, Pages 23 - 24.