Selaginella - Selaginellaceae

Selaginella involvens (Sw.) Spring






Lycopodium involvens Swartz

Common name


Main stem erect, ascending, 15–45 cm long from a very widely creeping branching rhizome; stems unbranched for lower half, copiously flabellately branched above, the branchlets curled up in dry weather. Leaves on lower part of stem uniform, ovate, 3 x 2.2 mm, clasping, auricled at base, nearly equal-sided with definite midrib, ciliolate-denticulate, acute or aristate; lateral leaves ovate to ovate-triangular, 2 x 1.5 mm with faint false nerves, falcate-acute at the apex, oblique at the base, spreading outwards, inner half-leaf semi-ovate, dilated and distantly serrulate at base, outer half-leaf entire; median leaves smaller, narrowly ovate, 1–1.7 mm long, 0.5–0.7 mm wide, acute at apex, cuneate at the base, pointing upwards, entire or minutely denticulate-ciliate, falsely 2-nerved by two longitudinal grooves reaching from base to apex; axillary leaves ovate, unequal-sided, acute at the apex, minutely ciliate. Strobili quadrangular, (2–)5–8 mm long, 1–2 mm wide. Sporophylls uniform, ovate, ± 1 mm long, 0.5 mm wide, acute to acuminate-aristate at the apex, minutely ciliate-denticulate.


Locally naturalised



Amani, grounds of Research station, presumably originally cultivated in the fernary.

Distribution worldwide

China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Ryuku Isl., south to Sulawesi, locally naturalised in Amani in Tanzania.

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. Page 24.
  • Verdcourt, B. (2005) Selaginellaceae.Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 15 - 16.