Selaginella - Selaginellaceae

Selaginella congoensis Alston






Common name


Plant with main stem climbing and winding to the left (sinistrovolubile), up to 40–50 cm long and about 0.75 mm in diam., straw-yellow, glabrous, with prominent ribs, with a furrow in the upper part, sparsely branched; rhizophores along its entire length, filiform, straw-yellow, usually forming a right angle with the stem and up to 5 cm long; branches simple, pinnate or bipinnate, oval around their circumference, few and far between. Main stem leaves homomorphous, 2–2.5 mm apart, pale green, c. 2 x 0.5 mm, oblong-lanceolate in outline, apex tapering to a sharp point, base slightly unequal, auriculate at base, margin subentire to shortly and loosely toothed; leaves of branches heteromorphic, pale green; lateral leaves contiguous, c. 1.5 x 0.6–0.7 mm, apex short or long tapering, base slightly unequal, margin hyaline margin, midrib inconspicuous and not quite reaching apex, half-face acroscopic semi-elliptical to lanceolate, rounded at base, with denticulate margin, half-face basiscopic semi-linear to oblong, truncate at base, with loosely serrate margin; middle leaves imbricated, c. 1 x 0.5 mm, lanceolate in outline, curved, apex long tapering, base slightly unequal, auriculate, margin toothed, with conspicuous midrib; axillary leaves c. 1.5 x 0.5 mm, oblong-lanceolate in outline, apex tapering, base truncate to auriculate, margin serrulate, with conspicuous midrib. Strobile solitary at end of last branches, c. 0.5 x 0.2 cm. Sporophylls homomorphic, 1.3–1.4 x 0.6–0.7 mm (the basal ones slightly larger), ovate-triangular, with hyaline margin, irregularly serrulate, long acuminate; heterosporus.



congoensis: from Congo, this fern is only found in DR Congo.


Swamps, wet and marshy sandy savannahs, wet and dry savanne bushland (esobe), edges of streams and undergrowth of forests near rivers, rarely shrub fallow.

Distribution worldwide

See African distribution.

Distribution in Africa

Dem. Republic of Congo.

Growth form

Climbing, terrestrial.


  • Bizzarri, M.P. (1985) Selaginellaceae.Flore d' Afrique Centrale, Pages 17 - 18.
  • 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.